Test Drive III: The Passion

Description official description

Drive exotic cars while fleeing police in this sequel of the popular Test Drive series. New features include a true 3D engine (polygonal meshes), a selection of music on the radio, police evasion, instant replay, digitized dashboard/interiors, and larger, more diverse driving environment with multiple routes. Drive Lamborghini Diablo or the Pininfarina Mythos and Chevrolet CERV III prototypes.


  • 试验驾驶3 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (DOS version)

7 People

Graphics / Artwork
3D Modelling
Associate Producer



Average score: 66% (based on 6 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 3 reviews)

Unsafe At Any Clock Speed

The Good
Upon its 1990 debut, Test Drive III was unique in many ways. As one among several early 3D driving titles, it included what users had come to expect from the genre: a flat-shaded polygonal environment that could be navigated in any direction. But Test Drive III also offered a living, breathing world full of life, and a sense of immersion unattainable in most of its contemporaries.

The game was beautiful. Its environment was full of colorful hills, fields, trees, lakes, barns, and wildlife. Butterflies would sometimes splatter on your windshield, but the pixelated mess could be removed with the windshield wipers - a nice touch. Squirrels and chickens scampered across the roadway in various places, and both could be squashed under the wheels of your car. Even an occasional cow loitered at the roadside, but hitting one was not a good idea!

But TD3 was about more than just terrorizing the local fauna. Plenty of creative touches fleshed-out the world environment, including working traffic lights, thunderstorms, snowstorms, and a variety of non-player vehicles including trains and airplanes. You would occasionally find yourself stopped at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to pass, or using your wipers to clear raindrops accumulating on your windshield. Exploration was encouraged, as the world was sprinkled with shortcuts and hidden treasures. Intersections and forks offered multiple routes to the finish line, and the player always knew he was heading in the right direction when the text on the road signs was visible. Sound effects were adequate, and there were three in-game radio stations to choose from, offering rock, classical, and country MIDI music.

The cars cockpits were also highly detailed, with working headlights and windshield wipers, a compass and radar detector, and a rear-view mirror. Engines could blow if over-revved, and the steering would be knocked out of alignment by rough driving. Outside, the 3D vehicle models were nicely built, complete with trim pieces and functioning brake lights. A good selection of driveable cars included the Lamborghini Diablo, a Chevy CERV III, and a Pininfarina Mythos, with an Acura NSX and Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo available in an expansion pack.

The Bad
The absolute shame about Test Drive III is that it presented the player with such a wonderful set of features, and then completely ruined the racing experience with what might be the worst control scheme of any driving game ever released.

To begin with, the steering seemed to offer only two turn rates: frustratingly gradual, and unmanageably fast. Following a curve was nearly impossible as you would constantly veer left and right of the racing line. Even simply changing lanes was a test of the player's patience, requiring several taps of the keyboard just to break the car's exaggerated tendency to continue in a straight line. In fact, the entire game quickly devolved into a white-knuckled, button-mashing effort to simply stay on the road, which typically ended with an unplanned trip across a field and into the nearest tree. Control was even impossible with a joystick, which behaved more like a glorified keyboard.

These control problems were exacerbated by the game's second major flaw, its CPU-dependent timing. The programmers apparently neglected to tie the simulation engine to the realtime system clock, so the game essentially ran as fast as your computer. A 33MHz 386 was about ideal for running the game at a normal, playable speed. A 486 would run the game too quickly, making driving even more difficult than it already was, and with a Pentium processor, minutes would whiz by like seconds on the clock at the upper left of the screen.

The oblivious AI drivers presented another source of constant frustration. Police cars were either extremely aggressive or insanely stupid, because they would indiscriminately ram you during pursuit. But the biggest in-game threat was presented by the bitmapped trees, which refused to scale beyond a certain size as you approached, making it difficult or impossible to tell how close they were. The hapless player would often find his hood wrapped around a pine tree that appeared to be forty feet in front of him.

These problems were ultimately fatal to gameplay, and after hours of losing races, the frustrated player would throw in the towel and simply tour the 3D environment at a manageable 35mph.

