Need for Speed: High Stakes

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Need for Speed: High Stakes
NFS High Stakes box.jpg
Cover art featuring a Porsche 911 Turbo and a Ferrari 550 Maranello
Developer(s)EA Canada (PS)
EA Seattle (PC)
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Producer(s)Hanno Lemke
Programmer(s)Daniel Teh (PS1)
Sam Deasy (PC)
Composer(s)Rom Di Prisco
Saki Kaskas
Crispin Hands
SeriesNeed for Speed
Platform(s)PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
  • NA: March 1, 1999
  • EU: 1999
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: June 1, 1999
  • EU: 1999
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Need for Speed: High Stakes, known as Need for Speed: Road Challenge in Europe and South America, is a 1999 racing video game released by EA for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows.


As in its predecessor, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, High Stakes retains standard races and police pursuits in game, as well as introducing a new form of tournament (High Stakes), and two new pursuit modes (Getaway and Time Trap). The game also introduces a Career Mode, as described in the subsequent section. The physics are improved compared to those in Hot Pursuit, which included for the first time damage modelling which affects both the appearance and performance of a given vehicle.

Career mode[edit]

Career Mode has a chronological set of tournaments that challenges the player to complete a set of races for trophies to unlock bonus cars and tracks. This incorporates a monetary reward system that allows a player to purchase vehicles, performance upgrades, and repairs with the money they earn by winning tournaments. In addition, most "Tiers" (selection of 1 to 5 individual competitions) require that the player compete against one opponent in a "High Stakes" race, where they bet their current car. There are more tournaments on the PC version, and they are different from the console one - for example, the PlayStation version separates the Career into two separate modes, Tournament and Special Event, with the second being optional.

High Stakes mode[edit]

High Stakes race is a challenge, wherein the winner of the race will obtain the loser's car, while the loser loses his car. On the PlayStation version, it is a separate two-Player mode, which required two memory cards inserted and deleted the loser's car immediately after the race to prevent reloading. On the PC version, High Stakes races are only found in Career Mode, where most Tiers include at least one High Stakes race mode, where the player bets their car against an opponent with a car of similar performance. The player must own more than one car to participate in a High Stakes race.

Hot Pursuit mode[edit]

Hot Pursuit mode, which was first introduced in the first game, remains in High Stakes. There are three modes in total, two of which were new to the series.

  • Classic: Classic mode is essentially similar to the Pursuit mode in Need For Speed 3, which allows the player to race against another opponent in a track filled with police cars, or drive as a police to arrest all the racers in an event.
  • Getaway: High Stakes introduces Getaway mode, in which the player must evade the police alone within a set amount of time, or if the player plays as a policeman, they must arrest the speeder in a certain amount of time. If the speeder has not been arrested when the time is up (whether the player is a speeder or a cop), the player has the option to quit to the Race Results menu or to continue play for as long as possible. The PC set amount of time is 2 minutes.
  • Time Trap: There is also a new Time Trap mode, in which a player, as the racer, is required to complete a race within a set amount of time; while playing as the police, a player is required to arrest all racers within a similar time limit. In the PlayStation version, you have to arrest 10 speeders within a set amount of time. The player there can also call for backup - a feature not available in the PC version, as well as setting up spike strips and road blocks is different from the PC version. In multiplayer Pursuit Mode, the players can either race against the police, become cops themselves or, alternatively, one player can be the cop and the other can be the speeder. Also in the PlayStation version, if the player is the police, his car will not be at the starting line behind the speeder, like it is in the PC version, but instead at various hotspots, like the AI police.

Note* The Mercedes SLK 230, Ferrari 550 Maranello, Ferrari F50, Mercedes CLK-GTR, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 Turbo, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec, Holden MHRT Commodore Pro Cup cars, Police Helicopter and all cars with upgrades are not available in Hot Pursuit mode.


