Retro Monday: “Need for Speed II”

Title: “Need for Speed II”

Developer: EA Canada (Playstation)

EA Seattle (PC)

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: Spring 1997

With a lot of publicity going around for ‘Need for Speed: The Movie’, I thought I’d have a look back at the series. “The Run” from not that long ago is what I say the movie is based on, but it’s not that retro so let’s go back to the beginning. Well, not really the beginning because I haven’t played the first one but I have played the second.

Remember the ‘ye olde’ Windows 95 (or was it 98) computer from a few weeks back? That was what I played “Need for Speed II: Special Edition” on. It was the first driving game I played and I was alright at it. Apparently (by that I mean according to Wikipedia,) this game drifted away from its predecessor, “Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed”. Some critics said that it was less realistic and the cars would be unfamiliar to many. Considering the car list included the McLaren F1, Ferrari F50 and the Lotus Esprit, I have no idea what they where talking about. People who get racing games are going to know what the McLaren F1 is at least. It was famous the same way the Bugatti Veyron is famous. It was the fastest production road car until the Veyron. At least this proves I watch “Top Gear” at least.

The tracks, unlike the previous game, where only circuit tacks. The first had point-to-point tracks and circuit tracks. So it was a bit of a downgrade. Then there’s the issue of the graphics. NFS2 had a mixture of realistic and rather cartoon-ish graphics. Looking at pictures of the first game, I prefer the graphics of the NFS1 over number 2.

Now let’s touch on the cars. People who buy car games will know at least a few cars so the idea that the cars would be unknown to players is a bit much. I was eight when I played and I knew nothing about cars but I fell in love with the F1 from this game. Only now, I know my love it right. The cars drive with a more arcade style system and physics system. It suits my fully but looking at the game now after I’ve had time in the arcades and on driving simulation style games, I can ay that the driving controls and physics are floaty. It’s as if driving a hovercraft, there’s no feeling in the cars traction or corning.

With the limited amount of content in the game there isn’t that much more I can say about it so might as well wrap this up here. The graphics are not that great but competent for the time overall. The cars look great but have no feeling. Combined with the graphics, there is no sense of speed of impact if you hit the traffic, obstacles, or walls. The soundtrack is pretty good but that’s because A) it’s the 90’s and B) it had many composers making a lot of music.

Conclusions: it’s a bit of a cop-out game. And that is quite a literal joke. They took out the cop chases that where in NFS1. The game is ok. That’s really sad to say because this is one of the first games I played and there is a lot of youth in this game. I love this game but because of my rose-tinted glasses. If you want an old 90’s racing game, you may not be disappointed, but you can do much better.

Retro Score: 2.5/5

Modern Score 2/5

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