Need for Speed: High Stakes (also known as Need For Speed: Road Challenge in Europe) is a 1999 racing video game, developed by Electronic Arts Canada and published by Electronic Arts. It is part of the Need for Speed series, once again featuring a host of exotic sport cars and tracks located in Western Europe and North America.
As in its predecessor, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, High Stakes retains standard races and police pursuits in game, as well as introducing a new form of tournament (High Stakes), and two pursuit modes (Getaway and Time Trap).
Career Mode has a chronological set of tournaments that challenges the player to complete a set of 8-car races for trophies to unlock bonus cars and tracks, incorporating a monetary reward system that allows a player to purchase vehicles, performance upgrades as well as repairs while earning cash by racing. In addition, each cup tournament requires that the player compete against one opponent in a "High Stakes" race. There are more tournaments on the PC version, and they are different from the console one - for example the PS version separates the Career into two separate Tournament and Special Event modes, with second being optional.
High Stakes ModeEdit
High Stakes race is a challenge, wherein the winner of the race will obtain the loser's car, while the loser obviously loses his car. On Playstation it is a separate 2-Player mode, which required 2 memory cards inserted and deleted the loser's car immediately after the race to prevent re-loading.
Hot Pursuit ModeEdit
Hot Pursuit mode, which was first introduced in the first game, remains in High Stakes. There are three modes in total, two of which were new to the series.
Classic mode is essentially similar to the Pursuit mode in Need For Speed 3, which allows the player to race against another opponent in a track filled with police cars, or drive as a police to arrest all the racers in an event.
High Stakes introduces Getaway mode, in which the player must evade the police alone within a set amount of time.
There is also a new Time Trap mode, in which a player, as the racer, is required to complete a race within a set amount of time, while playing as the police, a player is required to arrest both racers within a similar time limit.
In the PlayStation version you have to arrest 10 speeders within a set amount of time. The player there can also call for backup - a feature not available in the PC version. As well as setting up spike strips and road blocks is different from the PC version.
In multiplayer pursuit mode, the players can either race against the police, become cops themselves. Alternatively, one player can be the cop and the other can be the speeder. Also in the Playstation version, if the player is the police, his/her car will not be at the starting line behind the speeder, like it is in the PC version, but instead at various hotspots, like the AI police.
Pursuit AI and tactics in High Stakes are very much similar to that of Hot Pursuit, with the exception of several improvements. Jersey barriers, hay bales, traffic and flares are added into roadblocks, while a new form of police vehicle, the police helicopter (also a bonus playable car only in the PS version's Test Drive mode, that is unlocked with a cheat code or after 10 speeders are arrested with the Pursuit Diablo SV) is introduced, allowing the police to trace the player's car from the air, using a searchlight at night. The helicopter is, however, unable to detect the player hiding in buildings or tunnels, which do not appear in the Playstation version. Police vehicles remain relatively diverse, with inherited police cars from Hot Pursuit, as well as several new rides, including Porsche 911, BMW M5 and Chevrolet Caprice-based models of color schemes corresponding to their geographical location. With a command in the PC version, one could even drive any of the said vehicles while "being the cop" in pursuit mode. In the console version, if the player is racing in Hot Pursuit Mode in single or duel races, and during the race the normal police cars are outraced, an AI officer with a supercar will join the chase in an attempt to stop the player.
Police radio chatter is also unique to the country the tracks are set in, with police accents in Scotland and England distinctively different from each other and to those from the United States or Canada, and can be toggled on/off and replaced by American/Canada police chatter in the track options menu in the Playstation version. Exceptions to this include police based in non-English-speaking countries, which are substituted by American/Canada police chatter. However in the Playstation version in the track options menu it can be set to Local Police Mode, which allows European police chatter in German and French.
