Continuing on my ‘Car and Racing Games theme’, my next big influence in car games came in 1995 with the release of Road and Track’s The Need for Speed by Pioneer Productions and Electronic Arts Canada (Go Canada!). By 1995, my family had retired the old Amiga 500 and we had just purchased our first ‘IBM Compatible’, a Pentium 120 MHz running the then brand new Windows 95 OS. What a beast! I can still remember when we fired up the new computer for the first time, I remarked to my Dad, “listen to the power, Dad!”
The purchase of The Need for Speed is a perfect example of one of those special trips to and from the computer store that is burned into my brain. I remember distinctly sitting in the back seat of my Dad’s car, reading the back of the box, and then opening the box up for the first time. I sat there engrossed reading the manual and dreaming of all the driving fun I was going to have. And what fun I did have with this game!
From what I remember, the game started with a great introduction video and a fantastic soundtrack to go along with it. There were also these really awesome showcase videos for each car. Unlike The Duel: Test Drive II, this game had more than just two cars to choose from: in fact, there were 8 plus a secret bonus car. The cars were:
- Lamborghini Diablo
- Ferrari 512 TR
- Dodge Viper RT/10
- Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
- Porsche 911 Carrera
- Toyota Supra Turbo
- Acura NSX
- Mazda RX7
- The Warrior (bonus)
I think my favourites had to be the Ferrari Testarossa and the Lamborghini Diablo. I remember going around this one particular desert track over and over again with the Ferrari trying to achieve the best lap time. I see this as a logical progression from The Duel; it had vastly improved graphics and a nice variety of cars, while still maintaining that visceral cockpit view that I grew to love so much.
Next up: another Need for Speed game, but this time one dedicated solely to one car manufacturer: Porsche.