The Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit

a game by Electronic Arts
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 6 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Need For Speed Series

Overview

I can't hide from it any longer. No more kidding myself or the others around me. I have to face it head on. What is it you ask? The fact that racing games are officially my favorite genre, ousting the long running sports titles. I don't know if it is due to the fact that there have been so many quality racing games for the PSX or what. All I know is that I can sit down and play racing games for hours on end. It just so happens that Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit is a racing game, and a damn good one at that.

The Need for Speed series is on its third installment (not including V-Rally and the old saying "the third time is a charm" has never been more true. After a "disappointing-at-best" effort with Need For Speed II, EA is back on track with this arcade racer. So what makes it better? How about new cars, better graphics, awesome tracks, a pursuit mode, day or night racing, backwards tracks, and even varying weather conditions. Oh yeah, it also has one tiny little thing that makes it better: great gameplay.

Gameplay

Since I have left little doubt in your mind about my feelings of this game, I will spend the next few paragraphs trying to sell you on why you need to go buy this game. No, EA does not give me kick backs or anything like that (not that I wouldn't accept them, but they just have not offered). I just really got into this game. It was one white-knuckled race after another. I knew that one mistake could cost me the race. This is what makes racing games fun.

In NFS II, I complained a little bit about the cars and how obscure they were. One of the things I liked about the original was that the cars were all high performance cars but you could still see them on the road in everyday life. In NFS II, I had never heard of most of the cars. Apparently I was the only person who thought that this was lame because in NFS III, the cars are pretty rare with a few exceptions. You can race a Ferrari 550 Maranello, Ferrari 355 F1, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Lamborghini Countach 25th, Mercedes CLK-GTR, 1998 Corvette C5, Jaguar Sport XJR-15 and Italdesign Nazca C2. I have heard of the majority of these manufacturers but I can guarantee with the exception of the Vette, you will not ever be stuck in traffic next to any of these vehicles. I guess that the idea is to give you a look and feel of driving an untouchable car.

The biggest improvement over the previous version is unquestionably the gameplay. I really had a tough time playing NFS II and ended up not liking it much. A lot has changed. The game engine has been redone and handles like a dream. It actually reminded me of Moto Racer except in cars instead of on motor bikes. I think that the reason it reminded me of this was because of the awesome power slides that you could use to make it around sharp corners. All you had to do was hit the hand brake and watch the tail end start to slide. This made sharp corners a breeze. If you have ever played NFS II, you know that cornering was a real pain in the ass. Not any longer. This also gave the game a real arcade feel to it which I prefer over true simulations.

Another cool addition to this version was the inclusion of weather. It is about time that someone made a racing game that had varying weather conditions. This added a whole new feel to the same track. Also, you could set the time of day on random so you could also race during the day or at night. Between the varying weather conditions and the random day/night, your really had a huge combination of variables to effect you race. For example, you could race on the Hometown track at night with dry roads. Your next race could be the Red Rock track during the day in the rain. I thought this was a great addition to the game that really kept it fresh.

Also new in this release is the Hot Pursuit mode. This mode had you racing against a single racer on traffic-infested roads. Since the roads have traffic, they have to have cops to patrol the traffic, right? Since the cops are patrolling the traffic, they really don't care much for someone who fly's by at 150 MPH so they chase you down and either slap you with a fine or arrest you. They also resort to such trickery as road blocks and spike belts to try and stop you. Although this mode was fun for a few races, it did get to be a bit annoying having to slow down and get stopped by the cops all of the time. Maybe I was just not good enough to get away from them, but it seemed awfully tough to elude them. Also, since when can an old Barney Fife cruiser keep up with a Ferrari? Well, it happened all the time in this game. I would be flying at 140 MPH and the cops would be keeping up with me stride for stride. Where is the advantage in having a $250,000 sports car?

I do wish that they would have added a medium difficulty level to the game. You only have a beginner and an expert level. I rip through the beginner level with ease but when I tried playing on expert, it seemed that all of the cars had been hopped up and I was unable to keep up. I did eventually win some races but it was very difficult, and you had to almost have a flawless race. It was inevitable that you would wreck at least once per race and if you did, you had no chance of winning. It would have been nice to have a middle step instead of a giant leap.

The last thing about this game that made it so much fun was the tracks. All of the tracks were packed with short cuts and seemed to stretch on forever. It would take 4 or 5 races before you would really get to learn the ins and outs of each track and then you would start looking for the shortcuts. You had a ton of different terrain that you would race through from snow covered hills to the desert to small towns. I could not wait to see the next track when I first starting playing and I was enamoured when I found that winning the knockout mode opened up another new track. All in all, you will be playing for a long time before you start to get tired of the tracks.

Oh yeah, one more thing. If you have not already gone out and purchased an analog controller, I suggest you do so. The control in NFS III is so smooth with the analog controller that it is almost unfair. These are high end, top dollar sports cars so you may as well get the true feeling of the handling.

