Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2 orNFSUG2) is a cross-platform racing video game and the eight installment of popular running game Need For Speed published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in 2004, it is the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, and is part of the Need for Speed series, available on Nintendo GameCube,PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and Microsoft Windows. It was developed by EA Black Box. Like its predecessor, it was also commercially successful, and sold nine million copies worldwide.
The game is based around tuning cars for street races, resuming the Need for Speed: Undergroundstoryline. Need for Speed: Underground 2 provides several new features, such as a broader customization, new methods of selecting races, the "explore" mode (just driving around freely, like theMidnight Club series, in a large city known as "Bayview"). Underground 2 also introduces severalSUVs, which could be customized as extensively as other Underground 2 vehicles and used to race against other SUV racers. Brooke Burke is the voice of Rachel Teller, the person who guides the player through the story.
On the Nintendo DS installment, users are able to design custom decals to adorn any vehicle in the game. The PlayStation Portable equivalent is Need for Speed: Underground Rivals.
As in Need for Speed: Underground, Underground 2 continues to offer similar vehicles for purchase and modification, most of which consist of Japanese models, with a sizable number of European and American models. In addition, Underground 2 is the only game in the Need for Speed series to date to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. A total of 29 vehicle models are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them, the PAL version of the game offers an additional two cars (Peugeot 106 and Vauxhall Corsa) while the NTSC version offers two different alternatives (Acura RSX and Honda Civic).
Customization in Underground 2 was significantly expanded compared to previous iterations from the series. Visual customization has expanded with the ability to customize the car's front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoiler, hood, exhaust tips, doors, roof scoop, wheels (including the ability to put on spinners), headlights and taillights, side mirrors and paint. Vinyls and decals can also be added, as well as car stereos (amps and speakers), hydraulics, nitrous bottles and under glow neon. Most visual modifications to the car have no actual effect on vehicle performance. The sound systems, for example, could be put in the trunk of cars, but served no purpose other than visual cues. The performance and handling of the car is affected by cosmetic modifications like spoilers and hoods, which affect the downforce of the car.
The car's performance can also be enhanced by upgrading the car's engine, engine control unit (ECU), transmission, suspension, adding nitrous oxide, tires, brakes, reducing the car's weight, and adding turbos. The player has the ability to either upgrade the performance through upgrade packages or by purchasing individual parts of each performance category. NFS: Underground 2 also introduces a dyno-tuning system which allows players to specifically tune certain aspect of the car such as suspension springs, front / rear shocks gear ratios, aerodynamics, brake bias, individual tire grip, etc. The player could then test the setting via a dyno test at which point they would be given specific information such as 0 – 60 time, max torque, etc.
SUVs, also known as Sport utility vehicles, was a new element added to Need For Speed: Underground 2. In this mode, players could modify, tune, and drive SUVs in the same manner as they could with normal cars. Players could choose to race in an event with SUVs only or in a mix of Cars and SUVs. Like cars, users are able to add on parts to SUVs to increase their performance and handling, however, the added weight of SUVs makes them much harder to maneuver, especially at higher speeds. SUVs were not featured in any later editions of the Need For Speed series (except as non-playable police vehicles), thus making them exclusive to Need For Speed: Underground 2.
Need For Speed Underground 2 has online multiplayer capability on PlayStation 2's with broadband connections, PC, and Xbox using Xbox Live. EA shut down the online servers for PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox making the multiplayer function of the game inoperable.