Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2 or NFSUG2) was a cross-platform racing video game and the eighth installment in the popular Need for Speed driving game series 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 Microsoft Windows. Like its predecessor, it was also commercially successful, and sold four million copies worldwide.
In addition to the racing modes included in the previous Underground game (Circuit, Sprint, Drag and Drift races), four new variations of races have been provided in Underground 2. One racing mode was dropped, this being the Knockout competitions. Still, a Lap Knockout option is available when racing Circuit in non-career races. Underground 2 is unique among the games in the Need For Speed series in that it requires players to drive to a certain place in the city in order to begin a race (other games allow the player to select a race from a menu). Most races are marked on the in-game radar, but some are hidden and the player must search for them, should he decide to play them.
A circuit race is a standard race that involves up to four cars driving around a track that loops back to the start line of itself. A circuit race is typically a maximum of four laps and minimum of 2 laps. A sprint race is just like a circuit race except that the track does not loop back to the start line. It's a race from A to B involving a maximum of four vehicles, and because of the track design there is only one lap. Street X races are similar to Circuit races, but they take place on closed courses similar to Drift races.
Drifting is one of the easier types of racing (depending on difficulty level) in Need for Speed Underground 2. One difference to the drifting mode compared to the original Need for Speed Underground is that the player drifts with the other competitors at the same time. Players race against a maximum of three competitors. Points are awarded when the player successfully slide the car and finishes the drift without hitting any walls. Like the Street X mode, no nitrous oxide is allowed. There are also some special downhill drift races where the player starts at the top of a hill and has to slide down from top to bottom, a drifting equivalent of a sprint race (from point A to point B). In these races, there are no other racers, however there is normal city traffic. Players increase their points by sliding past city cars. Drag racing is a point-to-point race that forces players to use a manual transmission. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the game handles the steering along the lanes, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car. The Nitrous Oxide meter is enlarged and displayed on the left side of the screen
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 first game in the Need for Speed series to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. Also, it is the second game in the Need for Speed series after Need for Speed: Underground to offer a Korean-made car (Hyundai Tiburon) as a racing vehicle. A total of 29 cars are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them: the PAL version of the game includes the (Peugeot 106 and Vauxhall Corsa), while the NTSC version includes the (Acura RSX and Honda Civic).