Graphics

Talk about an improvement! The lackluster graphics of NFS past are gone and replaced with some great 3D graphics. The cars and tracks look much better which results in an overall more enjoyable game. There were a few breakups on occasion and the backgrounds did have a tiny bit of a grainy look but it was not really noticeable. All in all, you will be pleasantly surprised with the look of this game especially if you are a NFS veteran.

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of arcade racers, this game is a must buy. I think you will really appreciate all of the improvements in this game. I could not stop playing. It is very hard to me to really get the point across on how much of an improvement this game is so I can only suggest you at least rent it and see for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

Download The Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

Those of us who have seen FOX’s "World’s Scariest Police Chases" series have often wondered what it would be like to be on a high-speed chase like those. Obviously, we can’t just throw away our law-abiding lives for a few minutes of high-speed action, which is why Electronic Arts created Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit. Due to the many gamers (including myself) writing to EA and complaining "why weren’t there cops in NFS2?!?" They built it and we shall buy. NFS3 includes more of the most exciting, exotic cars in the world, better tracks than those in the NFS2, and an AI that will make your heart beat faster than a jackrabbit on a date!

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Similar to the other two of the NFS series, but keeping an identity of its own, NFS3 keeps the traditional handling and many racing options that were found in its predecessors. The cars in NFS3 include those that are well known (Lamborghinis and Ferraris) and those that are out of your average mainstream, such as the Italdesign Scighera. These cars offer a wide range of performances and, like the first NFS, are categorized into classes ranging A, B, and C (A being the best). A few cars are in as bonus cars that you must unlock through the winning of tournaments and knockout competitions or by using cheat codes.

Tracks are done much more artistically than in NFS2. This nice scenery will often distract you from the race and cause cataclysmic results; A submarine outside the tube-road underwater can be horribly good eye-candy. EA kept with the circuit style tracks from NFS2, still not going back to the "road" tracks.

Cops will chase your opponent now too, enabling you to use his problems to your advantage, but he can still do the same to you. The cops make really crazy moves at times, trying to knock you to the side of the road, or flipping you against the wall. Spike strips and roadblocks can be avoided with careful driving, but occasionally they are impossible to get away from. As you evade cops more, they pursue with increased vigor. The AI is very good for the cops, but lacking in the regular traffic; I found that civilians will drive on the wrong side of the road at times and swerve back and forth in their lanes (did EA put in drunk drivers?). Being a cop is quite an experience as well. Learning to setup spike strips in narrow areas and spinning delinquents out only takes a few minutes of a race. After you have absorbed these valuable skills, you will be a force to be reckoned with.

EA also made NFS3 expandable with additional cars on their web page. I personally wish for a Viper GTS (probably class B) and a McLaren F1(definitely class A; we need some competition for the Mercedes CLK-GTR) to be added in the game. This will very likely give the game renewed excitement whenever EA offers another car.

Multiplayer

This is one of the best parts. Having a three-man race, driving class C cars, against many cops faster than all of you is edge-of-your-seat suspense. During Single Race, the computer will fill in as many extra cars as necessary to make the total of eight racers. It’s always fun to run people you know off the road and laugh at them as you see them fall back in your rear-view mirror.

Graphics

Simply put: breathtaking. Colored lighting really makes this game kick some butt. During night driving (highly recommended), the cops’ lights create quite an amazing show of light, this is an advantage for sighting the roadblocks up ahead. A 3D card comes highly recommended as the game has so many nice effects that only come out well with some 3D acceleration. Colored lighting is utilized heavily in Aquatica and Empire City so without it, tracks tend to look mediocre.

System Requirements

133 MHz Pentium with 3D acceleration or 166 MHz Pentium without 3D acceleration, 16 MB RAM, 200 MHz Pentium with 3D acceleration with 32 MB RAM recommended.

Reviewed on: Pentium 2 350 MHz, 128 MB RAM, STB nVidia Velocity 128

Bottom Line

If you are considering buying a racing game this year, it should be Need For Speed 3! The NFS series has continually dominated the "street car" racing genre ever since its inception. I own all three of the NFS games and I even still play the first one. EA has made a very good reputation for itself with this franchise and will probably continue it with a fourth installment. So if you’ve got the money laying about, go to the damn store and BUY THIS GAME!!!

Overview

I can't hide from it any longer. No more kidding myself or the others around me. I have to face it head on. What is it you ask? The fact that racing games are officially my favorite genre, ousting the long running sports titles. I don't know if it is due to the fact that there have been so many quality racing games for the PSX or what. All I know is that I can sit down and play racing games for hours on end. It just so happens that Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit is a racing game, and a damn good one at that.

The Need For Speed series is on its third installment (not including V-Rally)and the old saying "the third time is a charm" has never been more true. After a "disappointing-at-best" effort with Need For Speed II, EA is back on track with this arcade racer. So what makes it better? How about new cars, better graphics, awesome tracks, a pursuit mode, day or night racing, backwards tracks, and even varying weather conditions. Oh yeah, it also has one tiny little thing that makes it better: great gameplay.