Pursuit AI and tactics in High Stakes are very much similar to that of Hot Pursuit, with the exception of several improvements. Jersey barriers, hay bales, traffic and flares are added into roadblocks, while a new form of police vehicle, the police helicopter (also a bonus playable car only in the PS version's Test Drive mode, that is unlocked with a cheat code or after 10 speeders are arrested with the Pursuit Diablo SV) is introduced, allowing the police to trace the player's car from the air, using a searchlight at night. The helicopter is, however, unable to detect the player hiding in buildings or tunnels, which do not appear in the PlayStation version. Police vehicles remain relatively diverse, with inherited police cars from Hot Pursuit, as well as several new rides, including Porsche 911 Turbo, BMW M5, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Chevrolet Corvette C5 and Chevrolet Caprice-based models of color schemes corresponding to their geographical location. With a command in the PC version, one could even drive any of the said vehicles while "being the cop" in Pursuit Mode. In the console version, if the player is racing in Hot Pursuit Mode in single or duel races, and during the race, the normal police cars are outraced, an AI officer with a supercar will join the chase in an attempt to stop the player.

Police radio chatter is also unique to the country the tracks are set in, with police accents in Scotland, England or Australia (in the Australian version, on the Durham Road track, the cops will still speak with the British accent, despite being set in Australia) distinctively different from each other and to those from the United States or Canada, and can be toggled on/off and replaced by American/Canada police chatter in the track options menu in the PlayStation version. Exceptions to this include police based in non-English-speaking countries, which are substituted by American/Canada police chatter. However, in the PlayStation version, in the track options menu, it can be set to Local Police Mode, which allows European police chatter in German and French.

Damage engine and upgrades[edit]

Another innovation is the introduction of damage models. The player's car, those of the opponents, traffic and police vehicles are susceptible to physical and visual damage, ranging from broken taillights, wobbling wheels and a dented bodywork, to performance penalties in the form of damaged suspensions or a battered engine. Such damages are easily inflicted by hitting objects (including signboards), landing too hard, or rolling over, and may hamper their performance and victory in races. Vehicle damage can be toggled on or off in standard modes, but Career mode permanently enables this feature, requiring the player to spend cash on any repairs after completing a race in the tournament. This mode also allows players, for the first time in the franchise, to upgrade cars, although the feature simply consists of switching between three upgrade levels for each car, each differently affecting the performance and look of the vehicle. In the PlayStation version, damage is a bit different in some areas from its PC counterpart. Unlike the PC version, the different damage includes losing spoilers and lightbars on Police Cars, which would automatically turn them into Slicktop units. Also, unlike the PC version, damage is automatically repaired in Tournament and Special Events modes, depending if there is enough money in the player's account after the race.

Local Law Enforcement[edit]

Car list[edit]

Police Vehicles[edit]


Online features[edit]

In 1998, Electronic Arts developed a beta version of an online gameplay server called Electonic Arts Online Racing for High Stakes. Despite numerous problems requiring unending patience on the part of the players, the Online version of this game developed a loyal fanbase. When Electronic Arts took down this beta server in October 2003, as well as the online server for Porsche Unleashed, several of the fans of these games united to create their own online system to support the two games. The IPLounge program, coupled with the High Stakes Online Scoring System (HOSS), has been serving a small diehard community of fans racing in High Stakes online since October 2004.


In High Stakes, instead of the mixture of electronic and rock music genres from Hot Pursuit, only electronic music is available. The interactive music feature, including pursuit music, was also dropped and themed tracks were no longer used (although it was reintroduced in Need for Speed: Most Wanted for pursuits; for regular races this feature was used again only in Carbon). Instead, the playlist randomizes racing music on each circuit. In the Sony PlayStation version, a pop-up notification appears in the corner of the screen to signify the beginning of new music track, along with the name of the track and the artist that composed the track that is similar to EA TRAX pop-up in Hot Pursuit 2.

