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PC Game Review: Need For Speed 3 - Hot Pursuit

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Source: https://alyxxgameroom.blogspot.no/2018/04/pc-game-review-need-for-speed-3-hot.html




GAME: Need For Speed III - Hot Pursuit


PUBLISHER: Electronic Arts




When I grew up, I was pretty fortunate to have a father who not only was a PC enthusiast, but also a gamer. And one of his true passions was racing games, something that I of course shared as with many things. And one of the games I ended up playing the most growing up, and still do to this day, was of course the original Need For Speed games, with the third one, Hot Pursuit, being one of my absolute favourites to play. This was back when Electronic Arts were known for releasing pretty solid racing titles, and with this and Moto Racer they pretty much crafted some of the best racing experiences of my childhood. So since this game is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, I felt it was time to take a look at one of the defining racing gamers from my childhood!


I've never had a ton of experience with the first two titles in the series, and in many regards, NFS 3 was my first entry into the series. One of the key aspects that drew people into the series was of course the fact the games had real life cars and some fantasy cars, which helped set the series apart from other racing games of its era. For me, the main reason I love playing this game is the ability to race 2 Lamborghini cars; the Countach and the Diablo SV. Though while these remain my favourite cars for purely aesthetic reasons, there's a lot of other luxurious sports cars to drive in NFS 3 including the Italdesign Schigera, the Ferrari F1 Spider, Chevrolet Corvette and a few secret bonus cars to unlock. All the vanilla cars have complete showcases with voiceovers presenting the cars and their technical specs, slideshows with amazing car pictures (basically car porn) and the ability to tune the car to your liking (and of course to the track you want to drive on).



A rainy day in Hometown


The game offers 4 game modes to choose from. The first is Single Race, which is self explanitory. You drive a single race on a track of your choosing with a car of your choosing against the opponents of your choosing. Everything is customizable, from the cars you drive against, to whether you want oncoming traffic, weather to deal with or to drive during night time (combining all 3 makes for a rather challenging drive). The second mode is the game's namesake, the Hot Pursuit. In this mode you race against a single opponent, although you will also be competing with the police who will chase after you. If you get caught enough times, the race is over as you're arrested for your reckless driving. This was the first Need For Speed game to do this kind of concept and especially back when this game was new it was an incredibly exciting game mode and by far my favourite mode to play. To this day I still love the simplicity of it and it remains rather exhilarating to play.


The third mode is Knockout, a tournament variation where you drive a set amount of races and for each race, the last placing car is knocked out of the tournament, so in the final race you end up with a duel against the remaining car. It's a good mode and exciting for sure, but probably not as good as Hot Pursuit in my opinion. The fourth and final game mode is Tournament, where you race on on all of the game's tracks on either a Beginner or Expert difficulty in succession. In this mode you cannot choose which track to play and once you have chosen a car you have to stick with it during the entire tournament. Between each track you can save your progress in case you wanna pick up again later. It's recommended to do the Single Race mode to practice the tracks before tackling Tournament, especially on Expert difficulty.



Most of the tracks feature some memorable scenery, such as this underwater tunnel in the appropriately titled Aquatica track


All of the modes can also be raced with a friend in Two Player mode, where you play in a splitscreen view against each other. The game also offers online multiplayer in the form of "Connect Player" which I have never tried but it's an option if you don't have any available local friends to play with.


During gameplay the game records your race, so after a completed race you can go back and view a replay of the race from different camera angles which you can choose from. Leaving it set to Auto can give some exclusive camera views from the track which you cannot access manually. You can also save your replays to watch again later. The game can also save your ghost data if you wanna do practice sessions against yourself or a friend. It also saves your Knockout and Tournament progress as I mentioned earlier. All of these can be loaded from the Load menu.



Damn. Busted.


Graphically the game looks absolutely amazing for its time. Especially with the night time lighting and the weather effects where at night time you can see lightning shoot across the sky. The world reflects in the cars as you drive with a very convincing chrome effect, dust and water splashes around your tires leaving trails behind you and the game has some rather amazing looking backgrounds. For its time this game was absolutely cutting edge graphically and running it with a 3DFX Voodoo graphics card or a modern emulation of such really shows how good this game looks with hardware acceleration, although I did run into a few bugs with the emulated voodoo graphics so beware of this when trying to play the game on a modern system. It's a 20 year old game after all, so running it on modern hardware can be a bit of a hassle and you may get some mixed performance.


The best part of the game for me is without a doubt the sound and music. Driving in Hot Pursuit mode is a spectacle unlike anything at the time, with the police radio constantly feeding you information into your left and right ear, the incredibly realistic car engine noise constantly murring in the background and the sound of screeching metal stabbing your ears whenever you crash or rub against the opponents. On the tracks themselves, you can hear dogs barking or seagulls calling depending on your location giving that additional layer of environmental audio to really draw you into the game's tracks.

And the music... good god the music... while the rock tracks you can choose from really do a good job, the standout tracks on offer here is definitely the Techno selection. Done by primarily Saki Kaskas and Rom Di Prisco, the tracks on offer here are outstanding. Tracks like Aquila 303, Hydrus 606 and Knossos are still on heavy rotation in my playlist now and then and it's worth playing the game just to hear these tracks. They really help give the game a hi-tech futuristic feel that I absolutely adore and they truly add to the feeling of speed and freedom the game offers. In the audio settings I always leave the music set the highest cause if I had music like this while driving in real life, you can be I would be blasting this shit as loud as possible. :D



The weather option will even add snow fall on this winter themed track instead of rain. The game's attention to detail is amazing in this regard.


All in all, Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit is a true racing classic in every sense of the word. It's definitely still worth playing today and while it may seem a bit simplistic compared to modern NFS games, it still holds up perfectly fine in terms of graphics, gameplay and sound. I swear, Rom Di Prisco's music sounds as fresh and futuristic today as it did back in 1998 and I honestly cannot find anything negative to say about the game. It's a feature packed solid racer that is surprisingly fun to play. If you can, pick it up on eBay. It's a bit of a hassle getting it to work on modern systems, but it's definitely worth it. It's a shame EA has never re-released this and the earlier NFS games, but if they do I would definitely grab it. And if you ever get tired of the game's vanilla cars, there are multiple places on the web where you can find more cars to mod into the game. NFSCARS.NET is probably my favourite place to grab extra cars. So if you want a classic late 90's racer, NFS 3 is probably the one I recommend the most!




SOUND: 10/10



Game developments at http://nukedprotons.blogspot.com

Check out my music at http://technomancer.bandcamp.com

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