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With EA Black Box taking over the development of Need for Speed games from that time, they focused less on semi-professional exotic racing on scenic roads in favor of customizable import tuners and street racing. Underground became the first ever Need for Speed game to introduce story mode, featuring some of the most memorable characters in racing games, becoming a mainstay feature in several later installments.


(NOTE: This article is a Work in Progress and needs expanding. Please feel free to edit, revise and add more content and tropes to this page.)

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Need for Speed: Underground

Has its own page here.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

Has its own page here.

Need for Speed: Carbon

Player's Crew Members

Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: Zone heat levels will
not increase
  • Career: $200 extra for every race
"I got your back. I'll lose the heat, stay on the pedal."
Car: Depending on player's chosen car class
Exotic: Alfa Romeo Brera (Tier 1), Lotus Elise (111R) (Tier 2), Lamborghini Gallardo Coupé (Tier 3)
Muscle: Chrysler 300C HEMI SRT8 (Tier 1), Ford Mustang GT '05 (Tier 2), Shelby GT500 '67 (Tier 3)
Tuner: Mazda Mazdaspeed3 (Tier 1), Renault Clio V6 (Tier 2), Nissan 350Z '03 (Tier 3)
Affiliation: Player's crew
Portrayed by: Chris Gauthier

The first crew member to join the player.

Neville loves the thrill and joy of getting the cops attention and it would take a swarm to pry him out. Mischievous, gung-ho and playful, Neville still has guts and skill when helping the player conquer the roads.

He was originally a car seller for Darius, offering a starter car to the player. Whatever class the player picks, Neville also chooses the same. Then he and Nikki race in San Juan to teach the player the ropes about the crew system. Neville then hangs out with the player and settles in a safehouse Nikki suggested before he joins the player's crew to start off their journey.

His role as a crew member is a Blocker, while Fixer is his specialty.

  • Beware the Silly Ones: He maybe a mischievous comic relief and a fun guy on the streets, but he is extremely skilled and serious behind the wheel, which these are not to be underestimated.
  • Big Fun: Neville sure is an eager, gung-ho street racer.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Neville's really a Large Ham blocker.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Subverted. He's a his a gung-ho racer but this guy is serious when working with the player.
  • Car Fu: As a blocker, Neville can temporarily take an opponent out by ramming their vehicle and forcing them to a stop.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is "Steamworks" by The Presets.
  • Nice Guy: With all the fun and joy on the road, Neville is still a friendly guy to the player.
  • Stout Strength: Neville is somewhat fat, but his weight does not affect his skill behind the wheel.

    Sal Mustella
Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: Reduces heat level of the player's
vehicle after every race
  • Career: Autosculpt for body kits,
bonnets and roof scoops
"You don't know me, but I know you, I'm a big fan. I've seen all your races."
Car: Depending on player's chosen car class
Exotic: Mercedes-Benz CLK 500 (Tier 1), Porsche Cayman S (987) (Tier 2), Lamborghini Gallardo Coupé (Tier 3)
Muscle: Chevrolet Camaro SS '67 (Tier 1), Dodge Charger SRT8 (LX) (Tier 2), Shelby GT500 '67 (Tier 3)
Tuner: Mazda RX-8 '03 (Tier 1), Volkswagen Golf R32 (Mk5) (Tier 2), Toyota Supra RZ (Mk4) (Tier 3)
Affiliation: Player's crew
Portrayed by: Elias Toufexis

The second crew member to join the player.
He is available after winning five races.

Sal is an avid race fan who originally grew up in the slums in the inner city. He was first a big fan alongside the crowd, just before one fateful night that the player had to leave for Rockport. Realizing that they returned home, Sal meets with the player and offer his services. A nimble trickester on the road, he uses his past to take advantage in the competition.

Nikki hired Sal because he is a big fan of the player after seeing many race wins in their reputation, reasoning why she left Sal with the player. Though reluctant, he has confidence and joins the player's crew, alongside Neville.

His role as a crew member is a Scout, while Fabrication is his specialty.

  • Ascended Fanboy: He idolizes the player, then later becomes part of their crew, alongside Neville (if only you don't fire the latter).
  • Got Volunteered: Subverted. He was a little reluctant when he meets the player upon their return. But after joining the crew, Sal becomes more confident.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is "What It Look Like" by Spank Rock.
  • Only One Name: One of the two aversions in this game, alongside Cross, in that his surname is revealed. Sal is the only character in Carbon to ever have a full name.
  • Secret Path: As a scout, Sal can locate and take shortcuts on the track, giving the player full advantage to the competition and faster times.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: He grew up in alleys in the inner city slums, which is why he uses them as shortcuts for him and the player to take.


