Following its prior siblings in the Need for Speed series, comes Need for Speed: High Stakes, the fourth chapter in this racing/pursuit set of games from Electronic Arts. This time around, there are new cars, new courses and some other little features that add to the intensity.
When you pop in the cd, you'll notice the interface is a little different from previous incarnations of the game. Although, it is still very easy to use and navigate. The game modes are as follows : Career mode, Single player, 2 player split screen and a internet/multi-player mode. Career mode lets you pick a car then enter racing circuits in order to gain cash so that you can buy better cars or repair a current vehicle. Some of the vehicles you can drive include : Porsche 911's, a Mercedes and BMW's. Each vehicle has its strengths and weaknesses as well as a different price tag. If you don't feel like entering the career circuit right away, you can go at it in the pursuit mode, where you can chase down speeders as a cop or be chased by the cops yourself. This mode is quite a lot of fun as you get to hear the police ramble on about how they are setting up road blocks and then you get to laugh when you bust through them. There is also a new mode where you can go head to head against a friend and make your cars as the bet. Now that's high stakes!
The game presents itself in a very slick, detailed manner, right down to the chrome on the car. You get to see cities and monuments as you drive by, rendered in full 3D thanks to 3dfx acceleration. The cars themselves look great. They will display damage all over their frame when you crash or skid out, making the performance of the automobile weaker. Many special effects are evident as well like rain, sun-flare and skid marks. Each of these aspects really pumps up the realism factor in Need for Speed: High Stakes. An extra bonus is a rockin' soundtrack that keeps your feet tapping when your outrunning the fuzz.
There are also a plethora of options for you to explore as well. Graphic detail can be adjusted for low end machines or you can change the weather conditions for the track. Replaying a race is always lots of fun as well. You can get a look at the action from any angle or perspective.
Multi-player and internet support is also in full force for this title. Modem, LAN, TCP/IP and internet play are all capable. Nothing beats going head to head against eight friends, or foes, in a battle for road supremacy. Although, a good machine is probably a wise idea when playing this thing over the internet, or even normally, as slow down does occur.
This is a great follow up to the earlier games in the Need for Speed series, as it has many new cars and features for you to try out. Also with the 3D card and internet support, this game is a winner.
Graphics: Sleek looking roads, cities and structures. Can't forget those cars either. Just great.
Sound: Great soundtrack and some solid voice-overs for the cops.
Enjoyment: Pursuit mode can be fun, likewise with getaway. Can get a tad repetitious in career play.
Replay Value: Lots of game modes like career, single races (pursuit, getaway) and multiplayer/internet play. Lots of cars to get as well.
People who downloaded Need for Speed: High Stakes have also downloaded:
Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, Need For Speed 2 Special Edition, Need for Speed 5: Porsche Unleashed, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Need for Speed Underground 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed: Underground, Need for Speed: Carbon
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