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Need For Speed 2nd edition (PC Game)

The Need for Speed 2 is the follow-up to perhaps the best arcade racing game to come along in several years. In order to fully understand this review, you must separate in your mind arcade racers like this one from racing simulations. Racing sims are aiming to provide the most realistic driving experience imaginable. Some — like Papyrus' NASCAR 2 are so detailed that you may spend as much time configuring your car as racing. Not so with the Need for Speed games. The main point here is to drive … and win. The true test of this sequel, then, will be a direct comparison to its predecessor. And trying to improve upon great old games is a daunting task indeed.

Gameplay
Need For Speed review Screen Shot
The best thing about the original Need for Speed is its wildness. How exhilarating it is to whip around a corner and smash into an RV head-on, flipping bumper-over-bumper ten times before you come to a rest (then having the option to watch the whole thing on your replay video). Of course, it's better when your friend passes you first — then you watch him get thrashed and flip over your head as you continue on to win the race. But either way you end up laughing your guts out at the sheer craziness and excitement of the whole experience.
Unfortunately, Need for Speed 2 tones down the fun recklessness. It's harder to flip your car in NFS 2, and when you do manage it, you'll maybe flip once or twice and then start over with a fresh set of wheels. Remember in Need for Speed when you crashed head-on and you got a great side view camera shot of your car flipping and flipping off into the sunset? You'll miss it here, no doubt about that. It seems like the designers of Need for Speed 2 went for a little more realism, but the result is a little less fun.
NFS 2 downloadThe feel of driving the cars is fairly similar to that in the original, with a few notable exceptions. The handling of the cars in general is more touchy, and it's frustratingly easy to spin out (and then spin out again trying to correct yourself). I don't like to spin out, especially in a close race. Not to say this wasn't an issue with NFS, but there it was more a matter of getting back on the road and out of the rough, not figuring out which way you should be going. Granted, NFS 2 includes a warning light that blinks if you head the wrong way, but why should you need it?
Yet perhaps my biggest disappointment with NFS 2 was its complete lack of road courses. In the original, you had a few tracks, and then you had the roads (Alpine, City, Coast). I had a lot more fun driving the roads, especially in a head-to-head match with oncoming traffic. You can choose to have oncoming traffic in the NFS 2 tracks, but it's not the same. Another great thing about the roads was that the race developed over three stages, giving you a chance to take a breather and/or plot a strategy or means of revenge in between stages. You can't do that in a track race.
Graphics
Enhanced, no doubt about it. This is really the only major revision that stood out enough to get my attention. Of course, the graphics in the original NFS were outstanding for its day (two years ago!), butNFS 2 benefits from technological advances since that time. The overall look is crisper, the animation smoother, the colors richer, and the details more noticeable, even on my lowly Diamond Stealth 64. The only bad part is that there are no pixelated deer standing by the side of the road for you to try to turn into roadkill (didn't anyone ever make a patch that would allow you to hit those deer in the NFS Alpine track?!).
Alpine track screen shotAudio
This is EA we're talking about, so as you can guess, the sound is outstanding. Great quality, rocking music, and I swear that when I was driving the Isedra, the squeals from my tires were eerily in harmony with the ethereal background music…
Documentation
Nice illustrations, a fairly thorough description of game options, but nothing else worth mentioning.
System Requirements
90 MHz Pentium™ class processor (Intel, Cyrix 6×86), 16 MB RAM, Windows? 95, Direct X 3.0 (included on game CD), 4X CD-ROM drive (600KB/second transfer rate), Hi Color (65,535 color) capable 1 MB PCI video card with DirectDraw 3.0 compatible driver, hard disk — 10 MB plus space for save games (additional space required for DirectX 3.0 installation), keyboard.
Reviewed on: P-120, 32 MB RAM, 16X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 video







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