This blog post primarily concerns the PC version of "NFS: High Stakes," but it is also available for the PlayStation 1.
--- Need for Speed: High Stakes ---Being bad never looked so good. The first full-3D Need for Speed (meaning no-more 2D interiors) was "Need for Speed: High Stakes." This game was released in 1999 with seven new tracks (including all courses from NFS3 and three unique race tracks) can be unlocked. New ways to get into trouble (or prevent trouble) were offered as Electronic Arts wanted to raise the stakes- High Stakes, to be exact. This game was sure to give you plenty of intense action.
This was the first fully-3D NFS title. You can look around in your car as well as have a fully-3D interior. It is a beautiful looking game with great graphics and intense gameplay. It is the first Need for Speed to allow you to race with the top up or down for your car. It is also the first Need for Speed with damage, both visually and physically. One wreck too many can greatly hinder your car's performance. Damage can either be visual, physical, or both. You will definitely notice as you keep taking knocks. You will note your car getting crumpled up and headlights stop working with various crashes. Your performance with a damaged car even suffers as you keep driving.
The evolution of NFS3 lied in more ways to get into trouble. Rather than just police cars on the road, there was even a police helicopter that could be sent in to help aid the police in keeping up with your car during pursuits. The police helicopter tracked the moves of an outlaw in helping the police keep track of an evading outlaw racer. Usual tactics such as the use of roadblocks and spike strips return from "NFS3: Hot Pursuit." Getting out of trouble just got harder as this game came along. Or... you can also look it as more ways to dole out justice on the road- especially playing as the police.
The "High Stakes" Namesake...Ever wonder why this game is called "Need for Speed: High Stakes?" The name "High Stakes" was initially given because the driver would be putting his/her car on the line while competing in the races. Winner takes the losing driver's car.
It is now time to take a look at the individual elements of "Need for Speed: High Stakes."
--- Need for Speed: Cars ---These are some of the many cars you can race. Cars are arranged on class. The cars are arranged from B to AAA. The "B" cars are the slowest, and the "AAA" cars are the fastest. Classes for each model are in parentheses ().
McLaren F1 GTR (AAA).Let's get one thing straight- this car is hellishly fast! This is as close as you will get to racing proper race cars in on the tracks of "NFS: High Stakes." Its top speed and acceleration are top-notch (as you'd expect with this car).
Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR (AAA)While not as unworldly as the McLaren, the CLK-GTR from Mercedes-Benz is no slouch. It is the only other AAA-class machine in the game. Get ready for an experience that will be just as gratifying and intense as racing the F1 GTR.
Ferrari F50.The Ferrari F50 came along in the mid-1990s, replacing the F40 as the top Ferrari of its day. You get to race this exotic monster across the various courses of "NFS: High Stakes."
Porsche 911 Turbo (AA).Enjoy the passion and power Porsche provides with the Porsche 911 Turbo. It is a well-balanced car in performance and speed. A Pursuit version of this car is also available.
BMW M5 (AA).Enjoy executive-class style and performance with the BMW M5. Just because it is an executive-level car doesn't mean it is only good for a Sunday drive. A Pursuit version of this car is also available.
Chevrolet Corvette C5 (A).The latest (at its time) Corvette delivers a solid drive and amazing performance for almost any race in this game. A Pursuit version of this car is available.
Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (A).The car that got me into cars was this 4th Generation model Camaro. You can enjoy this long-standing American legend in its latest (at its time) iteration.
Pontiac Firebird (A).The Firebird is the cousin to the Camaro. It delivers the same lovely performance as the Camaro.
Jaguar XKR (A).This big cat is ready to pounce with its sexy curves and impressive performance.
BMW Z3 (B).While it is one of the weakest cars in the game, it is still a fun car to drive.
Lamborghini Diablo SV (AA).Lamborghini makes cars worth driving to the limit. That is... if you can find and exploit their limits. The Diablo Superveloce (SV) is ready and willing to take on anything you throw at it.
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 (B).This same convertible sports coupe from NFS3 can be raced in "NFS: High Stakes." It can be enjoyed top up or top down.
Ferrari 550 Maranello (AA).Looks-wise, I never really liked this Ferrari. It still is a car not to be messed with on the road. Give this car a good drive on any course to see what makes it so incredible.
There are other cars to unlock in addition to the ones featured here. Some even can be downloaded.
