I've Got The Need! The Need For Road And Track Presents The Need For Speed!
I edit these posts sometimes to keep the notes about the games together, but really if i screw up, it's here forever.
I found Need For Speed: Undercover for £2 in my local cash convertors. It was literally placed on the shelf right in front of my face as I was looking for the very title. Together with Need For Speed: Most Wanted: A Criterion Game, also for £2! I've been up until the early hours racing cars, I'm going to write some words about them in this box!
The console era NFSs from Underground to Undercover all seem to have very bizarre computer cars.
First, you have to really put the idea out of your head that the enemy cars are cars at all. They're not. They cheat. Everywhere and always. Every game. They can out accelerate you from the line, match and exceed your top speed regardless of your respective cars, take corners without slowing and cannot be attacked directly. Together they are a malevolent force that always acts in perfect synchrony to fuck up your day.
This is most important in Carbon's final races where the enemy cars can easily go 50% faster than the fastest car you can buy and are absolutely bolted to the track. Tussling with the enemy results in your instantly spinning out.
Depending on how far ahead the enemy is, they'll act totally differently. If the enemy is ahead of you by about five seconds, they won't be affected by the world or civilian cars, they'll become a completely intangible magic ghost car that glides around the world effortlessly.
If the enemy is ahead of you by about one second, they'll be affected by the world and civilian cars. Because cilivan cars spring into existence in this range, the enemy cars will weave about the track like Herbie as they try to reconcile their desired racing line with the sudden interloper. In almost every game, this'll mean that they'll slam into you diagonally, reducing your speed to nothing. They might take a ding too but their Magic Enemy Acceleration means that they won't care.
If the enemy is behind you by one second, they will be affected by civilian cars and you, but not the world. The poor enemy car now has to deal with your erratic driving on top of the civilian cars. It doesn't have to worry about the world, it'll take any corner without slowing one bit (unlike your car, which at least pretends to be a physical object at times). Drive next to oncoming traffic for lols.
If the enemy is behind you by three seconds, they'll be completely hopeless. I don't know what it is about NFS enemies, but in my experience they just don't know to recover from this far back. It's a lot easier to concentrate on the track ahead without having to worry about hitting the enemy cars like this. I spent most of my second playthrough of MW with a completely clear view ahead of me.
The late races of U2 and Carbon, and MW2012's MW races are crazier still. The enemy cars are unshakable when they're behind you, and when you're behind they're gentlemanly enough to wait for you just around the next corner. Drop to 30 MPH and they'll do the same, tootling around the track in 1st gear just outside your sight.
So, anyway, I'll give 'em all a go back to back today!Road and Track Presents The Need for Speed
Clunky, old racing. I only mention it really because the 3DO version sets a very important precedent: the game is a duel between you, and a ridiculous FMV dude
known as 'X-MAN'."Tired of warming the bench? Looking for something real to get your teeth into? Well then why don't you pull your butt off the couch and prepare yourself for the outer regions of OUTRAGEOUS."Need For Speed: High Stakes / Road Challenge
Called Road Challenge in Europe, presumably to distinguish it from all the other NFS games which features neither Roads nor Challenges. It plays just like NFS3 and includes most of its tracks (but not all of its cars, BOO).
I loved the idea of the career: being able to buy cars, colour them and upgrade them is exactly my cup of tea, but the actual racing was boring as hell at the time and it's still boring as hell now. Car damage is new, meaning that the late-game >3 lap races see your car being mercilessly targeted by the enemies to the point where it simply can't make it up the steep hills of Route Adonf. When you make it to the line, most of your race winnings will get slurped away before you get a chance to see them.
Like every career NFS game to come, the game is stingy with the money and buying the wrong car can make your game completely unwinnable.Need For Speed: Porsche Challenge / Porsche Unleashed
Every car is a Porsche, and every Porsche drives like a bar of soap being dragged on a rope. Pretty game though.Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
It's like Hot Pursuit, except it's on a console! And there's a level select full of... very, very similar races. Oh well. Playing as a cop is always tons of fun!