Main Crew Members

The main crew based in Fortuna led by Wolf.

T.F.K. are solely European drivers who drive exotic cars and they're depicted with white, silver and grey cars.
  • Color Motif: T.F.K. are depicted in blue in cars and theme.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Their exotic cars have high performance stats, but are difficult to master.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Although there is no agreement on what it's supposed to mean, it's commonly stated to be The Fortuna Kings.
  • Leitmotif: Exotic cars uses rap music as their theme.

"So... how long did it take you to spend all the money you took from me?"
Car: Aston Martin DB9, Lamborghini Murciélago Coupé
Portrayed by: Shaw Madson

The main boss of T.F.K.

  • Badass Longcoat: Wolf sports a beige longcoat as seen in his intro.
  • Cool Car: Uses an Aston Martin DB9, and later a Lamborghini Murcielago.
  • Expelled from Every Other School: Poor Wolf. His bio stated that he was kicked out from several elite universities in Europe.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is "After Party" by Dynamite MC.
  • Mythology Gag: Wolf was mentioned by Natalia Nova from Payback under his hinted username, "WolfTFK". Since when did Wolf become a social media blogger?
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In the Xbox and Playstation versions of Carbon, Wolf is the ONLY Tier 1 boss that uses NOS in a Canyon duel. Yeah, you know, those dangerous races where you can fall off the cliff? Where you can't use NOS at all? Wolf's Aston Martin uses NOS during that race. This is at least subverted with his Lamborghini.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Downplayed. He's presumably German (since he's born in Germany), yet he speaks in a perfect American accent.
  • I Let You Win: Says this word-for-word when you beat him.

Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: Increases drafting zone
  • Career: Unlocks Autosculpt for exhausts,
rims, spoilers and chop-top
"Look...I just wanna' race. That's all I've ever wanted."
Car: Alfa Romeo Brera (Tier 1), Porsche Cayman S (987) (Tier 2), Porsche Carrera GT (Tier 3)
Portrayed by: Steve Lawlor

One of the former crew members of T.F.K. who joins the player's crew after you defeat Wolf and control Fortuna.

Colin originally was a noble, prideful and competitive motorsports racer who hailed from southern England. Retiring from his position, he grew interest in the street racing scenario and start being involved in it too. Taking experience on the circuits, this cutthroat racer ensures that there is nothing too noble about finishing the race last.

During the backstory, Colin was seen in the devastation when he saw Nikki knocked down and a guy who was switching the bag. Seeking to help the player’s truth about their past, Colin join the player’s crew.

His role as crew member is a Drafter, while Fabrication is his specialty.

  • Badass Longcoat: As per T.F.K., just like his boss, he also wears a longcoat too.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Technically you defeat his boss but Colin joins your crew all the same.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: As a drafter, Colin can provide a speed boost to you by letting him overtake you and slipstream off of them. Very useful in Speedtrap events and in long straights. And it's okay if he crosses the finish line first since he's part of your crew, you still win the race.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is Dynamite MC's "Bounce".
  • Pride: This young-gun has noble ethics, that gives Baron a run for his money.
  • Retired Badass: Averted. Colin was once a competitive racer in the motorsports world before taking part of the street racing scenario.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Colin is British who never blows off his steam.
    • Implied that he does not move a muscle in his bio video.
  • The Stoic: Doesn't emote or do anything during his intro video- Colin is not one for open display of emotion.
    • This is even a plot point, where he remained cool when everyone was panicking during the botched race, enabling him to see Nikki being knocked down and Darius switching the bags.

    21st Street Crew
The main crew based in Kempton led by Angie.

The 21st Street Crew are solely American drivers who drive muscle cars and they're depicted with orange and grey cars.
  • Color Motif: The 21st Street Crew are depicted in yellow in cars and theme.
  • Leitmotif: Muscle cars uses rock music as their theme.
  • Strong, but Unskilled: Their muscle cars have acceptable top speed and great acceleration, but awful handling due to their tendency to oversteer and slide around.

"Yeah, I heard you were back in town. Go back to where you came from."
Car: Dodge Charger R/T, Dodge Challenger Concept
Portrayed by: Danielle Kremeniuk

The main boss of the 21st Street Crew.