The Bottom Line
Test Drive III had the potential to be a standard-bearer, offering a glimpse into the future of 3D gaming. It seamlessly combined a lot of unique and innovative elements into one package, and included charming touches that have not been replicated even twenty years later. But an impossible control scheme and frustrating technical quirks made the game more fun to watch than to play.

DOS · by SiliconClassics (848) · 2009

This is probably the best of the pretty much bad Test Drive series.

The Good
Life, life's everywhere in this game (including chickens!), and the game is actually much more bearable and enjoyable, more cars and all, and I like to drive slowly... And there's the ability to cruise out of the track! And I must not forget to say that this game is actually quite enjoyable and interesting!

The Bad
Like all previous games, this one's pretty boring, I don't exactly know why in the case of this game, but it still is! It's just boring, sounds weird but I'm quite sure that many people will agree with me!

The Bottom Line
One Word- Good! From OK to Better to Good, Test Drive games appear to be heading upwards! Worth 2 dollars, unlike the other games. (Which in my opinion aren't worth 1!) Buy it, download it, play it for some time, enjoy it, stop enjoying it, get bored, stop playing it

DOS · by Jim Fun (207) · 2002

The best of the best... for those who like to go slowly

The Good
The amount of detail was incredible for a game of that period. Working traffic lights, moving trains, airplaines, chicken walking inside barns... it was totally awesome. Many objects were alive and moved everywhere.

You also could use headlights, a radio with a few channels and wipers. Wipers came in handy to remove insects that stuck on your dash. :) Want to drive backwards? No problemo: just remember to check your rear view mirror. The game featured a "chase car view" to see your car from many angles and an instant replay which was very fun to review crashes.

This game featured 256-color VGA graphics with lots of huge digitized pictures. Back in 1990, this impressed a lot of my friends.

The game was also in real 3D - yet again nothing fancy compared to now, but a major improvement over the older TD games. It was playable on a 286 (although a 386 was best in high detail mode) and supported many sound cards.

Although the main object of the game didn't change - you had to race as fast as you could to go from one point to another - the creators finally got it right: they understood that some players didn't want to race at all, but to explore. Exploring the virtual TD3 worlds at 35mph was so fun in itself, I've never enjoyed racing.

Other improvements over the older TD games included the possibility of racing against other cars controlled by the computer.

The Bad
If you've played TD or TD2 and didn't like the gameplay, you ain't seen nothing yet. TD3 must have the worst gameplay of any simulator of all-time. You always end up crashing or hitting something, no matter how much you practice. You just can't keep on the road, unless you have a straight strech of interstate in front of you. It is so frustrating that most payers will prefer taking their time, exploring the big detailed 3D maps. Well, maybe not everyone, but I did.

If the game would have least offered the possibility of driving a Chevette or Tercel, it would have been less insulting. You end up using a car that can do high speeds, but you can't control it over 60. Not at all. I'm not saying that going at 150mph in real life is easy, but the game would have been much more enjoyable if it could have been possible to use an "assisted" driving mode that would help you take the curves.

On another note, the sound on my AdLib was not really realistic. The engin sounded like a mosquito (as a comparison, those from Stunts really kicked ass). The music was good, however. I remember trying it on my GUS with an MT-32 emulation and it sounded quite better, try it out if you can!

The Bottom Line
The first "real" driving simulator. You can drive

The good: Extremely detailed. Nice and fast 3D engine, lots of moving objects. A major enhancement over the previous Test Drive games. You can actually explore all the different maps, since there is no minimum time limit.

The bad: Much too hard to play at high speeds, while going fast is supposed to be the object of this game.

Alternate games: I strongly suggest you try out Stunts which came out at the same time.

DOS · by Olivier Masse (443) · 1999


Humorous error (and other) messages found in the program executable:

AAAHHHH!! Unknown horrible hardware failure!!

NOTE: Turning MIDI sounds on may slow down the game.

BARF! Bad Course Data! REBOOT!

Wow, a TIE! How did that happen?

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Olivier Masse.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, Victor Vance.

Game added June 16th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.