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Need for Speed 5: Porsche Unleashed [PC] Review
NFS Xtreme's NFS 5 Porsche Unleashed Review!

Need for Speed 5: Porsche Unleashed [PC] Review

Review by:
Developer/Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre Type: Simulation
Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Allright, so you see the title 'Need for Speed' and gotta have that box. Well, anyway, that's what happened to me. I've been a Need for Speed fan since the beginning and thus, when another sequel appeared in the shops, I was one of the first people to have it. Rushed home, flipped my PC on and inserted the CD. 'General failure reading CD-ROM drive'...neeh, just kidding. Installed the game and my Microsoft Force Feedback steering wheel and started the game.

Of course, since it was a new game, I didn't interrupt the intro sequence and watched it all the way. Electronic Arts got together another great intro movie. The only thing that was a bit disappointing was that, just like the movies in any other Need for Speed game, the quality wasn't that good. Although it's a great intro, that's a thing that EA should really work on.

Okay, the intro is done and I'm supposed to enter a name and choose a picture. That's a great thing, you can choose an image and a person with that face will race the cars. It's just like High Stakes, the fact that you can actually see the person in the cars, but better.

Then you're supposed to start the 'Evolution Mode'; it's the carreer from High Stakes mode with a great variety of tracks, tourneys and opponents. The big difference with previous Need for Speed versions is that now all cars are sorted on period in which they made their first appearance to the public. The tournaments are sorted likewise, so that you start with the older Porsches and work your way up to the absolute top in speed and streamlined designs. That way you can gradually get the feeling of every porsche, because you can't skip a period, and so have to finish every tournament. Every tournament has its own restrictions and tracks, and you'll have to choose your car accordingly.

Used.gif (42258 bytes)Then you start racing. You continue, continue and drive on until you're getting a little dizzy. You look at the clock and notice that 6 hours have passed since you started the game. Yes, it really is that good. Although, for some people, it's a pity that you can only race Porsches and no Ferrari's (FF50 was my personal favorite in High Stakes), the variety of Porsches makes up for it just great. As said before, it's like the carreer mode and thus you have to win money to buy new cars. A thing that made a big impression on me is that you can even buy used cars, repair them, and race 'till you drop. The picture here shows the screen which appears when you decide to buy a used car. As you can see, there are a few bumps in this Boxter and the yellow staves indicate which parts of the car are damaged and how bad. Next to that, the costs in case of repair are shown and above the car the price of the car as-is. Now only is it much nicer to look at, but you avoid the risk of selecting that car without seeing it (yes, that's possible) and press the RACE button. You can't possibly win a race with a car which wheels are almost falling off, and if you decide to quit the race because it's hopeless, you'll have to pay the entry fee again. Another thing is that if you repair the car, it's value increases and you might just be able to sell it for more than you bought it for GT1.gif (42170 bytes)plus the repair costs. Yes, you can sell cars and this is a very good way to make money fast. Just buy a car, repair it, and sell it again. The picutre on the left here happens to be the GT1, one of the fastest cars in the game. The picture shows the 'garage'-screen, in which you can open the hoods, doors and take a look inside to admire the interrior. From this screen you can also enter the 'Parts' screen and buy new part for you currenty selected car like a better engine, better ventilation, or stronger doors, hoods etc. New parts can drastically alter the way the car handles (for the positive of course). Another possibility is to change the color of the car, which isn't new, and the trims, which is. With these options you can make the car look just the way you want it to look. A car which carries your approval could make you race better...really!

When you've seen all options and possibilities, at least you think you have, there always are some more options which you haven't discovered yet. Fine tune your cars just the way you want them and finish the carreer mode if you can. Then, when you think you're ready, there's one more mode in which you can race: Factory Driver. In this mode you enter the Porsche Test Team and have to prove yourself to be a worthy Porsche driver. You meet the members of the team and get assignments which you must complete. There assignments vary from beating a time on a slalom course to having to bring a car to the end of a track within a designated amount of time without scratching it. It can be very frustrating to race your car through a track intact and at the end crash into another car, which will damage yours and so you'll have to race the entire track again.

Another great thing is the intelligence of the police cars. They can of course be a pain in the ass if you have to speed up and they keep banging you from side to side trying to stop you. If you approach then from the left, they'll steer left to intercept and similar to the right. So when I finished the Evolution mode and Factory Driver I was looking forward to playing a little Hot Persuit as a cop, which I enjoyed very much in Need for Speed: Hot Persuit. But wherever I looked, there was no Hot Persuit button to be found. And to this day, I haven't been able to find it. Although there are patches and modifies cars available to get hold of the police cars, it doesn't seem to be a standard gaming mode, which I think is a pity.

Another option within the game is the Porsche Chronicle in which you can take a look at all Porsche models competing in the game. You can glare are the images and be amazed by their beauty, as well as look at some more specific images telling you what kind of parts are in the cars. Although those photos are pretty good, there also are some computer-generated images available for the real fans, which you can put up your desktop like the one on the right here.

Red.jpg (65304 bytes)Overall the game is just the leader in the racing genre today. The graphics are superior, the gameplay rules and the sound and music are great. When you start playing, especially with a steering wheel, you'll notice that a lot of time will pass without you noticing it, just because the game has you in its grasp.


And now the Final Grade to give to this game: On a scale from 1 to 10, it's a big   9.5

If there's anything you'd like see in this review or you just wanna talk to the lunatic who wrote this, mail Ratch

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