Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit

aka: NFS 3, Over Drivin' III: Hot Pursuit
Moby ID: 636
Windows Specs
Buy on PlayStation
$10.00 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

In the third major installment of Electronic Arts' Arcade racing series, there are several modes of play available. You have the standard race, with one big difference - now there are traffic cops out to ticket you for your excessive speed. Alternatively, you can take your turn with the radar gun and attempt to pull over speeding computer or human racers.

Returning to the flavour of the original Need for Speed, this adds a new Pursuit mode, where you must out run the cops through fast, open area tracks, while also out-lasting the rest of the pack. Another new mode is knockout, where you race through all the tracks, and whoever is last after each race is knocked out. The winner is, of course, the one that lasts the distance. Almost every course in the game has one or more shortcuts.

The cars include Ferrari 550 Maranello, Ferrari 355 F1 Spider, Italdesign Scighera, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Lamborghini Countach, Jaguar XJR-15, Jaguar XK8, Aston Martin DB7, '98 Corvette C5, Mercedes SL600 and the Mercedes CLK GTR.

Spellings

  • 极品飞车III: 闪电追踪 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

204 People (151 developers, 53 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 45 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 107 ratings with 3 reviews)

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!

Windows · by Zovni (10503) · 2003

In a word... stunning.

The Good
A friend of mine with a hot PC came round one day and said, "Steve, you have to see this." So I saw it. One word springs to mind. Breathtaking. This game actually took my breath away. I was stunned by the quality and the smootheness of the graphics.

Behind that lies a damn fine racing game. The cars look and feel realistic, and the controls work very well. It does a good job supporting steering wheels, but feels a little lifeless. The tracks are still circuit like, as with NFS2, but considerably more thought has gone into them, and they are a lot of fun to drive on.

Best of all though, is the return of cops (missing from NFS2). Driving Cop Corvettes they can prove to be real handful, esepcially when they set up road blocks and spike strips. Even better is that you can play the cops, driving a Cop Corvette and doing your best to stop the speeders. You can even request road blocks and drop spike strips. Wonderful stuff.

The range of cars in the game is pretty good, and there are cheat codes to enable other vehicles, which is pointless, but does provide a minor diversion. Once again the game is networkable, and plays very well, blasting round the tracks taking your mates out.

The Bad
Once again, the cars can't be damaged, and there's still an invisible wall preventing you from leaving the track. There's not much else wrong with this game.

The Bottom Line
The inclusion of the cops gives this game a degree of longevity, but I must admit to getting tired of it after a while. Although it may be a fun arcade racer, it just doesn't stand the test of time too well. It's better than its predecessors by a long way, and while it's still not a classic, it is damn close.

Windows · by Steve Hall (329) · 2000

This raises racing to a new echelon of excitement.

The Good
NFS: Hot Pursuit is easily, bar none, the most exciting and fun sportscar racing game I've ever played. I've played a lot of them, all the way back to Outrun and Test Drive of the mid-1980s, and this just takes the cake.

Traditional gameplay elements exist, such as single one-off races, and a nice elimination circuit where the loser is taken off of the roster until only two are left. But, by far, the single-most element of what makes this game fun is the Hot Pursuit mode -- you get to race against another player, but there's a third element in your way: The cops! You can slow down to 55 mph and drive in the correct lane whenever you hear your radar detector going off, and that will avoid them... but most of the time you gun it and try to slam past the cop in your high-performance vehicle. Once you've got a cop on your tail, or two, or three, it's no longer about winning, it's about not getting caught. Spike strips, roadblocks, hearing them radio for backup... Never before have I gotten this excited playing a racing game for the PC. And if you think you've got what it takes, you can play the cop!

All the tracks are very large, nicely detailed, and contain lots of shortcuts for evading the cops. (These shortcuts appear disabled for traditional races, wisely, since it makes finish times more fair and consistent.) There's even an ode to Test Drive; one of the tracks takes place in the rocky mountains of Canada, and there's a very long stretch of -- you guessed it -- a wall of rock on your right and a sheer dropoff on your left.

A nice assortment of cars comes with the game, and you can finally compare them right in the selection screen. This way you can see which car performs better than others. The Lamborghini pair just about sweeps the board, except I found their handling a bit sluggish. (In case you're wondering, my favorite car is the Corvette. Black.)

