Need for Speed: High Stakes adds more crunchy goodness to our diet of evading, eluding and finally - when we can't beat 'em, joining the cops in this adrenline pumping game of chicken.
Need for Speed: High Stakes retains the decent control found in Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit and adds Dual-Shock feedback to let you have the experience of bouncing a Lambo off a building without the shock inducing repair bill (cars now show damage.) The new gameplay modes include High Stakes, which lets you put your money (or in this case, your car) where your mouth is - winner takes the losers' car. Tournament and Special Events are a nod to Gran Turismos' simulation mode. Want a better car? - well, earn it. Most racers will find something to please them in this version.
A little more and a little less. Need for Speed: High Stakes is better looking (tracks are beautiful) than NFS3, but it's not a huge leap and still retains that mid-res sort of look. The frame rates, especially in two-player hot pursuit, drop noticeably when there's a lot of mayhem going on, sticking to first-person view helps, but not always. Frame rate disappointment (sad) aside - Need for Speed: High Stakes is still a satisfying experience, especially because it's so integrated with the next factor: Sound.
Aurally, Need for Speed: High Stakes blows away NFS3: Hot Pursuit with the inclusion of the police radio-chatter. Cars are equiped with police scanners so you can hear the police reporting you to HQ, commenting on your driving and telling each other where you're headed, where to stop you and how. This really ups the ante in the tension and strategy departments. Knowing that tire-spikes await you around the next bend gets you pumped and determined to find the path of no resistance. This feature alone makes Need for Speed: High Stakes immensely more fun to play. Musically, EA pipes in a selection of tachno music (get it - techno... cars... sorry, that was flat) that fits perfectly into the game.
Need for Speed: High Stakes offers a gameplay experience that is really unmatched by any other game out there (except for NFS3.) It's a super-combo of cops, robbers and pure reckless driving pleasure that adds up to being more than just a racing game. Need for Speed: High Stakes is a Gospel Revival Hour to Gran Turismo's Zen. Both great, yet different. Need for Speed: High Stakes is a very fun ride, hop in.