Need for Speed SE
Originally, ‘The Need for Speed’ was a 3DO game (1994), then it migrated to DOS (1995) and finally to Windows courtesy of EA’s NFS Special Edition. Given its roots, it’s no surprise how similar it is to another 3DO game from EA, Road Rash. Of course the PC version of NFS comes with much better graphics and sound than a console-based system could ever hope to produce at the time.
NFS is no NASCAR Racing, in that it’s not a true simulation, but it is a very addictive and finely polished action driving game. You are given a choice of some of the hottest and most unattainable 90s sports cars, including the Acura NSX, Dodge Viper RT/10, and Lamborghini Diablo VT, to name a few. Once you’ve selected your dream machine, you could race around some of the most visually stunning near-photorealistic tracks that a first-generation Pentium could handle. Visual splendor coupled with great gameplay and controls are what all Need for Speed games strive for.
Tracks span for miles and are peppered with all manner of details left and right, from lush forests to arid deserts or sprawling cities. Both cars and static objects are texture-mapped. Extensive multimedia is offered on each vehicle and track from the menu system, and the ingame racing music and sound effects are both terrific.
Need for Speed offers an abundance of options to enhance your gameplay experience. Head-to-head multiplayer play, time trial, tournament mode, and a single track mode are available for your pleasure. In certain modes of play, you’ll be chased down by the police, so keep checking your radar detector, because getting a speeding ticket takes away precious time and could hamper your chances to win the race.
The laws of physics are applied to all vehicles using the performance specs on each individual car, so a Porsche 911 Carrera drives like a 911. But because all featured race cars perform so differently, you’ll likely notice how some of the weaker cars will inadvertently end up to the back of the pack while the stronger ones always finish first.
Even so, the main jist of the game was emphasizing the fun factor in racing. It marked a transition to more flashy and easier to grasp racing titles that played better, and were just as fun as their more complex racing sim cousins. Long story short, NFS is the fast food of racing – it looks great, tastes great and it’s damn addictive.
System Requirements: Pentium 75 Mhz, 12 MB RAM, 30 MB Space, Win 95 / MS-DOS 5.0
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