Evolution Of Need for Speed – Racing Evolved


Racing has been a popular gaming genre since old times. Need for Speed Franchise has been entertaining racing fans for almost 17 years now and a total of 17 games have been released under the same banner.

Today, we will have a look at various transitions Need For Speed games went through, and where does the modern day installments in the series stand.

Need for Speed (1994)

The first ever game in the long running franchise. Need for Speed was released for PC (DOS), Saturn and PlayStation. A lot of effort was put into the game to make it a racing simulator rather than an arcade game.

The game won a lot of admiration as it was quite a breakthrough at that time. The traditional police car chases which later became the tradition in many installments were introduced for the first time.

Need for Speed II (1997)

Need for Speed II was an arcade thriller featuring the most advanced vehicles of the time. Country themed tracks, the concept of choosing the shortest passage during the race and the new knockout mode were the prominent features of the game. NFS II to me is one of the best arcade racing games I have ever played.

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)

The Hot Pursuit mode was the unique feature in which players either needed to overtake racers being a cop or escape from the police being a racer. Audio commentary was introduced for the first time in the series with support for 3D acceleration on PC. It was also the first time that the downloadable content was made available from the official site.

Need for Speed: High Stakes/Need for Speed: Road Challenge (1999)

Also known as the Road Challenge, Need for Speed: High Stakes featured variety of modes like High Stakes, Getaway, Time Trap and the all new career mode. In career mode, damage modeling was introduced. So players needed to repair their cars first (spending the cash earned while racing) before entering the next race for the full performance.

Time trap was about beating the clock while the cops making it difficult to reach the finish line within the given time. Gateaway like the hot pursuit was all about surviving from the cops for a particular time.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed/Need for Speed: Porsche 2000 (2000)

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed was named so because it only featured the Porsche vehicles. The game introduced the realistic vehicle handling for the first time in the franchise.

All the cars were detailed and the damage modeling scale was increased for a more challenging gameplay. The career mode and the Factory driver modes were about winning races in different condition to unlock cars from year 1950 to 2000. One of the best career modes I have played.

1
2
3

By Ali Asif

Being the managing editor, Ali manages a lot of the editorial duties as well as publishing stories for you. A long-time gamer, his favorite game series is the Gears of War but when he's not gaming he likes to kick back with a few popular animes like Naruto.


Around The Network
    • rcgldr

      NFS Underground mentions sprint as one of the modes it introduced, but the original NFS/NFSSE has sprint mode, although split up into 3 segements due to memory limitations. Porsche Unleashed was mostly sprint tracks, except for the Monte Carlo circuit tracks.

      NFS Underground 2 was the only NFS game with the go-kart like street cross (street-x) mode, and also had URL (Undeground Racing League) circuit tracks that were more like actual race tracks than city tracks, so that was a 6th mode for the game (circuit, drag, drift, sprint, street-x, url).

      NFS Hot Pursuit 2 was disliked for several reasons. Features that were included in previous NFS games such as in car view and saveable replays were dropped. At the time of release, it took a relatively high end PC to enable full track scenery. The handling was a bit quirky, especially with analog controllers (joysticks or wheels).

    • rcgldr

      Porche Unleashed wasn’t all that realisitic, it was about as realistic as NFS II/SE was in terms of handling. It just seemed more realistic since the previous NFS game, High Stakes was so arcade oriented. The top cars like the 1995 911 were pulling 3 gs in turns, the same as the 935 and the GT1 full race cars, which was a bit excessive.

      ProStreet handling was even further over the top, with top cars pulling 4 to 5 g’s or more in the turns. For example, while an actual Formula 1 race car ran about 1:06 lap time at Willow Springs, ProStreet’s Zonda R could run 46 second lap times.

      Undercover pushed grip levels even further, and was the fastest paced NFS game ever. Nitrous was magical in that it increased downforce, resulting in top cars like the Zonda or CCX pulling well over 6 g’s in turns.

      Shift 1 was the first NFS to have sim-oriented racing game like realism in it’s handling. Lap times correspond somewhat to Lemans LMP1 (700 hp prototype) cars.

      Shift 2 is plagued with a weave instability and high speed oversteer issue that affects some of it’s cars, including the top cars like the LP640. The lack of online chat has kept the number of online players relatively small compared to previous NFS games.

    • MCOBred

      Nice, but you forgot the most awesome Racing Game, Need for Speed Motor City (very early title) or better known as Motor City Online! I miss it, MCO RIP!

      I have every single NFS Game except Nitro, Shift, and Shift 2 Unleashed.

    • write

      We really feel when the need for speed Porsche Unleashed release, handling really like being real driving…

    • Mic10

      You are missing one there was a exclusive nfs on the psp similar to underground it was not that great and seemed like a rush for a psp launch title considering it took about 2 hours to Finnish but it did have the need for speed label on it and should be recognized aswell

    • http://segmentnext.com Zawad Iftikhar

      Most Wanted all the way.

    • MartinDK

      Merely seeing that preview picture on the NFS I Youtube video makes me nostalgic.

      NFS III, in particular, stands out in my memory as a gem (of its time). I remember staring at faux reflections in the bonnet of a Corvette and the sweet in-car cockpit views.

      NFS Porsche was also a source of many hours of enjoyment – the career mode was good fun, but I remember thinking it sucked that you had to use manual gearbox for a challenge where you had to do a 180 and then continue in reverse. Nowadays, I only use manual :)
      My favourite car was a black Porsche 993 (the last of the air-cooled wonders) with blue and yellow stripes. “Car wot goes fast”, as they say on RockPaperShotgun ;)

      NFS:Shift has really done a lot to restore my faith in the series. I do prefer Forza Motorsport 3 for its more realistic handling (as far as I believe it to be – I’ve never driven any supercars IRL…), as well as the ability to tinker with camber, caster etc.
      But the sense of speed you get in the NFS: Shift cockpit view is… Phew… Pure awesomesauce. I haven’t tried Shift 2 yet, but I’ve spent countless hours lapping Spa-Francorchamps in the Pagani Zonda R in Shift 1. The Radillon-Eau Rouge is one of the most memorable corners of any real-world track.

      In the other end of the sprectrum, all the street-racings NFS’s (those of them I tried), left me meh (meaning I’d prefer GTA any day), and NFS: HP2 was an outright piece of sh*t – one of the biggest disappointments of a game from the previous decade.

      Gah! Curse this article. Now I doubt I can last the rest of the day without going out and blowing my money on Shift 2 >.<