Moments in Gaming is where we look back on gaming experiences that have left a particularly strong impression on us over the years: mainly for good reasons, but sometimes for bad ones.

The Rockies: the midway point of The Run, Need for Speed’s attempt at a cross-country race across America. Having battled the elements, AI opponents and police across four previous events, this section’s finale begins with our hero, Jack “Jack” Rourke, warming his hands and staring into space (and, thankfully, not talking), the road ahead blocked by a barrier. If you’re not paying full attention, the reason for the stop might pass you by, especially as the silence, and barrier, are soon destroyed by a fast-moving vehicle.

Jumping in to follow, you engage in a duel, a battle to the bottom of the mountain. No sooner have you caught up, a siren calls out, followed by a flash of flame in the sky, which confirms that those signs were indeed warning of controlled blasts being undertaken, and soon enough your battle is not just with your opponent, but with the environment, as falling ice and snow begin littering the path ahead. By the mid-point of the stage, huge black rocks are clunking onto the tarmac with the sense that your immediate surroundings are collapsing all around you.

It’s a visual feast, particularly for any gamer not fully versed in the tricks, choreography and big set-pieces of modern first-person shooters. The danger feels more real than it perhaps is, particularly at the start, although those black rocks will stop you in your tracks, and the gentle difficulty of the stage allows you to be carried along by events as if starring in a movie action sequence.

For those who remember these action sequences as realised by 90s laserdisc conversions or FMV titles, endlessly failing to remember a series of key presses or move your bobbing sprite away from a video of a closing bay door and watching ‘you died’ animations as a result, moments like this make you realise how far we’ve come.

Of course, it’s a trick that The Run doesn’t always repeat with the same level of success, and at other points there are sections that are very much in line with those experiences of the 90s as described above.

(It turns out this race was actually the one chosen for use in the demo, a move that I can’t quite understand, because it’s one of the best bits in the game, while also being a move that I can indeed understand, because it’s one of the best bits in the game.)

Still, while The Run may be a mixed bag overall, the good certainly outweighs the bad, and for those of us excited by the possibilities inferred by the original game, and Test Drive 2 prior to that, there’s an element of childhood dreams becoming reality.

(Video of your correspondent completing this event now follows:)