  • Alpha Bitch: Her cockiness and arrogance in the streets know no bounds.
  • Cool Car: Angie drives a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, and later switches out to the Dodge Challenger Concept.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Angie had some bad experience during her last race when she botched her drift while racing with Kenji. This explains the scratches on her car.
  • Leitmotif: Her theme is "Hurricane" by Kyuss.
  • Strong, but Unskilled: Same deal as the rest of her crew. Her cars excel at acceleration with a middling top speed, but they suck at taking corners.
  • What a Piece of Junk: On the other hand, her Charger R/T has some cosmetic damage which was explained from her Dark and Troubled Past.

Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: 10% additional cash
for successful races
  • Career: Reduces heat level in every
territory acquired by the player
"Well, well, well...nice of you to show."
Car: Chevrolet Camaro SS '67 (Tier 1), Dodge Charger R/T (Tier 2), Plymouth HEMI 'Cuda (Tier 3)
Portrayed by: Noah Danby

One of the former crew members of the 21st Street Crew who joins the player's crew after you defeat Angie and control Kempton.

This 7-foot racer can shake anyone that stands in his way. Samson is gifted and well-educated on the road, thanks to his intelligence and his expansive vocabulary, meaning he can outwit and outsmart anyone. But to ensure no one can beat him in the finish, he marks down each one of them, leaving his adversaries merciless.

During the backstory, Samson saw the tragic race when the cops disabled all the racers except for the player, but also saw a mysterious Chrysler who helped the player escape at the cost of taking the fall. Seeing whatever is coming a mile away, Samson joins with the player’s crew.

His role as a crew member is a Blocker, while Fixer is his specialty.

The main crew based in Downtown led by Kenji.

Bushido are solely Asian drivers who drive tuner cars and they're depicted with green cars with black vinyls and white calligraphy decals saying their crew's name.
  • Color Motif: Bushido are depicted in green in cars and theme.
  • Leitmotif: Tuner cars uses electro music as their theme.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The exact opposite of Angie's muscle cars, Bushido's tuner cars are slower with middling acceleration, but handle nicely around turns, which is why these cars are great in drift events and canyon races.

"I heard you were back in town. Now I wanna hear you're gone!"
Car: Mazda RX-7 (FD), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR-edition, Ford Mustang GT (Gen. 5) (Promotional trailer)
Portrayed by: Ken Kirby

The main boss of Bushido.

  • Cool Car: Drives an FD Mazda RX-7, and later switches it out for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX MR-Edition.
    • In one of the promotional trailers, he was seen driving a yellow Ford Mustang GT.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Unlike the other crew members, Kenji tends to drift his car during his introduction. Justified that it befits the tuner's potential. Aki Kimura must have taken that inspiration.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is "Fighting In Built Up Areas" by Ladytron.
  • Mythology Gag: Kenji (or someone with the same name) becomes one of the opponents in the DLC Speedcross Storyline in Payback.
  • Opening Narration: Kenji appears to be the one who provides the narration of how street racing goes in Palmont City during the game's introduction.
    Kenji: Didn’t expect you to show your face again. Things have changed around here. This place is a battleground now. Tuners...Muscles...Exotics. Crews fight for territory in the city, and it all gets settled in the canyon... ...but you'd never survive.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Like Wolf, he is implied to be Japanese, but yet he sounds like an American.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Same as the rest of his crew. His cars may not be all that hot in a straight line, but you fight him in technical courses with plenty of corners where his cars' excellent handling really shines.

Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: Increased Nitrous boost (25%)
  • Career: 10% discount on
performance parts
"I have a secret. Thought you'd like to know?"
Car: Mazda RX-8 (SE3P) (Tier 1), Mitsubishi Eclipse GT (Tier 2), Subaru Impreza WRX STI '06 (Tier 3)
Portrayed by: Miyuki "Melody" Ishikawa

One of the former crew members of Bushido who joins the player's crew after you defeat Kenji and control Downtown.

Yumi is a mysterious racer who hails from Japan. This Harajuku girl has high reflexes when it comes to racing, as she can go through paths that are impossibly narrow. Yumi applies her hidden years of experience on the streets, and continues to gain more by curiosity. Nobody knows or can guess her real age, and her attractive looks can leave anyone in the dust.

During the backstory, Yumi saw the cops ambushing the race and disables all the racers, except for the player’s realizing that she knew someone tipped off the cops. Yumi’s curiosity has led her to join with the player’s crew.

Her role as a crew member is a Scout, while Mechanic is her specialty.

    Stacked Deck
The main crew based in Silverton led by Darius.

