Review by makeveli2002

"An Awesome Racing Experience"

I had been waiting to pick up this game since I first read about it in Game Informer. The Need for Speed franchise is well known for having the best sportscar selection of almost any racing game. While Gran Turismo may have over 300 cars, face it, you'll only drive about 20 of them, so in racing games these days, it's quality over quantity. But I'll get to that later.

GAMEPLAY/CONTROL: 10

This game has a true arcade feel to it, bit it isn't too arcadey. It stands perfectly between arcade and sim. You have a choice between classic and extreme handling, classic being somewhat realistic handling, and extreme being much more touchy and arcade-like. You also have the standard choice between auto and manual transmission, but there is a new choice called semi-auto, in which the car shifts automaticaly, but you can override the shifts and do it yourself if you want to. All in all, theres something for everybody.

NFS also has many modes in which to play. There is the straight out racing available in ''World Racing'' mode, which allows you to have a single race, against one opponent or a full grid. you can also choose to add traffic to the mix, which makes you concentrate even harder. The key to unlocking the faster and cooler cars lies partly in the championship mode, which has a variety of races for you to make it through. It also contains a few time trials.

The types of the races vary. There's the standard single race, you against a slew of opponents. There's also the lap knockout, which eliminates the racer in last place each lap until the finish. There are also tournament series, which is a series of races, where points are awarded based on your finish. Whoever has the most points at the end wins, needless to say. You can also do a knockout tournament, which eliminates the last placer of each race, until the last race of the series is down to just you and a single opponent, which is a must-place-first situation.

The police mode is also a big part of NFS. You can take the role of a cop, and pull over any would-be street racers. Needless to say, this game supplies you with better then average cop cars. They range from Mustangs to Lamborghinis, and each have turbo equipped to provide a much needed boost. You can also call backup, or a helicopter in to aid you. You can also be one of the racers, and avoid the fuzz. They'll try to run you off the road at first, but will eventually find more effective ways to catch you. These range from setting barricades, sometimes with explosive barrels, to setting a spike strip, which will seriously effect your performance. Also, the aforementioned heli will drop explosives in the road, which can get seriously hard to avoid hitting, and then it will eventually use heat-seeking missiles as a last resort. Also included in this mode is ''Ultimate Racer'', which is like the championship mode, except it's races involve cops in some fashion or another (unlike the regular championship mode), or in certain situations, you will be the cop. There are also time trials in this mode, which make you drive a car from Point A to Point B, while avoiding the police.

Overall, you'll be busy unlocking cars and tracks for a while. Some cars are unlocked by finishing events, while others are opened on points, which are earned in your race, based on your performance and jumps you make. Some cars are unlocked by other various tasks, like racing a full race without hitting ANYTHING.

GRAPHICS: 10

All there is to say here is that everything looks beautiful. The cars are all incredibly detailed, and will get visible damage throughout the course of your race. Hitting a wall will crumple your front, and hitting an explosive will seriously mess up your ride.

The scenery looks great too. There are lush forests, huge cities, and exotic beach locales. Following someone on a dirt trail is a challenge, due to all the dust they will bring up, and hitting a guardrail provides a large burst of sparks.

SOUND: 9

The game sounds terrific. The cars have unique engine sounds, and have a unique horn sound. Yes, the Lambos have the high pitched horn that only a Exotic car can get away with. the only problem is the music, which isn't the best to begin with, and it's repeated quite a bit. After a while, it seems like there is only 5 music tracks in the game. Well, I guess that's where a CD player comes in handy.

CAR SELECTION: 10

This game, in my humble opinion, has the greatest lineup of cars in racing game history. Almost every car in here is a dream machine of sorts. Sorry import fans, you'll find none in here. This game has true sports cars only. well, it actually has luxury cars like the XKR too. This game has Vipers, Vettes, Diablos, Murcielagos, McClaren F1s, Mustangs, BMWs, Ferraris, and the Mercedes CLK-GTR. Any sportscar that matters is included, and to up the ante, there is a NFS Special Edition of every car available, which is the standard car, with a slight appearance difference and better stats. You will not be disappointed with this lineup.

FUN FACTOR: 10

All in all, this game is an extremely fun experience, and you'll be busy unlocking cars and tracks for a long time. This game is well worth your money.

10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/05/02, Updated 10/05/02


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