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Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (Windows)

89
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zovni (9367)
Written on  :  Feb 06, 2003
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

The cops are back!! And they brought the fun with them!!

The Good

Playing NFS3 was probably the first time I've ever been happy to see cops, and not just any cops, but psycho highway patrollers out to get me!! Yeehaa!!

Clearly ripped off Test Drive, the "beat the cops" gameplay concept was one of the best things to happen to the original NFS, it provided pretty much the only amount of fun to have in what was essentially a Test Drive re-make, with a selection of superpowered "purebreed" cars that cost more than your life available for racing on arcade circuits. Completely absent from NFS2 for some reason, the cops made a comeback to the game in this sequel, and this time they are packing heat and pose a serious threat to the selection of dream machines that you get to choose from (each one with some minor tunning options for you to tweak around).

Not just Test Drive rejects anymore, the cops now have their own monster cars, and they coordinate roadblocks and deploy spike strips to try and stop you from creating any sonic booms with your car (not that there's any danger of hitting anyone mind you, the streets are all deserted!). This feature is the absolute best thing to happen to this racing series and ups the adrenaline level to the max, nothing beats winding down the track with a Ferrari Maranello except winding down the track with a Ferrari Maranello while your radar detector starts going off, your police scanner screams "He's at the Turnpike, OH My God! He's doing over 150!!!" And a Corvette patrol tries to ram you against the wall while you see a roadblock being deployed up ahead.... Thrilling?? You have no idea!

Furthermore, the game boasts the sweetest graphics engine ever. Featuring full 3D accelerator support, the graphics in here are to die for, leaving in the dust everything you've ever seen before. Sparks, chrome reflections, lightning, tarmac, snow, rain (which hits your screen/windshield) everything is absolutely drop-dead-gorgeous, to the point where the game still looks like a winner today. And the collection of tracks are some of the best ever assembled for an NFS, going from snowy mountainscapes, to desert highways, to sunny coastal cities, to a killer futuristic city that milks those lightning effects for all they are worth (plus each one is available in daytime, nightime, standard, reversed or mirrored modes).

Plus, to add to the joys of gameplay you also have a plethora of multiplayer modes where you can try catching your buddies, or race in tournament races over lans... weeHaaaW!! All that plus a super glossy and slick interface, a killer soundtrack and sfxs (complete with accurate police transmissions) plus the usual NFS encyclopedia with history, stats and pictures of cars and companies make the game feel not just like a fantastic gameplay experience but also like the most professionally crafted package you've ever seen.

The Bad

Like all racing games... once you know the tracks by heart, once you have unlocked every car and track, once you've beaten every record... well, it's over man!!!

That, and since the licensed companies frown upon EA trashing their merchandise, there's no damage models for the cars. If you are lucky after enough spectacular crashes you'll see a fire erupting from the hood of your car, but that's it.

The Bottom Line

A blast to play from start to finish, if this game were a babe she would be the most beautiful supermodel you've ever seen, only she is also super-fast and super-wild. So much so, that she has to run from the law!

Now that Hot Pursuit 2 is out, check her original incarnation out and you'll see that the pedigree runs in the family. She may be a little old nowadays, but she still has that fire in her!