Stacked Deck solely drives any Tier 3 car from any car class and they're depicted with red and black with some grey lines.
  • Color Motif: Stacked Deck are depicted in red in cars and theme.
  • Master of All: Any member of Stacked Deck drives any car from any class from any tier. All with their strengths and weaknesses.

Crew Member Bonuses:
  • Race: 50% bonus for
Nitrous and Speedbreaker
  • Career: 10% discount on
car purchases
"You're not the only one with a score to settle. Now, let's get outta here, we got a lot of ground to catch up."
Car: Ford GT (Gen. 1)
Affiliation: Stacked Deck (formerly), Player's crew
Portrayed by: Emmanuelle Vaugier

The last crew member to join the player.
She is available after controlling three boroughs prior to Silverton.

Nikki was revealed to be the girlfriend of the player. Darius asks her to help the player learn more about Palmont City's racing scene.

Prior to the events of Most Wanted, Nikki was holding the bag of the prize money, willing to see the player win against Kenji, Wolf and Angie. Only for the race to be ambushed by the Palmont Police Department, Nikki was knocked down unconscious by someone who switched the bag with another identical one. While recovering, Nikki throws in the bag to the player just moments before the police arrested her, while the player is departing for Rockport.

Upon returning to Palmont City, Nikki was furious to see the player return, only of Darius having to stop her threatening actions. Later on, see that Darius was responsible for the set-up, Nikki decides to defect from Stacked Deck and join the player's crew, mending the fences between the two.

Her role as a crew member is a Drafter, while Mechanic is her specialty.

  • Action Girlfriend: A Badass Driver who was surprisingly also the girlfriend of the player.
  • Call-Back: Her car's vinyl design is inspired by the Ford GT40 that competed in (and won) the 1969 Le Mans.
  • Cool Car: Drives a first-gen Ford GT.
  • Dummied Out: Nikki also had a Tier 1 and Tier 2 car that can be found in the game files just before both of them were scrapped and only uses the Ford GT instead in the final release.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: As a drafter, just like Colin, she can also provide a speed boost to you by letting her overtake you and slipstream off of them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After being disgusted by Darius's actions, Nikki then sways to the player's crew.
  • Leitmotif: Her theme is "Don't Speak (I Came To Make A Bang)" by Eagles of Death Metal, the rock band who were victims of the November 2015 Paris bombings.
  • Tsundere: Type A. She's harsh at first when the player returns to Palmont City and is reluctant to teach the player how it goes. As the plot progresses, Nikki becomes more mellow and even wanting to join the player's crew after Darius's betrayal.

"You think you know this town? You have no idea what's in store for you other than it's gonna hurt."
Car: Audi Le Mans quattro
Affiliation: Stacked Deck
Portrayed by: Tahmoh Penikett
The main boss of Stacked Deck.

Darius pays Jonathan Cross the player's bounty to clear their name after the events of Most Wanted and offers them to form a crew and their starter car.
He also keeps track to the player's progress as their crew continues to dominate the three boroughs of Palmont City: Downtown, Fortuna and Kempton. Just as Darius is about to congratulate the player for their success, he immediately betrays them, realizing that Darius was using the player to control the three said boroughs and being responsible for bribing the police in the race that forced the player to leave Palmont.

With all those antics, it's up to the player and their crew to control Silverton and all of Palmont City.
  • Affably Evil: Darius is actually a nice person and offers the player a starter car and a crew before his betrayal. On top of that, he's the least antagonistic among other Big Bads in the franchise.
  • Arc Words: "Don't disappoint." He places his trust to the player before the events of Most Wanted.
  • Big Bad: Gradually becomes this.
  • Cool Car: Drives an Audi Le Mans Quattro, which is the prototype for the then up-and-coming Audi R8.
  • Evil Former Friend: A trustworthy friend to the player before Most Wanted who then betrayed upon return.
  • Final Boss: He is the last major opponent in Carbon's career mode.
  • Graceful Sore Loser: Darius admits defeat and decides to turnover Silverton and his keys to his car. But warns the player with his Parting Words Sarcasm.
  • Improbably Cool Car: His Le Mans quattro is a concept car not meant for road use. It later on became the basis for the modern-day Audi R8 road car.
  • Leitmotif: His theme is "Hype Boys" by Sway.
  • Lightning Bruiser: His Le Mans quattro can tackle any track, even the tight turns at the canyon.
  • Master of All: As explained above, his Le Mans quattro has nearly or fully maxed stats everywhere despite being classified as an Exotic.
  • The Mole: He tipped off the police in the prologue race and caused the player to (temporarily) leave Palmont.
  • Mythology Gag: There is a recurring character in Need for Speed: No Limits that is ostensibly named after him and even has the similar role, but doesn't quite resemble Darius himself.

