A Need for Speed Timeline: First Generation
Need for Speed (NFS) is a series of racing video games published by Electronic Arts (EA). The game has come a long way (spanning almost two decades) and with the upcoming Need for Speed: Most Wanted, (to be released on October 30, 2012, for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) it seems only fit to backtrack several years and dive briefly into a few facts about each installment in the franchise.
There are a total of three generations in the Need for Speed franchise, so let's begin with the first generation.
The Need for Speed (1994)
The original Need for Speed was first released on the SDO and ported to other systems. Nine cars are made available to choose from, including a secret tenth car. The game featured both closed circuits and three point-to-point tracks, each divided into three stages. Also included were police pursuits, in which a player could be ticketed or arrested after a police car catches up with the player.
Need for Speed II (1997)
Need for Speed II is known for featuring some of the rarest and most exotic vehicles ever available, including the Ford Indigo concept vehicle. A new racing mode was introduced called "Knockout," where the last racers to finish laps were eliminated until the only leading racer remains and wins. There was a special edition of NFS II, which includes one extra track, extra cars, and support for Glide (which was the then-growing 3D graphics standard used in 3dfx's Voodoo 2 graphics cards).
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998)
With Hot Pursuit mode, players can attempt to outrun the police or be the cop, arresting speeders. Due to the multimedia capabilities of the CD-ROM, audio commentary was featured, as well as picture slideshows and music videos. It was the first installment in the series to allow the downloading of additional cars from the official website.
Need for Speed: High Stakes/Road Challenge (1999)
Several new types of gameplay were introduced, such as: high Stakes, Getaway, Time Trap, and Career. The AI in this game was more advanced; the five AIs known as Nemesis, Built, Frost, Ranger and Chump featured different driving characteristics.
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed/Porsche 2000 (2000)
In this installment, the vehicle handling is considered to be the most realistic, compared to any NFS game. There is also an in-depth catalogue of different Porsche parts that span throughout the years. Unlike the previous four NFS games, Prsche Unleased was not released in Japan.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)
The first NFS version since the start of the series that did not feature a true "in the driving seat" camera view, complete with a steering wheel, dashboard, etc. Also, it was the last game in the series for PC to feature the split-screen two player mode that was introduced in NFS II.
Check back for Need for Speed: Second Generation