WHAT? NO! OK. THE FOLLOWING GAME IS REALLY MAD BECAUSE UNLIKE OTHER GAMES IT DOES NOT TRY TO OBEY OR EMULATE ANY RULES OF PHYSICS CORRECTLY. IN FACT, IT WAS PROGRAMMED ON THE BASES OF "IF IT LOOKS COOL AND FEELS COOL THEN ITS COOL".
THIS LEADS TO A VERY UNIQUE GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE UNLIKE ANYTHING BEFORE. THIS GAME IS ALSO A 3D-CARTOON ART GAME; IT'S NOT A NORMAL 3D GAME, SO BE PREPARED!
BECAUSE WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE IS TRULY SOMETHING CLOSE TO STEPPING OUT OF THIS WORLD AND INTO AN ALTERNATE REALITY ONE.
WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE IS A GAME CALLED: NEED FOR MADNESS
YOU CAN ALSO DISREGARD ALL THE ABOVE IF YOU WANT! (OR NOT?)"
- completing the number of laps shown at the top-left corner of the screen before any of the AI cars do; or
- wasting the other cars by ramming them.
- Top Speed (how fast the car goes in a straight line);
- Acceleration (how fast the car reaches its top speed);
- Handling (how easy it is to drive the car);
- Aerial Control/Stunts (how responsive the car is when doing stunts);
- Strength (how much damage it does when it hits another car and how much damage it takes when it gets hit); and
- Power Save (how slowly the Power bar decreases) or Endurance (how many hits the car can take).
The Need For Madness? series provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Alleged Car: Wow Caninaro tends to get this a lot. It's still better than Nimi, albeit not by much.
- Artificial Brilliance: Especially in the later stages, where the AI will actually make serious attempts to waste you if you are the race leader. The AI of the cars is improved slightly in NFM2 and knows how to make use of the strengths of each car. Sadly, it does not seem to factor in other things such as the probability of Nimi surviving a head-on collision with M A S H E E N...
- Artistic License – Physics: The games were coded with this in mind.
- Beating A Dead Player: AI-controlled cars may occasionally do this to the last car they have wasted.
- Bland-Name Product: Nimi and Mighty Eight. Nimi is a Mini Cooper and Mighty Eight is an Audi R8.
- Blessed with Suck: M A S H E E N. For being the strongest car in both games (even beating out Lightning Bruiser DR Monstaa and Mighty Glacier counterpart EL KING), it is also the slowest and cannot reach the electrified hoop in a number of stages.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": EL KING (a tractor unit), M A S H E E N (a wheel loader), and DR Monstaa (a monster truck). The game still calls them "cars".
- Car Fu: No duh.
- Cool Car: Radical One is arguably the coolest of the lot, with the highest Stunt rating of any car, sporting rear fins and a streamlined body, allowing it to reach very high speeds. Said speeds can also be put to other uses too. Other cars that fall into this category include High Rider and Kool Kat.
- Critical Existence Failure: Overlaps with Shows Damage below. All of the cars will still perform as per normal regardless of the amount of damage they take.
- Cutting the Knot: Four Dimensional Vertigo is difficult to navigate for starters, even involving racing without a track at one spot. The player can spend at least a few hours getting help online or figuring it out for themselves...or just use M A S H E E N to waste the other cars on the stage.
- Difficult but Awesome: M A S H E E N. While it is the strongest car in the series so far, its slow speed means that most players driving it will usually see their target speeding away from them, fall short of the only electrified hoop in a stage or get hit from all sides and get wasted before they can even blink. However, it is definitely possible to use M A S H E E N to race, and veteran players can exploit the game's weird laws of Physics to push the wheel loader beyond what it can normally do.
- Do a Barrel Roll: The only way to recharge your Power bar is to do stunts. This may include actual barrel rolls.
- Enormous Engine: MAX Revenge has it.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: All the cars explode into small flames when wasted.