Other Characters

    Sergeant Cross 
See Need for Speed: Most Wanted for his character folder.

Need for Speed: ProStreet

    Ryan Cooper

Car: Nissan 240SX (S13), any car of your choice, McLaren 570S (Payback) (possibly), BMW X6 M F86 (Payback) (possibly)

The main protagonist in ProStreet.

Ryan is a former street racer who then participated in sanctioned races. Ryan is a newcomer that first entered the "D-day" event at the Chicago Airfield to gain attention to the crowd and make a name for himself.

Upon being mocked by the recently crowned Ryo Watanabe, becoming the Showdown King has become Ryan's ultimate and motive desire.

  • 100% Adoration Rating: The MC and the crowd must be cheering, rooting and making some noise for Ryan, as they think that he has what it takes to win and dominate the race day, as well as becoming one of the Street Kings and later the Showdown King.
  • The Ace: Ryan is a capable contender for all four disciplines: Grip, Drift, Drag and Speed.
  • Ascended Fanboy/Reformed Criminal: He was a former street racer before he jumps into professional racing leagues.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Not his character, but averted for his car. He can sell his 240SX or change it for another car, or even change its mode so it runs in a different discipline.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Given that he already has skills from illegal street racing before, he's this trope.
  • The Faceless: He's always wearing his helmet, a la The Stig. In Undercover, the police lampshades this by stating that he refuses to take off his helmet as stated in the quote below.
  • Mythology Gag: Mac from Payback will mention Ryan's name stating that he is the only one that defeated Aki Kimura, and someone named "Cooper" (which might possibly be him) is one of the participants of the Outlaw's Rush.
    Police: Dispatch I uh... I got a guy resisting arrest here, he's in the backseat in my cruiser. He, uh... he's not talking, and uh... he refuses to take off his racing helmet. Uh, I got his ID here. Surname "Cooper", first name "Ryan". Please run checks for priors. I don't know, somethin' not right about this guy.
    Dispatch: Roger that.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He managed to beat the four Kings and Ryo Watanabe with wide variety of cars.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Ryan’s 240SX when he enters his maiden sanctioned race. The car doesn't even look cool enough, which was the reason why Ryo mocked him.

Street Kings.

    Street Kings in general
A collective term for the Elite Four in ProStreet, who specializes in certain types of race events.
  • Duel Boss: In most races, you are pitted against four or eight racers depending on versions. But when facing a Street King, it's a one-on-one race each.
  • Elite Four: They are the four Street Kings who are specialists, before you can face Showdown King.
  • Extremity Extremist: Each Street King (aside from Showdown King) is assigned to specific race types.
    • Ray Krieger specializes in Grip, which is a more-traditional approach to circuit racing.
    • Nate Denver specializes in Speed, which puts high acceleration and top speed into priority on highways.
    • Karol Monroe specializes in Drag, which focuses on acceleration in short drag strips with shortest time possible.
    • Aki Kimura specializes in Drift, which focuses on neat angle and drifting speed to combine high scores.
    • Ryo Watanabe, as the Showdown King, does all fours, but his main speciality is Grip, which his car belongs to after you received it.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: None of the four Street Kings (discounting their Alternate Universe counterparts from Need for Speed: Shift for the PSP) have face reveals, and are always wearing helmets for safety measures. Ryo is most likely an exception.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Each of the Street Kings obviously has a Cool Car. But also shows some artistic creativity with overloading their vinyls and decals.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Related to Artificial Stupidity on the main page, all the Kings' cars are actually a lot worse than the AI driven cars (crew-allied or otherwise) leading up to their levels, with Nate Denver and Karol Monroe being the worst offenders. Even Ryo Watanabe's Evo X can totally be pulled away by any highly-tuned car, especially exotics.

    Nate Denver
Nate Denver as depicted in the PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift
Car: Pontiac GTO (1965) (ProStreet), Dodge Viper SRT-10 (ZB II) (Shift, PSP version), Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 (Payback) (possibly)
Affiliation: Boxcut, Nitrocide
The Speed King and the leader of Boxcut crew who specializes in top speed challenges. He drives a classic Pontiac GTO.

