Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit is a 1998 racing video game, developed by Electronic Arts Canada and published by Electronic Arts. It is the third major title in the Need for Speed series, significantly returning police pursuits as a major part of gameplay. Hot Pursuit remains focused in racing using exotic sports cars, but features races that primarily take place in locations within North America, including varied settings and climates. In addition, police AI is significantly improved over its predecessor, utilizing several tactics to stop both the player and opponent, the game was released for Playstation in March of 1998 and later received a Enhanced port for Microsoft Windows in September of 1998.
The game title's suffix, "hot pursuit," is a term for a police pursuit.
With police pursuits reintegrated into the game, Hot Pursuit's gameplay now consists of two categories. The first encompasses standard racing, as it has been in its predecessors, The Need for Speed and Need for Speed II, in which the player is allowed to race against one (including split-screen races) or seven other racers in normal circuit racers, knockouts, or tournaments (which allow the player to unlock bonus vehicles and a bonus track). The second category is dubbed the "Hot Pursuit," where police pursuits are included in races; the mode allows the player to select a standard sports car to race against a single opponent in a police-scattered track, and in the PC version only select a police variation of a sports car to pursue and stop all six racers before they complete their race. Completing both Hot Pursuit challenges in the PC version on every track of the game unlocks additional police sports cars.
Two modes were introduced in the game. The two-player split-screen mode allows two players to race using the same computer, while the "knockout" mode consists of 7 races with 8 racers on randomly chosen tracks, and conditions by the game, according to the selected difficulty, the player have chosen before starting the race-series. (Beginner or Expert) Each race consists of two laps, where the driver, who finish racing on the last place will be eliminated from the knockout. All other drivers are advanced to the next round, and carry on with the battle, until there is only one player left, who technically wins the knockout competition. The game also supports network play through a serial port, modem or IPX,TCP protocols, and internet gaming through TCP/IP protocol.
Hot Pursuit's pursuit system significantly improved in terms of AI and police tactics over the first Need for Speed. The game now requires that the racer only stop near a pursuing police car to be ticketed or arrested by a police, as opposed to being overtaken by a police car, forcing the racer to pull over for the same punishments. Accordingly, police cars are now programmed with the ability to block a racer's car in an attempt to halt the racer's car. In addition, whereas the original Need for Speed would only have a single police car chasing a racer in each pursuit, Hot Pursuit allows more police cars to pursue a racer, opening up the opportunity for them to collectively stop the racer's car. The police are only playable in the PC version whereas the PSX version lacks playable police. However the police cars can only be playable in the PSX version through hacking with a GameShark and the player must select a car depending if its available in Hot Pursuit mode expect for the Ferarris which the police cars that replace them can only be acessed outside of Hot Pursuit mode and the CLK-GTR and El Nińo aren't replaced either. Once a car is selected when the race starts the player car is replaced with one of the police cars. Even when driving as a police car the cops can still arrest the player.
Tactical aspects of the police pursuits have also been improved. The police have the ability to deploy roadblocks (which simply consists of lining up police cars across the road) and spike strips (which puncture the tires of a racer's car than runs over the strip, and halts the car). Both tactics present weaknesses, specifically, gaps in the blockade that can be used by a racer to avoid collisions with police cars or tire punctures from a spike strip. The player may also listen to police radio chatter on the pursuits' statuses, revealing to them the current locations of racers, police cars, as well as roadblocks and spike strips. The radio chatter also reveal reactions to specific events, such as a racer's collision with a parked police car, as well as referencing the racer's passing speed and the occurrence of the race itself ("It looks like the cars are racing!").
