Need for Speed ProStreet - hands-on

Believe us when we tell you that Electronic Arts is one company with a big eye on the future. Before the last NFS title - Carbon - had even begun development, 20 hand-picked members of the Most Wanted team were set to work on ProStreet, trying to keep the series on the technological bleeding edge while envisaging how tuner culture may evolve in the future.

After all, being games about high-performance vehicles, recent Need for Speedshave always had their finger on the tuner scene's beating pulse. Underground in particular was a massive hit, adeptly tapping into the burgeoning culture. But it's not only gears which are shifting; Most Wanted and Carbon correctly prophesized how underground street racing was being clamped down upon, as participating in the scene became a felony in many states.

So guess what? As a result, the former bad boys of racing have gone all legitimate on us, and so the scene is evolving again. Meeting up at track weekends is nowthe normfor a petrol-scented orgy of wet t-shirt competitions, beer, rave music, pimped rides and mad racing. Aficionados predict that the tuner scene, while still grounded in the street, might even evolve into an officially recognized sport sometime in the near future.

At the moment though, these meets are still a carnival of no rules, no limits, combative driving packed with aggression and attitude. So don't expect the pedestrian etiquette you'll find in TOCA - ProStreet is all about the rough and tumble. Even the style of events - drift and time attack are king - are grounded in the culture of the street.