Need for Speed: Undercover is the 12th game in the Need for Speed series and was released on November 18, 2008.

The game went back to the earlier design elements of Need for Speed: Most Wanted after the lower than anticipated sales of Need for Speed: ProStreet.

It was released on November 18th in North America and on November 20th in Europe. It was released on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Wii, PC, iOS devices and mobile phones.


The game opens with a camera panning across an ocean towards Tri-City Bay. It is quickly diverted by a series of Tri-City Bay Police Department helicopters flying over water. The scene changes to the player driving a Nissan 370Z and attempting to escape from the TCBPD. The player must escape the cops.

The player's evasion constitutes an argument at Palm Harbor Police Station between Jack M. Keller and Chase Linh. Keller is dismayed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now fighting against the TCBPD for jurisdiction over a case involving stolen cars from a dock a couple of weeks ago.

It is revealed that the player has been placed undercover to gather evidence that could convict a network of crime lords in many countries.

The player is then given a blue Nissan 240SX and Chase Linh orders them to hit the streets. They must win as many races as possible and not play it safe as she wants the criminals to see the player.

The player must first earn a reputation by winning several races around the city. The player eventually meets their first boss - Zack Maio and his brother. The player is tasked to steal cars and immobilise racers for crime bosses as they enter deeper into the underground street racing world.

Chau Wu asks the player to hijack a car that was previously stolen from him. Carmen Mendez, an acquaintance of Zack and Hector Maio, wants the player to take a BMW M6 stolen from Chau Wu because of her fear of Wu.

Wu finds out that the player took his M6 and phones the player to return the car as soon as possible. Wu takes Chase Linh hostage as a bargaining chip. The player delivers the M6 to discover that both Chase Linh and Wu have been working together. Linh shoots Wu in cold blood and escapes in the M6 with his money.

The player is tasked with pursuing Chase Linh whilst they too are pursued by the police who are under the belief that Wu was murdered by the player. Eventually Chase Linh's commander - Lt. Keller - is informed that it was Linh that killed Wu and diverts the police force to track down Linh. Linh is eventually apprehended and hauled in on charges of murder and other criminal activities based on evidence found in Wu's PDA.

The player was praised by the Tri-City Bay Police Department for successfully accomplishing their task and was asked by Carmen to take her to a University.

Main article: Job


Nfs undercover rose
  • Hector
  • Zack
  • Nickel
  • Rose
  • GMac
  • Chau Wu (Nintendo DS)
  • Chase Linh


The title moves away from the simulation based mechanics seen in Need for Speed: ProStreet. A new handling physics engine was introduced in the game known as the 'Heroic Driving Engine'. Vehicles in Undercover can directly turn 180° whilst performing hand brake turns.

Free Roam

Nfs undercover tri-city

Undercover takes place in the fictional Tri-City Bay Area. It is divided into four major districts; Gold Coast Mountains, Palm Harbor, Port Crescent and Sunset Hills. The game only takes place during the day. The city is connected by long highways that follow the perimeter of the city.

Single Player

  • Checkpoint - Players must finish the race within a given time.
  • Cop Takeout - Immobilise police vehicles within a pursuit.
  • Cost to State - Achieve a target cost to state during a police pursuit.
  • Circuit - Up to eight players complete the specified number of laps along a closed track.
  • Escape - Escape a police pursuit within a given amount of time.
  • Highway Battle - Players have to battle against their rival as well as congested traffic and cops in outrun events along the highways of the Tri-City Bay.
  • Job - Career mission, race or battle.
  • Outrun - Players have to stay ahead of their rivals for a certain amount of time.
  • Sprint - Up to eight players compete to be the first across the finish line in a closed A to B event.

Nintendo DS

  • Criminal Scramble - Players participate as the cops and chase down racers. (Nintendo DS)
  • All-Points - Players participate as the cops and chase down street gang bosses. (Nintendo DS)

PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable & Wii

  • Chase Down - Players have to bust criminals and chase down their rivals at the same time. (PSP, PS2 & Wii)
  • Lap Knockout - The last racer to finish a lap is eliminated until a single racer remains. (PS2 & Wii)
  • Tollbooth - Players must complete a checkpoint route within a set amount of time. (PS2 & Wii)
  • Timed Circuit - The racer in first place when the timer runs out is the winner. (PS2 & Wii)


  • Cops and Robbers - Two teams of up to four Cops and Racers must attempt to deliver a series of money flags.
  • Sprint - Up to eight players compete to be the first across the finish line in a closed A to B event.
  • Highway Battle - Players have to battle against their rival as well as congested traffic.

Sixth Generation

  • Getaway - Two teams of one player as a Cop and one player as a Racer. The Racer must escape from the Cop. (PS2 & Wii)
  • Heist - Players must collect cash and take it to the safe house. (Wii)


Nfs undercover police
Main article: Pursuit System

Police chases in Undercover are similar in gameplay to those seen in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Players will gain bounty by damaging and destroying police vehicles as well as property.



  • Traffic models from the game were reimported from Criterion Games' Burnout Paradise.
  • The slowest tier of cars began with Tier 1 in Need for Speed: Carbon but this is reversed in Need for Speed: Undercover.
  • There is a mission titled "Transporter" in which the player has to deliver a package whilst driving an Audi S5. The title is a reference to the 2005 movie - Transporter 2.
  • Need for Speed: Undercover is dedicated to the memories of Inderjeet "indy" Johal and Martin Sikes. Sikes was the co-founder of Black Box Games and Johal was an engineering director involved with Black Box for several years.
  • Undercover was the last Need for Speed title until Need for Speed: The Run to be heavily involved with a plot and characters.
  • Undercover is the last Need for Speed title to use the Police Civic Cruisers first seen in Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
  • Undercover is the last Need for Speed title to be released for the PlayStation 2.

Title Differences

There are several differences between the multiple platform releases of Need for Speed: Undercover. These may be due to licensing, performance and game play reasons.

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