Gameplay

Since I have left little doubt in your mind about my feelings of this game, I will spend the next few paragraphs trying to sell you on why you need to go buy this game. No, EA does not give me kick backs or anything like that (not that I wouldn't accept them, but they just have not offered). I just really got into this game. It was one white-knuckled race after another. I knew that one mistake could cost me the race. This is what makes racing games fun.

In NFS II, I complained a little bit about the cars and how obscure they were. One of the things I liked about the original was that the cars were all high performance cars but you could still see them on the road in everyday life. In NFS II, I had never heard of most of the cars. Apparently I was the only person who thought that this was lame because in NFS III, the cars are pretty rare with a few exceptions. You can race a Ferrari 550 Maranello, Ferrari 355 F1, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Lamborghini Countach 25th, Mercedes CLK-GTR, 1998 Corvette C5, Jaguar Sport XJR-15 and Italdesign Nazca C2. I have heard of the majority of these manufacturers but I can guarantee with the exception of the Vette, you will not ever be stuck in traffic next to any of these vehicles. I guess that the idea is to give you a look and feel of driving an untouchable car.

The biggest improvement over the previous version is unquestionably the gameplay. I really had a tough time playing NFS II and ended up not liking it much. A lot has changed. The game engine has been redone and handles like a dream. It actually reminded me of Moto Racer except in cars instead of on motor bikes. I think that the reason it reminded me of this was because of the awesome power slides that you could use to make it around sharp corners. All you had to do was hit the hand brake and watch the tail end start to slide. This made sharp corners a breeze. If you have ever played NFS II, you know that cornering was a real pain in the ass. Not any longer. This also gave the game a real arcade feel to it which I prefer over true simulations.

Another cool addition to this version was the inclusion of weather. It is about time that someone made a racing game that had varying weather conditions. This added a whole new feel to the same track. Also, you could set the time of day on random so you could also race during the day or at night. Between the varying weather conditions and the random day/night, your really had a huge combination of variables to effect you race. For example, you could race on the Hometown track at night with dry roads. Your next race could be the Red Rock track during the day in the rain. I thought this was a great addition to the game that really kept it fresh.

Also new in this release is the Hot Pursuit mode. This mode had you racing against a single racer on traffic-infested roads. Since the roads have traffic, they have to have cops to patrol the traffic, right? Since the cops are patrolling the traffic, they really don't care much for someone who fly's by at 150 MPH so they chase you down and either slap you with a fine or arrest you. They also resort to such trickery as road blocks and spike belts to try and stop you. Although this mode was fun for a few races, it did get to be a bit annoying having to slow down and get stopped by the cops all of the time. Maybe I was just not good enough to get away from them, but it seemed awfully tough to elude them. Also, since when can an old Barney Fife cruiser keep up with a Ferrari? Well, it happened all the time in this game. I would be flying at 140 MPH and the cops would be keeping up with me stride for stride. Where is the advantage in having a $250,000 sports car?

I do wish that they would have added a medium difficulty level to the game. You only have a beginner and an expert level. I rip through the beginner level with ease but when I tried playing on expert, it seemed that all of the cars had been hopped up and I was unable to keep up. I did eventually win some races but it was very difficult, and you had to almost have a flawless race. It was inevitable that you would wreck at least once per race and if you did, you had no chance of winning. It would have been nice to have a middle step instead of a giant leap.

The last thing about this game that made it so much fun was the tracks. All of the tracks were packed with short cuts and seemed to stretch on forever. It would take 4 or 5 races before you would really get to learn the ins and outs of each track and then you would start looking for the shortcuts. You had a ton of different terrain that you would race through from snow covered hills to the desert to small towns. I could not wait to see the next track when I first starting playing and I was enamoured when I found that winning the knockout mode opened up another new track. All in all, you will be playing for a long time before you start to get tired of the tracks.

Oh yeah, one more thing. If you have not already gone out and purchased an analog controller, I suggest you do so. The control in NFS III is so smooth with the analog controller that it is almost unfair. These are high end, top dollar sports cars so you may as well get the true feeling of the handling.

Graphics

Talk about an improvement! The lackluster graphics of NFS past are gone and replaced with some great 3D graphics. The cars and tracks look much better which results in an overall more enjoyable game. There were a few breakups on occasion and the backgrounds did have a tiny bit of a grainy look but it was not really noticeable. All in all, you will be pleasantly surprised with the look of this game especially if you are a NFS veteran.

Bottom Line

If you are a fan of arcade racers, this game is a must buy. I think you will really appreciate all of the improvements in this game. I could not stop playing. It is very hard to me to really get the point across on how much of an improvement this game is so I can only suggest you at least rent it and see for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

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The Need for Speed
Do you feel the need for speed? Electronic Arts' highly successful PC and 3DO game is making its way onto the PlayStation, and not a moment too soon.