Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed Is The Game Most Worth Saving From 2000

Every game released before 2005 is being destroyed. We only have time to rescue one game from each year. Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give. These are the Saved Games.

I remember when the Porsche 911 arrived on the scene in 1963.

Which is strange because I wouldn’t even be born for a couple more decades, but nevertheless I have a strong memory of what it was like when the very first edition of what became the single most successful line of sports cars ever produced first appeared. The reason I remember this moment is because I felt like I lived it in 2000’s Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed.

Porsche Unleashed is a racing game that I sometimes worry I must have hallucinated because nobody else seems to recall it. Certainly not anyone at Electronic Arts, who have never made a game remotely similar to Porsche Unleashed in 20 years of experimenting with the Need for Speed formula. Even the broader racing game community seems to ignore it. In sim forums where virtual monuments are built to historical classics like Grand Prix Legends, GT Legends, or rFactor’s vintage racing mods, Porsche Unleashed already seems to have vanished from memory. Too bad, because if you were lucky enough to have played it, Porsche Unleashed had more character and told a better story than any other racing game since.

Porsche Unleashed was, of course, a celebration of the Porsche auto company, and could easily have been nothing more than licensed car propaganda. That was my fear, certainly, as someone who had never been the least bit moved by Porsche’s predictable and repetitive car styling. In my childhood Matchbox car collection, the Porsches were largely “extras” in my stories of automatic chaos and car chases, ignored in favor of Ferraris the color of fresh blood and Corvettes that seemed to flow across the ground like rivers of metal. By contrast, a Porsche was a coldly produced, infinitesimally refined retread every time.

But maybe that’s what made Porsche Unleashed such an unexpected success. It let you play through the entire history of Porsche sports cars, starting with the stylish and deadly Porsche 356. Along the way, it brought to life a story of experimentation, failure, refinement, and revolution.

You had to keep upgrading to the newest edition Porsche with every chapter of the game, master it, and then unlock access to the next one in order to keep playing. It was a racing game that forced you to stop and appreciate the subtleties of what was changing in the car around you.

Engineering and technology are surprisingly difficult disciplines for racing games to showcase, despite the fact they’re all built around cars. The problem is that most of them focus on contemporary vehicles, with perhaps a few classics tossed-in for good measure, and they will also try and show their licensors’ cars in a good light. Porsche, Ferrari, Dodge, and ‘Vette… they’ll all be great cars and, thanks to customizable parts and upgrades, they can all basically be rendered interchangeable.

Porsche Unleashed, on the other hand, was definitively about progress and improvement. The car you were driving from 1962 was far surpassed by the one from 1969, and that car was a dinosaur next to the cars from the early 1980s. So you had to be able to feel both the strengths of different Porsche models, but also the weaknesses that would be corrected with time.

The game started with perhaps one of the worst, most frustrating cars in the history of Need for Speed: the Porsche 356, a stylish rattletrap that was more fashion statement than sports car. It was under-everything: underpowered, understeering, and often underneath the competition in the race standings. It may have been a tremendous achievement in the late 40s and early 1950s, but starting Porsche Unleashed with it, it was an insolent little bastard.

In replays you could see the body rolling and wobbling through turns. Behind the wheel, you could feel the too-narrow wheels scrubbing along the road surface, and you’d sit there with your foot mashed to the floor waiting for the 4-cylinder engine to finally bring the car up to speed, by which point you’d have to be on the brakes again, trying not to understeer your way into a tree or a cliff-face.

But it was fun, too, as I took my impractical, deadly little pocket-racer onto some of the most gorgeous roads imaginable. The Cote d’Azure, the streets of Monte Carlo, indeterminate European or British farmland, with gravel and dirt roads taxing the already overmatched suspension of the little Porsche.

The real genius of Porsche Unleashed’s Evolution mode, however, was that it let you experience how each generation of Porsches went from rough beginnings to becoming the best possible version of itself. The Porsche 356B was a little more buttoned-down, the rakish coupe styling having been replaced by a sober and weightier hardtop that held the road and a 1.6L engine that could drop the hammer. It was a slightly less exhilarating drive than the first 356, but you could feel how it handled the road better. Corners where you’d have to lift-and-coast became places where brief tap of the brakes and feather of the throttle would let you carry it at full-speed. It was still recognizably a 356… just better.