Damage engine and upgradesEdit
Another innovation is the introduction of damage models. The player's car, those of the opponents, traffic and police vehicles are susceptible to physical and visual damage, ranging from broken taillights, wobbling wheels and a dented bodywork, to performance penalties in the form of damaged suspensions or a battered engine. Such damages are easily inflicted by hitting objects (including signboards), landing too hard, or rolling over, and may hamper their performance and victory in races. Vehicle damage can be toggled on or off in standard modes, but Career mode permanently enables this feature, requiring the player to spend cash on any repairs after completing a race in the tournament. This mode also allows players, for the first time in the franchise, to upgrade cars, although the feature simply consists of switching between three upgrade levels for each car, each differently affecting the performance and look of the vehicle. In the Playstation version damage is a bit different in some areas from its PC counterpart. Unlike the PC version, the different damage includes losing spoilers and lightbars on Police Cars, which would automatically turn them into Slicktop units. Also, unlike the PC version, damage is automatically repaired in Career mode, depending if there is enough money in the player's account after the race.
The PlayStation version of the game, released some months before the PC version, features somewhat improved gameplay. Only all-new tracks were implemented without the additional rehashes from NFS III in the PC version. Additionally, the AI in the game was more advanced: there are five AIs such as Nemesis, Bullit, Frost, Ranger and Chump, which feature different driving characteristics (ie. Nemesis would hound the player until a slipup occurs, whilst Bullit exhibits a more aggressive style, occasionally ramming into the player's vehicle).
In-car depictions of the player's car has also seen significant changes, with a complete 3D model of the interior replacing photographic images seen in previous installments. The game also allows the player to additionally view left and right while driving in that viewpoint. In the Playstation version the driver is wearing a casual suit, except in the police cars, where he wears an American police uniform. In the PC version, when the car is stock, the driver wears a casual white t-shirt and blue jeans, but when the car is upgraded, a racing model or a bonus car is driven, the player is seen wearing a racing firesuit and helmet. In the PC version, the Police in American cars (Corvette, Camaro, Caprice, Range Rover, Crown Victoria and Talon) all have American uniforms while the European cars (M5, 911 turbo, except for the Diablo SV) all wear European Police uniforms. Pursuit La Niña driver shares the same uniform with the driver of the Pursuit 911 Turbo. When a speeder is pulled over an officer based on the uniform of the driver in the pursuit vehicle comes out and gives a speeder a ticket, like in the PC version of Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit.
Cars featured in High Stakes consist of existing sports cars, three original bonus cars in the pc version one of them simliar to the El Niño from Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit is the La Niña and in the PSX version five bonus cars including a sports car called the Phantom, a hot-rod called the Titan, and the Police Helicopter which is not used in police chases in the PSX version. As opposed to the original classes "A", "B" and "C" used to designate vehicle performance, High Stakes categorizes vehicles based on AAA (racing), AA (supercars), A (sports) or B (roadsters) classes, the former referring to high-performance vehicles. As in NFS3, in hot pursuit mode the player cannot choose all cars, as the Mercedes' and Ferrari's are not available.
The tracks featured in High Stakes and their attributes are largely the same as it is in Hot Pursuit. Races can still take place at night and/or with weather, and reversed and/or mirrored tracks. However, minor refinements had been made on new tracks, particularly their ability to better adapt to night races; whereas tracks from Hot Pursuit are simply darkened, the new tracks include lighting from lights and buildings. Movable props also return in the new tracks after their introduction in Need for Speed II and absence in Hot Pursuit.
High Stakes features ten new tracks (including three bonus tracks), while the PC version offers nine more bonus tracks that are direct copies of those from Hot Pursuit, totaling nineteen tracks. Running on High Stakes' game engine, tracks from Hot Pursuit feature improved fogging, visual effects and traffic from High Stakes. The new tracks are set in various locations in Western Europe and North America, each conveying specific identities and landmarks (although the new bonus race circuits do not actually indicate any visual signs of their locations). It is also worth noting that the majority of new tracks are set in the countryside or forests.
In the Playstation version, only Landstrasse, Route Adonf and Kindiak Park are available on the start. On the contrary, the PC vesion has all tracks unlocked from the start, except the racing ones and the Need for Speed III remakes.
In High Stakes, instead of the mixture of electronic and rock music genres from Hot Pursuit, only electronic music is available. The interactive music feature, including pursuit music, was also dropped and themed tracks were no longer used (re-introduced again in NFS Most Wanted). Instead, the playlist randomizes racing music on each circuit. In the Sony Playstation version, a pop-up notification appears in the corner of the screen to signify the beginning of new music track, along with the name of the track and the artist that composed the track that is similar to EA TRAX pop-up in NFS Hot Pursuit 2.
