Need for Speed II

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Need for Speed II
NFS II (PC, US) cover art.jpg
Developer(s) EA Canada (PS)
EA Seattle (PC)
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Series Need for Speed
Platform(s) PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) PlayStation
NA 19970331March 31, 1997

EU 199705May 1997

JP 19970703July 3, 1997
Microsoft Windows
  • NA April 30, 1997
  • EU 1997
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Need for Speed II, released in Japan as Over Drivin' II, is a racing video game released in 1997. It is a part of the Need for Speed series and is the second game in the series, following Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed.


Like its predecessor, Need for Speed II allows players to race exotic cars, either against computer-controlled opponents or human opponents via a LAN, modem or serial connection. There are three distinct gameplay modes:

  • Single Race is largely carried over from the previous game, in which a player simply chooses a car and a course and completes a single race. The player can customize both the number and type of opponents as well as the number of laps to be completed.
  • Tournament is also carried over from The Need for Speed, in which the player must complete a series of races successfully to unlock a bonus car.
  • Knockout is a new type of tournament to the series. It consists of a series of 2-lap races with 8 opponents; the last-place finisher at the end of each race is eliminated from the competition. Successfully completing an entire Knockout (being the last surviving racer) unlocks a bonus track.

A total of 9 cars are available to race on seven different courses. The nine cars include the McLaren F1, Ferrari F50, Ford GT90, Jaguar XJ220, Lotus GT1, Lotus Esprit V8, Italdesign Cala, Isdera Commendatore 112i, and Ford Indigo.

Unlike The Need for Speed, which featured a mix of both point-to-point and circuit courses, Need for Speed II features circuit courses only. Each track's scenery is inspired by real-life locations around the world:

A Jaguar XJ220 racing on the Mystic Peaks track

Unlike the previous game's tracks, which were realistically rendered generic locales, Need for Speed II's tracks mix real-world landmarks with elements of fantasy, in a somewhat similar fashion to the Cruis'n series of arcade games. For example, the Outback course has the player racing from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House to the rural Australian Outback and back again in a matter of minutes.

Need for Speed II also introduced several new elements to the game. For the first time, players could customize the color of each car; additionally, a basic tuner allowed players to adjust each car's performance elements, including gear ratios, tires, and spoilers. Unlike The Need for Speed, however, Need for Speed II did not feature any police chases.

Special features[edit]

As in the original Need for Speed, the game features detailed specifications, history, and audio commentaries on each vehicle. The largest feature are several full motion video (FMV) segments for each of the cars, several of them being the professionally produced videos for the concept vehicles. Additionally, each vehicle interior could be viewed through genuine photographs taken in a 360 degree panoramic view. This marks the last time such features would be found in the Need for Speed series; future games render the car showcases completely in 3D.

A large number of cheat codes were included with the game. Some of these codes replaced the chosen car with a vehicle from the games backdrop traffic. These vehicles could then be raced instead and had more realistic performance. Background vehicles included a Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Variant, Mazda MX5, Jeep Comanche, Volkswagen Transporter, Yellow School Bus, Citroën 2CV, Jeep YJ, Toyota Landcruiser, Audi 100 Quattro, two Unimogs, BMW 520i, Lincoln Town Car Limousine, Mercedes-Benz SL 500, and Volvo 850 R station wagon. Some codes also allow the player to drive various parts of the scenery including a large green T-rex, a little wooden kiosk and a western style wagon. Other codes would affect the driving experience, such as simulating night driving or increasing the game's in-universe gravity.


Need for Speed II was developed by EA Canada. The lead programmer for the game was Laurent Ancessi with Wei Shoong Teh and Brad Gour as senior programmers.[1] To ensure the physics of fast car handling and performance were as accurate as possible the programmers collaborated with the manufactures of each vehicle.[2]


As does its predecessor, the section of music present in Need for Speed II consists of both instrumental "rock" and "techno" music. The music was composed, performed and produced by Alistair Hirst, Crispin Hands, Jeff van Dyck, Koko Productions, Robert Ridihalgh, Romolo Di Prisco and Saki Kaskas. The game's racing music are composed in a way that each two musical tracks are best played in specific racing tracks, using specific musical instruments and songs relative to the track's location alongside rock and techno musical instruments. The game also allows the player to enable what is known as "interactive music," which allows the game to play specific breaks when the player is driving along a specific portion of a racing track. The feature is also programmed to react to the player crashing, driving slowly, or leading from a pack of racers.

