Literally, the Need for Speed
Looking for more of the same tried but true racing formula from the original Need for Speed? Well it's all here, with some new cars to boot. The Need for Speed 2 (NFS 2) brings back the same racing formula from NFS 1, but with a few new surprises, including the addition of new concept cars. It's sure to keep fans of the series happy. Unfortunately, the system requirements are hot and heavy, severely limiting the mass marketability that the game was shooting for.
Of course, everyone wants to hear about the cars. That's what the game is about. The awesome concept cars include the Ferrari F50, Lotus Esprit V8, Ford GT90, Lotus GT1, Italdesign Cala, Jaguar XJ220, Isdera Commendatore 112i, and the ever fast, ever expensive, McLaren F1. As in NFS 1, there is a fact file on each of the cars, as well as a video showing the car zooming around country back roads. Great information for all of the car nuts out there, for you, this is a must have.
The graphics are much better than NFS 1. The texture maps look a lot cleaner and the race tracks are lush and beautiful. The inside of the cars, as in NFS 1, are modeled after their real car counterparts. With six different tracks, ranging from the Outback to the Himalayas, you're sure to find something you like. The bad part about all of this graphic detail is the speed. The game requirements recommend a Pentium 166mhz processor, so you'll need some real speed to see it in all of its beauty. Even on my beast Pentium Pro 200, there was a noticeable framerate loss in full screen mode (wow!). For many of you, reducing the screen size will be necessary, taking away from the immersive driving experience you were looking for.
The sound is, in a word, is marvelous. The engine noise changes depending on where your car is, enter a tunnel and hear the reverberation as the loud screaming engine echos off the walls. Crashes are the standard fare of bang, clonk, bonk, and skids are pretty standard too. What really stands out is the music, NFS 2 includes a lot of really cool sound tracks to jam along with while playing. Included are both rock and techno tunes, suitable for all you hard-core racers out there. Unfortunately, there is no other way to listen to the neat tunes except while playing the game, and while playing, how many of you actually listen? Most of us concentrate on the racing.
The gameplay is very close to the original. The differences are minor, but add to the overall fun. First off, EA finally put in power slides, a must have for people used to arcade racers. The other fun new facet of the game is the ability to go off the track, even if you are restricted somewhat, and the ability to go backwards. Head on collisions sure are fun!
There are two little features that were put into the game to give it some extra high-octane juice, like 8 player network games and customizable cars. Customizations like gear ratios, downforce, break bias, difficulty level, and car color. Seriously, all the new features that EA dropped in aren't exactly innovative, but bring NFS 2 into the next generation.
Is NFS 2 the best racing game ever? No. Is it a damn good one with some fun network support? Hell Yes. If you liked NFS 1, or are looking for a good PC racer, this is the one.