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

  • Thread starter Alex p.
  • 49 comments
  • 7,412 views
1,283
Croatia
Croatia
Was NFS4 one that had career mode and you had to repair your cars and stuff? Starting with Z3 or SLK if I remember correctly. If so I'll get it for PS3 but was PS version as good as PC? I'm asking because I'm now collecting stuff on my PS3 so that I know should I waste time on this one. I basically loved all NFS before Underground when I was a kid.
 
1,708
Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Kannon33r
Was NFS4 one that had career mode and you had to repair your cars and stuff? Starting with Z3 or SLK if I remember correctly. If so I'll get it for PS3 but was PS version as good as PC? I'm asking because I'm now collecting stuff on my PS3 so that I know should I waste time on this one. I basically loved all NFS before Underground when I was a kid.
Yeap. Its better on PS1, IMO
 
978
Spain
Spain
The PC version might appeal more to certain taste. But, as a polished and packed product, the PSX version is way more thought out. Artistically looks much more solid.
 
10
United States
Jacksonville Beach, FL
KaxeyTV
KaceyTV
This game's soundtrack and atmosphere are just about unmatched. I'd say OutRun 2/2006 give it a run for its money but they're so different from NFS4 that they can't relaly even be compared.
Yeap. Its better on PS1, IMO
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's a big turnaround from NFS3, where the PC version was vastly superior.
 
Last edited:

jflomario

Premium
226
United States
Connecticut
jflomario
This game's soundtrack and atmosphere are just about unmatched. I'd say OutRun 2/2006 give it a run for its money but they're so different from NFS4 that they can't relaly even be compared.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's a big turnaround from NFS3, where the PC version was vastly superior.
Bring That Beat Back
Amorphous Being
Callista

All epic tracks

Landstrasse
Dolphin Cove
The Irish Course
All technical and refreshing courses. This game was truly ahead of its time.
 
978
Spain
Spain
Tracks were very technical indeed. Consecutive long corners, negative camber, multi apex, multiple height variation between consecutive corners, variable width, positive camber with inner kerb, high speed hairpins due to extreme camber, wide chicannes...

And a reasonably realistic integration of those courses in the enviroment.
 
1,283
Croatia
Croatia
I actually have some very bad notepad for work and got NFS4 working on it today. Installed patch and now I need to fix resolution. But I had such a great nostalgia feeling about this one. And Career mode for 1999 is unbelievable. Bought myself SLK, no HUD, feels great. If I find decent screen recorder to match my notepad, I might do my first Let's play for YT (for me, I don't care if anyone watches it). Sorry if this was little bit spamming but the last time I got excited about a game is when I installed Master Mod for online GT5 one year ago. I guess on Win10 Xbox Record Bar could work if I found out how to make recording bar disappear while recording... Anyways Alex, great topic, I think I'll be revisiting it :)
 
1,283
Croatia
Croatia
Last time I'll spam Alex's topic and great job he did. I was bored, tried PC and PS1 versions. I can definetly say that in my opinion PC version is much better. Career mode is better and we have interior view which with HUD off is the way to play the game for me. And yea, probably best NFS ever :)
 
978
Spain
Spain
I'm so glad this thread exist so I can vent off from time to time about the most underrated racing game I've ever seen. You just very very rarely see a vibe of this kind in the genre: subtle, intriguing, stylish and cinema-like. And very rarely the menu of a game pumps you up for the actual gameplay the way HS does.

Menu just doesn't pop in: the central screen fades in, while the rest of the hud doesn't (or does at different speed). The loading screen doesn't have music but it starts playing before the menu opens up.
1650573265835.gif


Notice the framing of the photo, How many games use such extreme close up?.

If you don't do anything, the demo video starts playing. Same video in different windows sometimes with different image ratio.
Playthrough_PSX_Need_for_Speed_High_Stakes__Road_Challenge (1).gif



The color selection I think it nails the atmosphere. That blue gives a melancholic feel in tone with Rom Di Prisco music. The yellow of the selection stands out.