--- Need for Speed: High Stakes - Tracks ---Just like in "Need for Speed 3," the open road is your playground. This section covers only the courses already available to you. They are all previews of the courses you will be facing.
Celtic Ruins.Take a trip around the Scottish countryside in your supercar of choice. It is is an easy-going course for racing or for evading the police.
Landstrasse.This beginner course in Germany takes you through a German village and some simple winding roads. It can be very fun to race in a AAA-class car.
Dolphin Cove.The venue here could be thought more of as an American Pacific Northwest locale. Waterfalls, forests, and more compliment this scenic drive. It isn't so scenic as you're battling traffic and other cars, though.
Kindiak Park.Kindiak Park is a Canadian venue basically based around a national park. This is one of the two Intermediate-level courses. Train tracks and winding roads are among the many features of this course as you run lap after lap around this course.
Route Adonf.When you take on Route Adonf, be careful going through the winding roads and ancient ruins of this French locale. It can be disaster waiting to happen if in very fast cars. It has one of the loveliest settings in the entire game despite its Intermediate difficulty.
Durham Road.If you are ready for a challenge, leave it to this track to take you for a loop. Durham Road has many underpasses and overpasses as you go through this British village and the countryside. Drive carefully if you expect to win races and pursuits here. Depending on certain regions, this track is in England or Australia. I initially have noted this as a venue in England.
Snowy Ridge.Get ready for the toughest and longest course among the available courses. As its name implies, you will be racing in a snowy setting. Full speed racing is not the name of the game here on this American course. You will need to put your best driving effort and exhibit your finest racing skill to deliver great lap times and to win here.
This game also features all courses from "Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit" as well as three fictional race tracks. Each of these three fictional race tracks do not have oncoming traffic on them, so you can enjoy proper racing without having to worry about traffic from other cars.
--- Need for Speed: High Stakes - Game Modes ---This section is a look at the different ways to play this game.
Career Mode.New to Need for Speed is a Career Mode. You can use this mode to play through a series of races. Buy and modify cars to compete in various races. Don't wreck your car too much... you will have to pay to repair your cars!
Race.Compete in races against the clock, another opponent, or a pack of opponents. All up to you.
Pursuit.This game features three different modes of play: Hot Pursuit, Getaway, and Time Trap. Become "Most Wanted" by evading the police, or become "Top Cop" by taking down outlaw racers. Here is a look at each mode:
• Hot Pursuit is the same game you remember from the NFS3, and it plays the same way. Nothing has changed here. Don't go over your ticket quota to become Most Wanted. Or, arrest all the opposition to become Top Cop.
• Getaway requires you to either avoid getting caught by the police or catch a car within a certain amount of time. If you manage to avoid the police or catch the car(s) in violation within the allowed time, you win. You must catch the only car on the road if playing this mode as a Cop.
• You are required in Time Trap to complete the race or prevent the racers from finishing within the allowed time. Unlike the other modes, you can be ticketed as many times as possible. You win as an outlaw if you manage to finish ahead of your rival within the allowed time. You win as a cop if you prevent both racers from finishing the race withing the allowed time.
Tournament.Place the highest you can to win each tournament. Bonus content can be unlocked for victory in these tournaments.
Knockout.Avoid finishing last to remain in the Knockout running. The last driver standing wins the Knockout competition. Bonus content can be unlocked for success in these events.
--- Need for Speed: High Stakes - Final Thoughts ---"Need for Speed: High Stakes" expanded upon the concept initially put forth by "Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit." Whereas the former title allowed for only so much insanity, this one really amped up the racing insanity, and it did so with brilliant (even today) graphics. There was no way you could fault any aspect of this title for trying to provide such intense racing action. It was even more a departure from the arcade-style thrills of just enjoying racing and driving, but this was actually continued forward progress towards the unreal racing action provided by this franchise. A future NFS title simply called "Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit" provided a modern interpretation of what NFS3 and NFS:HS provided in the late 1990s. But when you look back at the evolution of the NFS franchise to what it is today, you can thank games like "Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit" and "Need for Speed: High Stakes" for the Hollywood thrills this series has provided over its lifespan.
Video Preview.All you read up to this point is featured in this video of this game. Check it out:
^ "Need For Speed: High Stakes Gameplay"
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"Need for Speed: High Stakes" for PC and PlayStation 1.
^ Need for Speed Collection for PC (which includes "Need for Speed: High Stakes."
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