Metascore
82

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
Buy On
  1. Combining the reckless, breakneck speed and high-impact collisions of Burnout with the neon-tipped street culture of "Fast and the Furious" (and, more specifically, "Midnight Club II"), Underground is the new definition of white-knuckle.
  2. 91
    One of the most entertaining racing experiences ever, as was expected. Racing underground has been done before, but this game does it right. If you liked other NFS games, you will definitely love this installment.
  3. 90
    But the real kicker here, and the focus of the whole experience, is customizing your ride. If you're not into that element, don't go out and try to buy this as a stand-alone racer. You really have to be dedicated to the car creation, and you have to have the patience for it.
  4. 90
    This is the best arcade racer on the market today. It's the best one in years.
  5. A great game that offers tons of options for customizing your ride, and a solid arcade racing experience. If you love cars, and long to build a custom car of your own, then this game is perfect for you.
  6. 85
    It lacks some major features you'd expect, but this arcade racer still offers an immersive career mode, a beautiful presentation, and an insane sense of speed.
  7. If EA paid as much attention to the career mode and track layout that they spent on graphics and sound, this game would have been the racing game to get.
  8. With just a bit more variety to its tracks and a slightly better career mode, it definitely could have been better, but it has great graphics, solid sound, and the sort of easy learning curve that makes it a driving game that anyone can excel at.
  9. PC Gamer
    88
    Although the vehicle dynamics are still conspicuously slot-car like, the game itself is easily one of the finest EA has ever produced. [Jan 2004, p.118]
  10. 88
    Not only does it have 20 of the hottest cars in the world, but customizing them is THE game. Need for Speed: Underground sets a new standard for racing games.
  11. A great mixture of arcade racing, with a twist of simulation - and a lot of modifying.
  12. The big difference between this and "Midnight Club 2" is that the second one stunned me while I expected more from such a fine producer like EA.
  13. A few moderately big shortcomings aside, Need for Speed: Underground is a solid racing game with an easy learning curve, arcade-like racing, online play, great graphics, and a distinct style.
  14. While it might not be perfect, Need for Speed Underground is an impressive racing game, packed full of bonuses that will keep you playing for days.
  15. Surprisingly addictive, though incredibly frustrating at later stages in the game.
  16. It sounds and looks beautiful - the cars and backgrounds are superb looking, and the THX certificate ensures that the audio experience is top-notch...On the other hand, the game lacks a more innovative and involving track design, which makes the actual racing and the map layout a tad too repetitive at times.
  17. Online drift mode is very popular, and if you happen to find someone in there with the name RedStarAcura behind an Impreza, he will not back down to any challenge!
  18. 90
    That break-the-mold game that longtime players of the franchise have been waiting for. And if you're already a street-rag reader, you have permission and reason to drool - just keep it off the AirFlow controller, please.
  19. Computer Gaming World
    90
    Racing doesn't get much better...unless you're in a real car. [Mar 2004, p.75]
  20. An uneven mixture of gorgeous graphics, upgradeable street racing vehicles, variety of race modes, unique customization, lack of opposition, repetitive tracks, and no law enforcement presence... Involving and fun, although not quite as engrossing as "NFS:HP2."
User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 352 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 352
  1. JonB.
    Nov 15, 2003
    10
    Having played the demo for this, I was totally blown away. I decided to buy the full game right away. Tight control, gorgeous stages, sweet Having played the demo for this, I was totally blown away. I decided to buy the full game right away. Tight control, gorgeous stages, sweet rides, and most importantly: THE CAR'S ENGINES SOUND GOOD AGAIN. (like they used to back in NFS5!) Floor it and hear the now-turboed 350Z roar, let off the gas to hear the blow-off valve release it's pent-up air. Get a woofer and a wheel to really have fun with this title. Oh, and although the game is huge, install was a breeze. Two thumbs up. Full Review »
  2. Feb 16, 2017
    6
    I loved this game when I was a kid, but when I went to play it now again, I see how it has SERIOUS flaws.

    The good parts: Control of the
    I loved this game when I was a kid, but when I went to play it now again, I see how it has SERIOUS flaws.

    The good parts: Control of the car is nice, the graphics were cool by the time being, and the car tuning is very varied and cool. There is a decent amount of cars to chose, and there was a sense of progression on the races, opponents keep getting better and better. The sounds are really good and it has totally a "fast and furious" vibe.

    The bad parts: The worst part are the car crashes. It's absurd. The minimal hit will make your car go flying around, and it would be ok if the same happened to the AI, but the AI really CHEATS when there is a car crash. I saw an AI hitting a car on the front, and just went under it and kept going at full speed. It's very unfair, and most of the time you won't win or lose races by skill, but by pure luck, because cars appear out of nowhere just to hit you. Also, the game has a lot of glitches for those who try to play with a joystick, it keeps changing the controls and the camera shifts if you press brake for too long.
    Also, although there is a sense of progression while racing, there is no progression on cars. The car you get at the beginning of the game is better than most cars you unlock as you win races. And the tracks are VERY repetitive, you'll be running 111 races on the same tracks over and over again.
    Another bad thing is that you can only have one car. Which sucks, because there are some cars that are outstanding for races but suck at drifting.

    Overall, the game is only "meh". I was looking for nostalgia and got anger instead.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 22, 2014
    9
    It was the first game in the series. I played 10 years ago, I liked so much, but age did not let me finish it. At 8 years old I struggled aIt was the first game in the series. I played 10 years ago, I liked so much, but age did not let me finish it. At 8 years old I struggled a bit. The game throws you in Olympic City, a town of Street Racing community. This will start the fun. Full Review »