Retro review: Need for Speed 4: High Stakes (a.k.a my favourite game of all time)

  • Thread starter Alex p.
  • 31 comments
  • 3,692 views
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
This game man...it was my first 3D title back then in 1999 and thus the first PS1 game. Almost a year I didn't have anything else and didn't play anything else! Already back then I was crazy about super cars (especially Lambos and Ferraris), so this game was right up my alley!
The cars, the graphics, the tracks, the cheats, the police chases, THE OST! This game had it all! Imo, it's at least the third best NFS game of all time, such a classic. I wanted to do a review on this game for YEARS, and now I finally had the equipment and time to do so. I dissected this game to the smallest details really, so if you're a fan, make sure to check it out!

What are your memories of this masterpiece, and what are your favourite NFS titles? Please share your thoughts!:cheers:

Here goes:

 

LeGeNd-1

Premium
6,872
Australia
Australia
GTP_LeGeNd-1
Love the soundtrack, menu atmosphere and larger car selection, but the physics was too difficult for my 10 year old self (at least compared to NFS II and III, haven't discovered GT yet at that time :lol:). Also the career mode is super punishing. Lose a race and your car is gone. Needless to say I didn't get very far without cheats :P I was also bummed that car showcase wasn't as detailed as previous NFSes. Just a voiceover, no pictures or videos.

BTW wouldn't this be better in the NFS forum?
 
35
China
China
This game man...it was my first 3D title back then in 1999 and thus the first PS1 game. Almost a year I didn't have anything else and didn't play anything else! Already back then I was crazy about super cars (especially Lambos and Ferraris), so this game was right up my alley!
The cars, the graphics, the tracks, the cheats, the police chases, THE OST! This game had it all! Imo, it's at least the third best NFS game of all time, such a classic. I wanted to do a review on this game for YEARS, and now I finally had the equipment and time to do so. I dissected this game to the smallest details really, so if you're a fan, make sure to check it out!

What are your memories of this masterpiece, and what are your favourite NFS titles? Please share your thoughts!:cheers:

Here goes:


Since EA Canada was Distinctive Entertainment-the dev of original Test Drive.They clearly mocked Tuned cars(Chav cars) in the intro even tuning was the new feature of NFS HS.Sadly when BB took over NFS changed into what it mocked back in 90s.This game is sort of returned as the buggy Rivals with custom feature doesnt matter and HP style car list.If EA Canada keep making NFS through 2000s and 2010s maybe NFS wont even have style change that caused fanbase war between Cannonball and FF style.
 
1,104
Russian Federation
Far North.
Yeah, right, almost forgot you could ride a helicopter there, and dumb track. Have to agree, this is the best Need For Speed for me. It wasn't the first, but it was the most played and most enjoyed one. Loved every track there, and probably because of this game love 90's cars the most, and 90's music electronic music too:).
 
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
Love the soundtrack, menu atmosphere and larger car selection, but the physics was too difficult for my 10 year old self (at least compared to NFS II and III, haven't discovered GT yet at that time :lol:). Also the career mode is super punishing. Lose a race and your car is gone. Needless to say I didn't get very far without cheats :P I was also bummed that car showcase wasn't as detailed as previous NFSes. Just a voiceover, no pictures or videos.

BTW wouldn't this be better in the NFS forum?

I believe you're talking about the PC version. It had more cars, than the PS1 version. And in the PS1 version you could only lose a car in the High Stakes mode to another real player, not in the career mode. Yeah the car showcase could've been cooler, I agree. 👍

Seeing those graphics just take me back to the 90s and great times. Man I need a time machine.

You're speaking out of my heart, pal...

Since EA Canada was Distinctive Entertainment-the dev of original Test Drive.They clearly mocked Tuned cars(Chav cars) in the intro even tuning was the new feature of NFS HS.Sadly when BB took over NFS changed into what it mocked back in 90s.This game is sort of returned as the buggy Rivals with custom feature doesnt matter and HP style car list.If EA Canada keep making NFS through 2000s and 2010s maybe NFS wont even have style change that caused fanbase war between Cannonball and FF style.

Interesting.

