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Need for Speed: Nitro is a game in the Need for Speed series developed specifically for the Nintendo Wii and DS by EA Montreal.

The game's gameplay is based around the Wii and DS's controls whilst also incorporating a "unique visual style."


Career Mode

Career mode has players participating in three cup categories across 3 cups; Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

The end of each cup has the player competing in a Grand Prix involving a series of races in each city. The player will earn points depending on their finishing position, with the winner being the racer with the highest amount of points after the final race.

Nitro Challenge replaces the Grand Prix in the DS release.

Players travel from city to city to participate in races with the chance to win stars and earn money for each victory. Players will unlock new cars, cities or car upgrades as they earn more stars.

Top Racers

Dodge Charger R/T artwork.

The player can become the Top Racer in a city by obtaining all stars in all its race events. Each city features a different "Top Racer"; Thiago, Omar, Luis, Zarinah, and Jawad, with each performing best on courses within their home city.

All cars of the "Top Racers," except for Thiago's Dodge Challenger SRT-8 and Omar's Lamborghini Gallardo, can be unlocked after all stars are obtained from all race events of each city.


Own It

The game features an aesthetic game mechanic called "Own It". Own It causes any buildings, surrounding landscape and road markings tagged with the lead driver's colours, graffiti, and tag.

Each driver has their own style of graffiti - players can alter their graffiti using the vehicle customisation system - and is used to indicate the race leader as well as giving players additional style points for staying in first place.


There are 5 cities in the game; Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Madrid, Singapore, and Dubai. The Nintendo DS release features an additional city; San Diego.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is the first city that players will race through in the career. It has large, open roads and easy corners. Rio de Janeiro is featured as part of the game's tutorial videos.

The Top Racer in the city is Thiago. He drives a Volkswagen Type 2 (Bronze Cup), a Dodge Charger R/T (Silver Cup), and a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 (Gold Cup).

Courses: Botafogo Beach, Santa Teresa, and Sugar Loaf (Drag Race).


Cairo, Egypt is the second location that players will race through in the career. The streets are slightly narrower and feature tighter corners.

The Top Racer in the city is Omar. He drives a Volkswagen Beetle (Bronze Cup), a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (Silver Cup), and a Lamborghini Gallardo (Gold Cup).

Courses: Tahrir Square, Zamalek Island, and Nile Bridges (Drag Race).


Madrid, Spain is the third city that players will race through in the career. The streets are even narrower, but the corners are wider and perfect for drifting.

The Top Racer in the city is Luis. He drives a Hummer H2 SUT (Bronze Cup), a 1967 Shelby GT500 (Silver Cup), and an Audi R8 (Gold Cup).

Courses: Las Ventas Ring, Plaza Mayor, and Highway 30 (Drag Race).


Singapore is the fourth unlocked location in the career. Some courses in this city take place within the docks area meaning the routes are tight, technical, and riddled with obstacles. Players are capable of falling into the ocean on these courses. Singapore is the only city where all race events take place at sunset.

The Top Racer in the city is Zarinah. She drives a Toyota Corolla GT-S (Bronze Cup), a Nissan 370Z (Silver Cup), and a Ford GT (Gold Cup).

Courses: Keppel Harbour, Raffles Place, and Esplanade (Drag Race).


Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the final city that players will race through in the career. It features some of the most difficult courses, including construction sites (such as large buildings and an unfinished bridge) and high-speed highways.

The Top Racer in the city is Jawad. He drives a Tesla Roadster (Bronze Cup), a Porsche Cayman S (Silver Cup), and a Lamborghini Reventón (Gold Cup).

Courses: Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and Sheikh's Highway (Drag Race).


A maximum of two police cars will chase the player, with additional police units forming roadblocks. Unlike other Need for Speed games, police vehicles do not drop Spike Strips or engage racers with a Police Helicopter.

Police units will pursue racers in Circuit and Elimination events. They will not pursue in Speedtrap or Drift Challenge events, but will instead form roadblocks along the event's route. Police vehicles never appear in Drag events.


A series of five police badges appear on the upper-right corner of the player's screen. They signify the player's Heat Level. Hitting traffic, criminal damage, speeding, driving on the sidewalk, and ramming police cars can increase the player's Heat Level. The police can become more aggressive towards a racer with a high Heat Level.

The racer in pole position will always have a minimum of two police badges.

Police Badge

A "Police Badge" is a power-up that allows the player to move their heat level onto a different opponent. This allows the player to divert the police's attention from them onto a different racer and, in addition, it can also be used to instantly and effectively reduce the player's Heat Level to two badges, if no opponents or targets are in sight. The power-up can only be acquired by the player during a racing event.

Police Vehicles

Police vehicles appear in Need for Speed: Nitro with different vehicles pursuing racers based on the current performance class the racers are driving:

Police vehicles can only be driven players in the multiplayer versus mode; Pursuit Tag.

Special Releases

Need for Speed: Nitro-X

Main article: Need for Speed: Nitro-X
DSiware cover for Nitro-X.

Need for Speed: Nitro-X is an updated re-release of the original DS game available via the Nintendo DSi's online DSi Shop. It includes never-before-driven police cars and all the content that the original release features. It features a cop mode that allows players to play from a police perspective.

The DSi cameras can be used to create unique tags with captured images through the tag editor and by selecting the camera icon.

It was released in North America on November 15, 2010 and on November 26, 2010 in Europe. The game was originally slated for a September release date, but it was delayed to October with a later delay pushing the release into November.

Need for Speed: Nitro-X is the first game in the Need for Speed series to only be available via digital download.