Completing all of the Nitrocide events will permit Ryan to face Nate Denver in three rounds at the Nevada Highway for the title as the new Speed King.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Since his Speed races take place entirely on highways instead of racetracks, Nate certainly counts.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: The boss intro has Krystal Forscutt sitting on top of the bonnet of Nate's GTO. While moving.
  • Joke Character: Many players stated that Nate Denver is the most disappointing boss in the game, due to the fact how easy it is to beat him with simply just even a subpar car. Also, when you acquire his GTO after winning, it's easy to reach 300 km/h but it is ridiculously uncontrollable due to its tendency to oversteer at high speeds.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Nate Denver also appears in the PC/console main versions of Need for Speed: Shift. Unlike his Reformulated PSP counterparts, he's just a regular opponent driver instead.
    • Someone named "Denver" (who might be him) appears in Need for Speed Payback, as one of the racers in the Outlaw's Rush. The Curator also points out during the Outlaw's Rush about the one who was "Stumped by the Speed King".
  • Running Away to Cry: Winning against the Speed King has this line:
    DJ: Oh, big Nate's gonna be crying himself to sleep tonight 'cause he lost that crown, and that classic GTO!
  • What a Piece of Junk: His Pontiac GTO is old, but he's able to drive it at blazing speeds, to the point of being appointed leader over his team members. He might be no match for Ryan Cooper depending on what car the latter uses, but Nate is living proof that old cars aren't always left behind.
  • Weak, but Skilled: In a similar vein to the above. His Pontiac GTO isn't actually that fast compared to what his team members use (a Zonda F, a JZA80 Supra, and a C6 Corvette), but he's an extremely skilled driver at high speeds, which is why he's the Speed King.

    Ray Krieger
Ray Krieger as depicted in the PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift
Car: BMW M3 (E92) (ProStreet), Acura NSX '02 (Shift, PSP version)
Affiliation: Grip Runners, G Effect
The Grip King and the leader of Grip Runners who specializes in standard, GT racer-style driving. He drives an E92 version of the BMW M3.

Completing all of the G Effect events will permit Ryan to face Ray Kreiger in three rounds at Willow Springs for the title as the new Grip King.

  • Film the Hand: In the Alternate Universe PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift, his bio stated that he hates being filmed on camera, reasoning why he sticks his hand on the lens, which explains the pose as described in the said image.
  • Hot-Blooded: It's implied that challenging Ray Krieger made him really angry, implying he's this.
    DJ: It seems Cooper has made the Grip King really angry!
  • Joke Character: Ray Krieger's M3 has the lowest stats (Having Level 2 Power and Handling, and is even worse than the real-life BMW M3 GT2 which showed up in Shift) among other street kings. He is so easy to beat that it is possible to lap him in the third race.
  • Look Both Ways: His boss race intro cinematic has his M3 drive briskly close to many bystanders, scaring them. He also nearly hit the race model Sayoko Ohashi, freaking her out, just before she starts the race.
    DJ: Oh! Hey, hey, there's no call for that, Krieger!
  • Meaningful Name: "Krieger" means "warrior" in German, which suits his name.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Apparently, in Burnout Paradise, there is a fictional German car brand named "Krieger", which was ostensibly derived from the Grip King himself.
    • Although Ray doesn't appear as a random opponent in the Shift 2: Unleashed, his Grip Runners crew sticker can be used by the player for vehicle customizations. Perhaps Ray Krieger and his Grip Runners crew have taken part in FIA-sanctioned GT series?
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Car: Also in the Alternate Universe PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift, being of German origin, Ray mounts a German flag on the hood of his Acura NSX.

    Karol Monroe
Karol Monroe as depicted in the PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift
Car: Ford Mustang GT (Gen. 5) (ProStreet), Honda S2000 (AP1) (Shift, PSP version)
Affiliation: After Mix, Rogue Speed

The Drag King (actually Drag Queen) and the leader of After Mix crew who specializes in drag racing. She drives a fifth-gen Ford Mustang built for drag racing.

Completing all of the Rogue Speed events will permit Ryan to face Karol Monroe in three rounds at Infineon (now called Sonoma Raceway) for the title as the new Drag King.

  • Biker Babe: Karol is a female drag racing driver, who rules over the drag strip with her Mustang GT.
  • Cool Shades: In the Alternate Universe PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift, she wears one. Though some images of her has her without her shades.
  • Mythology Gag: She also appears in the console/PC versions of Shift. Unlike in Reformulated PSP version, she's just a random opponent driver instead.
  • Samus Is a Girl: If you listen carefully to the announcer, they'll refer Karol to as a woman. It's also hinted in one of the decals on her car reading "Race Queen".
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only "Street Queen" in the game.