Also, in the PC version, users can go to "options" and "audio settings" to listen to songs from audio CDs within the game.[citation needed]

There are 20 songs used in gameplay:

  • Saki Kaskas - "Amorphous Being"
  • Lunatic Calm - "Roll The Dice"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Rock This"
  • Dylan Rhymes - "Naked and Ashamed"
  • Junkie XL - "War"
  • Crispin Hands - "Bionic"
  • The Funk Lab - "I Am Electro"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Liquid Plasma"
  • Junkie XL - "Fight"
  • DJ Icey - "Clutch"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Bring That Beat Back"
  • Dastrix - "Dude In The Moon"
  • Junkie XL - "Def Beat"
  • The Experiment - "Cost Of Freedom"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Globular Cluster"
  • Junkie XL - "No Remorse"
  • Surreal Madrid - "Insanity Sauce"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Road Warrior"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Callista" (replay music in PS1 version)
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Electro Optik" (replay music in PS1 version)

Main Menu & Showroom

  • Rom Di Prisco - "Cygnus Rift"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Paradigm Shifter"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Photon Rez"
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Quantum Singularity"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Bulbular Swirl"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Bulbulous Swirl"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Callista" (Car Select menu music in PC version)
  • Rom Di Prisco - "Groovalicious"
  • Saki Kaskas - "Kaphunk"
  • Rom Di Prisco, Saki Kaskas, Crispin Hands & Robert Ridihalgh - "Runnin'" (Credits)

Voice Actor[edit]

American Speech Recording[edit]

  • Al Murdoch
  • David Kaye
  • Gio Corsi
  • James Conrad
  • Peter New
  • Serena Whitters
  • Darren Schueller

UK Speech Recording[edit]

  • John Langford
  • Claire Beck
  • Gerry Kersey
  • Josh Moron
  • Tanya Myres
  • John Tearney

French Speech Recording[edit]

  • Philippe Bourgogne
  • Véronique Desmadryl
  • Hervé Caradec
  • Michéle Buzynski
  • Thierry Ragueneau
  • Richard Leblond
  • Frédéric Cerdal

German Speech Recording[edit]

  • Egon Hoegen
  • Sonngard Dressler
  • Peter Bauer
  • Gisa Schmidt
  • Helge Heynold
  • Joachim Pütz
  • Erik Borner


Official system requirements[1]
Minimum Recommended
Operating system Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000
CPU Pentium 200 MHz Pentium 266 MHz
Memory 32 MB 64 MB
Free space 50 MB of free space 350 MB of free space
Graphics hardware 2 MB VRAM 8 MB VRAM
Sound hardware 100% DirectX 6.1+ 100% DirectX 6.1+
Network Internet Option available.

High Stakes installs successfully onto Windows XP, but fails to run on some XP installations, displaying the message "Not a valid Win32 application" or something similar. Due to its popularity with Need for Speed fans, many unofficial patches have been produced to not only make it work successfully on XP, but also to increase the maximum polygon count on cars in the game (the original game crashed in car selection menu if the vehicle had more than 5000 polygons due to the mirrored floor; the patch removes this effect). However, even with fixed menus, the game can crash during loading or even when the race is in progress, if high-polygon cars are used; this does not apply to the cars present in the game and with official add-ons), generally improve the graphics and to fix some errors, such as not saving options and constantly displaying only 1Mb free warning.

EA released an official 4.50 "Internet Beta Test Patch" that enables the game to run on XP without any errors.[citation needed] Also, the patch does not update the 3D Setup, so the game cannot recognize most video cards. This can be helped with replacement of d3da.dll by a more modern version, notably the version used for Porsche Unleashed.[citation needed] The game will still not recognize more video cards that it had though, unless a specific fan-made update of 3D Setup is installed.

Note, that in the version of the game before 4.50, it is impossible to add new cars, even with the official EA updates.[citation needed]

The IPLounge Stock- or Expansion Pack makes the game Windows 7-compatible. It includes several features like the newest Patch (4.50), High Polygon Menu Patch, 1MB Error Fix and a Glide Wrapper making the game running smoother and looking better.



Aggregate scores
GameRankings(PS) 84.38%[2]
(PC) 83.08%[3]
Metacritic(PS) 86/100[4]
Review scores
AllGame(PC) 3.5/5 stars[5]
(PS) 3/5 stars[6]
Game Informer8.75/10[10]
Game RevolutionA−[13]
GamePro(PS) 5/5 stars[11]
(PC) 3.5/5 stars[12]
GameSpot(PS) 8.7/10[14]
(PC) 8.6/10[15]
IGN(PS) 8.8/10[16]
(PC) 7.5/10[17]
Next Generation(PS) 4/5 stars[18]
(PC) 4/5 stars[19]
OPM (UK)8/10[21]
OPM (US)4.5/5 stars[20]
PC Gamer (US)82%[22]
The Cincinnati Enquirer3/4 stars[23]