Each track setting features unique police cars, including three sedan-based squad cars, a hatchback and two suvs. The Chevrolet Caprice Classic (for Hometown and Country Woods and sometimes also appears on the Redrock Ridge and Lost Caynons tracks in the PSX version only) Ford Crown Victoria (for Hometown, Country Woods, and Empire City in PC version and Atlantica and Aquatica and sometimes also appears on the Rocky Pass and Summit Tracks for the PSX version), Eagle Talon (for Lost Canyons and Redrock Ridge for the PC version and Empire City in the PSX version), Ford Falcon (for Altanica and Aquatic in the PC version only), Lamborghini LM002 (For Rocky Pass and Summit in the PSX version only) and Land Rover Discovery (for Rocky Pass and Summit in the PC version and Lost Canyons and Redrock Ridge in the PSX version). In addition to standard police cars, a handful of Chevrolet Corvette C5, Lamborghini Diablo, and EA El Nińo-based police cars (PC version only) are also included in each track, more equipped to engage in high-speed pursuits and capable of outperforming normal police cars.
As in The Need for Speed, all cars are divided into classes "A", "B" and "C", based on vehicle performance. The list of cars included in Need for Speed III consists of luxury sports cars, ranging from street-legal models to racing models. While Ferrari and Mercedes models are included in game, also exists a car designed by Electronic Arts called El Niño(bonus car), it is interesting to note they are not available in police pursuit modes although in the PSX version the CLK-GTR was available in hot pursuit mode. The game includes three police cars based on three of the game's existing sports cars.
A total of nine tracks (including one bonus track) are featured in Hot Pursuit, all of which are set in varied locations in the United States, are circuits and may be populated by traffic. As is before, all tracks present the players with varying degrees of difficulties, and may be set to be mirrored and/or reversed, with additional shortcuts and alternate routes present. Hot Pursuit introduces the ability to toggle weather and nighttime,Template:Ref with each combination of these conditions presenting the track in different atmospheres and challenges to the player (in particular, visibility in the dark and handling on slippery roads). Movable props introduced in Need for Speed II were foregone, leaving only planked props (i.e. road signs and fencing) that can be knocked down by racers.
A relatively new arrangement in Hot Pursuit is the use of one location for two tracks. This is made possible by including a route to be shared by the two tracks (including the starting and finishing line) that would connect to junctions leading in and out of each of the track's unique route, while the other route is closed. Each of the two tracks are presented in different times of the day (daytime or evening), or seasons (winter or otherwise). As such, eight of the game's nine tracks are only set in four locations. This feature would be reused later in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. These 9 tracks are also in the PC version of Need for Speed: High Stakes as bonus tracks in addition to High Stakes' own tracks. In the PSX version in addition to the 9 tracks there are 3 hidden tracks that do not appear in the PC version and are not available in hot pursuit mode. These tracks include a child's room with a Hot Wheels style stunt track, a underwater city, and a space colony on the Moon.
Of minor note is that two tracks featured earlier in The Need for Speed, the Autumn Valley Speedway and the Rusty Springs Raceway, are referenced on billboards from Hometown and Redrock Ridge (as well as Lost Canyons), respectively.
- Template:NoteNeed for Speed II is the first game in the series that allows the player to toggle nighttime in all daytime tracks. However, the feature is not documented, and essentially requires that the player of the PC version press the "N" key when a race is loading in order to race at night. Hot Pursuit allows the player to toggle nighttime in the game's menu.
The Need For Speed enthusiast community has created add-on cars and modified tracks for Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit, as well as other installments of the Need For Speed series.
It supports Direct3D Graphics cards and 3dfx glide Graphics Cards.
The 3dfx Graphics cards have some benefits which doesn't exist in Direct3D Graphics cards:
- Supports higher resolutions to be selected in game, up to 1600x1200.
- Supports fog effects in the game (especially when weather is on).
- Supports better horizon background and better sky (especially when weather is on).
- Supports light effects at front of car headlights (especially when weather is on).
- Supports More bright screen.
Glide wrappers are also available for non-Voodoo graphics cards to run the game with 3dfx hardware-acceleration such as zeckensack's Glide wrapper which emulate glide calls to Graphics cards which supports OpenGL.
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