The title's gameplay is based around the Wii and DS's controls whilst also incorporating a "unique visual style." It was released on November 3rd, 2009 in North America and on November 6th, 2009 in Europe.
Career mode has players participating in three cup categories; in 3 cups: bronze, silver and gold.
The end of each cup has the player competing in a "Grand Prix" involving a series of races in each city. The player will earn points depending on their finishing position with the winner being the racer with the highest amount of points after the final race.
The "Nitro Challenge" replaces the Grand Prix in the DS release.
Players travel from city to city to participate in races with the chance to win stars and earn money for each victory. Players will unlock new cars, cities or car upgrades as they earn more stars.
The player can become the Top Racer in a city by winning every star from every race. Each city features a different Top Racer; Thiago, Omar, Luis, Zarinah and Jawad with each performing best on courses within their home city.
The title features an aesthetic game mechanic called Own It. Own It causes any buildings, surrounding landscape and road markings to be graffitied with the lead driver's colours.
Each driver has their own style of graffiti. The player can alter their graffiti using the vehicle customisation system. This feature is a convenient way to indicate the race leader as well as giving players additional style points for staying in first.
There are 5 cities in the title: Rio De Janeiro, Cairo, Madrid, Singapore and Dubai. The Nintendo DS release features an additional city - San Diego.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the first city that players will race through in the title. It has large, open roads and easy corners.
Cairo, Egypt is the second location that players will race through in the title. The streets are slightly narrower and feature tighter corners then in Rio.
Madrid, Spain is the third city that players will race through in the title. The streets are even narrower but the corners are wider and perfect for drifting. Madrid is featured as part of the title's intro movie.
Singapore is the fourth unlocked location. Some courses in this city take place within the docks area meaning the routes are tight, technical and riddled with obstacles. Players are capable of falling into the ocean on these courses.
Dubai is the final city that players will race through in the title. It features some of the most difficult courses in the game, including construction sites (such as large buildings and an unfinished bridge) and high-speed highways.
- Courses: Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah.
A maximum of two police cars will chase the player, with additional police units forming roadblocks. Unlike other Need for Speed titles, police vehicle do not drop Spike Strips or engage racers with a Police Helicopter.
Police units will pursue racers in Circuit and Elimination events. They will not pursue in Speedtrap or Drift events but will instead form roadblocks along the event's route. Police vehicles never appear in Drag events.
A series of five Police Badges appear on the upper-right corner of the player's screen. They signify the player's Heat Level. Hitting traffic, criminal damage, speeding and ramming police cars can will increase the player's Heat Level. The police become more aggressive towards a racer with a high Heat Level.
The racer in pole position will always have a minimum of two Police Badges-worth of Heat.
A "Police Badge" is a power-up that allows the player to move their police heat onto a different opponent. This allows the player to divert the police's attention from them onto a different racer. The power-up can only be acquired by the player during a racing event.
Police vehicles appear in Need for Speed: Nitro with different vehicles pursuing racers based on the current performance class the racers are driving.
- Class C - Hummer H2 SUT
- Class B - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR-edition
- Class A - Ford Shelby GT500
Police vehicles are only drivable by players in the multiplayer versus mode Pursuit Tag.
Need for Speed: Nitro-X
Need for Speed: Nitro-X is an updated re-release of the original DS title available via the Nintendo DSi's online DSi Shop. It includes never-before-driven police cars and all the content that the original release features. It features a cop mode that allows players to play from a police perspective.
It was released in North America on November 15th, 2010 and on November 26th, 2010 in Europe. The title was originally slated for a September release date but it was delayed to October with a later delay pushing the release into November.
Need for Speed: Nitro-X is the first title in the Need for Speed series that to only be available via digital download. It was later followed by Need for Speed: World.
|Need for Speed Series|
|Games||The Need for Speed • II • III: Hot Pursuit • High Stakes • Porsche Unleashed • Motor City Online • Hot Pursuit 2 • Underground • Underground 2 • Most Wanted (2005) • Carbon • ProStreet • Undercover • Shift • Nitro • World • Hot Pursuit (2010) • Shift 2: Unleashed • The Run • Most Wanted (2012) • Rivals • Need for Speed (2015) • Edge • Need for Speed (2017)|
|Handheld||Underground Rivals • Most Wanted 5-1-0 • Carbon: Own The City • Hot Pursuit (iOS) • No Limits|
|Compilations||The Need for Speed Collection • Collector's Series|
|Films||Need for Speed|