Road & Track presents: The Need for Speed is an arcade driving game developed by Electronic Arts Canada, and was released in 1994 for 3DO, DOS, Sega Saturn, and the PlayStation. The game was presented by Road & Track, an automotive magazine. A special edition of this game was released in 1996 for Windows 95 support.
Road & Track featured three different game modes: Race, Time Trial, and Tournament. Players who won tournament mode by finishing top of the standings after racing all of the tracks in succession were awarded with a bonus track and car. Subsequent victories gave the player a mirror mode, and finally a rally mode (all the tracks were dirt).
Road & Track also featured police chases. On the three point-to-point tracks, which also featured traffic, players could be ticketed and eventually arrested if they were overtaken by a police car.
Vehicle handling was markedly different to that of the real Need for Speed games. Despite the outlandish jumps featured in the tracks, the cars had slower steering responsiveness and more accurately reflected each car's unique handling characteristics in the real world. This can be attributed to the game's relationship with Road & Track, who provided the development team with car handling notes, as well as engine and gear change audio.
In keeping with the game's attempt at realism, players could run acceleration and braking tests on the Rusty Springs track. The game also had a replay feature, in which players could choose to view the entire race, or just the highlights, which were usually just the crashes.
Road & Track had nine cars in total, each with a set color. They were:
- Lamborghini Diablo VT (Black)
- Ferrari 512TR (Red)
- Dodge Viper RT/10 (Blue)
- Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (Green)
- Porsche 911 Carrera (Blue)
- Toyota Supra (Red)
- Acura NSX (Silver)
- Mazda RX-7 FD (Yellow)
- Warrior (Bonus Car) (Purple)
There were seven tracks in the game, each with bonus mirror and rally modes. They were:
- City (point-to-point)
- Coastal (point-to-point)
- Alpine (point-to-point)
- Rusty Springs (closed circuit)
- Autumn Valley (closed circuit)
- Vertigo (closed circuit)
- Lost Vegas (closed circuit) (bonus track)
Road & Track's association with the magazine of the same name led to a very detailed car showcase in which players could view pictures, stats and videos of all the cars, with accompanying audio commentary. This feature was an early staple of the Need for Speed franchise, although subsequent iterations were not as detailed.