It was the first official game in the long-running Need for Speed series.
It was released in 1994 for the Panasonic 3DO, in 1995 for Microsoft DOS, and finally in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Cars
- 3 Courses
- 4 Soundtrack
- 5 System Requirements
- 6 Special Releases
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Box Art
The gameplay of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed follows a realistic premise. Road & Track magazine has provided EA with real data about the cars featured in the final game.
Each car has a different style of handling, performance, sounds, and braking. The realistic gameplay is found to be simple for new players to pick up and play without much frustration at the start of play. Plus, each car can be driven in cockpit view.
The 3DO release features full motion video sequences with a driver named X-Man, played by the late Brenan Baird, where he will judge the player's driving depending on their performance during an event.
There are four different types of races in the game. Police and traffic only appear in Head To Head mode. The 3DO release only includes Head To Head and Time Trial.
- Head To Head - A duel between two racers in a Point A to Point B track. This is the only mode that features traffic cars and cops (when open road course is selected).
- Single Race - Players compete with up to seven opponents on either circuit or sprint tracks. In this mode players can select the number of opponents, laps, etc.
- Time Trial - Players must beat a set time record in a track to win.
- Tournament - The player has to collect as many points as possible to succeed in a series of tracks. The player earns higher points by finishing closer to the pole position at the end of a race.
No car in the title can drive off-road as the title uses blocking volumes to keep players on the track. This also prevents players from cheating by taking shortcuts in events.
Racers can be arrested by police on open road tracks. If a racer gets caught, then they'll receive a ticket. When a racer receives three tickets (two tickets in the Sega Saturn release), they are arrested.
Racers can also be totaled in the 3DO release. The player has three or four cars depending on their ability to drive, and once all cars have been totaled, the race ends.
Cars included in Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed are divided into three classes with each representing different performance brackets such as speed and handling. It is impossible to modify the cars in any way.
Players can also access a Showcase Mode for each car. There it is possible to check general, historical, mechanical, and performance information as well as a slideshow and short presentation video regarding the vehicle. The information screens are all commented by an announcer.
A hidden bonus car would be made available in 1995 with the first computer release. It would also appear in all subsequent releases.
Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed features licenced traffic vehicles.
The game's initial release for the 3DO features three open road, point-to-point segmented courses. Subsequent releases for PC, PlayStation and Sega Saturn would also include closed circuit courses.
- Rusty Springs Raceway
- Autumn Valley Speedway
- Vertigo Ridge
- Lost Vegas (Bonus)
- Burnt Sienna (SE Release)
- Transtropolis (SE Release)
The Need for Speed: Special Edition
A Special Edition of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed was released in 1996 which included additional content missing from the original PC release, as well as exclusive content.
Road & Track Presents: Over Drivin' DX - Rally Edition
A non-commercial, limited promotional localised release of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed in March 1996 was made available for PlayStation in Japan.
Road & Track Presents: Over Drivin' DX
A localised release of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed in April 1996 was made available for PlayStation in Japan, and features all of the same content as the original release but with a Japanese language option.
Nissan Presents: Over Drivin' GT-R
A localised release of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed in December 1996 was made available for Sega Saturn in Japan, and features only Nissan cars.
Nissan Presents: Over Drivin' Skyline Memorial
A localised re-release of Over Drivin' DX in October 1997 was made available for PlayStation in Japan following the Sega Saturn release, and features only Nissan Skyline models.
- Need for Speed: ProStreet, Need for Speed: Shift, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) are partially inspired by Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed.