Need For Speed 3Written by Matt Phelan
Did you miss the cops in Need For Speed II? Didya huh, huh?!? Well have no fear, Electronic Arts to the rescue! Need For Speed III had so many cops that I thought it more than made up for the lack of them in the previous NFS version. One of the NFS engineers stated that they were working on a cop model for NFSII but it wasn't quite finished at the time of release so no cops were put into the second version of EA's Need For Speed series. For any of you that are long time NFSCheats viewers, you'll know about the "Psycho mode" cheat, which may have in fact been the unfinished cop model that I was talking about. All they did there was just try to chase you and run into you, it was really, well, psychotic.
In the third installation of EA's exotic car racing series they dropped simulation mode totally. But in it's place are some of the best graphics in any game yet. One of the reviewers that was at that years E3 show stated that "NFSIII's graphics are almost picture perfect!" While it may not have looked exactly like the real thing, it was about as close as you could get on a computer game at that time. Back then, running a 3dfx card with this game was stronly recommended. The graphics engine of the game just really wasn't great for most main-stream machines back at that time for software rendering. It would run really slowly, but in 3dfx mode, especially with the Voodoo 2 12 mb cards, the game would run very smoothly on my K6 233 machine (640x480).
Now back to the cops. The missing cops from NFSII are back, and with a vengeance! No longer do they have their little 1987-1993 Mustangs anymore, but they have got a whole fleet of vehicles. Ranging from a Range Rover to a Corvette (even a Diablo cop car on the PSX version. The pc version let you drive the Diablo cop, but there wasn't any on the normal AI police force though.). This time it's much more realistic though. Gone are the days of the original Need For Speed where if a cop car can just get in front of you at any speed you get a ticket. Now they've got a huge aresenal. Not only does one cop car chase you with wreckless abandon, but many! I've had well over 5 cars chasing me before! Plus now they go out and try to create roadblocks up ahead of you and if they still can't catch you, then you get the bad weapon. The Spike Strip!!! If you hit the spike strip, your done. Well, atleast you'll get a ticket. If you do happen to hit a spike strip, you're in deep trouble my friend. Not only will it blow out your tire, but it takes the whole rim with it (atleast that's what it looks like, the wheel just dissappears.)! If you want to be the cop though, you also have the option of using that potent weapon. The only downside about it if you're the cop is that it only takes up half the road. If you're the speeder, then you have a chance :) Luckily, if you're just playing against the AI, they tend to be a little dumb sometimes. So if you block one half with the strip, the other half with yourself, then they usually will hit one of you. So that's an almost guaranteed stop. In my experience they usually like the strip better though.
Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit also offered online racing. But it isn't like today's technology in Porsche Unleashed. It runs really slowly on a 33.6 connection, whereas PU will run just fine. NFSIII didn't offer "Internet Racing," which is where you get to connect to a server and find people there to race with like on EA Racing. But you can still go out and find someone to race with and do a TCP/IP connection. A little warning for normal modem users: It's very slow. It's pretty much a carry over, it seems, from one of the last updates for NFSIISE, which is the first time that EA actually offered online gaming through the TCP/IP protocol. Although that was a little known fact I think.
One very interesting thing about the retail Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit for PC was that EA actually included it's own car editor in a zip file on the CD. Need For Speed II was already a big editing game, but now EA included downloadable cars. And all those downloadable cars did was create their own folder. So people tried and created their own cars then proceeded to create their own folders. Well what do you know, it worked! You can add-on cars now!! NFSII/SE could only have you replace over your cars, but since EA has done the downloadable car thing, now you can create your own. This made the car editing craze huge. Plus EA's own Cartool was a very good editor. This is where the whole car editing thing really took off.
While the physics of the cars really bothered me sometimes, the fun factor was very well felt. The whole hot pursuit mode was some of the most fun I had ever had in an NFS game. The graphics were awesome too. All of this and more made Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit the best seller of all the games in the NFS series. In keeping true to NFS tradition, it brought a mix of many different exotics and domesticated race cars (Mercedes CLK-GTR and Jaguar XJR-15). The Lamborghini Diablo made a return with the SV model plus Ferrari's F355 was back in Spyder form this time. The only downside to having the Ferrari's and Mercedes was that you couldn't race them in Hot Pursuit mode because niether of the car companies wanted to have a "bad image" of being chased by cops. EA also did something interesting by bringing in the long defunct Lamborghini Countach. Up until this point, NFS had been pretty much a new supercar game. But then again where are these rules written in stone?
All in all, Need For Speed III was a winner. Playing the game was great fun, if not addictive. No wonder this game is the best seller in Need For Speed history. That's exactly what that game is now, history. It's one of the most well known marks in the history of this series and will remain so for a long time to come. Getting this game is a must if you havn't got it already!