This is the first NFS game where the protagonist has Special Powers at his disposal: at any time during a single player race, you can temporarily stop the race and make the camera do a 360 spin around your car. I guess this is to show you your surroundings (and to look cool), but I always play on outside view, so it's not very useful.
The second power is to launch a fireball-encased down the track to show you where the track leads. Useful when you're playing on an unfamiliar track, racing at high speed, and you really would like a hint on where you have to go next. It's redundant with the map, but some folks don't like looking at the gauges (FOOLS).
Just one last thing... IT CORRUPTS YOUR SAVE WHEN YOU GET TO 98% COMPLETION!1!!! RARARGH.Need For Speed: UndergroundDA DA DOUM DOUM DOUM
. Car buying and customisation returns from High Stakes! The underground neon gangsta stuff must look hilarious and dated to today's kids...
This game has a ridiculous difficulty spike about a third of the way through. I have a specific save which my brothers and I have been trying to win on and off for years. No luck. I'm convinced the game simply isn't winnable.
First person drag racing looks like Space Giraffe and you might as well be asked to do it with your eyes closed.Need For Speed: Underground 2
It's the same as the last Underground! Nah, not really, it's much better.
The open world makes everything seem less claustrophobic than last time. The city was a coherent whole in Underground (I think), though you never got to see it.
The point-to-point drift races are new, absurd and fun. Instead of driving around a tiny narrow track like in U, you've got a large downhill slope to use, which makes chaining drifts easy and cool!
To unlock certain performance parts for your car, you have to challenge the other ambient racers on the free-roam mode to racing duels: lead by 1000ft to win. The problem is, the enemy cars have ridiculous cornering capability at all times, allowing them to turn 90 degrees at 120mph perfectly every time. The only way to win is to use a bug where the game can't decide who is in the lead if you're beside the other racer: if you both pick different routes, who is actually in the lead? 50/50 it's you!Need For Speed: Most Wanted
The ultimate CarPG, and the first of the Speedbreaker Trilogy.
FMV cutscenes! A plot that's simple and straightforward! Racing that's unparalleled! Police chases! Perfect police chase music
The racing feels solid and weighty without being stiff. The races themselves are short enough to not make you feel cheated when you clang into an egregiously impassible object just before the finish line.
To unlock the next tier of challenges, you have to complete a minimum number of races from a pre-set selection, so you can sometimes forego the categories of races you don't like, which is something you couldn't do much in Underground 2 or at all in Underground. You also have to complete a number of Pursuit Milestones, such as escape a pursuit with a minimum total property damage cost, or total cop cars totalled. You can do all of these things at once, and you'll be doing most of them anyway, so it works. Sometimes the cops will appear during your races, so that when you finish the race, you'll still have to elude the police for it to properly stick. As you screech around the city trying to find a route out, you'll see the other enemy cars from the race you just won being chased also. SUPER NEAT.
It's the most fair game of the bunch, both in terms of races and pursuits. The enemy cars don't cheat as much. In the Ridiculous Gallardo (which you have to be lucky to get), you can blitz ahead of most enemy cars and never see them again.
The player now possesses the 'Speedbreaker' ability: the ability to slow down time and magnify the mass of their car as to take turns with superhuman speed and precision. Basically, it gives you the same abilities as the computer for a few seconds. The player's nitro recharges from driving fast, so you're never completely without a way to recover from the inevitable crashes.
It has the best final level of any of the NFS games and it comes out of nowhere, right after you've got Your Car back and you think you've won the game.Need For Speed: Carbon
There's nothing really wrong with Carbon. I haven't played the 360 gen version, just the Xbox version, and I didn't really notice that much different between it and the 360 version of Most Wanted. (Which makes me wonder how much of MW is brand new, and how much is Underground 2 code recompiled for 360...)