But there’s always a tension in engineering between incremental refinement of an old idea and starting fresh with a new one. I drove 2 or 3 versions of the 356 before a new and very familiar name and design appeared on the scene: the 911.

I hated it. Compared to the mannerly 356’s I’d been driving, it was a huge step backwards, the first appearance of the over-torqued, squirrely rear-end that I’ve come to associated with Porsche cars in every single racing game I’ve ever played. My stage and lap times increased as I struggled to come to grips with the car, and spent ages in the virtual garage trying to find the right combination of settings that would make the car stop trying to spin like a top every time I hit the gas, or cranked the wheel into a hard turn. Nothing seemed to work.

Yet the 356’s day was undeniably done. My upgraded and perfectly-tuned 356 cabriolet went from the top of the podium to the middle of the pack as newer Porsches based on the 911 chassis took the stage. Even if it was a better car, the 911 had some built-in advantages that I could not overcome, not least of which was a 2 liter, 6-cylinder engine.

Most racing games don’t let you drive a bad version of the car the manufacturers want to promote. But Porsche Unleashed was necessarily a warts-and-all presentation. That first 911 was a bold experiment with absolutely no refinement. It may stand as a classic car, but in Porsche Unleashed, it was a huge hurdle, the equivalent of a particularly awful and mandatory zone in MMO.

Porsche Unleashed also told the story of how Porsche started inventing the classic characteristics of the 911 on the fly. The chassis caught up to the engine within a couple model revisions. I’d have to look up the changes today, but in the game, you could feel the 911 being brought under-control with more stable handling, a slightly less hyperactive drivetrain, and steering that went from twitchy to quick and responsive.

In showcasing the evolution of the Porsche line, Porsche Unleashed also provided a portrait of the company. You could see and feel what the engineers valued in their cars, and what they wanted to take away. Each generation of Porsche was like watching a sculptor chipping away at a new piece of marble. When they got it wrong, you knew immediately. You’d hear a turbocharger gasping along with you as your out-of-date brakes screeched and wailed like banshees trying to keep you from disaster. A new engine or a new, lower-weight chassis would bring back that “grabbing tiger by the tail” feeling as you attempted to drive.

But those issues cropped up as successive generations of Porsche designers tried to zero-in on the same set of values amidst a changing technical landscape. When they got it right, a Porsche was weightless and effortless, a car that responded so reliably and swiftly that it was like an extension of the driver. But no sooner had they gotten it right than they were onto a new generation, built around new technologies to be tamed.

What set Porsche Unleashed apart from all its contemporaries and successors was context. It’s the only racing game that tells a story across 50 years of automotive progress. Tomorrow’s supercars become today’s standard become yesterday’s classic. In telling that story, it brings cars to life and imbues them with character, personality, and flaws that contemporary racing games never allow themselves to consider. Like a great drive itself, Porsche Unleashed focuses on the journey, not the destination.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed seems to only be available to buy secondhand, probably for licensing reasons.

In two weeks time, Joe Donnelly selects the one game worth rescuing from the year 1992. Guesses in the comments please.


  1. Cinek says:

    I haven’t had as much fun with any NFS game as I did with NFS:PU. IMHO that was the peak of a series. Amazing game.

    • silentdan says:

      Seconded. I’m a casual fan of the NFS series, but here’s the thing: Porsche Unleashed was my first NFS game, and none of the rest have measured up. PU spoiled me. After 2 hours with that game, I went out and, for the first time in my life, bought a wheel. That’s how impressed I was.

      Thanks for giving it the write-up it so richly deserves!

      • Kez says:

        Same here–I bought a wheel specifically for Porsche Unleashed. It’s always been my favorite NFS.

      • Seboss says:

        Just like Kez above, I got a Microsoft Sidewinder steering wheel (the one with the DB-25 connector) specifically for this game. I remember fondly some of the challenges that required you to drive pedal to the metal on specific track sections. That was great fun, and a nice way to learn the tracks and push the car to the limits.

