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Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City review

When mediocre is mixed with vanilla, it produces Carbon on the DS

Pros

  • Sweet real-life cars
  • Calling in the Wingman
  • Lengthy campaign

Cons

  • Lame crash animations
  • Awful
  • repetitive blaring music
  • Convoluted story line

As the steadfastly popular Need for Speed series rolls on each year, EA's modus operandi is simple - keep enough of the stuff that folks love, then add in some new wrinkles that'll excite the fan base. When it comes to Nintendo's dual-screen gem, there are already a few stupendously fun titles available (Mario Kart DS, anyone?). So what new-fangled razzmatazz does their latest street racing effort bring to the table?

Good thing you asked. The piece de resistance in Carbon: Own the City is the Wingman - insane teammates who'll gladly sacrifice their cars and personal safety for your glory. These crazed lunatics will boldly smash into opponents or let you soak in their sweet aerodynamic draft just so you can claim victory for the crew. Of course, they're not always around (sometimes you'll have to win all by your lonesome) but when they do show up, it's wise to use them as much as possible. They generally hold the key to victory.

As the title suggests, your job is to take over an entire town, section by section. You're not doing this to satiate megalomaniacal dreams of conquest; rather, your brother was mysteriously killed in (surprise!) a street race a few months back, and evidently the only way to find whoever is responsible is to battle through all the city's racing crew bosses. Sound like a strange way to track down a murderer? That's what we thought, too.

Regardless, the goals are pretty straightforward - win races to get cash, use that to upgrade your car and buy new ones, then repeat. There's a decent enough selection of souped up real-world cars at your disposal, each with gobs of customizations that become unlocked as you claw your way to the top. Failure to improve your ride will mean getting your ass handed to you regularly, but it's pretty simple and won't require an engineering degree.

Alas, while the controls are perfectly functional and your ride looks kinda pretty, Carbon falls short of greatness, especially when viewed in relief against other titles for Nintendo's wildly popular machine. The tracks are bland and lifeless, and become repetitive quickly.

As the steadfastly popular Need for Speed series rolls on each year, EA's modus operandi is simple - keep enough of the stuff that folks love, then add in some new wrinkles that'll excite the fan base. When it comes to Nintendo's dual-screen gem, there are already a few stupendously fun titles available (Mario Kart DS, anyone?). So what new-fangled razzmatazz does their latest street racing effort bring to the table?

Good thing you asked. The piece de resistance in Carbon: Own the City is the Wingman - insane teammates who'll gladly sacrifice their cars and personal safety for your glory. These crazed lunatics will boldly smash into opponents or let you soak in their sweet aerodynamic draft just so you can claim victory for the crew. Of course, they're not always around (sometimes you'll have to win all by your lonesome) but when they do show up, it's wise to use them as much as possible. They generally hold the key to victory.

As the title suggests, your job is to take over an entire town, section by section. You're not doing this to satiate megalomaniacal dreams of conquest; rather, your brother was mysteriously killed in (surprise!) a street race a few months back, and evidently the only way to find whoever is responsible is to battle through all the city's racing crew bosses. Sound like a strange way to track down a murderer? That's what we thought, too.

Regardless, the goals are pretty straightforward - win races to get cash, use that to upgrade your car and buy new ones, then repeat. There's a decent enough selection of souped up real-world cars at your disposal, each with gobs of customizations that become unlocked as you claw your way to the top. Failure to improve your ride will mean getting your ass handed to you regularly, but it's pretty simple and won't require an engineering degree.

Alas, while the controls are perfectly functional and your ride looks kinda pretty, Carbon falls short of greatness, especially when viewed in relief against other titles for Nintendo's wildly popular machine. The tracks are bland and lifeless, and become repetitive quickly.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionForget the concrete jungle - Carbon's gonna take you through sweeping canyon streets and force you to claim back the city block by block.
Franchise nameNeed for Speed
UK franchise nameNeed for Speed
PlatformGameCube, PC, PSP, Xbox, DS, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, GBA
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date31 October 2006 (US), 3 November 2006 (UK)