It feels about a third as long as MW. Probably because there's only four bosses (right?) compared to MW's ten. I love a good boss race. Racing against a unique car, winning it, and having some dude on screen yell at me is the kind of progression I like.
The 'crew' thing is useless. I don't remember much about it except it was feeble and unnecessary. In a race where your crew are present, you win if they take first place. Because the crew are computer cars, they have access to all the cheat abilities they do, including absurd acceleration and top speed. In fact, one of the 'crew powers' you can activate instructs them to take up position in front of you so you can draft off them. If they're that god-damned fast, you might as well not have turned up at all!
I remember that they took most of the police voice samples and music directly from MW, which is weak.
The entire game is forgettable fun really. Canyon duels are tons of fun too, except against the last guy WHO CHEATS. Of course, you don't get Speedbreaker during these duels. That would be CHEATING. This is the only game where I've snapped the disc after losing a race.Need For Speed: Undercover
Undercover is a perfectly acceptable sequel to MW. I'd say 'don't listen to the reviews!!', but everything you've read against Undercover is probably accurate. Undercover is a half-finished copy of MW in a massive new city. The half-finished pursuits, especially.
Undercover has ridiculously sensitive handing, but I prefer to think of it as an extended steering range. Learn how to use the analogue stick properly! The later exotics are absolutely nailed to the ground and drive like the FZR2000 from NFS2.
The game is still sort of stingy with money: winning a race for the second time gets you feeble amounts of cash AGAIN (thanks for that, Carbon). With autosaving, this means you can't buy the 'wrong car' and then have enough money to win the game. Try not to throw your controller through the TV every time you're asked whether you want to buy in-game items with Microsoft Points.
HOWEVER! Unlike MW and Carbon, you get pink slips automatically during plot missions and you can't ever misplace them. In fact, you can dupe your pink slip cars as much as you like and have them all set up uniquely.
To advance, you need to earn 'wheelman points' from completing races and escaping pursuits. When you get enough points, you level up and can choose more races and cars. Every level also has a bunch of fun unique plot missions ('Jobs') associated with it, mostly where you get to drive a special car and have to do special tasks in it. You're free to choose any race in the world to get your points, so you're not stuck doing races you don't like (not a fan of circuits, myself), unlike MW and Carbon.
From looking at the box, I was worried that the game would be absolutely impossible to play due to visual effects, like Ridge Racer: Unbounded. I expected it to be Yellow and Black, but it's not. It's not even sepia like MW! You can see where you're going, unlike Carbon! The world is huge and the different locations have their own tint to them! Hooray!Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Every race is a point to point - FUCKING FINALLY. It's got the level select from Hot Pursuit and Undercover, but no plot. Boo!
After hammering the Speedbreaker non-stop for years, you've finally broke it. Instead, both the racers and the cops have ridiculous absurd weapons at their disposal. EMPs, and all weird stuff. The races become more like puzzles (determined 90% by luck) where you have to use your finite powers at specific points during the race in order to make sure you're just slightly ahead when the finish line appears. I liked the pursuits but having to deal with infinite cops with finite powers doesn't seem exactly fair.
This is the first Autolog game, if I'm remembering right. This makes the game automatically log. I only played it for a short time on my bro's computer and he didn't want me messing up his stats (that is, me setting all kinds of unbeatable records with my awesomeness). And then he never played the game again regardless.Need For Speed: ProStreet
I played a demo of Shift
ProStreet once on PC. When the camera automatically turned as I approached a corner, I was overwhelmed with motion sickness and had to throw up immediately. True story.
NFS wouldn't know reality if it opened a window, breathed in the fragrant spring air, looked up at the new leaves on the trees and held up its hand to shield its eyes from the blazing sunshine. "It's Like Need For Speed Except Deliberately Not Fun" isn't really the way to sell a game to me. If I wanted that, I'd start up a Carbon career using Muscle cars. Or Ridge Racer: Unbounded. AHAHA.Need For Speed: Shift
NEED FOR SPEED: SHIT, MORE LIKE. AHA. (I'll get my coat.)
