Need for Speed Wiki
Need for Speed Wiki

Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed is a racing video game developed by Pioneer Productions, a team within EA Canada, and published by Electronic Arts.

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 in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn.


The gameplay of Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed follows a realistic premise. Road & Track magazine provided Electronic Arts with real data about the cars featured in the 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.

At the start of every race, players are required to shift out of neutral and into first gear to get the car moving, even if Automatic transmission was selected at the options menu.

The 3DO release features full motion video sequences with a driver named X-Man, played by the late Brenan Baird, in which he will judge the player's driving depending on their performance during an event, and also serving as the opponent in Head To Head mode.

Game Modes

The 3DO release only includes Head To Head and Time Trial, although all subsequent releases has four different types of races in total:

  • Head To Head - Players compete in a duel between two racers.
    • If an open course is selected, the race takes part in a point-to-point route segmented into three sections featuring traffic cars and police.
    • If a circuit course is selected, the race only features the two racers with a set number of laps.
  • Single Race - Players compete with up to seven opponents on either circuit or sprint courses, with selectable parameters including the number of opponents and laps.
  • Time Trial - Players have to try to beat a set time record or top speed and acceleration for a course.
    • In the 3DO release, traffic cars and police are present.
    • Top speed and acceleration time statistics can be recorded at the Rusty Springs Raceway course.
  • Tournament - A competition encompassing all available courses with the cars sorted into three performance classes.
    • In the DOS, PlayStation, and Saturn releases, players have to finish in first place on all courses to succeed and unlock the bonus course.
    • In the Special Edition release, players have to collect as many points as possible to succeed, earning higher points by finishing closer to pole position for a race. A bonus course, bonus car, and mirrored courses are unlocked.

No car in the game can drive off-road, as the blocking volumes are used to keep players on the course, and also prevents players from cheating by taking shortcuts during events.


Racers can be pursued and arrested by police on open road courses. The patrol car's presence is alerted to the player by a police scanner and radar. Players can choose to either slow down or continue racing, which will trigger a chase and is indicated by a police car's siren.

  • If players break right after hearing the siren, the police car will just give them a warning, resulting in a three second delay.
  • Players can also try to outrun the police, but if they are caught, they'll receive a speeding ticket.
    • If a racer receives three tickets in any given segment (two tickets in the 3DO and Sega Saturn releases), they are arrested and will end the race, with a video sequence of the Policeman.

Highlight Reel

A replay feature named "Highlight Reel" allows players to save races to watch again at different speeds and camera views.

3DO Gameplay Features

Skill Level

  • Novice - Automatic shift, less traffic, X-Man is less aggressive, and courses have only two segments.
  • Intermediate - Automatic shift, medium traffic, X-Man is more competitive, and courses have all three segments.
  • Pro - Manual shift, dense traffic, X-Man is more aggressive and fast, and courses have all three segments.

Totalling Cars

In the 3DO release, if players experience a major crash, a message appears indicating that they've lost a car and are shown a number of remaining cars left. If all remaining cars are totalled, the race will end.

If players drive a certain distance fast enough in a given segment, they will receive a bonus car added to their remaining cars.


A selection of eight sports cars are each portrayed with a specific colour, which can not be changed or modified.

Players can access a Showcase Mode for each car, which will show general, historical, mechanical, and performance information alongside a slideshow and short presentation video regarding the car. Each showcase is narrated and presented with information supplied by Road & Track.

With the exception of the 3DO original release, cars are divided into three classes with each representing different performance brackets such as speed and handling.

Image Stats
TNFS AcuraNSX 3DO.jpg
Class C
Horsepower: 270 BHP
0-60 mph: 5.8 sec.
Top Speed: 168 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.87g
TNFS CorvetteZR1 3DO.jpg
Horsepower: 405 BHP
0-60 mph: 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: 178 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.91g
TNFS DodgeViper 3DO.jpg
Horsepower: 400 BHP
0-60 mph: 4.8 sec.
Top Speed: 160 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.96g
TNFS Ferrari512TR 3DO.jpg
Class A
Horsepower: 421 BHP
0-60 mph: 4.7 sec.
Top Speed: est 192 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.94g
TNFS LamborghiniDiablo 3DO.jpg
Horsepower: 492 BHP
0-60 mph: 4.7 sec.
Top Speed: est 202 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.87g
TNFS MazdaRX7 3DO.jpg
Class C
Horsepower: 255 BHP
0-60 mph: 5.5 sec.
Top Speed: est 158 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.94g
TNFS Porsche911 3DO.jpg
Horsepower: 270 BHP
0-60 mph: 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: est 168 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.91g
TNFS ToyotaSupra 3DO.jpg
Horsepower: 320 BHP
0-60 mph: 5.0 sec.
Top Speed: est 155 mph
Lateral Accel: 0.98g


A hidden bonus car is revealed upon entering a cheat code or winning the Tournament, but is not included in the 3DO original release.

Image Stats
TNFS Warrior PTO E2.jpg
Win the tournament event
Horsepower: 835 BHP
0-60 mph: 3.2 sec.
Top Speed: est 269 mph
Lateral Accel: 2.4g

Traffic Cars



Courses include three open road, point-to-point segmented routes. The DOS, PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn include additional closed circuit courses.

Following the introduction of the Tournament mode, the game also has an unlockable bonus circuit. In the PlayStation, Saturn, and Special Edition release, players can set the time of day for each course.

Open Races

  • City
  • Coastal
  • Alpine

Closed Circuits

  • Rusty Springs Raceway
  • Autumn Valley Speedway
  • Vertigo Ridge
  • Lost Vegas (Bonus)
  • Burnt Sienna (SE Release)
  • Transtropolis (SE Release)


System Requirements


Sound Dolby Surround
Input Devices Controller Pad, FlightStick Pro
Players 1


Minimum Requirements
OS DOS 5.0
sCPU Intel 80486DX2 @ 66 Mhz
Drive 2X CD-ROM
Video Modes SuperVGA, VESA, VGA
Sound Devices Ensoniq Soundscape, Gravis Ultrasound / ACE, Gravis Ultrasound MAX, Microsoft Sound System, Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster 16, Sound Blaster AWE32, Sound Blaster Pro
Input Joystick (Analog), Keyboard, Mouse, Steering/Driving Wheel
Online Modem, Null-modem cable

Cheat Codes and Unlockables

Special Releases

The Need for Speed: Special Edition

TNFS SpecialEdition Boxart.jpg

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

ODDXRally Boxart.jpg

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

TNFS OD DX Boxart.jpg

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

TNFSODGTR Boxart.jpg

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

TNFSODSM Boxart.jpg

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.

Box Art