There might not be a lot that I remember about my childish years, but there is one thing that I remember loud and clear, and that one thing is the Need For Speed game that had been gifted to me by my father on my 7th birthday. The cover had on it a side view of a car, being pursued by another. For some, it might just have been a picture of a car's wheel, but for me, it was a queue for doing something out of the ordinary.
Now that I think of it, I remember that it was labeled as one of the most realistic and thrilling games of all times. About after two decades of being hooked to the Need For Speed series, I know that the makers have never failed to reach new heights of realism and thrill. Each time a new edition of the game is released, I have been ceaselessly surprised with the development which has taken place.
So what I have here for you now, is a release replay of the Need for Speed series, a highlight of the benchmarks which have been established by the game's developers.
1. The Need For Speed:
Featuring closed circuit and point-to-point races, The Need For Speed was the first edition of the arcade racing series. It introduced the concept of being chased by COPS. In this edition, if caught, the first two times would just call for a ticket, however, more than two times and the racer would be busted. It also offered a replay feature allowing players to review races from different camera angles. The game was released in 1996, a small step for the then gamer, a huge step for the developers.
2. Need for Speed II
Released in 1997, the game carried over a few features of the previous edition and in addition, brought in many more features. For instance, games could now choose between the number of laps, the number of AI racers, etc. There were now three modes of play:
a) Single Play – For quick games
b) Tournament – Winning a series of races which unlocked a bonus car.
c) Knock-out – The last one at the end of the lap is eliminated, winning unlocked a bonus track.
The latest feature though was the 360 panoramic view of the cars' interiors.
3. Need For Speed III – Hot Pursuit
Released in 1998, this edition reinstated Cops into the game play. Not only could racers compete in a cop filled track, they could also choose to become cops themselves. For the first time, a player could be a cop version of a sports car and chase other raisers to become a part of the Hot Pursuit.
4. Need For Speed – High Stakes
Released in 1999, this was the first edition to introduce a vehicle damage system. Player had to now not only think of winning the race, but also drive with care in order to maintain their car's health. The gaming modes were similar to the previous edition, just that the car physics were improved as the damage was now visible on the vehicles. Also, racing now meant a bet for the pink slip – if a racer won, not only would he/she keep their own car, they would also take way the loser's car, losing, though, meant giving up on your own car.
5. Need For Speed – Porsche Unleashed
Released in the year 2000, this edition showed further improvements of the game play, creating a more realistic experience in terms of the driving mechanics. For the first time, the game's concept was based on a single brand – The Porsche. The game also included a Factory mode where racers were tasked to perform stunts like 360 degree spins etc, and the Evolution mode, which was based on three eras which depicted the evolution of the brand.
6. Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2
Released in 2002, the game had better graphics, more realism and improved driving mechanisms. It was also the first Need For Speed to be released on sixth generation gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 2. The cops could now call for backup, have barricades installed on roads, throw out spike strips and also – call helicopters for support. A wide variety of cars and inspirational racer music made this edition one of the best that had been released to date.
7. Need For Speed Most Wanted
Released in 2005, this edition was a new benchmark. Performance upgrades, body modifications, amazingly cool vinyls and a strong story play. For the first time, even those players who had lost interest in the Need For Speed series were brought back with a bang.
8. Need for Speed Rivals
Clearest graphics, the most exotic of cars and an accumulation of all past features of the Need For Speed series makes this edition stand out from all the editions which had been released previously. The stakes were never as higher as in this edition. The game is so awesome, I was forced from inside to treat it with specialty. For it, I purchased a media streaming device for video streaming, allowing me to play the game from my PC straight on to my TV.