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The Need for Speed

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The Need for Speed Boxart
DeveloperInfoboxIcon EA Canada
PublisherInfoboxIcon Electronic Arts
ReleaseInfoboxIcon August 31st, 1994
PlatformInfoboxIcon 3DO, DOS, PS1, Sega Saturn
GenreInfoboxIcon Racing/Semi-realistic
RatingInfoboxIcon ESRB: K-A
The Need for Speed (Full title: Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed) is a racing video game developed by Electronic Arts Canada and published by Electronic Arts. It was the first official game in the long-running Need for Speed series.

It was released in 1994 for the Panasonic 3DO and for MS-DOS, in 1995 for Microsoft Windows with its final release in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn.

In Japan it was known as "Over Drivin." This was also the first Need for Speed title in Japan to be released under the title until Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed. The premise of the game involves the player racing in sport cars as well as several exotic models, American Muscle Cars and Japanese imports.


The gameplay of The Need for Speed follows a realistic premise. Road and Track magazine has provided EA with real data about the cars featured in the final game.

Each car has a different style of handling, performance, sounds and braking. The realistic gameplay was found to be simple for new players to pick up and play without much frustration at the start of play. Plus, each car could be driven in cockpit view.

Game ModesEdit

There are four different types of races in the game. Police and traffic only appear in Head To Head mode.

  • Head To Head - A duel between two racers in a Point A to Point B track. This is the only mode that features traffic cars and cops (when open road course is selected).
  • Single Race - Players compete with up to seven opponents in either circuit or sprint tracks. In this mode players can select the number of oppoents, laps, etc.
  • Time Trial - Players must beat a set time record in a track to win.
  • Tournament - The player has to collect as many points as possible to succeed in a series of tracks. The player earns higher points by finishing closer to pole position at the end of a race.

No car in the title can drive off-road as the title uses blocking volumes to keep players on the track. This also prevents players from cheating by taking shortcuts in events.

Racers can be arrested by police on open road tracks. If a racer gets caught then they'll receive a ticket. When a racer receives three tickets (two tickets in the Sega Saturn version) they are arrested.

Car ListEdit

Cars included in The Need for Speed are divided into three classes with each representing different performance brackets such as speed and handling. It is impossible to modify the cars in any way.

Players can also access a Showcase Mode of each car. There it is possible to check general, historical, mechanical and performance information as well as a slideshow and short presentation video regarding the vehicle. The information screens are all commented by an announcer.

Class AEdit

Class BEdit

Class CEdit

The Need for Speed also features a fictional bonus car named the "Warrior PTO E/2".

Over Drivin' Skyline MemorialEdit

Traffic CarsEdit

The Need for Speed features licensed traffic vehicles.


  • Open (road) races
    • City
    • Coastal
    • Alpine
  • Closed circuits
    • Rusty Springs Raceway
    • Autumn Valley Speedway
    • Vertigo Ridge
    • Lost Vegas (bonus track)
    • Burnt Sienna (SE only)
    • Transtropolis (SE only)

Special ReleasesEdit

The Need For Speed: Special EditionEdit


A Special Edition of The Need for Speed was released in 1996 which included additional content missing from the 1995 PC release.

The Windows 95 release received several improvements to its rendering engine as well as two additional tracks. This was the only game in the series to support DOS as subsequent releases for the PC only ran on Microsoft Windows 95 or above.


Over Drivin': Skyline MemorialEdit

This version of The Need for Speed featured only Nissan Skylines from the original and was released exclusively in Japan in 1997 for the PlayStation.


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