Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Need for Speed 2: Special Edition

John Marine | 11/09/2011 11:58:00 PM |
Need for Speed 2 (especially the SE version) holds a special place in my heart. You see, back in 1997, I wanted to play Need for Speed 2: SE... BADLY. I never got to play this game initially because my PC at the time couldn't handle this game. It wasn't until purchasing the Need for Speed pack, featuring this game and four others, to where I finally got to play it. I have since sort of lamented not being able to play "Need for Speed 2: SE" on a competent PC when it was fairly new.

--- Need for Speed 2: SE at a Glance ---

A complete overhaul of the graphics and driving dynamics were in store for players in NFS2: SE. The base NFS2 featured eight cars. This package included four more to bring the number of playable cars to 12. It was the first Need for Speed to feature concept cars. There are a total of eight tracks including one bonus course. They can all be raced in normal or reverse. You could also play this game with different driving modes- normal, simulation, and wild. Simulation is more serious (but not intensely serious) while Wild provides the most insane driving experience.

--- Need for Speed 2: SE - The Cars ---

This game features 12 cars to race. Each car is supplemented with photos, statistics, and a video. Unlike the previous title, there is no support from Road and Track Magazine. The pictures are big and beautiful for each featured car in the game.

Here is a look at the 12 cars you can use in this game. The cars are not listed in any specific order:

McLaren F1.

The McLaren F1 remains one of the all-time greatest cars ever made. It STILL remains that, not to mention my all-time favorite car. It is a car with 600+ horsepower, great handling, and a top speed of about 240 mph from a BMW V12 engine. It is also the only center-drive car in the game.

Ferrari F50.

Ferrari's successor to the F40 is the exotically-styled F50. It was the ultimate Ferrari for the time this game was produced and released. It is a lovely car with amazing performance. It is not, however, going to make the McLaren F1 shake in its shoes.

Lotus Elise GT1.

This is not your average Lotus Elise. This one happens to be an evolved beast with the same engine as the Lotus Esprit. I personally love this car as the best-sounding car in the game.

Ford GT90.

Before this car would give way to the Ford GT in 2002 or so, the Ford GT90 is a concept car with great performance and a lovely body style. The rear wing deploys at about 60 or 90 miles per hour. It is a great car to look at and to race.

Jaguar XJ220.

At one point, the Jaguar XJ220 was the fastest car in the world, bettering the likes of Porsche and Lamborghini. The super-slick and superexotic XJ220 will blow you away.

Ford Indigo.

The Ford Indigo is the best-handling car in the game. Don't let the fact that its "B" class designation means it stands no chance against the faster "A" class cars. This car will actually surprise A-class cars on twisty courses. So consider this as a very good underdog car to use in your races.

Ford Mustang Mach 3.

An iconic car since 1964, the latest (as in this game) Mustang prototype was this Mach 3 concept car. This C-Class car gives you your best taste of American muscle across this game's international courses.

Italdesign Nazca C2.

The Nazca C2 from Italdesign clearly has BMW DNA when you look at it. In fact, it is also called the BMW Nazca C2. This was a supercar from 1991 that competes in the B-Class in "NFS2: Special Edition."

Italdesign Calà.

The Lamborghini-like Calà (also called the Lamborghini Calà) is an excitingly-styled C-Class 1995 concept car. It was meant to replace the Jalpa in Lamborghini's range at the time of this car's arrival.

Isdera Commendatore.

This Porsche-like concept car from Germany's Isdera is a swoopy car. The Commendatore 112i is a very nice car that performs very well.

Lotus Esprit.

To be honest, I've never really liked the Esprit. It is still a capable car worth competing in this game.

Ferrari 355 F1.

This baby Ferrari is the Italian Stallion you can use in the C-Class.
you can

Those are the cars. A few more cars (all fictional) can be unlocked. These are mostly no-name cars with varying levels of performance apart from the real cars featured here. Cars and racing are useless without tracks, so let's move on to tracks!

--- Need for Speed 2: SE - The Tracks ---

Like the previous NFS, this game features eight tracks. This time, all are circuit races, and all races have their own weather and time conditions. Prepare to go on a world tour of racing unlike any other!

Seven of the eight regular courses feature traffic from commuter cars. Traffic can be toggled on or off for single races and one-on-one races.

Proving Ground.

Through the cool air of Norway, you will be going full speed around this course. This is the only track that does not feature traffic because Proving Ground is clearly a proper racing facility. The race takes place during sunset. With 3DFX, this track has you racing through the rain. Don't even think about braking here. Floor the gas and put that steering wheel to good use weaving around the other racers.


Take a trip around Sydney and head into the Australian Outback with this course. Speeds are very high. I highly recommend you race this course after being done with Proving Ground. Just watch out for traffic. It is GREAT fun with fast cars here! Also, it features one of my favorite songs in the entire game: "Corroboree," the rock theme to this course.

Lost Resort.

Your vacation in coastal Mexico features a very tough race through the lovely tropical setting that gives way to ancient Mexico. Get ready for a wild ride that you will never forget! There are a number of opportunities to enjoy big jumps and tricky stunts. Feel free to have some fun here. Just remember- don't lose your cool here.

North Country.

You will be racing in Northern Europe for this race. A lot of decisive corners await you and will push your racing skills to the limit. You may be able to cheat and get some unfair advantages here, especially when encountering the series of sharp corners here.

Pacific Spirit.

This is an urban race course that also includes a lovely drive through some country roads. Don't let up here on this Canadian course, because it will trick you. Two great songs compliment this course among default music tracks. "Sanoqoua" (the Techno theme) and "Siwash Rock" (the Rock theme) are the two great default songs for this course. Be careful navigating the corners here.


In a venue clearly inspired by the island of Mykonos, this is a Greek venue with loads of beauty. Its beauty is actually a veil for the difficulty level of this course. It is too easy to overshoot corners and end up on the roof of your car if you are not careful. Going through the village can be tough. Elsewhere, careful throttle and brake usage will help you get around the corners of this tough course.

Mystic Peaks.

This venue has inspiration from Nepal and Tibet. It is undoubtedly the longest course in the game. Victory here requires making as few mistakes as possible. The roads are narrow along with the many icy walls through the tunnels. This is NOT the course to take exotic cars around for a race! Despite this, get ready to execute the drive of your life if you expect to win here!

Because I unlocked the hidden track, I will give you a preview of it.

(The Bonus Track).

Take a tour with this American track that features a host of environments. The track has a theme of movies interladen with this venue, so you will be racing an intense race track through a variety of movie-like settings. Want to know more about it? Play the game and unlock it yourself, darned you! :P

--- Final Thoughts on "Need for Speed 2: Special Edition" ---

Before the next NFS title moved more towards Hollywood-style theatrics and car chases, I think this game was the last of the great NFS titles. Most of the future NFS titles failed to really resonate with me from a classic racing game standpoint.

This is a video preview of "NFS 2: Special Edition":

Did you like this video? If you want to buy this game and play it on the PC, you can get it on Amazon. So check this out:

^ "Need for Speed 2: Special Edition" for PC.

Or, get this game as part of THIS bundle:

^ "Need for Speed 2 Collection" for PC.

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John B. Marine said...

I need to show this post to my husband. I think he would enjoy this game :)

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