Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 95
    It's up there on the podium with "Ridge Racer Type 4" and "Daytona USA 2," contending for the title of very best ever.
  2. Barreling down a busy street at 120 mph made my heart race and palms sweat. [Dec 2003, p.172]
  3. 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.
  4. Pulling it all together is razor-sharp presentation, incredible city construction and track design, and a use of sound and mixed tunes that is unrivaled in the genre; praise to EA for bypassing the numbing of ill-placed techno. [Dec 2003, p.62]
  5. The game's incredible sense of speed, seat-of-your-soild-trousers physics, and overall production polish is second to none on Xbox. [Dec/Jan 2004, p.81]
  6. 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.
  7. 90
    One main feature that clearly separates Underground from other street racers is its visual presentation. The nighttime glow in the metropolis does take some time to get used to, but the evening air quickly adds to the stunning scenery and detailed avenues as you travel at high RPMs.
  8. 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.
  9. 88
    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.
  10. Racing mixed with the streets and underground is something no one should pass on. Fast cars, fast women, and a customization mode any underground racer would be proud of spells nothing but fun.
  11. Performance, of course, is more important than appearance, and Underground boasts better handling than any other arcade racer. It's also faster. [Jan 2004, p.118]
  12. That customization model is simply the most robust we've ever seen... The game's only real failing is in its comparative lack of [track] variety. [Dec 2003, p.108]
  13. 85
    The Xbox is blessed with being the most technically advanced version, but the PS2 takes the edge with its online gameplay and visual trickery.
  14. Hardcore racing game types and those generations enamored with the sport compact market will definitely need to add this one to their collection.
  15. 83
    It's so well put together, too, that despite the immense speed, you're able to control the cars unbelievably well. [Jan 2004, p.61]
  16. 82
    Cars that scream masculinity and machismo; mental drivers haring around city roads that form impromptu tracks when the lights go off and nobody is around – welcome to the world of illegal street racing.
  17. Yes, the customizing of the cars is extremely sweet, and it does have 4 player split screen gaming which is good. But there is no soundtrack customization, no 480p support, and no online play. Everything else NFS: Underground does outside of customizing your car "Project Gotham Racing 2" does better, including Xbox Live support.
  18. A competent racer with stacks of available customisation and stacks of replay value, even without any online features. The multiplayer is solid, there’s a lot to do in single player, and you'll feel totally fashionable playing it.
  19. Packed with customization options from heaven and an incredibly well handling ride to boot, the game is a must for those looking for big time thrills and the ability of creating their dream machines.
  20. Very good. With just a bit more variety to its tracks and a slightly better career mode, it definitely could have been much 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.
  21. 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."
  22. Beautifully detailed with impressive lighting, accurately modelled protagonists and a terrific sense of speed. A refreshing and captivating direction for the series. [Christmas 2003, p.115]
  23. It may not be a startlingly original game but Need for Speed: Underground is an enjoyable one, and for racing fans, it's a must.
  24. Why then make a game of the underground world of illegal street racing and not have any cops chasing you at all?
  25. Boy racers will love Underground's edgy urban chic, otherwise you should stick with the less fashionable but ultimately more enjoyable "Burnout 2." [Christmas 2003, p.125]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Prophecy
    Aug 13, 2004
    Devil's Advocate i dont know why u are voting so low, Yes the graphics aren't as good as they could be but ps 1 does not have Devil's Advocate i dont know why u are voting so low, Yes the graphics aren't as good as they could be but ps 1 does not have better textures then this game. The only down side of this game is its difficulty at some parts of the game it becomes frustrating and also the tracks do tend to become repetitive but over all it is an amusing game to play. Full Review »
  2. HgHg
    May 17, 2004
  3. DarinM.
    Apr 25, 2004
    I have to agree with Richard and Devils Advocate, this game on xbox at least is a bloody disgrace. The frame rate is absolutely shocking withI have to agree with Richard and Devils Advocate, this game on xbox at least is a bloody disgrace. The frame rate is absolutely shocking with glitches all over the place and makes the game totally unplayable.I challenge anybody to dispute otherwise.Do not buy this game, you have been warned!!!! Full Review »