Yeah, right, almost forgot you could ride a helicopter there, and dumb track. Have to agree, this is the best Need For Speed for me. It wasn't the first, but it was the most played and most enjoyed one. Loved every track there, and probably because of this game love 90's cars the most, and 90's music electronic music too:).

Agree on all points. Its OST is, to me, still the best of all games, right after RRType 4.
 
284
United States
Maine/usa
ron24
High Stakes was my 1st NFS game. I loved and I became a NFS fan. I was 27 and had other hobbies kept me from gaming but decided to get into games and I picked up a Ps1 and got NFS High Stakes. Sadly I missed out on earlier NFS games. High Stakes , Hot Pursuit Ps2 and The Undergrounds to The Run I enjoyed.
 
6,031
United States
Texas
I think Porsche Unleashed was my first played NFS, but that was a rental and I didn't like it much. I think I got this for Christmas one year, and honestly, I was hooked from the intro. Even as a dumb child, I loved how the cars handled, I did wish the Trans Am was faster but the game was, to be blunt, damn fun.

Funny enough, I am going through my games to get rid of what I won't play. I've gotten ahold of 1-4, and it's been...a trip. My copy of 3 isn't working, but I don't know if I ever was grabbed by 3, 1 is...well there are worse, and 2 is functional but hard to look at...then I got to High Stakes, and immediately fell into the groove of it again.

This may be recency bias, but High Stakes, U2, and ProStreet are my favorite three in the series, possibly in that order. All flawed, but endearing.

Now I need to actually beat it.
 

LeGeNd-1

Premium
6,872
Australia
Australia
GTP_LeGeNd-1
I believe you're talking about the PC version. It had more cars, than the PS1 version. And in the PS1 version you could only lose a car in the High Stakes mode to another real player, not in the career mode. Yeah the car showcase could've been cooler, I agree. 👍

No, I didn't start playing NFS games on PC until UG1. I definitely remember losing a car, so it may have been High Stakes mode instead of Career mode, my memory is a bit fuzzy and like I said I never touched another mode other than single race after that :lol:
 
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
This game and Porsche Unleashed are probably the closest thing to a modern NFS game that you'll find from this era.

Pretty much, yeah.

High Stakes was my 1st NFS game. I loved and I became a NFS fan. I was 27 and had other hobbies kept me from gaming but decided to get into games and I picked up a Ps1 and got NFS High Stakes. Sadly I missed out on earlier NFS games. High Stakes , Hot Pursuit Ps2 and The Undergrounds to The Run I enjoyed.

Definatly the better games of the series, good taste! 👍

I think Porsche Unleashed was my first played NFS, but that was a rental and I didn't like it much. I think I got this for Christmas one year, and honestly, I was hooked from the intro. Even as a dumb child, I loved how the cars handled, I did wish the Trans Am was faster but the game was, to be blunt, damn fun.

Funny enough, I am going through my games to get rid of what I won't play. I've gotten ahold of 1-4, and it's been...a trip. My copy of 3 isn't working, but I don't know if I ever was grabbed by 3, 1 is...well there are worse, and 2 is functional but hard to look at...then I got to High Stakes, and immediately fell into the groove of it again.

This may be recency bias, but High Stakes, U2, and ProStreet are my favorite three in the series, possibly in that order. All flawed, but endearing.

Now I need to actually beat it.

Haha I did the same and got recently 1-5 and my exeriences are quite similar. 1 was...old, 2 was hard to look at, 3 is actually really good, but doesn't have the same finesse as 4, 4 is the best, and 5 is still really well done (you're playing through the game in different time eras).

No, I didn't start playing NFS games on PC until UG1. I definitely remember losing a car, so it may have been High Stakes mode instead of Career mode, my memory is a bit fuzzy and like I said I never touched another mode other than single race after that :lol:

Hahaha I see, I see. :lol:👍
 

LeGeNd-1

Premium
6,872
Australia
Australia
GTP_LeGeNd-1
Its remake of Hometown. Also, Hometown was in both HS and HP

Since 1.52



Yeah I know it's a Unity remake. My bad though, I was only thinking of the PS1 version (which I played). The PC version of NFS:HS do feature Hometown as you said.
 