Central screen transition between menu screens.
Playthrough_PSX_Need_for_Speed_High_Stakes__Road_Challenge (2).gif



Showroom presentation.
Playthrough_PSX_Need_for_Speed_High_Stakes__Road_Challenge (3).gif


And this one you get just before the race to increase the tension. The music suddenly stops, the car roars, it stops spinning, and a very simple screen shows up. No music, just a layout of the track, the loading bar and a dim light in the left corner.
Playthrough_PSX_Need_for_Speed_High_Stakes__Road_Challenge (4).gif


It's just pure drama.
 
Last edited:
270
Brazil
Brazil
RodSk8Dude
Only complaint I have for these old NFS games really is the implementation of analog throttle. It doesn't map just power to input, but also revs. So if you hold it, say, halfway, you gain revs more slowly, but stop at the middle of the rev range, and it just stays there, in an unnatural way. Don't remember if it was like this on PC aswell, but I think at least III was. High Stakes I barely played on PC.
This game's soundtrack and atmosphere are just about unmatched[...]
I just think they shouldn't have gone full electronic with the soundtrack. Every NFS before had a mix of Electro and Rock, which is better for suiting different tastes. I like the electronic music in other NFS games, but on High Stakes there aren't many I like, and with nothing but them it's a problem for me. Still playable, but I think if I go back to it, I might make a playlist to play in the background, with some songs from previous NFSs, and a few from High Stakes too, but not many.
[...] It's a big turnaround from NFS3, where the PC version was vastly superior.
Except for the reflections. I think they were too specific on PC, where it's obvious it's static and reflecting some stuff not correctly, like for instance as if there's trees in the road right behind you.

On PS1 it was more generic, just some lights, similar to Gran Turismo, but as your car sped-up it started moving. It's still just a static image, but as it moves back lenght-wise on your car it creates a nice illusion and improves the sense of speed.

Shame they scaled that back on High Stakes... it still did that on tunnels, right? But I think not on the rest of the track. Although I guess that may work better, as there's nothing on the rest of the world that matches the reflections right that would move like that.

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.
We seriously need a nice retro inspired racing game with FICTIONAL cars, like GTA, or the first two Midnight Club games. Just so the game could have any car it wanted. Fictional tracks too, but inspired on real tracks and tracks from popular retro racing games.

If I had time it's definitely something I wanted to research, but my biggest worry would be the physics, because that is the most important part of it and I have no idea how hard it can be to properly program it. It could be simple, but should be convincing, like the PS1 era NFS and Gran Turismo games. If it was like those, it would already be better than modern NFS games at least.

I really wanted to play Heat with the Unite and handling mod, but for some reason it doesn't work, it doesn't open the game, just opens the Origin window. I bought the game on Origin even though I have Game Pass Ultimate, I uninstalled EA Play I even have a new NVMe with a fresh install of Windows, never having installed EA Play, just to be sure. I took ownership of the Origin folder, the game folder, the Frosty Manager folder, nothing works.
 
978
Spain
Spain
If I had time it's definitely something I wanted to research, but my biggest worry would be the physics, because that is the most important part of it and I have no idea how hard it can be to properly program it. It could be simple, but should be convincing, like the PS1 era NFS and Gran Turismo games. If it was like those, it would already be better than modern NFS games at least.
I would love to see that. For some reason, developers of arcade racers focused on customization think people want the most disastrous physics possible. In the racing genre, proper gameplay is always mandatory.

Juiced was insanely good... then they made Juiced 2 and the name was instantly killed.
 
1,135
Russian Federation
Far North.
Bloodytears1666
What is certain, game is really hard to play after you get used to modern simulators. Wished there were more precise controls. The last section of the game on race tracks in GT1 very hard to nail to the level of AI, which is incredibly fast.
Back in the day I didn't even had an idea, that all those tracks took some inspiration from real tracks, like Italian one instantly made me say Monza:).
 
Last edited:
978
Spain
Spain
I think it's a trend with many PS1 games, Driver 2 was just unplayable. I have to figure out how to make HS less laggy, must be very easy to achieve it by changing some emulator settings.
 
