Need for Speed Carbon

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Need for Speed Carbon


Need for Speed Carbon dumps drivers into a city full of tuner cars and racing crews that owe as much to West Side Story as to The Fast and the Furious. (Oh, how we wish rival crews would dance and snap their way through the plot.) If you can stomach the quirky premise, the game has a deep range of races and fun driving sequences—we never get tired of high-speed police getaways. Just be sure to ditch your keyboard and mouse, because accurate driving controls practically require a gamepad or racing wheel.


Carbon’s deepest driving mode puts you on a career path through its fictitious city. Videos and animations of actors explain how you’re an indentured racer for one of the city’s bosses, and you need to build up your rep by embarrassing rivals in street races. As you beat other racers, you claim sections of the city and even entice other drivers to join your own crew.


These friendly driver mechanics carry through in most situations. Instead of driving alone, allies try to block opposing cars, let you draft, or otherwise help you win. These mechanics sometimes work—players can hit a button to call for assistance—but we mostly won or lost due to our own driving.


And the driving is arcade-style fun. Using a couple dozen real-world, licensed cars, Carbon is forgiving enough that you may still win a race even after a minor crash. The game even has a limited-use, slow-motion mode that lets you steer more precisely and recover from mistakes. We played with a handful of gamepads and racing wheels and highly recommend driving with an analog input. (Subtle nudging of a gamepad’s analog thumbstick works much better than the always-on or -off arrow key default.)


The game’s graphics satisfy, but we were disappointed that Carbon couldn’t give better effects on a high-end, quad-core Mac Pro. The game stuttered occasionally, making us think Electronic Arts didn’t do all it could to convert this game from its PC version to the Mac. A few other bugs and interface misses also disappoint. Performance issues aside, Carbon offers a lot of depth. In addition to the career missions and the ability to freely explore the city, stand-alone races and online matches add more playtime.


The bottom line. If you have a high-end Mac and a good controller, you’ll have a fast and furious good time with Need for Speed Carbon.



COMPANY:Electronic Arts


PRICE: $39.95

REQUIREMENTS: 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo or faster, Mac OS 10.4.9 or later, 1GB RAM, ATI X1600 or nVidia GeForce 7300 or later video card

Responsive, fun driving. Uses real-world cars. Deep story. Single-race modes. Free exploration mode

Slow performance and occasional bugs. Lacks widescreen support. Licensed cars don’t show much damage. Do we need in-game billboard for Intel and other EA games? Intel Macs only.





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Need for Speed Carbon would have been a better game if the developers had found a happy medium between these two levels of racing difficulty. While the concept of gaining territory and the addition of wingmen add interest to this series and racing games in general, gamers are better off picking up Cars or Gran Turismo 4 to fulfill their speed needs.



I bought this game and had great fun with it, until I upgraded to Leopard. The game runs cause I hear the music but I have no screen. On top of that, EA are extremely lousy with their customer support! So don't purchase if you have Leopard.



the game works perfectly on my widescreen 28" imac 2.8ghz extreme running osx 10.5. It's amazing, and I'm running at the highest quality graphics with absolutely no problems.

I purchased a Griffin Firewave to give me full dolby 5.1 sound, but the sound through the firewave is awful - I've reverted back to using the imac's headphone socket to to go the speakers.


Constable Odo

I use a PS2 analog controller to play Gran Turismo on my PS2 so I would like to know how to set up a USB gamepad similar to the PS2 analog controller. I have USB overdrive, but I don't have any decent instructions on getting NFSc to work with this setup. Anyplace I can go to get detailed instructions. I honestly can't do much using the keyboard to control cars.

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