Need for Speed: Carbon is a 2006 racing video game developed for several platforms by Electronic Arts, Rovio Mobile and Exient Entertainment. It is published by Electronic Arts. It is the tenth installment in the Need for Speed series and a sequel to Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It was followed by Need for Speed: Prostreet in the following year.
The PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions of the game are called Need for Speed: Carbon – Own the City, set in a fictional city named Coast City with a significantly different storyline and also featuring different AI teammate abilities. In 2009, a version of Own the City was also released on the Zeebo as a pre-installed game.
The gameplay of Need for Speed: Carbon is similar to its predecessors, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Underground 2, but based upon rival street racing crews instead of individuals. Players run a crew and can hire specific street racers to be in their crew and the active friendly racer is known as a wingman. Each employable street racer has two skills, a racing skill (scout, blocker, and drafter) and a non-race skill (fixer, mechanic, and fabricator). Each skill has different properties from finding hidden alleys/back streets (shortcuts) to reducing police attention. Cars driven by the wingmen are also different; blockers drive muscle, drafters drive exotics and scouts drive tuners (although the first two unlockable wingmen (Neville and Sal) drive cars according to the player’s chosen car class at the start of the game). Car classes are Tuners, Muscle, and Exotics, and are associated with their own borough and Boss (Tuners/Downtown/Kenji, Exotics/Fortuna/Wolf, and Muscle/Kempton/Angie).
Players must choose a class when starting Career Mode, which will be permanent throughout the career. Each choice starts in a different district, with corresponding initial car choices and unlocks as the game progresses (there is a test drive option at the beginning). Players may ultimately choose from any class of car, and can also unlock cars that are reserved for Quick Races as they earn Reward Cards.
In Career Mode, races cannot be redone for the same purse; if won, the purse is only $500. It is necessary for players to plan carefully which cars they will buy and upgrade, to avoid running out of money. There are phone calls, texts and emails to go along with the storyline. Winning races causes new races to show up on the map. All gameplay takes place at night. As in Most Wanted the player can use Nitrous Oxide and Speedbreaker, which accumulate simply from driving, not from specific skill use to earn them.