- Expy: Wow Caninaro is the Canyonero. The yellow paint job of the former is a Shout-Out to The Simpsons, which is where the Canyonero originated from. MAX Revenge is the Pursuit Special from the first Mad Max film, repainted brown; by extension, it also doubles up as a Fictional Counterpart to the Ford XB Falcon GT◊, which is what the Pursuit Special is a heavily modified version of.
- Fictional Counterpart: Many of the cars in the games are based on specific real-life vehicles. For example, M A S H E E N is this to a Caterpillar 966D wheel loader◊. See also the Bland-Name Product and Expy entries above.
- Fission Mailed / Kaizo Trap: Due to the game's simple win/lose conditions, it is possible to win a stage after getting wasted if all the other cars are wasted before you "Press [Enter] to continue" or lose a stage by getting wasted after winning by racing.
- Fragile Speedster: Formula 7 is the embodiment of this trope. It is the fastest game car, as well as the weakest. Half the time, it will waste itself regardless of whether any other car is trying to waste it or not. Other examples include La Vita Crab, Drifter X and Mighty Eight.
- Gang Up on the Human: The AI tends to attack the player en masse if the player is in first place and/or gets too close to AI-driven cars.
- Glass Cannon: MAX Revenge and Sword of Justice can deal massive amounts of damage to any car in the game, even to DR Monstaa, but only when they are not being hit themselves and their Power bar is filled up. They get wasted very quickly otherwise.
- Have a Nice Death: If you get wasted, the highlight for that race is the part where you get wasted.
- Jack of All Stats: Tornado Shark is this near the start of both games, with medium stats for everything as compared to the other cars that do not need to be unlocked. Against all sixteen cars, MAX Revenge and Lead Oxide probably fill this position best despite the former also being classified as a Glass Cannon. High Rider and Kool Kat also count.
- Joke Character: Nimi is this. It is neither fast nor strong, it is difficult to control while airborne, and it tends to go in a straight line approaching corners. Nimi ties with Formula 7 for being one of the first cars to be wasted on every race, the only difference being that it is usually wasted by other cars by accident. Many players regard completing the game using only Nimi to be the ultimate test for any ridiculously experienced racer.
- The Juggernaut: With their incredibly high Strength rating and at full Power, EL KING, M A S H E E N and DR Monstaa will deflect any attack on them like a bullet ricocheting off the armoured hulk of a tank. They won't even be knocked off course.
- Lightning Bruiser: DR Monstaa and, under the right conditions, Radical One. At full Power, both cars can easily dominate every other and even go toe-to-toe with custom cars.
- Made of Plasticine: Played with on certain occasions, such as when moving cars are struck from behind and get dealt a huge amount of damage even if said impact didn't look catastrophic.
- The Maze: The second-to-last stage of both NFM1 and NFM2. The guidance arrow is disabled in the second-to-last stage of NFM1, and in the second-to-last stage of NFM2, one stretch between three checkpoints runs across the entire track, with no markers or distinguishing obstacles in between.
- Mighty Glacier: EL KING in NFM1 and M A S H E E N in NFM2. Both cars will completely waste virtually any other car if they attack at full Power and speed, but they are much, much slower than the other cars and perform poorly at stunts. M A S H E E N, in particular, takes this trope Up to Eleven. It can destroy almost any other car with one hit in NFM2 at full Power and speed, and most mid-tier cars cannot damage it unless they hit it at full Power. However, it can never pursue a fleeing car because it is so slow—even Nimi can outrun it—and its massive size and mass means that it can only do barrel rolls or tabletops (i.e. launching off a ramp and landing upside-down and then launching off a second ramp using the car's momentum and landing upright) on any obstacle taller than a dirt ramp; it can only do vertical loops if it launches off the tallest ramps in the game at maximum speed and Power.
- Pass Through the Rings: Racing involves driving under a series of checkpoint arches. You do not necessarily have to follow the curvature of the road, as the second-to-last stages of NFM1 and NFM2 can attest.
- Pimped-Out Car: Radical One. See Cool Car for more details.
