The Need for Speed

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This article is about the first Need for Speed video game. For the rest of the series, see Need for Speed. For other uses, see Need for Speed (disambiguation).
The Need for Speed
The NFS Video cover.jpg
North American 3DO cover art
Developer(s) Pioneer Productions (3DO, DOS & SAT)
EA Canada (PS1)
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Series Need for Speed
Platform(s) 3DO, DOS, PlayStation, Sega Saturn
Release date(s) 3DO
NA 19940831August 31, 1994
JP 19941209December 9, 1994
  • NA August 31, 1995
NA 19960320March 20, 1996
EU 19960320March 20, 1996
JP 19960419April 19, 1996
Sega Saturn
NA 1996
EU 1996
JP 19961220December 20, 1996
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed, later released in Japan as Road & Track Presents: Over Drivin', is a 1994 racing video game first released on the 3DO and then ported over to DOS, PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It is the first title released in the Need for Speed series. The premise of the game involves racing in sport cars, including several exotic models and Japanese imports. The game was noted for its realism and audio and video commentaries. Electronic Arts teamed up with automotive magazine Road & Track to match vehicle behavior, including the mimicking of the sounds made by the vehicles' gear control levers. The game also contained precise vehicle data with spoken commentary, several "magazine style" images of each car interior and exterior and even short video clips highlighting the vehicles set to music.


  • Featured both closed circuits and three point-to-point tracks, each divided into three stages. For the latter, traffic vehicles appeared in races.
  • Included police pursuits, in which the player could be ticketed or arrested after a police car succeeded in catching up with the player. The player was arrested if he/she received a third police ticket, while the Sega Saturn version only required two tickets for the player to be arrested.
  • Featured detailed specifications, history, audio commentaries and real-life videos of each vehicle presented in the game (except Warrior).
  • Featured data and records of each race, during. These included speed, track records and racer position.
  • Replay feature allowed the player to view a saved race. Multiple camera views, playback speed and video navigation were offered.
  • A special feature for finishing the tournament's (or entering the cheat) was "rally" mode. The car dynamics were changed to make for a faster 'arcade' experience.
  • Featured a 2-player head-to-head racing mode, which required computers connected via modem (The multiplayer mode can be played in DOSBox over a regular TCP/IP connection).


There are a total of seven tracks in the game, with one of them being a bonus track that can be unlocked in the game. They are listed as "City", "Coastal", "Alpine", "Rusty Springs", "Autumn Valley", "Vertigo Ridge" and the bonus track, "Lost Vegas".


Eight cars are available to choose from in the game, and a secret ninth car known as the Warrior, which is in purple and is a special car rather than being a licensed model. It can be accessed via a special game code if entered correctly. The eight cars featured (besides the Warrior) include the Toyota Supra Turbo (colored red), Acura NSX (colored silver), Mazda RX-7 (colored yellow), Porsche 911 Carrera (colored Dark blue), Dodge Viper RT-10 (colored royal blue), Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR-1 (colored Dark green), Lamborghini Diablo VT (colored black), and the Ferrari 512TR (colored red).


Menu & Showroom Themes

  • Alistair Hirst - "Showroom Music"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Ferrari 512TR Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Porsche 911 Carrera Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Lamborghini Diablo VT Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Acura NSX Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Mazda RX-7 Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Toyota Supra Turbo Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Showcase"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Dodge Viper RT/10 Showcase"

Racing Themes


  • Saki Kaskas - "Rampant"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Toxic Exhaust"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Scud"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Overheated"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Route 99"
  • Alistair Hirst - "Power Slide" (Main Menu)


  • Jeff Dyck - "Fill'er Up"
  • Jeff Dyck - "Odyssey"
  • Jeff Dyck & Angela Somerville - "Aaeeyyaaeeyyaa"
  • Jeff Dyck - "Hideous"
  • Jeff Dyck - "Funk'n Bubba"
  • Jeff Dyck - "Chronos"


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (SAT) 95.00%[2]
(PC) 83.00%[3]
(PS) 68.50%[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly (3DO) 8.0/10[1]
GameSpot (PC) 8.3/10[5]
PC Power 95%[6]

The Need For Speed was met with positive reviews. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the 3DO version a 8.0 average, with two of them giving the game a 9.0 or higher. They praised the game's realistic graphics and sounds, addictive gameplay, and exceptionally clever use of full motion video.[1] GamePro gave it a rave review as well, commenting that the selection of cars "will leave car buffs drooling" and the realistic graphics and handling of each vehicle "infuse the game with taut realism and fascinating variety." They expressed disappointment over the lack of two-player mode, but felt that the exceptionally challenging enemy AI largely makes up for it.[7]

Aggregating review website GameRankings gave the Saturn version 95.00%,[2] the PC version 83.00%[3] and the PlayStation version 68.50%.[4] British magazine PC Power gave the DOS version a score of 95%, praising car handling, graphics and overall presentation, but criticizing hardware requirements and sound.[6] Jim Varner of GameSpot gave the game a "Great" rating of 8.3/10 citing "With its marvelous attention to detail, exotic course design, and straightforward gameplay, this game is a true winner. Simply put, The Need for Speed is the next best thing to owning a $200,000 sports car!".[5] Other magazines were more critical, with PSM criticising the "obtrusive graphics", and saying that it "isn't an immediately enjoyable game - the idiosyncracies only serve to annoy."[8]

The game reached number 5 in the UK sales chart.[9]

The Need for Speed: Special Edition[edit]

In 1996, an edition of The Need for Speed, The Need for Speed: Special Edition, was released only on PC CD-ROM, containing DOS and Windows 95 versions. The Windows 95 version supports DirectX 2 and IPX networking, and includes two new tracks ("Transtropolis" and "Burnt Sienna") and various enhancements in the game engine. Special Edition is the last game in the Need for Speed series to support DOS, as subsequent releases for the PC only run on Microsoft Windows 95 or above.

However, it can still be run under 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP and later Windows OSes using DOSBox (an x86 DOS emulator) for the DOS version of the game.


  1. ^ a b "The Need for Speed Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (69) (EGM Media, LLC). April 1995. p. 38. 
  2. ^ a b "Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed (Saturn) reviews at". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b "The Need for Speed (PC) reviews at". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed (PlayStation) reviews at". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  5. ^ a b Varner, Jim. The Need for Speed review. GameSpot. May 26, 1996.
  6. ^ a b Butt, Damian (October 1995), "The Need for Speed", PC Power (22): 38–41 
  7. ^ "ProReview: Road & Track Presents the Need for Speed". GamePro (IDG) (68): 94. March 1995. 
  8. ^ Need for Speed review, Official UK PlayStation Magazine, April 1996, issue 5, page 66
  9. ^ Gallup UK PlayStation sales chart, August 1996, published in Official UK PlayStation Magazine issue 9

External links[edit]