    • Warduke says:

      Absolutely loved this game. I had a force feedback wheel and pedals and spent many many hours on this including getting many friends into it. Fantastic memory

    • JFS says:

      Me as well. Although in my head, the graphics are vastly better. Did the game really look like that?

    • TheSplund says:

      Spot on. Whilst I did have fun with NFS1, and to some extent NFS2, NFS:PU (NFS4?) is always a game I try to get working again due to my fond memories of it. No other NFS, or even any other driving game for a single marque (Volvo/Mercedes/Ford are the only others that come to mind), has ever come close to the fun of Porsche Unleashed.
      Incidentally, those two long tracks in Project Cars gave me a recent reminder of NFS:PU – one felt very similar to the French coast I remember racing along in NFS:PU.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Porsche Unleashed is the 5th one. High Stakes is the 4th one.

        • TheSplund says:

          Ah thanks – I always get confused around 3 due to Hot Pursuit/High Stakes name (and thinking that they’re one and the same)

    • Zephro says:

      It was fantastic, the only NFS game I’ve ever really enjoyed. The article really hits what was so fun about it as well, seeing the engineering slowly evolve was fantastic.

  2. bee says:

    deus ex, paper mario, perfect dark, and that’s the game you choose?

    • bee says:

      Also diablo 2

    • Thulsa Hex says:

      Um, did you read the first paragraph? Like, the very first one?

    • jellydonut says:

      ‘Not those you’ve played to death, or the classics that the industry has already learned from. We’re going to select the games that still have more to give.’

      as for listing console games, you forget what site you’re on.

      • Risingson says:

        Yes, well, catch-22: if it is another game and it is more popular, then it’s not chosen for being popular. If it is another and it is not that popular, they did not take that one for being unknown. As usual.

        Oh, thanks for asking me for my opinion. The best game of year 2000 was Tachyon.

        • Risingson says:

          But as I finished that one already, I would save Soulbringer.

          BTW, I bet none of the two were more popular than NFS:PU

        • Sarfrin says:

          Why is it Catch 22? It’s not a contest you can’t win or anything, just one person’s opinion.

  3. Jokerme says:

    Best NFS game, no contest. All the game modes, different cars, controls, tracks, etc. are all very well done. Multiplayer is great fun too.

    I’m afraid to say I want a remake since it’s EA property.

    • cha0tic1 says:

      EA’s remake… i remember having to pay for repairs in this game. EA would use microtransactions to make it happen.

      what we really need is GoG to get the rights to it.

  4. Twirrim says:

    NFS:PU Was for me the pinnacle of the NFS series, even though it was one long advertisement for Porsche cars.

    Good tracks, cars with notable and distinct characteristics that forced you to adapt your racing styles. Notably it was also quite a long game as well with a good number of very distinctive tracks.

  5. quietone says:

    Best. NFS game. Ever.

  6. sdether says:

    This is the story that finally made me register so I could comment.

    I love NFS:PU. It is by far the best of all the NFS games. Nothing gimicky, not a marketing fluff piece like you’d expect, but truly a historical documentary of the a single manufacturer.

    It may not be a true sim, but I’ve owned 911s and driven other Porsche’s and this game really captured the unique character of many of the models. The twitchy, tail-happiness of the early 911s, the terror and loss of control if the turbo kicked in while accelerating through a turn in the 930.

    I would really love to see a remake, not only for the updated graphics but to get the models released since into the fold as well.

  7. cathode says:

    Love, love, love this game. Played through it many times, and still have the disk kicking around somewhere. Wish NFS would revisit this idea with the likes of Ferrari, or reboot it with the latest Porsches.

  8. Doubler says:

    For me this is where the series really started to go downhill. I’d loved Need for Speed 2, 3 and Road Challenge (still one of my favourites), but Porsche Unleashed completely failed to grip me. To make matters worse it would constantly crash on me.
    I wouldn’t really enjoy an NFS game again until Most Wanted in 2005, and then Hot Pursuit in 2010.

