Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City is a handheld release based off of Need for Speed: Carbon. It was released for the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, and Zeebo.
Compared to Need for Speed: Carbon, it greatly differs in terms of gameplay and settings.
The story begins with the player taking part in an illegal street race with their brother, Mick (full name Michael Rogers, according to the tombstone), and a couple of other racers in a bid to decide who owns the city.
A massive car crash occurs during the race that leaves the player in hospital with amnesia and kills Mick. The city is divided into different crew territories whilst the player is in hospital.
The player wakes up to be greeted by Mick's girlfriend, Sara; and Mick's most loyal wingman, Carter, in the hospital. They visit Mick's grave and help the player to recall their memories of the night the race took place.
The player re-enters the illegal street racing scene in the city to find who killed Mick. They compete in races to defeat crews, regain Mick's territory and see if they know anything about the accident. Each different crew boss then describes what they know about the incident that killed Mick. They also enlist more people to join the player's crew.
The player then races against the Eastsiders' crew leader, Poorboy. Poorboy tells the player that the accident was caused by someone named Buddy, saying he came out of nowhere and caused the crash. The Krimsons' crew leader, EX, explains to the player what he knows about the night of the race and Buddy's whereabouts, but during which Sara is seemingly caught in an explosion.
The player is driven further to find out who is causing the trouble and soon confronts Buddy. Buddy reveals that he was hired and hands the player his phone. After defeating The Corps' crew leader, MK, he helps out who planned the murder using Buddy's phone, as it is revealed he's an undercover cop investigating Mick's death.
It is revealed that EX was the one who planned the crash and the player goes after him with MK's police forces. They apprehend EX after he is defeated by the player.
Sara appears and tells the player to race her but this is followed by her revealing the truth that the player is the one that hired EX to get rid of Mick due to Mick's monstrous personality that hurt Sara as well as the player.
EX in turn hired Buddy to crash Mick's car which caused the "accident" that resulted in Mick's death. It was the player's plan all along as they promised Sara would be freed from Mick.
Sara then hands the player Mick's watch saying that they are different from Mick and that she is free as well as now together with the player.
Own the City is set in Coast City instead of Palmont City. The road network of the city is based off of Rockport from Need for Speed: Most Wanted, although Coast City does not feature the layout of Camden Beach.
Own the City does not feature Autosculpt, Canyons, or Drift events. It is the first handheld Need for Speed game to feature free roam police pursuits and the only handheld Need for Speed game to have an option to free roam the city.
- Despite being identical to the PlayStation Portable release, the Zeebo release is titled Need for Speed: Carbon as well as sharing its box art.
- The music that plays during storyline cutscenes is the police chase soundtrack from Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
- The Nintendo DS release lacks free roam.