The Need for Speed series from Electronic Arts is perhaps one of the most successful computer driving game series of all time. We have tested Need For Speed 2 Special Edition released in 1997. The difference between the regular version of NFS 2 and NFS 2 SE is mainly that four new cars and a track has been added. But also 3Dfx support were added, although it doesn’t matter much if you play on the game on a modern computer.
In the game there are a total of 12 sports cars, Ferrari 355 F1, Ford Mustang Mach III, Ford Indigo, McLaren F1, Jaguar XJ220, Ferrari F50, Lotus Esprit V8, Ford GT90, Lotus GT 1, Calá and Commendatore 112i. All these cars come with a multimedia showcase with videos, images, the history behind the car and brand and much more goodies. If you are into cars the showcases is a goldmine.
The tracks in NFS 2 SE are perfectly good, however if you look closely you will notice that parts of the tracks can be seen in later Need For Speed games, feels a bit cheapish by EA. Anyway the tracks are good, especially the Mediterranean inspired track in which you breeze by small villages, old temples and windmills.
Driving the cars is pretty easy, especially when you choose the automatic transmission option. However if you are more of a simulation kind of person you won’t be satisfied at all. For example you get no advance warning that you are about to loose control of the car, in most real cars you feel it long before it actually takes place. Also the speeds you will reach are very unrealistic, for example you reach 290 km/h like nothing even when the road turns.
If the speedometer wasn’t present you could just as easily think your were driving 50km/h, because there is no real feeling o speed in the game. If you play NFS 2 SE as an arcade game though you will have tons of fun and an intense experience. There are also several multiplayer options that add to the experience even more (such as LAN, Modem, Direct Link & Split Screen).
I guess this game will be the closest I will ever get to hear a real Ferrari F50 engine roaring. The engine sounds in the game are from the real cars. Also the dash is modelled from the real cars, so at least the game is realistic in that sense.
What I’m surprised by is that this game doesn’t feel old, sure the graphics aren’t as great as they are today with shadows and stuff but the game haven’t fallen into the dark abyss that many other old driving games does. That is the fun isn’t gone because of the bad graphics and sounds.