Need for Speed: Underground
Need for Speed is just one of those games - pure entertainment and nothing else. There's no mucking about with story lines or anything - just plain, simple and smooth racing. It's based on the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious. Go watch it for some low-brain-activity entertainment.
The best thing in this game is the sound. Firstly, there're these awesome, simply fabulous tracks from all kinds of artists like Fuel, etc. which I don't listen to normally, but in the game they're just perfect. They're just the perfect tracks to be playing in the background. Then there're the actual sounds which are also awesome - the cars swooshing past, the streetlights whishing by, and the sounds of the engine and the gears, all with Doppler effects and everything. It makes for an awesome experience.
The graphics are also amazing, though, on my machine - an Intel Pentium M 1.4GHz (768MB RAM, 32MB ATI Radeon Mobility graphics) IBM laptop - they aren't exactly eye-popping, but they are way better than anything I've seen before in racing games.
The gameplay is simple with no bullshitting. Arrow keys are all you need unless you use Manual transmission. I use manual because I've seen it gets that little bit of extra performance out of the car with auto just can't. There are five modes of play in the game - Sprint, Circuit, Knockout, Drag and Drift. The first three are regular lap runs, while the last two were new to me. Drag, which is featured in the movie 2F2F, involves driving down a straight section of road in the minimum amount of time, and beating your opponents to the finish line, but it's a unique experience because it mainly depends on three things - your gear shifting ability, your ability to avoid hitting any other car (except the opponents' cars, which you can hit) and other stuff that comes in your way and your ability to use Nitrous Oxide at the right moments. If you hit anything you lose the race. Actually it's officially called being "Totalled". You also lose the race if you don't change the gear in time and get a "Blown Engine". Now, Nitrous Oxide is this very entertaining part of the game. It's basically an overburner or afterburner kind of thing of which you have limited supply, and which give you an immediate extra boost in speed. Immensely useful in outrunning your opponents. I won't explain Drift in detail - it's got a lot to do with how well you can make your car skid.
The problem with NFS5, I found, was that it was extremely hard to control the cars. This is not there in NFSUG. The cars are extremely easy to control. Also, all the upgrade options for the car, which used to be a mystery to me in older versions of NFS, have now been simplified. The good thing is that most of them are locked in the beginning and get unlocked slowly as you progress and so, it's not very daunting on people like me who know nothing about Drivetrain or E.C.E. and Fuel Systems, etc. But for those who do know, it offers a wide variety.
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Overall - Find the average.
Brilliant Game! Go get it.