940
Spain
Spain
HS (PS1 version) is my favorite racing game. It has ludicrous frame rate and input lag (or poor sensitivity), but somehow they made it work. Not only that: I think is one of the most thrilling racers that currently exist... There have to be a way to fix those handling issues with emulation settings.

But apart from how the game plays, it's really special because of the atmosphere. It's petrolhead heaven: no other game worships cars better. Music, the narrator, the coolest showroom ever made in gaming history, background information, sound... When you press "Start race" and the car roars...

I think it's a magnificent example of why videogames are art. Even better than narrative masterpieces like The Last of Us, as narrative is not contested to be art.

BTW, don't know what Rom di Prisco was smoking when he composed the music for HS, but I definitely want some. Bloody genius.
 
HS (PS1 version) is my favorite racing game. It has ludicrous frame rate and input lag (or poor sensitivity), but somehow they made it work. Not only that: I think is one of the most thrilling racers that currently exist... There have to be a way to fix those handling issues with emulation settings.

But apart from how the game plays, it's really special because of the atmosphere. It's petrolhead heaven: no other game worships cars better. Music, the narrator, the coolest showroom ever made in gaming history, background information, sound... When you press "Start race" and the car roars...

I think it's a magnificent example of why videogames are art. Even better than narrative masterpieces like The Last of Us, as narrative is not contested to be art.

BTW, don't know what Rom di Prisco was smoking when he composed the music for HS, but I definitely want some. Bloody genius.
I dont know what he was on but it probably started with an E.
 
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas


Super cool!

HS (PS1 version) is my favorite racing game. It has ludicrous frame rate and input lag (or poor sensitivity), but somehow they made it work. Not only that: I think is one of the most thrilling racers that currently exist... There have to be a way to fix those handling issues with emulation settings.

But apart from how the game plays, it's really special because of the atmosphere. It's petrolhead heaven: no other game worships cars better. Music, the narrator, the coolest showroom ever made in gaming history, background information, sound... When you press "Start race" and the car roars...

I think it's a magnificent example of why videogames are art. Even better than narrative masterpieces like The Last of Us, as narrative is not contested to be art.

BTW, don't know what Rom di Prisco was smoking when he composed the music for HS, but I definitely want some. Bloody genius.

tenor (23).gif


I really agree 100%.

I dont know what he was on but it probably started with an E.

Emma?=MDMA?
 
I don't get you :dunce: I actually looked on Google for drugs that start with E. :lol:
I am from the E generation, summer of love. Acid house was Responsible for stopping hooliganism almost over night in 1988. It shaped the future of Britain,

it was the first music scene or youth scene where it was for the whole youth, no exclusions. Not for punks, goths, rockers or skinheads , but all of the youth. The smiley emoji you see today was the symbol of house music and you would see it everywhere and on everything in the late 80s, and I have to say: it started with an E.

I was too young back then but I've been into the scene since the start with Jack your body, Mr fingers: can you feel it ( what a tune) , Frankie Knuckles : move your body, so I had to wait until the 90s to become an E-tard. And what a bloody experience my first time was. Also before it was a party drug it was used in marriage counseling because it made you loved up.


There is British movie called Human Traffic, it was made nearly at the same time as High Stakes, and Rom writing soundtrack for the game.
Yep. Loved that film, around the same time as Trainspotting which the writer was inspired by the acid house scene a decade earlier.


I get all emosh thinking about the 90s rave scene.
 
Last edited:
1,104
Russian Federation
Far North.
It's making me feel that Need For Speed like HS will not happen in this time. Just to think, manufacturers doesn't want their car being driven illegal, and being a not a SUV and other things that would looked and sounded silly in 90's. I mean, how free from a lot of superstitions was the world 30 years ago:).
 
Last edited:
940
Spain
Spain
Yeah... Good thing that now some manufacturers see the potential of videogames regarding brand exposure and don't make ludicrous exclusivity deals with one developer for decades.