    Come to think of it, it’s probably because I really don’t care about the cars or winning races, but more about the sensation of speed and the general thrill of it all :P

  9. Manolis13 says:

    For what it’s worth, I just registered on RPS after many years of lurking just to comment on this one.. ;)

    NFS5 (this one) and NFS3 are simply my favourite ever ever racing games.. Simply put, they do not make good racers like these today.. They had limited tracks but you could play enldess hours trying for the speedest route, finding hidden routes where possible and simply ENJOYING the scenery and the beauty combined with sheer speed. How can I forget from NFS3 Lost Canyons, Atlantica or Aquatica? Or from NFS5 Cote D Azur, the track with the bridges .. Everything really , I just love those games and wish they could be made again available on Steam or Gog .. Back then racing games where all about fun, having fast cars, you DID NOT EVEN to brake, just slow down and accelerate again, and enjoying real life like places … Only love for those games..

    p.s. NFS4 is and probably will be on my “to play” list forever.. I probably keep it there to find the proper time to enjoy it, probably from a clone disc found online..

    p.s. And if you are wondering what other racers I consider good ones, not on the caliber of the two above ones, I could only name Outrun (yes outrun), Outrun C2C , and of course Rallisport Challenge 1 & 2 for the xbox which is a shame that RC3 never materialised..

  10. dontnormally says:

    Is this Need For Speed Underground 3? No?

    Alright, back to asking this question anytime NFS comes up.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Personally, I find that the entire Underground sub-series was NFS’s lowest low. Suddenly you traded those exotic cars, those amazing cars, those cars you’d most likely never see, let alone own, in real life… for a souped up Subaru with glowy bits.

      What a letdown after Hot Pursuit 2, which remains my favorite NFS game.

      • Siimon says:

        Agreed, except that NFSIII: Hot Pursuit was my favorite since it featured local split-screen where you could be either police or racer.

        • BlacKHeaDSg1 says:

          Finally someone loves NF3 HP :D

        • Jim Reaper says:

          Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit is my favourite too. My friend & I had great fun in local split screen trying to race each other whilst also outrunning the cops. Kindiak Park in the rain was our favoured track!

          • damson says:

            You must be talking about NFS 4 High Stakes/Road Challange, as the Kindiak Park wasn’t featured in the 3rd NFS. Both 3rd and 4th were very similar, sharing the same engine with some improvemnts in 4th like 3d cockpit view. Reusing the engine propably helped with putting all the tracks from NFS3 to NFS4 which was nice surprise while unlocking the Memory Lane tournament in Career mode.

      • Grizzly says:

        I thought HP2 was middling at best, but from what I understand now there’s a massive difference between the PS2 version and the PC version (which is the one I played).

      • dontnormally says:

        NFS Underground was an open world race car rpg. The parts were your armor and weapons. You don’t stick with the Subaru the whole game.

  11. trjp says:

    Whilst it was certainly a standout title in it’s day, it’s barely playable now – it really has dated horribly!!

    Furthermore, it marks the begining of a LONG period (arguably still active) that Porsche have had exclusive deals around gaming meaning their cars appear very seldom (and why Ruf, who are considered a manufacturer in their own right, get their cars into so many games!!).

    So good for Ruf, bad for Porsche and bad for car game fans then

  12. ctkag says:

    I loved NFS:PU for all of the above reasons. One of the few racing games where I actually completed the career instead of just picking events. Sportscar GT was another. The original TOCA series was good racing too.

  13. Wisq says:

    At the time this came out, two of my three co-workers were big Porsche fans, and we used to play this at lunch on the office projector with a full force-feedback wheel. Awesome stuff.

    When I got my own wheel and bought this to play at home, I remember loving mainly the path that had you playing a test driver, doing all kinds of weird challenges and racing down alleys and whatnot.

    The actual races were less interesting to me, and also harder for me, despite the fact that the test driver stuff had me doing ridiculous stunts with lightning precision. I think it was just that I could get into the zen of repeating something over and over until I made it, unlike races which were more chaotic due to other drivers. Or maybe I just drive like a lunatic and that was trouble on a real race course.

    The funny part was when I talked to another friend who played it, and he was in awe and couldn’t understand how I had managed to finish test driver mode, or how I was having any trouble with races. Totally different experiences.

    Definitely the unsung hero of 2000. Never mind all the grumpies claiming this is some sort of reverse popularity contest — this one deserves it.