- Saki Kaskas - Amorphous Being
- Lunatic Calm - Roll The Dice
- Rom Di Prisco - Rock This
- Dylan Rhymes - Naked and Ashamed
- Junkie XL - War
- Crispin Hands - Bionic
- The Funk Lab - I am Electro
- Rom Di Prisco - Liquid Plasma
- Junkie XL - Fight
- DJ Icey - Clutch
- Rom Di Prisco - Bring That Beat Back
- Dastrix - Dude in the Moon
- Junkie XL - Def Beat
- The Experiment - Cost of Freedom
- Saki Kaskas - Globular Cluster
- Junkie XL - No Remorse
- Surreal Madrid - Insanity Sauce
- Rom Di Prisco - Road Warrior
- Rom Di Prisco - Electro Optik
- Saki Kaskas - Bulbular Swirl
- Saki Kaskas - Callista
- Rom Di Prisco - Cygnus Rift
- Rom Di Prisco - Paradigm Shifter
- Rom Di Prisco - Photon Rez
- Rom Di Prisco - Quantum Singularity
- Rom Di Prisco, Saki Kaskas, Crispin Hands, Robert Ridihalgh - Runnin'
High Stakes installs successfully onto Windows XP but fails to run on some XP installations, displaying the message not a valid Win32 application, or something similar. But due to its popularity with the Need For Speed fans many unofficial patches have been produced to not only make it work successfully on XP, but also to increase the maximum poly count on cars in the game (the original game crashed in car selection menu if the vehicle had more than 5000 polygons due to mirrored floor and the patch removes the mirror effect; also even with fixed menus, the game can crash during loading or even when the race is in progress, if high-polygon cars are used; this does not apply to the cars present in the game and with official add-ons), generally improve the graphics and to fix some errors, such as not saving options and constantly appearing only 1Mb free warning.
EA released official 4.50 "Internet Beta Test Patch", that enables the game to run on XP without any errors, albeit the high poly patches are still needed in order to be able to play with some detailed fan-made cars. Also the patch does not update the 3D Setup, so the game cannot recognise most videocards and sometimes is lagging. This can be helped with replacement of d3da.dll by the more modern version, notably by the one from the next NFS game, known as Porsche Unleashed in the U.S. The game will still not recognise more videocards that it had though, unless the fan update of 3D Setup is installed. Such an update is available in the form of an archive named spotpatch.zip.
Note, that in the version of the game before 4.50 it is impossible to add new cars, even the official EA updates.
It is possible, though unofficially, to play the game under Vista Template:Fact.
There are many downloads for High Stakes made by players, such as cars, tracks and utilities. These come in large quantities and are available on many websites such as NFScars. This has greatly added to the replay value of the game, as many modders have created current cars. For example, players can download cars such as the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, Pagani Zonda, Porsche Carrera GT, and Saleen S7, even though these cars were built years after the game was made. A new mode to High Stakes is also currently being produced called GT-Mod, although no final release date has been shown. Another new mode to High Stakes in the works is known as LM-Mod (Le Mans Mod, named after the famous 24 Hours race). This mod will have famous circuits from around the world in place of the EA tracks and will replace the EA vehicles with famous Prototype and GT sportscars.
In 1998, Electronic Arts developed a beta version of an online gameplay server called Electonic Arts Online Racing for Need for Speed 4. Despite numerous problems requiring unending patience on the part of the players, the Online version of this game developed a loyal fanbase. When Electronic Arts took down this beta server, as well as the online server for Need for Speed 5, Porsche Unleashed, in October of 2003, several of the fans of these games united to create their own online system to support the two games. The IPLounge program, coupled with the High Stakes Online Scoring System (HOSS), has been serving a small diehard community of fans of racing High Stakes online since October of 2004.
The post-EAOR online racing community has put together and refined an unofficial Expansion Pack (EP) that may be used online, and activated/deactivated via an external mixer program (also included within the EP). The EP cars include several user made cars, all of the 'official' EA addon cars, and all cars that appear in various international versions of the game. The tracks included in the EP include all but two NFS2SE conversions (All will be included in the next version), several TNFS conversions, and several user-made tracks. The EP also includes all the patches necessary to get the game up and running from a fresh install on Windows XP, as well as some Vista support and the IPLounge client.