Need for Speed has been going strong for well over a decade, especially since finding mass popularity on PS2. You’re no doubt familiar with the pimped-out, hip-hopping, street-savvy Need for Speed games of today, but do you remember it before it turned cool? There was a time when modding only went as far choosing manual or automatic gears.
There’s something special in each of the NFS games on PlayStation 2, so we’re going to take you on a little trip of the Need for Speed universe. You might not remember the sights, especially at the aging, moss-covered end of the street, but here are the innovations that shaped the game as we know it today. Fasten your seat belt; it could be a bumpy ride.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 - 2002
Sequel to the PC-only game, Hot Pursuit 2 brought the series to PS2 for the first time. Vastly superior to the lifeless GameCube and Xbox versions (and, oddly, coded by a totally different team), the PS2 game featured cool but unrealistic power-ups - like a fireball that raced up the track ahead of you to show you what hazards lay around the next turn - and the unexpected presence of police helicopters dropping barrels in your path. Although there was no hint of modding, the game was nonetheless extremely cool, very fast and more explosive than any NFS before or since - and it’s definitely worth picking up if you find it second-hand.