- Ramming Always Works: Zig-zagging. Ramming another car at full Power will usually do a metric ton of damage to them while you usually get away with a scratch. However, attempting to ram another car with your Power bar below even three-quarters of full will almost always result in you bouncing off your target and taking a lot of damage in return. You might even waste yourself this way, and with weaker cars such as Nimi, even full Power is no insurance against head-on suicides with stronger cars.
- Reflexive Response: With a very high Stunt rating, your car will respond to any movements you make in the air very quickly. Cars like Radical One and High Rider utilise their high Stunt values to make up for their lack of Power Save.
- Rule of Three: At the end of a race, depending on what happened during the course of it, you will be treated to a race highlight, where you are shown one of the following three times:
- You Wasted 'em! (when a car is wasted as a direct or indirect result of you hitting it)
- Wasted! (if your car is wasted)
- Close Finish! (if you and another car finish the race close to each other)
- Stunts! (when you do at least three stunts in one pass)
- Best Stunt! (when you do two stunts in one pass but less than three stunts in one pass during a race)
- Shows Damage: Type 3. Every time you hit something, be it the ground, the flat side of a ramp or another car, whatever damage you take is shown in the physical appearance of your vehicle in addition to an increase in your Damage bar. Typically, your car will look like an Eldritch Abomination when your Damage bar is near full. Overlaps with Critical Existence Failure above, as the damage shown does not affect the performance of the cars.
- Skill Gate Characters: Tornado Shark becomes this once every car is unlocked. It is moderately decent in every field and is a good choice for beginners in the first few stages, but as with almost all of the cars available at the start of the first two games, it is eaten alive by high-end cars such as Radical One and DR Monstaa, and can be wasted by a seasoned player driving Formula 7.
- Someday This Will Come in Handy: Few players know that doing forward rolls decrease the amount of time in the air while at the same time propelling the car forwards, while doing backward rolls causes the car to fly even higher at the expense of velocity. Knowledge of this can be vital in some stages where every little extra speed boost you can get from stunts can make a difference between a close finish with you behind or a close finish with you in front, or if the extra height can mean EL KING wasting you the moment you land or you flying over it.
- Some Dexterity Required: Some stunt categories, such as tabletops, require a bit of additional thinking to execute correctly.
- Spiritual Successor: The entire series, to an earlier game developed by Waly, called Maniac Racers. Maniac Racers featured the same race-or-waste mechanics, except that the game was played from an overhead 2D perspective.
- Sturgeon's Law: This came into full effect the moment registered players were allowed to use cars they made in NFMSP's Car Maker in NFMM.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: The AI has a tendency to overestimate the durability of the car it uses. Cue Nimi driving headlong into M A S H E E N.
- Super Toughness: M A S H E E N. Full Strength and Endurance stats combined with specific physics settings that cannot be easily emulated by players in the Car Maker means that it can take an absolutely ridiculous amount of punishment from other cars (and No Sell hits from the weakest) as long as the game's Made of Plasticine Good Bad Bug doesn't come into play.
- Take a Third Option: In many of the tracks in NFM2, an AI-controlled M A S H E E N will attempt to race if it is near the front, but once it drops to near last place, it will not continue racing, nor will it drive off-track and chase the nearest car. Instead, it will turn around and drive in the opposite direction, which will eventually put it in the ideal position to take out the race leader first.
- Tim Taylor Technology: The closer your Power bar is to full, the faster your car, the harder it hits, and the more punishment it can take. Can't overtake Mighty Eight? Fill the Power bar. Not damaging EL KING fast enough? Fill the Power bar. Getting hit too hard? Fill the Power bar. Falling short of that electrified hoop? Fill the Power bar. Can't outrun a pursuing DR Monstaa? Fill the Power bar. Want to use Radical One as a moving ramp? Fill the Power bar.
- Up to Eleven: If you are able to combine four or more different types of stunts, the game will not be able to tell you exactly what stunts you performed, instead opting to display any one of the following messages:"Your a super star!!"
"Who are you again...?"
- Weaponized Car: Sword of Justice, a police car decked out with some Boadicea wheels and razor-sharp front and side attachments.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Kool Kat.