In the German market, Need for Speed: High Stakes' PlayStation version received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) by the end of July 1999,[24] indicating sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[25]

Need for Speed: High Stakes received positive reviews from critics upon release, mostly for the new features such as vehicle damage, vehicle customization and the new career mode, as well as for its exciting police chases. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation version 84.38% and 86/100,[2][4] and GameRankings gave the PC version 83.08%.[3] In Japan, Famitsu gave the PS version a score of 30 out of 40.[8] In the UK, Official UK PlayStation Magazine gave the same version eight out of ten'.[21] However, Official UK PlayStation Magazine also said that (like its previous installment) it could not compete with other racing titles such as Gran Turismo and R4: Ridge Racer Type 4.[citation needed]

Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "High Stakes has taken the impressive gains of Hot Pursuit and added more than enough new features and modes to attract series fans and newcomers alike. If you like fast cars – or just running from the cops – you'll love this game."[18]

Buck DeFore reviewed the PC version of the game for Next Generation, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Greater than the sum of its parts, High Stakes has fun where it counts – in spades."[19]

High Stakes was named the best racing game of 1999 by CNET Gamecenter.[26] It was a runner-up for Computer Games Strategy Plus's prize in this category, which ultimately went to Dirt Track Racing. The editors wrote, "Graphically, it has few peers. And the High Stakes mode really made it more than just another pretty face."[27]


  1. ^ "Need For Speed: High Stakes for Windows". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  2. ^ a b "Need for Speed: High Stakes for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Need for Speed: High Stakes for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Need for Speed: High Stakes for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  5. ^ Wigmore, Glenn. "Need for Speed: High Stakes (PC) – Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  6. ^ The Jaded Critic. "Need for Speed: High Stakes (PS) – Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "Need for Speed: High Stakes (PS)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 1999.
  8. ^ a b "プレイステーション – オーバードライビンIV". Famitsu. 915: 20. June 30, 2006.
  9. ^ "REVIEW for Need for Speed: High Stakes (PS)". GameFan. March 29, 1999.
  10. ^ McNamara, Andy; Anderson, Paul; Reiner, Andrew (April 15, 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes (PS)". Game Informer. Archived from the original on May 20, 2000. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Air Hendrix (1999). "Need for Speed High Stakes Review for PlayStation on". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  12. ^ Chick, Tom (July 31, 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes Review for PC on". GamePro. Archived from the original on August 11, 2004. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  13. ^ Johnson, Sean (April 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes Review (PS)". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (March 31, 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes Review (PS)". GameSpot. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  15. ^ Chin, Elliott (July 9, 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  16. ^ Perry, Douglass C. (March 24, 1999). "Need for Speed 4: High Stakes [sic] (PS)". IGN. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  17. ^ Lopez, Vincent (June 29, 1999). "Need for Speed 4: High Stakes [sic] (PC)". IGN. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 54. Imagine Media. June 1999. p. 91.
  19. ^ a b DeFore, Buck (September 1999). "Finals". Next Generation. Vol. 2 no. 1. Imagine Media. p. 93.
  20. ^ "Need for Speed: High Stakes". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. 1999.
  21. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Road Challenge". Official UK PlayStation Magazine. Future Publishing (46). June 1999.
  22. ^ Mahood, Andy (September 1999). "Need for Speed: High Stakes". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  23. ^ Bottorff, James (1999). "High Stakes passes with flying colors". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  24. ^ "VUD – Sales-Awards Juli '99" (Press release) (in German). Paderborn: Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. August 12, 1999. Archived from the original on June 23, 2000.
  25. ^ Horn, Andre (January 14, 2004). "VUD-Gold-Awards 2003". GamePro Germany (in German). Archived from the original on July 18, 2018.
  26. ^ The Gamecenter Staff (January 21, 2000). "The Gamecenter Awards for 1999!". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on June 6, 2000.
  27. ^ Staff (March 6, 2000). "The Computer Games Awards; The Best Games of 1999". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on March 24, 2005.

External links[edit]