    • Wisq says:

      Oh, actually, the chaotic explanation makes no sense now that I remember that test drive frequently involved traffic, which was indeed random and made it massively more chaotic than racing.

      So maybe it was just that I loved the chaos and found races too boring to stay “in the zone”? Who knows.

  14. HigoChumbo says:

    Really? A racing game? Meh.

    If you ask me, it’s no doubt Sacrifice.

    • Fenix says:

      Oh look its the gaming snobs who have to show their dislike of racing/sports games.

      Fuck off honestly, I play more RPG/RTS/adventrue/rogulike/whathaveyous than you do but I also am able to enjoy other genres.

      Speaking of PU, it was so good. I remember installing it skeptically, being disappointed at what looked nothing like the fun of Hot Pursuit (judging by the cover/screenshots on back of the case) but ended up loving this game.

      • king0zymandias says:

        He was just stating a personal preference. Your response was unnecessarily hostile. No one needs to “fuck off” because they don’t share your enthusiasm for something and are trying to express that indifference. Irrespective of how many games you play everyday.

        • Fenix says:

          I apologize for the bad manners/language, but I was just very disappointed to see the kind of behaviour I most resent in my peers appear in the comment section of RPS, where I expect the average reader to be a decent user.

  15. Snargelfargen says:

    “It was a racing game that forced you to stop and appreciate the subtleties of what was changing in the car around you.”

    Well said! Learning to master each new generation was a real challenge. The only other game I’ve experienced that in is the Forza series, where skill, careful upgrades and tuning made it possible to advance through huge chunks of the game with just one car. I knew those cars so well by the end.

    Porsche Unleashed also had a really well executed in-cockpit view, which I haven’t seen since in anything but the more hardcore sims.

  16. Optimaximal says:

    I will point out that Rob is slightly wrong about the games evolutionary path.

    When I unlocked the 911 Turbo, the 959 and the Moby Dick, you didn’t really need to use any of the modern cars.

  17. Ramacc says:

    I feel a bit bad that some people tend to skip over 3 and call 4 the best of the classics, especially when I’ve spent so much time playing three over the years. I can’t quite bring myself to build up interest in a game focused solely on a single manufacturer, especially one I don’t care for, but I am quite intrigued by how 4 builds itself up. This article did warrant me breaking out my jewel case of 3 and patching it for modern systems, so thank you for that.

    Are there any compatibility patches for 4 that would entice me to scour around for a CD, or is already working out of the box?

    • damson says:

      Porsche Unleashed isn’t the NFS4, it’s NFS5. If you like NFS3 you would love NFS4 as it’s basically the same game with Career option where you race to win money to buy new cars which you can later upgrade etc…

      I reinstalled NFS5 Porsche Unleasched on Win7 64-bit and with the help of a community made patch was able to run it fine.

      Few pointers:
      • Go to and search for NFS Porsche Unleasched. link to
      • Download the patch linked there (Essential patch). After installing the game apply the patch (unzip, copy over).
      • Use compatibility option on Porsche.exe to WinXP SP3 2,1 GHz
      • If you have crash on Normandy track disable Lens flare in graphics options
      All useful info is on the PCGW site, just read carefully.

      • damson says:

        My comment was cut, here’s an errata:
        • Use compatibility option on Porsche.exe to WinXP SP3, this is important as the “fast cpu patch” will not work on which will cause the game to use low res textures in spite of what you set in options if you CPU is clocked > 2,1 GHz

      • Ramacc says:

        Cheers, thanks so much for the help.

  18. syllopsium says:

    1992 was an exceptional year for gaming, but ‘saved games’ denotes games that are worth repeatedly replaying. Therefore, it has to be either Championship Manager (first game in series, different every time?) or Wolfenstein 3D (has mods).

    Not Star Control 2 (same every time), Ultima 7, Ultima Underworld, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis or Star Trek : 25th Anniversary (ditto). Probably not Dune 2, either – incredible at the time, but has been surpassed now.

    • udat says:

      Star Control 2 hasn’t been surpassed. It’s still the best. The best single player space adventure, and the best 2-player space combat. It might be the best game ever.

      Looking at some of the other comments, and yours, what strikes me is how many amazing games came out that year!

