Quiz: you see a clapped-out VW Golf Mk. 1 puttering down the high street.
Do you: A) Think to yourself 'That looks like a rusty turd but if it gets me where I'm going it's cool.' Or B) Have a lusty desire to slap on some VeilSide skirts, stick in some Koni springs and Recaro seats, bolt on a triple-winged spoiler, and paint the whole thing pearlescent lime green?
If you chose B and just the prospect of it has got your own suspension stiffening, then Juiced'll have you gushing high octane love oil all over your Recaros. If you chose A... what are you on about? Piss off and read about Barbie Horse Adventures or something.
Actually, don't. Even if you think skirts are just something girls wear and modding is something fat men do to Half-Life, we reckon Juiced can educate you in the ways of the boy racer.
Mod For It
The reason we're juiced about Juiced is that it's the logical extension of NFS Underground. In car modding terms it's taken Underground's frame, weight-reduced and turbo-charged it, then stuffed it so full of nitrous oxide it's farting flames.
Not that Underground didn't have some serious horsepower to start with. The modding stuff was wicked but after a while it felt a little restrictive. The unlockable extras were tied into the game structure, so as you progressed you ended up with a car that looked and performed like your mate's. True boy racers want to customise every last inch of their street-burning baby. That's where Juiced rolls in.
There are 47 officially licensed motors from 17 manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, Fiat, and Dodge. You can buy scabby second-hand dingers and splash out on upgrades, or sick all your cash on a factory fresh model that looks and smells sweeter than Britney's undercrackers.
Alloy Kit A Lot
Then there's the hundreds of cosmetic and performance parts licensed from 55 huge brands in the car modding scene. Alloys, neon lights, roof vents, induction kits, lowering springs, nitrous, carbon bonnets, headlight brows... whatever. If you've seen it in Max Power it's in Juiced.
And colours? Juiced's got colours. There's three layers to play with, full customisation over mix of paint, and even flippy pearlescent paint that makes your motor look like a hologram on wheels. If you do the math we're talking about 500,000 totally unique car set-ups, and if you factor in the colour options you can add another zero on to that. Trick? Trick.
At this point you're either bored or bricking your load at the car customising opportunities. Either way, you're about to get the purest hit of car modding methadone Juiced has to offer.
Every modification in Juiced has a cost, weight and performance relative to real life. Once you've tricked out your ride you can stick it on the game's rolling road, floor it, and get a detailed graph displaying your max power output, speed, fuel efficiency and torque. It's so accurate that you could create a replica of your own (or your dad's) car and get the same readouts in the game as down Kwik-Fit. If that doesn't ignite your spark plug we don't know what will.
Drives Like A Dream
Okay, but how does it drive? Like a carbon-fibre, rocket-propelled, razor's-edge dream. Not bad, then. It's not straight-up arcadey like NFS. It's just as fast and intense, but mainlined with a fuel injection of Project Gotham's oversteer and Gran Turismo's reactiveness.
When we first got our hands on the pad we chose a meaty Dodge Viper, and promptly walloped it into every Armco, barrier and pedestrian in sight. These cars are mean bastards and they won't hesitate to launch you into a tree if you stamp on their accelerators without some automotive foreplay.