The Need for Speed games have been around for quite some time now, the original series made their debut on the old 486ís.
Probably the most well known and loved game out of the entire series was ďNeed for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit.Ē This game changed racing on PCís as we know it, instead of having the classic race against other people, it added a new dimension cops. In addition, it added a special feature where you could actually be the cop or the chaser and not the one running.
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 is the continuation of ďNeed for Speed 3.Ē Although there are not that many differences between the two versions, it is still a fun game thatíll last for a long time.
Like most games out now, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 comes in a little box. This form of packaging is much nicer then the original boxes, and is much more efficient when storage space is at a premium. After putting the disk in, installation was very straightforward. I just entered the CD-Key, decided where to put the game on the hard drive, and waited.
I enjoyed all of them, but Single Race ended up being my favorite.
Both Hot Pursuit and Championship are essentially a ladder of different events. By winning each event, you get points and with points, you can buy new cards and tracks. It takes quite a while to complete all of the levels, but thatís mainly because each course is very long.
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 also offers a Multiplayer mode. Itís fairly simple, just go to the Multiplayer section and select your server. In seconds, youíll be racing with other people. Rooms were constantly crowded, which is a good thing. The only things we didnít like about Multiplayer was the fact that there was no ďBe the CopĒ mode and no traffic.
I thought that Quick Race was nice and convienent. If you want to race, but donít care what car youíll use and where you will race, itís a nice option to choose. It automatically sends you to a race using a random car/track. I didnít use it much, though, only when getting screenshots.
The Single Race mode is pretty much self-explanatory. You choose the track, the car, and the difficulty, and you race. The difficulty level didnít do much however; it just changed the number of cops in the game. I have to admit that cops are fun, but they can get annoying quickly.
There are different techniques that the copís use to catch you. The most frequent is the good-old roadblock. In this one the cops block your path in an attempt to catch you, they are fairly easy to bypass. Watch out for the spike trip as its almost impossible to by-pass. If you hit it the police automatically catch you. Although itís hard to avoid, it is possible. Despite the fact that it is very unrealistic, my personal favorite is the helicopter. A helicopter follows you dropping bombs on its way, If you hit one and your car flips over. Itís a challenge to escape the cops when the helicopter arrives, but it is possible.
Being the Cop
This is essentially the prime reason for getting the game and sets it apart from any other racing game. Itís actually quite fun, but itís also challenging. You start out in random location in the track you select. After the 3Ö2Ö1Ö countdown, you begin chasing a car thatís right in front of you. Thereís a little ďhealth meterĒ over every speeding car. Once the health meter is empty, they are busted. Sometimes itíll take just one hit, but other times itíll take quite a few. It all depends on how much force you use.
If you are having trouble getting a speeder, you can always call for backup. Thereís the helicopter, thatíll throw bombs down at the car, a roadblock, or a request for extra squad cars. The problem with the squad cars, however, is that if they get the car, points donít go to you, making it useless. This is the same with the roadblock.
Be warned, the helicopter is not perfect, when throwing down bombs, they could hit you and make you spin out of control.
The cars are one of the most important features in this game and any other racing game. The game has a fairly large selection of cars, but nothing too special. Like most arcade racing games, handling is very unrealistic, but itís still very fun. It would have been nice for EA Games to put some kind of chartÖor something, to show performance of each car. Since EA doesnít have that, you arenít really sure of how much power a car actually has unless you try it out. But, nevertheless, the cars in the game are complete and satisfying.
I wasnít too impressed with the amount of tracks in the game, around 10. They can get very boring after a time, and since this game doesnít have a story, I got bored very quickly. Despite the fact that there are so few tracks, however, the ones that were included were designed extremely well, with many different shortcuts. Hopefully, EA will release new tracks for download to add to the game. Iíve already seen quite a few fan sites that have tracks for download, my favorite being www.nfs-planet.de.
The music in the game drives me crazy. Itís really that simple. Itís repetitive and uncreative, and the game lacks the support to add your own music. Most games let you select the tracks you want, not with HP2. I left the music off all of the time while playing. It was that annoying. Of course, if you like the music, itís different, but, in my case, I couldnít stand it.
Everything else in the game sounded excellent. All of the engines on the cars had a different sound, and they all sounded realistic. No other concerns with the sound.
I thought that the graphics in HP2 looked pretty good, but occasionally, graphics in previous versions looked better! Thereís no weather in the game, and that was annoying. The only way to know what kind of weather you have is by looking at the sky.
Damage was not too impressive either. Sometimes, the cars would get beaten up, but then some other times, there would be almost nothing done to the car. Of course it wasnít too bad, but it did get annoying.
I ran the game with a Athlon XP 2200+ and a ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, I experienced no problems performance-wise when playing at 1280x1024 with all the settings turned up on high although there was the occasional chug, but nothing too noticeable. To get the game running completely smooth, I had to bring it down to 1024x768. Itís surprising that a game that doesnít even look too good requires such heavy system requirements.
The game has a wide variety of modes to choose from. I liked all of the modes, but what stood out were ďSingle RaceĒ and ďMultiplayer.Ē
Be the Cop:
This is simply the coolest thing about this game, and about any racing game Iíve ever seen. Itís fun, simple, and really cool!
The game features a nice selection of cars, about 40 in all, ranging from a Lotus to a McLaren F1. The handling of the cars was unrealistic, but nevertheless, they were fun, which is the point of the game.
Sound effects were also impressive. Each car had a different engine sound, and background noises were also nice. They did a great job here.
Graphics were nice in this game, and had many details. But, overall, the graphics were nothing too special. I also didnít like the fact that there was just about no weather in the game.
System requirements for unusually high for a game that had nice graphics, but nothing spectacular. I could run it, with occasional choppiness using an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro at 1280x1024 with all of the settings on high. Itís surprising that not even the most powerful video card at the time canít even run a game that doesnít look anything more then good.
The music was probably on my top ten list of the worst music in a computer game, but, of course, itís my opinion. From my point of view, it was horrible and extremely annoying. Therefore, it lowers my overall score of the game.
The game has very few tracks to choose from. Although I liked all of them, the fact remains the same. Playing the same tracks over and over again gets very boring. Even when racing on a track thatís backwards or mirrored, it still seems to be the same track, making it remain boring. Fortunately, there are many websites that offer downloadable tracks to add-on to your game for no cost.
Finally, damage was also unimpressive. If you hit a tree at 200MPH+, chances are your car will be severely damaged, but not in this game. Most of the time, not even a scratch will appear on the car when a situation like this happens. However, when the game realizes a crash takes place, the car does look somewhat realistic.
Overall, my experience was good with Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, but itís problems failed to make it great. As an overall racing game, I would rate it no more then a 6/10, but itís unique ďBe the CopĒ mode changed my mind about that. Not only is the mode only included in this game, but it is very fun. I would have bought this game just for this feature.
However, once again, the problems in this game hold it back from receiving a high review. Itís music gave me a headache, there was way too few tracks, the damage was horrible, and performance wasnít too impressive either. These are fairly big issues, which lower the final grade of the game significantly, which can be easily seen below.
So do I recommend the game? If you are looking for a fun, unique racing game, then yes. If you are looking for a realistic racing game, look elsewhere. Either way, check out the demo at www.needforspeed.com. Itís always worth trying it out first.