    Aki Kimura 
"We exist in curves and motion. We skirt the knife's edge between life and death, traction and freefall. I am Aki Kimura. Welcome to Noise Bomb."
Car: Mazda RX-7 (FD) (ProStreet), Nissan Silvia Spec-R Aero (S15) (Payback)
Affiliation: Touge Union (ProStreet), Noise Bomb (Both ProStreet and Payback)
The Drift King and the leader of Touge Union who specializes in drifting. He returns in Need for Speed Payback as the leader of Noise Bomb. His car is a Mazda RX-7 in ProStreet, and a Nissan S15 Silvia in Payback.

In ProStreet, completing all of the Noise Bomb events will permit Ryan to face Aki Kimura in three rounds at Autopolis for the title as the new Drift King.
  • The Bus Came Back: He reappears in Payback throwing a Friendly Rivalry on Mac and later voice support for his crew in the Outlaw Rush.
  • Graceful Loser: He takes defeats in a professional stride.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: In both games, the only one that is seen is his car.
    • In the Alternate Universe PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift, Aki is the only character among the other street kings from ProStreet to not be featured among the 10 Race Kings, whom they all have faces. He is only listed as a normal driver.
  • Jerk Jock with a Heart of Gold: Subverted. Though in ProStreet, he has no set personality, in Payback, he is depicted as somewhat a little egoistic and sarcastic regarding who takes his crown as the top drifter in Fortune Valley. With some Character Development at the end of the Noise Bomb arc, he becomes more mellow and cheers for Mac from now on.
  • Mythology Gag: His crew in Payback is named after the drift event organiser in ProStreet.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He has some Japanese characteristics, but he still sounds like an American.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Both his RX-7 and Silvia have some artistic decals.
  • Suddenly Voiced: He doesn't seem to speak during the events of the ProStreet, but he speaks alot in Payback.
  • Worthy Opponent: Aki praised Mac's drifting skills, and offers the latter to join Noise Bomb for a change.
    Aki Kimura: You did it Mac. You took my crown fair and square.

    Ryo Watanabe
Click here to see Ryo from the PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift

"Super Promotion races are the real deal."
Car: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (ProStreet), Koenigsegg CCX (Shift, PSP version)
Affiliation: Apex Glide, Showdown
Portrayed by: Darren Dahl

The Showdown King and the final opponent to face in ProStreet. He's a cocky and ambitious racer who seeks to reach and maintain his top status and frequently mocks Ryan Cooper. He is the leader of Apex Glide crew, and he drives a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

Completing all of the three Showdown events (Battle Machine, React Team Sessions and Super Promotion) will permit Ryan to face Ryo in a final showdown, with five rounds (Speed and Drag) at the Nevada Highway, and another five rounds (Drift and Grip) at the Tokyo Dockyard, for the title as the new Showdown King.

  • The Ace: Like Ryan, Ryo is also a capable contender to all of the four said disciplines, despite that his Evo X says otherwise. See My Rules Are Not Your Rules.
  • Animal Motif: He has a Japanese dragon theme to his name and his car, signifying his Hot-Blooded tendencies.
  • Big Bad: Subverted. Despite being the main "antagonist" to face, he is not a criminal.
  • Boss Subtitles: Ryo was introduced with this along with his "Showdown King" status.
  • Break the Haughty: With Ryan winning and becoming the new Showdown King, Jerk Jock Ryo not only loses his title and his car, but loses his respect and credibility with the Apex Glide, which explains the other Apex Glide racers driving away from Ryo. His cockiness and arrogance has paid the price.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He is Japanese-American, which is the reason why he speaks in an American accent.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Ryo loves to show off his ride. During his introduction cutscene, Ryo was performing donuts with his car. ...while sticking out half of his body out of the window. With that height, who is even pressing the gas pedal?!
  • Face of a Thug: He dresses up like a typical delinquent with a hooded jacket.
  • Hot-Blooded: You guessed it right. He's very passionate and ambitious about racing and he never gives up on that. Even his title "Showdown King" plays this trope straight.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Ryo loves mocking with Ryan, despite the latter having the will to win, which also upsets the crowd.
  • In the Hood: He wears a hoodie representing is Hot-Blooded and antagonistic traits.
  • Jerk Jock: He is a cocky racer who looks down on other opponents he faces.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In drift events, he uses an all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, which is otherwise only usable in other race types. Maybe he takes some techniques from World Rally Championship note  or he applied a RWD conversion to his Evo note .
    • Same applies when he uses the said car for wheelie competitions; although FWD and 4WD cars can enter Wheelie Competitions, they can't pull wheelies and thus score zero compared to RWD cars.
    • His Drift-tuned and Drag-tuned Evo cannot be obtained, though. You'll receive his Grip-tuned Evo X as a reward instead.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Although Ryo doesn't appear as a random opponent in the console/PC versions of Shift, his Apex Glide crew sticker can be used by the player for vehicle customizations.
    • Ryo's car was also available for purchase in World with nearly all the decals that were in ProStreet.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Not only his decals on his car, but also sprays red smoke from the tires during the cinematic cutscene. That was the only scene with colored tire smokes until in Payback introduces tire smoke colours as part of vanity items.
  • Race Lift: In the Alternate Universe PSP version of Need for Speed: Shift, he is depicted more of an actual Japanese and looking less arrogant.
  • Reformed Criminal: Like Ryan, Ryo used to be street racer before settling into sanctioned events.
    Ryo: Yeah, y'know. I ran a lot of street races too. So I went some like this. It was my ticket to the big time. Still, nice to get back to see small races.
  • The Rival: To Ryan Cooper.
  • Sore Loser: Ryo does not take himself or his team losing well.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: He's not a criminal, just a really arrogant racer.