Speaking of the color of my preferred car, the graphics are just fantastic. The software rendering is good, if a bit slow, but a 2nd-generation 3D card makes the game shine. I played with a regular TNT-based card (Diamond Viper V550), and even on my 200MHz machine it was very enjoyable.

The sound and music are the best they've ever been in this series; the music ranges from rock, to techno, to somewhere in between. It's never obnoxious, nor dull. Most of the music tracks are completely listenable on their own. EAX/D3D is supported; I would've liked support for A3D, but with Aureal facing a bleak future, I guess it's for the best.

Unlike most Windows games that supported 3D hardware in 1998, NFS: HP is actually stable and fast. Imagine that -- a well-programmed game for Windows... The auto-update function was also nice, as it automatically found a patch for my outdated version and installed it prior to me playing the game.

There is a large user fanbase; going to www.nfscheats.com and viewing the affiliates will get you started. There are user-created cars, tracks, cheats, etc. There's even a growing movement to create a single-user unofficial version of Motor City, the newest installment in the series that many users are unhappy about because it's going to be online only.

Finally, the replay playback is one of the most professional I've seen. You can't "edit" the playback to suit your needs, but the default choice of camera angles is great, with additional logic used occaisionally to pick a good camera angle based on the action. A fixed camera, cleverly placed, is used in one track's replay routine to show how cars slip and slide around a hairpin turn; another trick is to switch to a "facing-rear" view when a cop is close on your tail. And if that weren't enough, you can save your replay as a "ghost" replay, which lets you start a race against yourself, trying to beat your own best time.

The Bad
No internet play! Yes, TCP/IP network play exists, but that's not the same as "internet" play. There's no central meeting place hosted by Electronic Arts to meet up with people who want to race, ala WON or Battle.net or Unreal, etc. I hear that the next games in the series support this, but it would have kicked ass in Hot Pursuit and I feel the game suffers from it.

Even though realism is touted highly in the advertising, I felt that the cars handled a little too well, even with all the assists off. The game is meant to be arcade-ish, I know, but the original Need For Speed did have a very realistic feel; in fact, it's what set it apart at the time.

No car damage or player injury! What's up with that?

Enemy AI (ie. the cops) could be better. You can hear them talking to HQ on the radio and being informed of your presence, but they always seem surprised when you fly by them -- they're always standing still, instead of ramping up speed in anticipation of you coming their way. Bad AI usually hurts a game, but I didn't mind too much.

The Bottom Line
It was a great value at $49.95 and it's a brilliant value today (year 2000) at $9.95. If you could choose only one racing game to play for the rest of your life, this would definitely be a contender.

Windows · by Trixter (8962) · 2000

Trivia

Cars

Perhaps because Ferrari & Mercedes were concerned about their image, EA wasn't allowed to use their cars in the Hot Pursuit mode. However, there exists a patch/hack on the Internet that changes this and let's you escape the cops in all the Ferrari & Mercedes models.

Editor

The tool to create the cars in the game are actually included on the CD. This lead to a huge number of fan-created add-on cars, some with impossible performance levels. Four new cars, made by Electronic Arts, could be downloaded from the official website. These cars are: the Jaguar XKR, the Lister Storm, the Spectre R42 and the Ferrari 456M GT.

References

  • The Atlantica track has its own Electronic Arts office. If the cops follow in the proximity of that office you will, for example, hear them say: " Unit 15 in pursuit of a yellow Diablo near the EA building, he's doing more than 120!"
  • In the credits section of the options menu you can view a (phony) driver's license with picture and personal info for each of the developers. There are also some 360 degree panorama shots showing several groups of developers.

Statistics

When you turn on the Best Line option in the driving assist menu, two lines of traffic cones appear, indicating the optimal driving path. During a race the game will not only keep track of the percentage of time you spend between those two lines, but also the number of traffic cones hit.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 1999 (Issue #177) – Best Driving Game of the Year

Information also contributed by Roedie

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Related Sites +

  • Game Audio Player
    Game Audio Player can rip the music out of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, as well as many other CD-based games where the music data is compressed and stored on the CD.
  • NFS3 Strategy Guide
    The ONLY Strategy Guide for NFS3 out there, covers cars, shortcuts on each track, and more!

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Aquaman.

PlayStation added by Kartanym.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Kasey Chang, Kirschsaft, //dbz:, CaesarZX, Patrick Bregger.

Game added December 31, 1999. Last modified February 23, 2024.