  19. OmNomNom says:

    Playing this game with my friends at uni is the only reason i continue to play racing games tbh. More games like this, which I consider one step up from kart games but one step down from the more serious games are really what interests me.
    Most games of recent years are far too concerned with ridiculous levels of customisation that overcomplicate for the layman that just wants to have fun with friends.

  20. BlackeyeVuk says:

    Im sorry if I sound all yarr yarr pirate and all. But, you can very well play this game with epxe emulator and download ROM. Its way easier that way then to try running the PC one. I remember having nightmare time with WIN XP .

    • damson says:

      The PS1 version of this game is completely different the the PC version. The PC version was superior in every aspect. Head over to link to
      and you should be able to run it. It works on my Win 7 SP1 64-bit without any problems.

  21. konondrum says:

    This is still the only racing game that I’ve ever fallen in love with, for basically all the reasons laid out beautifully in this article.

    Every year or two I buy some new shiny racing game, hoping to recapture that feeling. Nothing has really come close.

  22. Thulsa Hex says:

    In a similar sense to how the author described feeling like he was “there” at the Porche 356 début because of this game, the article makes me feel like I “get” the game despite never playing it, and honestly not being able to recall its existence. This was a great read. I’m not a car or sports guy, so I don’t usually play a lot of those games, but I really appreciated some of the ones I have played and think that I would have found this sort narrative journey pretty compelling. I found this article surprisingly compelling, at least. Good show!

  23. LuNatic says:

    I consider High stakes to be the high point of the series. It had classic style pursuit mode (No destruction, as a cop you actually had to pin a street racer’s car into the wall to arrest him – or lay a spike strip), a great selection of cars (the greatest when you consider there were several hundred cars that could be downloaded from fansites and added to the game) and the tracks were long and interesting.

    Oh, and it was the only title with proper pink slip racing – lose the race and lose your wheels, you don’t just get to click restart.

    • Elliot Lannigan says:

      I agree. I enjoyed 2 and 3 almost as much, but everything was at its zenith in 4. After that, the tracks quickly started moving away from the fantastical and artistically creative, and ended up with the grimy grunge of Underground, thus ruining everything I loved about the series. I didn’t appreciate EA claiming that Underground was the heart or soul or whatever the f they said it was of Need for Speed, because it was 7 or 8 games of a completely different style and inspiration before they got to Underground.

      That being said, I do kind of like the excessively neon aesthetic of the new game. It’s beautiful in a different way. I will probably pick it up on PC at some point.

  24. simontifik says:

    Great game!

    I loved how if you hung on to your old cars long enough they eventually started to increase in value. I’d always buy a few beat up 356s at the beginning of the game, hang on to them for 20 years, fix them up and sell them to fund my new cars. Was quite satisfying to build a garage of every Porsche ever made.

  25. Jason Moyer says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen an article pop up on RPS and I was momentarily confused because I couldn’t find a “like” button.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Oh, and in response to this: “Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed seems to only be available to buy secondhand, probably for licensing reasons.”

      EA actually still holds a monopoly on the Porsche license (which is why we can’t have a damn Porsche in Assetto Corsa) so I would imagine that they still have the rights to sell it if they were so inclined unless there were a soundtrack issue or something.

      • damson says:

        If so we have to harras the people at as they were able to release some titles published by EA already.

  26. mikmanner says:

    Very fond memories of this game, I got a Logitech MOMO because of it. I would like to go back to it but I don’t want to spoil my rose-tinted memory of driving down autumnal country lanes and through coastal towns at sunset.

  27. pringles says:

    I played Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed’s demo quite a bit, it was good for a demo. The full game was decent, but it never grew on me. The original Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed (and the Special Edition) on the other hand I absolutely played to death, and loved to bits. It was far superior to NFS:PU, as far as I was concerned.

    TNFS is far too dated now, however, and thus I wouldn’t save either game. One is old, the other is merely “alright”.

  28. BlueBanana says:

    Fantastic article! NfS:PU was a great game. Makes me sad that games like this doesnt exist anymore.

  29. tonicer says:

    Man this is back when NFS games were awesome. I remember playing this with the projector my stepdad had borrowed from his workplace with my momo force feedback racing wheel on my PC directly after i put a lot of saved up allowance in it to turn it into a beast.