The songs used in this game are:

Racing Themes
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Headless Horse" (Norway)
  • Saki Kaskas - "Feta Cheese" (Greece)
  • Jeff Dyck - "Corroboree" (Australia)
  • Alistair Hirst - "Hell Bent for Lederhosen" (Northern Europe)
  • Jay Weinland - "Sound Stage Strut" (United States)
  • Saki Kaskas - "Siwash Rock" (Canada)
  • Saki Kaskas - "Sanoqoua" (Canada)
  • Jeff Dyck - "Pavlova" (Australia)
  • Alistair Hirst - "Kangchenjunga" (Nepal)
  • Robert Ridihalgh - "Angry Ghosts" (Mexico) (Only in NFS II SE)
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Fasolatha" (Greece)
  • Robert Ridihalgh - "Halling Ass" (Halling It) (Norway)
  • Alistair Hirst - "Refried Jumping Beans" (Mexico) (Only in NFS II SE)
  • Jeff Dyck - "Heinerklinge" (Northern Europe)
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Nashat" (Nepal)
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Gore" (United States)
Menu, Showroom & Other
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Title Screen"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Main Menu"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Romulus 3" (Showroom)*
  • Rom di Prisco - "Ferrari F355 F1 Showcase" (Only in NFS II SE)
  • Jeff Dyck - "Ferrari F50 Showcase"
  • Koko Productions - "Ford GT90 Showcase"
  • Jeff Dyck - "Ford Indigo Showcase"
  • Robert Ridihalgh - "Ford Mustang III Showcase" (Only in NFS II SE)
  • Koko Productions - "Italdesign Cala Showcase"
  • Rom di Prisco & Saki Kaskas - "Italdesign Nazca C2 Showcase" (Only in NFS II SE)
  • Saki Kaskas - "Jaguar XJ220 Showcase"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Lotus Esprit V8 Showcase"
  • Rom Di Prisco & Saki Kaskas - "Lotus GT1 Showcase"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "McLaren F1 Showcase"
  • Jeff Dyck & Saki Kaskas - "Demos"
  • Crispin Hands - "Cerebral Plumbing" (Credits)

(*"Romulus 3" is later used in Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit as the Main Menu theme).

These traits are short lived in the initial portion of the series, with only its Special Edition and its successor, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998), reusing these features. Only with the release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002) were both rock and electronic music featured in the play list again, while interactive music was only reintroduced to a limited extent with the release of Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005), which extensively uses the feature in police pursuits, the music reacting to the heat level the player is currently in, and the player hiding or being arrested. Need for Speed: Carbon (2006) features interactive music additionally in canyon races, reacting to whether the player is in the lead, or if the player wins or rams through a guard rail and falls over the edge of the road.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS1) 71.39%[3]
(PC) 68.25%[4]
Metacritic (PS1) 71/100[1]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 7.8 out of 10[2]
GameSpot 7.0/10[5]
IGN 6.0/10[6]
Adrenaline Vault 4.5/5 stars[7]

Need for Speed II was met with mixed reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation version 71.39% and 71/100[3][1] and the PC version 68.25%.[4] A GameSpot reviewer liked the game but felt most of the roads were "outrageous" and that the cars would be unfamiliar to many.[5] An Adrenaline Vault review described the game as a "good overall driving experience" with easy installation, realistic sound effects and both an excellent interface and music.[7] Another review like the crisper graphics, smoother animation, rich colors and increased detail compared to the original.[8]

Criticism of the game stemmed from its being easier to play and therefore less realistic than its predecessor.[9] An IGN review felt the game was not as good as the original.[6] Some reviewers felt the steering was a little "jerky," and one went as far as to describe the graphical details as poor.[6] Another issue was that the game required a fast computer at the time, to display the graphics at the highest setting.[7][9] A reviewer for Computer and Video Games didn't appreciate the combination of super realist cars being driven on fantasy tracks and thought that the crashes "look and feel wrong".[2]

Special Edition[edit]

Released on November 6, 1997 in the United States and February 2, 1998 in Japan and Europe, the special edition of NFS II includes one extra track, four extra cars, three bonus cars, a new driving style called "wild", and 3dfx Glide hardware-acceleration support.


  1. ^ a b c "Need for Speed II (PlayStation) reviews at". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b c Duncan McDonald (13 August 2001). "PC Review: Need For Speed 2 Review". Future Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Need for Speed II (PlayStation) reviews at". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Need for Speed II (PC) reviews at". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  5. ^ a b Tasos Kaiafas (1997-05-15). "Need for Speed II Review for PC". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  6. ^ a b c "Need for Speed II". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  7. ^ a b c Shawn Quigley (1997-05-11). "Need for Speed 2 PC review". Adrenaline Vault., Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  8. ^ "The Need for Speed 2 by Electronic Arts. NFS 2 Download and Review". Old Games Collection. 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  9. ^ a b Navneet Prakash (2008-03-22). "The Evolution of Need for Speed". UNML. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 

External links[edit]