So with the reboot of the Need For Speed franchise on the horizon with the new and improved Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, this got me to thinking about what game I thought provided the best head to head racing experience ever. There are a lot of options here, Midnight Club, any of the Gran Turismo installments, the recent release Modnation Racers and the list goes on. These were all loads of fun to be sure, but none of them sparked the fierce competitiveness and customization war that the game I am thinking about did. That game my friends is Need For Speed: Underground 2.
Need For Speed: Underground 2 came out in 2004 and was developed by EA’s Black Box studios. The game sold over 9 million copies so it was definitely well received but we haven’t really heard anything about another one since then, its been six years and the streets are itching for another one. When it comes to the story mode and online it was about on par with any of the titles I just mentioned. The thing that took it over the top for me was the Drag mode.
The drag mode was a heart pounding, adrenaline fueled 45 second race to the finish. This mode featured simplified steering in this mode allowed for the player to execute line changes, while the game handles the steering along the lines, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car. I gotta admit that this was my favorite head to head racing experience of all time, there was so much planning and strategy put into planning for these races that were over in one one tenth of the time most of us actually spent building, customizing and tweaking our cars. I remember we would have tournaments where everyone would load their two or three best cars on their memory cards (that’s a throwback) and then we would pull them out and go for it. The races were fast and furious, a constant battle of wits and nerves between drivers to see who had the better car and tuning. When the cars were evenly matched it became a matter of strategy and nerve. From a strategy standpoint, it really came down to who engaged their nitrous at the right time, to early and you would run out before the finish and if you popped it too late then you wouldn’t be able to catch up before the finish. On the issue of wits, it came down to how hard you wanted to push the car with the understanding that if you pushed it too hard then you would blow the engine and definitely lose. And don’t get me started about how much that got amped up if you were racing for pink slips.
What this all means is that I think its about time for EA to tell us when will we get another chance to take our racing skills “Undergound”. But that’s just me, what racing game gave you the best head to head racing experience? Remember I’m not talking best racing game ever, I’m talking head to head gameplay. I know there are some other NFS: Underground 2 drag racing heads out there, where my folks at?