    (i still have the wheel and it is still working perfectly)

  30. Platina32 says:

    Aah, back when Need For Speed was good. The first Hot Pursuit games were amazing, but so was Porsche. I especially liked the mode where you were starting in the 50’s, working your way up to the present day, slowly acquiring more modern and faster cars.

  31. TheSplund says:

    Star Trek 25th?

  32. Prolar Bear says:



  33. MOKKA says:

    The best part of this game was when they made you downgrade from the 911 to the 914.

    • Grizzly says:

      And then from the 911 RSR 3.0 to the Boxster.

      • Neurotic says:

        *shudder* I remember — even now — everything going so well until then. Those Boxsters were real bastards.

    • fredc says:

      I actually liked the 914 in the game – it handled neatly once you had it set up and was a lot more predictable than the terrifying 2.7RS. I still want a real-life 914/6.

      The career mode and the concept make this, for me, the best car game ever made. It’s such a pity EA didn’t take this forward with other manufacturers.

      I’m not even really a Porsche fan and only _really_ liked the basic water cooled C2s and the 914 (it got a bit boring for me once you’re forced to drive the later 911 and the Turbos), but experiencing the evolution of the basic 356 into the 911 was fascinating. This is a game that really needs a modern remake, with more accurate car modeling and more track options. The 356’s slowness, which the author comments on, was exaggerated by the fact that the developers needed to have the same track work with a brand new Turbo, so you have a version of a charming Italian coastal road which is 8 lanes wide and perfectly surfaced.

    • Seboss says:

      Gah I hated the 914 so much. But it was good sport from Porsche to include that disaster of a car in the game.

  34. Eindvijand says:

    This reminds me of how old I am getting. I have fond memories of playing NFS1 and 2 on my brother’s PC, but it was Porsche Unleashed that did it for me. My father is a German car nut and some of the love for Porsche must have rubbed off onto me.

    The nostalgia, the dreamy feeling of some of the countryside and coastal stages, the handling of the old cars, the leisurely pace of it all. I loved it to bits. I would love to see this remade.

  35. oueddy says:

    I loved the delivery modes, get the car to the destination without wrecking it too much. The police were slightly heavy handed as illustrated on a screenshot I uploaded to my website forever ago

    link to

  36. Neurotic says:

    This is my favourite racing game of all time. Not the one I play all the time (still), but the one that stands in my memory as being the best and most interesting. I played it to death and back again on the PSX about fifteen+ years ago, and it was my constant companion when I emigrated from the UK to Poland around the same time too. Love, love, love that game. So much fun, and as Rob says, the progression and evolutiuon through the cars and the years gave an amazing structure to the game that I haven’t really seen anywhere else. Love it.

  37. thelastpointer says:

    Wow — I have very different memories of this game. I thought it was extremely bland and boring, with brown tracks that all looked alike. It was worse than Hot Pursuit 2!
    It surprises me that folks are calling it the peak of the series. Do you not remember NFS: High Stakes? I’m actually considering replaying it to see how bad my memory is.

  38. Belsameth says:

    We really need this upgraded to todays graphics without changing anything about the actual gameplay. Lovely game!

  39. a very affectionate parrot says:

    Some crafty bugger installed the demo of this on my school’s computers, hours wasted in the IT lab crashing Porsches around at night in an eerie countryside.

  40. vai90 says:

    What a joke…
    I mean, really? Need For Speed?

    Look at all these gems released that year:
    Deus Ex
    Thief II: The Metal Age
    Hitman: Codename 47
    Diablo 2
    Icewind Dale
    Tomb Raider
    The Sims
    Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

    and if including consoles:
    The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for N64

    • vai90 says:

      ..and yes I did read the first paragraph. It’s just…such a useless concept. Let’s ignore all great games so we can put some shitty game in the limelight for no reason…

      • damson says:

        Your opinion about it being shitty is shitty in my opinion ☺

    • Urthman says:

      I think you can make a case that none of those games has had its virtues ignored or abandoned in subsequent games as much as Porsche Unleashed.

      That historical progression is such a great hook for a racing game, and there’s never been anything else like it.

