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Need For Speed 2: Hot Pursuit

Developer: Black Box | Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/21/02 | Genre: Driving

With EA's success with the Need for Speed series on the PC, the publisher decided to bring its franchise to the PlayStaton 2. Need For Speed had been delayed numerous times for numerous times. Finally the game has arrived! Is EA able to make the transition from PC to PS2?

Most notably the Need For Speed franchise is best known for its exciting and thrilling cop chases and quick races. EA has not only brought these modes to the PlayStaton 2 they have also included a World Tour career mode, which allows the user to pick a car and compete in races to earn money. It compares to the economy mode that was included in Need For Speed: High Stakes for the PC. EA has a great amount of cars included in the game, which range from OPEL's to Porsche 911 turbo. A new challenge mode has been added for single player or multiplayer action as well. Not only that EA has also included damage to cars as well to add more realism considering this game is an arcade game and not a simulation.

All of these features combine to create an amazing game, which is much better than its predecessors on the PC. The game can be played with either yourself or with a friend. The police mode has been stepped up greatly with the addition of helicopters, which not only follow the player but also drop bombs, which can cause great damage to your car. When you are in control of the police you are given the ability to call in helicopters, a roadblock, and a spike strip. Each option can be used three times during a race if you are close enough to the speeder. Not only that when you are the cop you can use special boosts to catch up to your opponents and bust them quicker. When you are speeding away from the police there is option of also seeing what is ahead of you. You car fires a flame, which shows visible road about a mile ahead, which is important in the case of spike stripes or roadblocks, laid by the cops. The only two areas, which the game needs, some fixing is in the amount of tracks available. There is only a small amount of tracks available and instead of adding more tracks the developers have reversed the tracks and called them number two of whichever track they are a reverse version of. Although each of the tracks in the game features numerous shortcuts, which will come in handy when you are attempting to evade the police. I wished the EA and Black box incorporated an online mode, which would have made this game the perfect racing game.

Need for Speed has a solid frame rate which sometimes slows down rarely without having much effect on the gameplay. A new addition also includes the new cinematic angles, which capture the true intensity of Need For Speed. If you achieve a great amount of air off a jump the camera will slow down and circle you car in a cinematic view. This same camera view will also occur when you are evading the cops and you slam into a roadblock or another police vehicle with a massive impact the camera will again shift around the car as well. This is a very cool effect. The car models are done well but do not compare to Gran Turismo 3: A Spec in any way. The environments are nicely textured with great effects. For example in one levels you driving through a wooded area and there is forest fire occurring and the developers have even added fire trucks in the level to fight the blaze while you are racing.

One of my complaints from the demo has been fixed. No longer do the car engines drown out the amazing sound track, which backs up this game. The new EA trax system is also used in this tile as well. The car engines sound like their real life counterparts and the chit chatter between the police and central command has been boosted to sound even more realistic.

The controls are very easy to pick up and play with. The game features two control schemes, which include classic and extreme. The classic option is more of an arcade type of controls while the extreme option is more of a realistic and simulation type of controls. Either way whichever controls you choose you will have a great time playing with both. A new type of acceleration button has co incited with the X button to cause greater acceleration. When racing you are given the ability to hold the right joystick button upward which gives you the boost you need

With the games addictive Hot Pursuit mode this title will have you coming back for more and more. The game also features an amazing array of economy mode, challenge mode, single race, and knockout modes whether you are playing solo or with a friend. The game features a good array of Hot Pursuit and World Racing which may cause some gamers to not even experience the other great game modes this game has to offer.

Those who were fans of the series on the PC will not be disappointed by what EA and Black box has to offer for the PlayStaton 2. I highly recommend purchasing this title to anyone who is a racing fan whether they enjoy arcade or simulation title. This game is sure to wet the whistle or whistles of any one of two people who pick this one up and play it. The transition from PC to PS2 for Electronic Arts is successful and is a much better game than it was on the PC. Too bad there is not an online mode to satisfy those who have the network. Even with its small amount of hold back this is a premier title that has finally graced the PS2.

By Siddharth Masand - 02/06/03
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Screenshots for Need For Speed 2: Hot Pursuit

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