At the same time means they care more for the image the videogame makes of them. And frankly, in this time of stupid susceptibility, I wonder what Porsche would do now if HS would have been released today and some kind of controversy would develop regarding their 911 992 trashing cops and destroying public property in the intro. Same goes with that ICONIC scene of the 959 being chased in NFS Porsche 2000/unleashed.

Although I'm not sure of this. NFS has kept releasing games were branded cars do very ilegal things. And at the end, everytime some developer makes a game with exotics on road tracks, it becames instantly adored (PGR, Driveclub).
 
940
Spain
Spain
Not some Toyota's CM. Very recently one of their accounts said the brand wasn't on Heat because cars do ilegal things there. They took no time deleting the tweet.
 
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
It's making me feel that Need For Speed like HS will not happen in this time. Just to think, manufacturers doesn't want their car being driven illegal, and being a not a SUV and other things that would looked and sounded silly in 90's. I mean, how free from a lot of superstitions was the world 30 years ago:).

Yeah... Good thing that now some manufacturers see the potential of videogames regarding brand exposure and don't make ludicrous exclusivity deals with one developer for decades.

At the same time means they care more for the image the videogame makes of them. And frankly, in this time of stupid susceptibility, I wonder what Porsche would do now if HS would have been released today and some kind of controversy would develop regarding their 911 992 trashing cops and destroying public property in the intro. Same goes with that ICONIC scene of the 959 being chased in NFS Porsche 2000/unleashed.

Although I'm not sure of this. NFS has kept releasing games were branded cars do very ilegal things. And at the end, everytime some developer makes a game with exotics on road tracks, it becames instantly adored (PGR, Driveclub).

Lol, regardless Porsche current heads know a difference between face and video games. Cyberpunk seems as another proof.

Not some Toyota's CM. Very recently one of their accounts said the brand wasn't on Heat because cars do ilegal things there. They took no time deleting the tweet.

I guess some see it as a problem, some do not. :) But yes, the world had more sense some 30 years ago, that's for sure.
 
Last edited:
4
United States
New York City
Okay, I'll bite off this thread. I was gifted this game from my uncle back in 2011 when he heard the news that I resurrected the old Vaio computer with a 3dfx card. There was no pretext to the game that I knew of at that time, it was a Need for Speed title that somehow I missed out on growing up with Need for Speed II: SE and with vague memories of III: Hot Pursuit. Bear in mind this is the PC version.

It's charming, that is for sure. Listening to the main menu music which I did not hear prior to 2011 was like looking at a lost treasure in Rom's career. It was probably the first Need for Speed game in letterboxed widescreen if I recall correctly? The car models looked as adorable as the overall "chill" feel of the game, until (or perhaps even more so) when they got damaged. It's funny how things have changed as time marches on, I was previously just watching a clip of Forza Horizon 5 wherein an exotic Lamborghini fell off a bridge into the wild terrain, and it's unscathed.

Electronic Arts around this time period also released Beetle Adventure Racing! for the Nintendo 64 and I noticed that it uses most of the same sound effects (cars, tires, announcers, etc.) as High Stakes.
 
5,879
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
Okay, I'll bite off this thread. I was gifted this game from my uncle back in 2011 when he heard the news that I resurrected the old Vaio computer with a 3dfx card. There was no pretext to the game that I knew of at that time, it was a Need for Speed title that somehow I missed out on growing up with Need for Speed II: SE and with vague memories of III: Hot Pursuit. Bear in mind this is the PC version.

It's charming, that is for sure. Listening to the main menu music which I did not hear prior to 2011 was like looking at a lost treasure in Rom's career. It was probably the first Need for Speed game in letterboxed widescreen if I recall correctly? The car models looked as adorable as the overall "chill" feel of the game, until (or perhaps even more so) when they got damaged. It's funny how things have changed as time marches on, I was previously just watching a clip of Forza Horizon 5 wherein an exotic Lamborghini fell off a bridge into the wild terrain, and it's unscathed.

Electronic Arts around this time period also released Beetle Adventure Racing! for the Nintendo 64 and I noticed that it uses most of the same sound effects (cars, tires, announcers, etc.) as High Stakes.
I did NOT know that. ☝️