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After the huge success of Road Rash and Fifa Soccer, Electronic Arts released another hit for the 3DO console with The Need for Speed. Developed by the creators of the famous racing game series called "Test Drive", The Need for Speed is the best racing game I have ever played.
You have a choice of eight terrific cars from the Lamborghini Diablo to the Ferrari 512 TR through the Porsche 911, the Acura NSX, etc. When you select a car, statistics are provided with figures and narration and you can even watch some video clips to see the car in action. It is already great to watch the movies, but your heart will really start pounding when you drive them on the roads.
Speaking of roads, The Need for Speed offers you three different tracks: The City, Coastal and Alpine. One would think that it isn't enough, but each track is divided into three segments of about 4 miles long which gives you a total of about 12 miles per track. The longest one is the Alpine with 14.4 miles, but it is also the hardest. Each new segment provides you with an increasing difficulty and the landscapes are so realistic that you wonder if you are daydreaming.
In The Need for Speed, your goal will be to complete the tracks in a minimum amount of time to beat your adversary. The game also brings live videos of your opponents on screen, and if he is complementing you when you win the race, he will rather rag on you most other times. In case you do not want to hear all of his sarcasms, you can choose the option to remove the videos.
Three levels of difficulty are available: Novice and Intermediate with auto-shift, and Pro with manual-shift. Some reviewer from an American publication claimed that the game cried badly for speed. Well, we can only say one thing: he never played with the game or he was too scared to play the game at a difficulty level higher than 'Gee, I'm too young to drive'.
It is true that playing at the novice level does not give you an intense sensation as the speed is limited and the acceleration is rather slow, but it is completely different when you choose Intermediate or Pro. At those levels, the game reveals its true possibilities. It is very fast, intense, with very fast action that will blow your mind.
One of my favorite features is the replay option. During the race or at the end of a segment, you can choose the replay option to watch with multiple camera views your exploits. You can turn the camera on its axis towards the left or right to change the angle of view, you also can freeze the tape, play it frame by frame or in slow motion at different speeds, rewind or fast forward. It is simply astonishing to see how many options the game provides.
When driving the car, there are three possible views. The front view which puts you inside the car, another one above the rear bumper and the third, back and above the car.
The accident scenes are numerous and varied with your car slipping or flying off the road turning over on itself to crash down the road onto other vehicles. The Highlight Reel option will let the program choose the best moments of the course which will often be the crashes.
Whoever plays with The Need for Speed will be instantly addicted by this tremendous game that makes the 3DO one of the best consoles available on the market.
OVERALL RATING *****
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