Need for Speed: Underground

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Need for Speed: Underground
Need for Speed: Underground cover
EA Black Box
Electronic Arts
Release dates
Windows November 17, 2003
Metacritic 82
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person, Third-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Racing
Vehicles Automobile, Street racing
Art styles Realistic
Themes Contemporary
Series Need for Speed: Underground
Need for Speed: Underground on HowLongToBeat
Need for Speed: Underground on IGDB
Need for Speed: Underground guide on StrategyWiki
Need for Speed: Underground on MobyGames
Need for Speed: Underground on Wikipedia
Need for Speed: Underground
Subseries of Need for Speed
Need for Speed: Underground 2003
Need for Speed: Underground 2 2004


SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see Availability for affected versions).

General information

Official site (archived)


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SafeDisc v2 DRM[Note 1]
SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).

Essential improvements[edit]


Skip intro videos[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Download
  2. Go to <path-to-game>\Movies\
  3. Replace e3_title.mad, na_boot.mad, and PSA.mad with the 3 movie files in

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %PROGRAMDATA%\NFS Underground\<user-id>.cfg[Note 2]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %PROGRAMDATA%\NFS Underground\[Note 3]


General video settings
General video settings
Advanced video settings
Advanced video settings


Set windowed/borderless[3][4]
  1. Install ThirteenAG's fix.
  2. Create wndmode.ini in <path-to-game>.

Forcing Anti-Aliasing on AMD cards[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Supersampling must be used, else various objects will not render (wheels, leaves, fences, driver, etc.). Motion Blur might also have to be disabled.

Unlocking FPS[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Use cheat engine and search for 0.016666666666 as a float in rounded (extreme) mode while speed.exe is selected in the memory search range. Two of the values shown will be FPS related. one for the cap and the other for game speed and logic. change both to 0.00694444 for 144 FPS or to 0.00277777 for 360 FPS (very difficult to achieve due to the game only using a single processing thread). Hex editing these values may be possible on some executables; removing the need of following the above process each time the game is launched. Replace all instances of 89 88 88 3C with 3F 0B 36 3B (360 FPS). This will cause the car's handling to be less responsive and will outright stop functioning if the car reaches a certain speed. This may require a handling value to be changed to fix this.


Input settings
Input settings

A Steam user-made config for DualShock 4[edit]

Basically applies full controller support for DS4. Should also work for other controllers. Steam is required.[5]
  1. Download Jodeth's DS4 config for NFSU.
  2. Follow the instructions to install it.

Alternative controller for DualShock 3 and 4[edit]

Fix trigger controller ps3/ps4[6]
  1. Install Little-scripts-NFS-GDX.
  2. If you have installed the game on another hard drive you can modify the path Little-scripts-NFS.bat.


Audio settings
Audio settings

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Only Stereo and Mono available. Optimized for Dolby Pro Logic.
Only available in certain language edition
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Although not advertised as such the game does support EAX, at least reverb effects, but without surround sound. It can be restored with ALchemy.
DirectSound is possible to be restored by wrappers (DSOAL recommended, e.g. w/o HRTF - specific low quality engine sounds).


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Traditional Chinese
Fan translation, download.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
Console versions only.
LAN play
4 Use NFS U LAN Mod.
Online play
4 Online has been shutdown[7]

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Only user-created lobbies with user-created races.
A server is always required.
A developer-hosted server was available until it's shutdown. An unofficial server software (NFS U LAN Mod) is available.
Not supported.
Direct IP
Not supported.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
Use Helix's 3D fix
User created game profile, see important setting hints in the vorpx forum profile introduction.

Issues fixed[edit]

Custom bindings lost on game restart[edit]

Windows Vista and later lack a file needed for the game to remember custom mappings.
Download dimap.dll[citation needed]
  1. Download dimap.dll.
  2. Extract it into the installation folder.

Can't install both NFS Underground and NFS Most Wanted (2005) on the same PC[edit]

This problem occures because both games use the same name for their main executables (speed.exe). After installing one game and attempting to install the other, its autorun program assumes it's already been installed.
Workaround[citation needed]
  1. Install the first game. It doesn't matter whether it's Underground or Most Wanted.
  2. Go to the installation folder.
  3. Change the name of speed.exe to anything else.
  4. Install the other game.
  5. Restore the original name of the first game's speed.exe.

Controller deadzone issues[edit]

Fix left stick deadzone[8]
  1. Install ThirteenAG's fix.
  2. Deadzone can be adjusted in NFSUnderground.WidescreenFix.ini.

The game occasionally freezes on loading screen or after race[edit]

Install latest patch (or binary) 1.4 or 1.3.4

Copying proper .exe for EU or US version should enough.[9] Although patcher also extracts filter.efx (possibly NOS black screen effect fix) to the patch exe folder if proper game binary or registry entry is not found. Widescreen patch compatibility not tested. If all above fail, reinstall the game, and use e.g. 1.0 version (afterwards, replacing exe and filter.efx should enough). The problem can happen e.g. after Samantha Time Trial 2:07 (hard), on 1.4 binary version, and is gone on 1.3.4.

Background of magazine covers are black[edit]

Use ThirteenAG's fix[10]
  1. Install ThirteenAG's fix.
  2. Make sure that the option BlackMagazineFix in scripts\NFSUnderground.WidescreenFix.ini is set to 1.
Disable Motion Blur and Light Trails[10]

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Archie Goldmill's Cheat Engine table[edit]

Unlocks hidden vinyls and rim sizes

HD Reflections[edit]

Adds higher quality reflection.

Visual Reputation Remover[edit]

Makes it possible to progress through the game without ricing the car.

Various NFS ASIs[edit]

Let's you use debug features, such as the debug camera (AKA freecam)

Free Roam Mod[edit]

Let's you freely explore Olympic City
Extremely rare traffic
No option to explore the Drag mode tracks, use the old version of the mod for that (notice: you won't be able to explore the full city with the old version)

Winter Olympic City[edit]

Gives the games a winter overhaul
Does not require Texmod
Make sure to disable road reflections
Archived download link

Need for Speed Underground Definitive Edition[edit]

Adds 4K world textures, 8K skyboxes, rain puddles, improves the lighting, etc.

Need for speed Underground - Redux 2017 (Graphics mod) AMTxDRxRL[edit]

It adds new lighting so that it better reflects the atmosphere of street racing at night.

Nightbreath Mod by BojanV03 (SweetFX + texture & FX mod)[edit]

Improves the visuals and exaggerates the night time feeling

Need for Speed Underground - Midnight Light[edit]

Alternative graphics

Need for Speed: Underground - PlayStation 2 Mod[edit]

A mod features PlayStation 2 effects not found in the vanilla PC version:

Additional motion blur if you want Orange fog (black on main menu and car select if you want) More transparent textures Bright and heavy car windows Black "Need4Speed" on license plate Compatible with DualShock 3 Also compatible with Redux mod!

Fix TexEd 1.1 beta and newer not opening Eclipse's VINYLS.BIN file[edit]

Fix broken Eclipse vinyl archive[citation needed]
  1. Download fixed VINYLS.BIN.
  2. Copy the file to the <path-to-game>\CARS\ECLIPSE\.

System requirements[edit]

Operating system (OS) 98, ME, 2000, XP
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium III
AMD Athlon 700 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB (98, ME)
256 MB (2000, XP)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB
Video card (GPU) Direct3D compatible
32 MB of VRAM


  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[1] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[2]
  2. When running this game without Administrator elevation, 32-bit programs writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE will be redirected to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node (more details).
  3. When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).