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Just like its predecessors Need for Speed: High Stakes is an action racing game with a wide selection of exotic sports cars and many different types of tracks. The trademark Hot Pursuit mode game mode from the first game in the series is still present, where players race opponents on tracks filled with regular traffic and police cars that chase the racers. The classic pursuit mode is extended with two additional modes: Getaway and Time Trap. In Getaway the player needs to shake off the police in a set amount of time, or playing as the police trap a speeder before time runs out. In Time Trap an entire race needs to be completed before time runs out, or as the police all speeders need to be arrested. There are minor differences between the two platforms for this game mode, regarding spike strips, road blocks, and back-up. The latter for instance is unique to the PlayStation version. The Pursuit mode is available in multiplayer as well and players can take different sides or race together.

It is the first game in the series to introduce a Career mode with a set of challenges. Beating these is rewarded with trophies for unlocks, and money to spend on new cars, repairs and upgrades. In the PlayStation version the Career mode is split up into two different sets of challenges: Tournament (required races) and Special Event (optional races). High Stakes in the title refers to races where players bet their cars. In the PC version these are a part of the Career mode when the player owns more than two cars. In the PlayStation version two players can insert their memory cards and race against each other. The winner immediately receives the opponent's car and it is deleted from the loser's memory card right away.

In addition to the new game modes it is also the first game in the series to have a detailed physics models. Damage now affects both the appearance and the performance of the car for the first time.


Need for Speed: High Stakes PlayStation Vehicle selection
Need for Speed: High Stakes Windows Interesting camera view
Need for Speed: High Stakes Windows Showing off with my green BMW
Need for Speed: High Stakes PlayStation Title screen

Promo Images

Need for Speed: High Stakes Magazine Advertisement
Need for Speed: High Stakes Other


Alternate Titles

  • "极品飞车:孤注一掷" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Over Drivin' IV" -- Japanese title
  • "NFS 4" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Need for Speed: הדרך לניצחון" -- Hebrew spelling
  • "Need for Speed: Road Challenge" -- European / Latin American title
  • "Need for Speed: Conduite en état de liberté" -- French title
  • "Need for Speed: Brennender Asphalt" -- German title
  • "Need for Speed 4" -- Informal title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The best racing game I have ever played, bar none. Windows Trixter (9110)
EXCELLENT!!! Best in the series! Windows Andrew Taylor (8)
The premier road racing game on the market today! Windows Rick Jones (111)
What NFS3: Hot Pursuit should have been Windows Kasey Chang (4612)

Critic Reviews

Hacker Windows Jul, 1999 90 out of 100 90
Freak PlayStation May, 1999 90 out of 100 90
Gaming Entertainment Monthly Windows May 29, 1999 89 out of 100 89
Gameplay (Benelux) Windows Aug 31, 1999 86 out of 100 86
PC Joker Windows Jul, 1999 86 out of 100 86
Power Unlimited Windows Jul, 1999 8.6 out of 10 86
PC Games (Germany) Windows Jul, 1999 84 out of 100 84
CyberJoy Windows Jul 19, 1999 4 out of 5 80
Spel för Alla PlayStation May, 1999 8 out of 10 80
Computer and Video Games (CVG) PlayStation Jun, 1999 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60


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Depending on which country you are racing in, Police car have different paintings - and even different sirens.

Taco Den

If you go behind the Taco Den on the Redrock Ridge track, you'll hear people burping inside.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2000 (Issue #188) – Racing Game of the Year
Information also contributed by Erik Niklas

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Contributed to by Brolin Empey (857) and MAT (221212)