    • bill says:

      Yeah. We need more articles about Deus Ex and Tomb Raider… i’m fed up of all these articles on Porche Unleashed and Kohan!!

      It’d be much more interesting to read about a game that people don’t write about that often…

  41. ignare brute says:

    When it was out, I avoided it: why would I play a game restricted to one car maker, I considered.
    And, much later, out of boredom, someday I did. And, as described in the article, it’s really something else.

  42. Delicieuxz says:

    Excellent game mention! I just came across my NFS Porsche CD a couple of days ago, and thought it would be a great game to be remade. NFS 2 and 3 are my favourites, but NFS Porsche has a particular high-class quality to its design. It is a unique racer.

  43. TrynePlague says:

    2002: Arx Fatalis

  44. Delicieuxz says:

    BTW, NFS Porsche Unleashed is the last Need for Speed game made by the original NFS devs, and the following NFS, Hot Pursuit 2, is the start of the Black Box series of NFS games. Porsche and earlier is a different lineage of NFS than Hot Pursuit 2 and later. For me, the original 5 NFS games are the greatest racing game series, with quality design considerations that haven’t yet found placement in another racing series, and are waiting to be revived in a new racing series.

    • damson says:

      That’s why I loved early Need For Speed games.

      I remember playing the demo of NFS 1 on PC for the first time (Dodge Viper on Coastal track) – it blew me away. The showcase video of Viper gave me goosebumps each time I watched it. The graphics were amazing, comparing to other racing games I played at the time – Stunts, Test Drive 3, Car & Driver.

      NFS 2 wasn’t big improvement but was OK I guess.

      NFS 3 was again big leap forward, playing as a cop was a new thing in the series.

      NFS 4 build upon that and is probably my favorite NFS game to date. I remember I got so good at it that when I played head to head on 2 PC’s linked with a serial cable in college dormitory, there was no one that could beat me.

      NFS 5 was second best after 4 for me. I loved the Evolution mode, car customization, replacing standard parts with high performance ones, Test Driver mode. I reinstalled it yesterday and had great fun playing it again after more than 13 years.

      Hot Pursuit 2 was still fun, but what I mostly remember is that I’ve missed the dashboard view, which was available in all previous releases.

      After the Underground came out I played it a bit and lost interest in the series.

  45. Skontrodude says:

    I love true sims and NFS:PU it’s the last game in the series worth playing. I’d put it behind the first one just because, as said above in another comment, it was such a leap forward in terms of graphics and sound when compared with other contemporary games. I remember spending tons of time just going back and forward in the demo track enjoying the handbrake! The driving model of PU has been unsurpassed though and the only other NFS game I managed to play and actually have fun with is the first Hot Pursuit.

  46. KenTWOu says:

    One of the most memorable moments I had with this truly amazing game is loosing any race on purpose, so I could listen to this Aquadelic track. The game used its shorter version though.

  47. smr1973 says:

    Man. I loved this game so much, it was the epitome of the type of racing game I like best (I don’t have the time for the hard-core super-sims, never got into Gran Turismo or Forza)… just, beautiful long tracks that weren’t always loops, a great selection of cars from a classic marque… it was really great. The only other one that I enjoyed nearly as much as NFS:HP2, but only on the PS2 as that game was a wonder full of crazy shortcuts and every track felt like it’s own crazy world full of surprises. The XBOX and PC versions of that game, for some reason, were completely gimped and lifeless compared to that PS2 version, never understood why they did that.

  48. bill says:

    I like this series, it’s nice to hear about some other games from the usual.

    1992? Well the usual ones would be Alone in the Dark, Fate of Atlantis (great!), Ultima Underworld, Dune (maybe..), Dune 2, Star Control 2, Flashback (maybe) …

    But I can’t actually find an under-rated game I love from 1992.

  49. zhiganov says:

    It’s a pity Rob ignored the Factory Driver mode in the article – besides the great physics and the excellently described momentum of the main career, it was a true innovation and probably the main reason I remember the game so well and so fondly. I wish Project Cars or AC would add something like this in the future.

    It was a kind of gaming experience I didn’t really get every since – where you had to master a certain slalom or other stunt in thousands of replays, feeling like you really learn to drive the damn car. And then a moment of pure satisfaction.