Need for Speed: High Stakes

Need for Speed: High Stakes
Platforms: PC, PlayStation
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Seattle
Genres: Racing / Arcade Racing
Release Date: September 29, 1999
Game Modes: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

Arguably the flagship of arcade driving games, Need for Speed has a long and successful history of combining luxury sports cars with sharp graphics and fast action to give bench racers the ultimate quick fix. Rather than just switch a car here or there and update the graphics and multiplayer options each time, Electronic Arts has begun to add new modes of play to offer something fresh.

Last time players were treated to dedicated police chase modes in NFS III: Hot Pursuit. High Stakes builds on the classic tournament and “hot pursuit” modes by adding a “career” mode in which players race for cash to upgrade their current rides or save for more exotic one in a series of races around the world. Capping off these circuits is the “High Stakes” race, where you and one other driver race flat out for pink slips. Career mode is a good addition, but an extremely grinding one – with races stretching on for six to eight laps, too many are a merely a matter of endurance, and they start getting repetitive real fast.

Need for Speed has long been celebrated for its brilliant presentation, and High Stakes, while not the most famous iteration of the series, advances that brilliance by a good margin. From car models to environmental effects (rain, fog, light reflections) to music and engine sounds that fit the bill perfectly. A physics model, arguably one of the game’s greater additions, gives each car believable mass, and makes them react more realistically when driving through rain, snow or uneven terrain. Driving up a hill stalls your speed while hitting roadside obstacles (such as sign posts) will send them flying through the air. Heavier objects will trash your car, but the damage modelling overall is forgiving. All cars enjoy fully modeled 3D interiors (complete with working instruments) that pitch and roll as you corner, creating an effective illusion of ‘there’.


Chevrolet, Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Porsche. All the usual brands turn up in High Stakes.

Even with the added physics, driving here is squarely centered on fast, arcade fun, so a simulation this is certainly not. The developers went a little to far in simplifying the driving. For example, the steering is so extremely dampened that all the cars exhibit extreme understeer. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to spin out of control without using the handbrake or violently bumping into something. Not only do the understeering cars forgive lock-to-lock wheel thrashing, they flat-out demand it. In order to keep up with your competition, it’s important to practice with the throttle and brakes, which can bring the rear end around just enough to keep the car on track.

Graphics and handling aside, the challenge and entertainment is definitely there. Tracks are used and reused often in the various circuits, but each time something is different to keep it fresh—either a night race, a race in the rain, or perhaps driving the track backwards. Combine the variety of gameplay modes, slick presentation, and challenging AI and what you have is a finely polished showroom racer.

System Requirements: Pentium 200 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, Win 95/98

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Tags: Free Download Need for Speed: High Stakes Full PC Game Review


  1. GAN says:

    I mount the IMG, I install the file NFS4CHS found in the map ‘Installer + patch + no-CD’, Installation works fine, I launch with the icon that appeared in start menu or desktop and it says:

    ‘Need for speed files are corrupted; please re-install’

    I run it on Windows 10, is this maybe a problem?

    Thanks a lot for this website guys, appreciate it a lot!

  2. Try the demo. If it works then you have probably done something wrong.

    Write back. Maybe the link is actually faulty.

  3. Hakan says:

    ı downloaded it open with deamon tools ı start autorun nothing happens then open the virtual nfs:hs virtual disk from there start’ed the setup folder but nothing happens again just nothing can u help pls ı chanced the system compatibility to windows 95/me but nothing happend again help pls ;_;

  4. Will fix it tomorrow.

  5. Hakan says:

    ty for the respont :))

  6. Looks like it’s a bad link.

    It’s fixed now, although it might still have some problems.
    I recommend you run the game from a virtual machine.

  7. Kyle Black says:


  8. Aquilina says:

    Hi, I’ve just installed the game and patched it but when I try to run it shows up a message box saying:

    Invalid argument

    Switch (proceed with dash) Description

    Quite strange

  9. McLaren F1 GTR says:

    Demo only runs on Windows 95 or 98

  10. Rimantas says:

    When you install and patch this game, DON’T run it from autorun menu. Use only installed game binary (nfshs.exe) or shortcut to it. Or you will need to reinstall and repatch the game.

  11. Rimantas says:

    To make it work in hardware acceleration you may need to update d3da.dll file.
    You will need only nfspatch10.exe from that archive. During installation keep checked only new (nfs5) d3da.dll file – uncheck old one (nfs4). I hope you will find 3D settings in start menu (same as with nfs3hp).

  12. Jason Dep says:

    I mount the .bin file and then run the setup .exe file. The installation goes fine until it finishes at a 100% and then just a blank black screen. If I try to exit it says setup is still running. Im not that familiar with virtual machines and im installing straight to my hardrive and want to run as is but yea cant proceed any further at the moment because of this glitch. Any help with this would appreciated 🙂 running on windows 10

  13. Paul Powiecki says:

    @jason dep -> You must run Task Manager, look for 3d registry entries (as far as I remember) under an install file (this should be somewhere in upper column) and terminate it. Install should be complete. Don’t terminate install file, but you have to click an arrow. 3D registry entries should appear.

  14. Chris Schönfeld says:


    you sucks

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