I'd get either of these if they were a quid, I guess.
Edit from Space Year 18.104.22.168.A.D: I'd mixed up ProStreet and Shift when I first wrote this, because I was a damn moron. I hadn't yet played Shift yet until I bought it some time early 2019. ProStreet is the lurching camera one, Shift isn't.Need For Speed: The Run
The Run is about an insufferable git who has to drive Very Freakin' Fast from A to B or the mob will kill him. Neat!
A load of unique point to point races put back-to-back with awesome music and CHECKPOINTS AND MID-RACE REWINDS. No longer do you have to redo seven laps of an eight lap race because some CHEATING ARSE-BUCKET used his cheat powers to blitz past you in his VW Golf at the last second. A proper, decent arcade game.
I love The Run. I love The Run's cinematic music
and I love its non cinematic music
Quite a few of the races have you dodging traffic and enemy cars on a long stretch of highway against a time limit... does this seem familiar to anyone? Why, yes, this IS Lotus Espirit Turbo Challenge! And it's also kind of like Outrun, which you might have guessed from the very clever title.
Ignore what folks say about the QTEs. There's only three of them in the entire game if I recall and there's no penalty for losing them. They instantly restart. Jack Rourke is such a smug prick, watching him miss an on-foot rooftop jump and land with a crunch on hard tarmac is the perfect way to relax after INTENSE RACING. They're more like hilarious intermission scenes than anything else, and they make up for the lack of FMV sequences.Need For Speed: Most Wanted: A Criterion Game
THE MOST SOCIALLY CONNECTED RACING GAME EVER. I've never been so freakin' bored in my life.
Oh, alright, it's not that bad. But it's not the other Most Wanted, which is the most damning thing you could ever say about any game really. MW was a CarPG, this is more like a fighting game. You pick a car, you use it, you put it back. Folks who like Lots of Different Cars would no doubt love the 'only-five-things-to-do-per-car' rule, but I sorta didn't care. Because I didn't have to do anything special to get the car, I didn't feel like it was mine, more like I was only borrowing it.
The cars are very heavy and turning is impossible. I hated racing in this game.
The city is way to visually busy compared to Undercover and Most Wanted, so I couldn't see where the hell I was supposed to be going. The Magic Walls from U2 through to Undercover that prevented you from going the wrong way down the tracks are gone. Speedbreaker is gone. (X is handbrake now, which makes for some 'hilarious' last-minute failures.)
The map is shit. For some reason, they've put the player's chevron about two-thirds of the way up the map, so it's useless as a way to see what's in front of you. For the last few decades, I've been driving off instruments exclusively, more or less, so this really throws me off.
Driving to events is shit. HP2 didn't have it. U didn't have it. U2... I can't remember. I think it did, but the city was fun. MW let you skip it, Carbon let you skip it, Undercover let you skip it, HP didn't have it and The Run didn't have it.
[[[[[(((CRASHED!)))]]]]] has absolutely no place in a Need for Speed game. Need for Speed: The Run had complete wipeouts, sure (like getting HIT BY A TRAIN) but it also had rewinds, which made not being able to see which of the three blurry grey rectangles you were driving towards was the impassable highway median funny instead of annoying. In Free Roam, CRASHED!!! meant I constantly lost track of which way I was facing.
I've never played Burny P, but if it's anything like this, I'll think I'll give it a miss.
Weirdly, I have played Burnout 1 and 2, and sometimes managed to actually Score A Burnout on them (drive the entire length of the track, every lap, without hitting a wall, constantly nitroing). And I rented Burnout 3 and Burnout Revengeance Legends and thought they were passable rental arcade racing fun. I was sort of dozy when I was playing Burnout 3, so all the flashy TAKEDOWN stuff, and IMPACT TIME put me into hysterical laughing fits.