Need for Speed: Undercover

    Chase Linh 

FBI Special Agent Chase Linh
"Your job is to drive, my job is to get you in. Nothing more, nothing less."
Car: BMW M6 Coupé (E63) (originally from Chau Wu), Porsche 911 GT2 (997) (PS2/Wii version), BMW M3 (E92) (PSP version)
Affiliation: Tri-City Bay Police Department
Portrayed by: Maggie Q

An FBI agent who assigned the player "Jobs" to take down a ruthless smuggling syndicate in the criminal underworld of Tri-City Bay.
By the near end, she is revealed to be a corrupt police officer, whereas all the player's jobs offered by Chase herself are just for a certain cause. This leads to her becoming the main antagonist of the game.

  • Big Bad: Gradually becomes this. Predating Lina Navarro of Payback as the first female antagonist of the whole franchise.
  • Dirty Cop
  • Double Agent: Though she maintained the visage of an FBI agent, she was working for Chau Wu's syndicate the entire time.
  • Dragon Lady: Of Chinese-American, no less.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not to the same extent as Mia, but she's definitely easy on the eyes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gets this at the end when she was arrested for corruption.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulls this on the player and Chau Wu upon revealing her true colors, killing the latter in order to take the package for herself.
    Jack M. Keller 
Portrayed by: Paul Pape

Maio Brothers

Car: Nissan 370Z (Z34), Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee (LX), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR-edition (PS2/Wii version), Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk5)
Portrayed by: Kurt Caceres
Car: Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TSI, Volkswagen Golf R32 (Mk5), Chrysler 300C SRT-8 (PS2/Wii version), Dodge Charger SRT8 (LX) (PSP version)
Portrayed by: Joshua Alba

GMAC's Crew


Gregory "GMAC" MacDonald
Car: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, Lamborghini Gallardo Coupé (PS2/Wii version), Porsche 911 GT2 (997) (PSP release)
Portrayed by: David Rees Snell

Rose Largo
Car: Porsche 911 GT2 (997), Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG (R230) (PS2/Wii version), Porsche Cayman S (PSP release)
Portrayed by: Heather Fox

Freddie Brad "Nickel" Rogers

"Former boxer, or should I say punching bag. Rap sheet as long as his reach. Five year stretch in the pen earned him [his] moniker." -Chase Linh
Car: Dodge Viper SRT-10 (ZB I), Dodge Charger R/T
Portrayed by: Lawrence B. Adisa

Other Characters

    Chau Wu
"I'm Chau Wu. You stole my car and yet you're still alive; most unusual."
Car: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, Porsche 911 GT2 (997) (PS2/Wii version), Nissan 370Z (Z34) (PSP and DS version)
Portrayed by: Jack Yang
One of the main characters and leader of the local Triads.

Chau's BMW M6 was originally stolen and assigned the player to retrieve it back to him since it has a PDA containing his criminal record. It was later to be revealed that Chase is working for Chau.

Carmen Mendez
Car: Shelby GT500 '67, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR-edition (PS2/Wii version), Mazda RX-7 (FD) (Series 8) (PSP release)
Portrayed by: Christina Milian

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