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.

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.


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 (then known as Jeff 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.

An obscure soundtrack called Excessive Speed! The Music from Need for Speed II was released on April 28, 1997, containing twenty-two songs from the game.[3][4]

Excessive Speed! The Music from Need for Speed II
No. Title Music Usage (Course, showroom, etc.) Length
1. "Headless Horse"   Jeff Dyck, Saki Kaskas Proving Grounds (Norway) 5:23
2. "Feta Cheese"   Saki Kaskas Mediterraneo (Greece) 4:05
3. "Esprit"   Romolo Di Prisco Lotus Esprit V8 0:42
4. "Corroboree"   Jeff Dyck Outback (Australia) 2:45
5. "Hell Bent for Lederhosen"   Alistair Hirst North Country (Northern Europe) 5:12
6. "Ford GT90"   Koko Productions Ford GT90 0:36
7. "Cerebral Plumbing"   Crispin Hands Game credits 4:55
8. "Sound Stage Strut"   Jay Weinland Monolithic Studios (United States) 4:12
9. "GT1v2"   Romolo Di Prisco, Saki Kaskas Lotus Elise GT1 0:31
10. "Kangchenjunga" (Titled "K2" on the soundtrack) Alistair Hirst Mystic Peaks (Nepal) 5:19
11. "Pavlova"   Jeff Dyck Outback (Australia) 2:42
12. "ItalCala"   Koko Productions Italdesign Calà 0:40
13. "Fasolatha"   Jeff Dyck, Saki Kaskas Mediterraneo (Greece) 3:31
14. "Gore"   Jeff Dyck, Saki Kaskas Monolithic Studios (United States) 4:57
15. "Jag"   Saki Kaskas, Koko Productions Jaguar XJ220 0:44
16. "Sanoqoua"   Saki Kaskas Pacific Spirit (Canada) 4:17
17. "Halling Ass" (Also known as "Halling It") Robert Ridihalgh Proving Grounds (Norway) 2:49
18. "Nashat"   Jeff Dyck, Saki Kaskas Mystic Peaks (Nepal) 8:22
19. "Heinerklingle"   Jeff Dyck North Country (Northern Europe) 3:38
20. "McLaren"   Romolo Di Prisco McLaren F1 0:41
21. "Siwash Rock"   Saki Kaskas Pacific Spirit (Canada) 3:23
22. "Menu"   Romolo Di Prisco Menus 4:01

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.

The game's menu theme was given a dubstep remix in Need for Speed: The Run.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS1) 71.39%[5]
(PC) 68.25%[6]
Metacritic (PS1) 71/100[1]
Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 7.8 out of 10[2]
GameSpot 7.0/10[7]
IGN 6.0/10[8]
OPM (UK) 5/10[9]
Adrenaline Vault 4.5/5 stars[10]

Need for Speed II was met with mixed reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation version 71.39% and 71/100[5][1] and the PC version 68.25%.[6] A GameSpot reviewer liked the game but felt most of the roads were "outrageous" and that the cars would be unfamiliar to many.[7] 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.[10] Another review like the crisper graphics, smoother animation, rich colors and increased detail compared to the original.[11]

Criticism of the game stemmed from its being easier to play and therefore less realistic than its predecessor.[12] An IGN review felt the game was not as good as the original.[8] Some reviewers felt the steering was a little "jerky," and one went as far as to describe the graphical details as poor.[8] Another issue was that the game required a fast computer at the time, to display the graphics at the highest setting.[10][12] 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] The Official PlayStation Magazine said the game had "atrocious handling" and that it soon got boring.[9]

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. ^ Excessive Speed! The Music from Need for Speed II at Discogs
  4. ^ "Excessive Speed! The Music from Need for Speed II". 
  5. ^ a b "Need for Speed II (PlayStation) reviews at". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  6. ^ a b "Need for Speed II (PC) reviews at". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  7. ^ a b Tasos Kaiafas (1997-05-15). "Need for Speed II Review for PC". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  8. ^ a b c "Need for Speed II". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  9. ^ a b Need For Speed 2 review, Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Future Publishing, June 1997, issue 20, page 117
  10. ^ a b c Shawn Quigley (1997-05-11). "Need for Speed 2 PC review". Adrenaline Vault., Inc. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  11. ^ "The Need for Speed 2 by Electronic Arts. NFS 2 Download and Review". Old Games Collection. 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  12. ^ a b Navneet Prakash (2008-03-22). "The Evolution of Need for Speed". UNML. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 

External links[edit]