1,135
Russian Federation
Far North.
Bloodytears1666
It is not mostly on emulator side thing I guess, modern games taking the whole range of a stick while turning, both from hardware part and software, including adaptive speed sensitivity. In HS I couldn't really tell how well I have choosen an angle and most of the time stuggle to hold the line, especially at complex curves, and this NFS had them a lot. GT1 cars also twichy, so this made it much harder. I did played both Driver games just fine though, because it wasn't practically hard to drive there.

@SlimCharles also how have you made disk 2 in Driver to work. I am "inserting" disk 1, load my game, it says insert disk 2, I do so and it loads almost to the end and get stuck. Have tried different versions, but none on two disks worked.
 
978
Spain
Spain
@SlimCharles also how have you made disk 2 in Driver to work. I am "inserting" disk 1, load my game, it says insert disk 2, I do so and it loads almost to the end and get stuck. Have tried different versions, but none on two disks worked.
Talked from memory sadly. I haven't played the Driver games in ages. Actually I don't think I've ever played Driver 2 with emulation.

I did played both Driver games just fine though, because it wasn't practically hard to drive there.
Yeah, once lag is gone, Driver 1 is extremely easy (and fun). Just like Driver 3.
 
6,187
Germany
Hanover/Germany
alexpkas
I'm so glad this thread exist so I can vent off from time to time about the most underrated racing game I've ever seen. You just very very rarely see a vibe of this kind in the genre: subtle, intriguing, stylish and cinema-like. And very rarely the menu of a game pumps you up for the actual gameplay the way HS does.

Menu just doesn't pop in: the central screen fades in, while the rest of the hud doesn't (or does at different speed). The loading screen doesn't have music but it starts playing before the menu opens up.
View attachment 1140825

Notice the framing of the photo, How many games use such extreme close up?.

If you don't do anything, the demo video starts playing. Same video in different windows sometimes with different image ratio.
View attachment 1140838


The color selection I think it nails the atmosphere. That blue gives a melancholic feel in tone with Rom Di Prisco music. The yellow of the selection stands out.

Central screen transition between menu screens.
View attachment 1140839


Showroom presentation.
View attachment 1140840

And this one you get just before the race to increase the tension. The music suddenly stops, the car roars, it stops spinning, and a very simple screen shows up. No music, just a layout of the track, the loading bar and a dim light in the left corner.
View attachment 1140842

It's just pure drama.
You maginificant being. This is such a BEAUTIFUL post. Now I know there is at least one more person, which likes this game at least just as much as I do. :)
 
978
Spain
Spain
You maginificant being. This is such a BEAUTIFUL post. Now I know there is at least one more person, which likes this game at least just as much as I do. :)
Yeah... I'm afraid a view of the genre as elevated art is not common at all. Partly because most of the time it isn't or, it is contingent to the developer's art team.
 

HyperSpeeder

(Banned)
955
Brazil
Brazil
The PC version might appeal more to certain taste. But, as a polished and packed product, the PSX version is way more thought out. Artistically looks much more solid.
The PSX version was made by the studio that made the PC version of Porsche Unleashed.

The PC version was very relevant as a modding platform but, by the mid-2000s, vast majority had already moved on. The game engine IIRC was still the same one they used in NFS2 and maybe even TNFS, so it was stretched to the max, very limited and couldn't keep up with the technological progress.

It also didn't help that NFSHS came at the tail end of the Windows 98 era, so, when XP came out, it became increasingly difficult to run the game. Then Underground came out, introducing a whole new public to NFS, and those old cops vs racers games were almost forgotten until HP2010.

IMO High Stakes will always be in a Top 5 list of the best NFS games. Even with a limited car list compared to games like GT2, it brought you that experience, but in a fast paced arcade package which also included a separate, full Hot Pursuit mode where you could be either racer or cop. You could also do the trick of winning cars and selling them, but in HS it was far more risky to do it because of the High Stakes races, where you raced for pinkslips and could lose your own car!