March 13, 2010
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit Retrospective
By Dakota Grabowski
When the series could do no wrong
Before the import scene became the all the hype
in 2001 due to Vin Diesel’s The Fast & the Furious, Electronic Arts and their
Canada development studio was all the rage with their Need for Speed III: Hot
Pursuit for the PC and PlayStation 1.
What were its cultural impact and/or
Establishing itself apart from the rest of the
racing genre as the “cool” and title that was “in”, Need for Speed III: Hot
Pursuit debuted in 1998 and is still talked about in a positive light. It was
all about exotic cars and police chases, so it always made sure to pump the
adrenaline of the gaming populace throughout their play sessions.
The cat and mouse chases are, to this day, trying to be replicated by Electronic
Arts, even if they have been concentrating on fine-tuning cars and illegal
street racing. The computer AI was fantastic and made a compelling reason to
play through the title over and over again. Even the enhanced port for the PC
helped further the impact of Hot Pursuit on gaming as many imitators have tried
to ride the same wave and have failed.
What areas of gaming did it advance?
With beautiful graphics, an outstanding sense of
speed, a fantastic amount of polish and, most importantly, a giant-size amount
of entertainment value, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit was a blessing to the
racing genre. It allowed players to tweak their cars and see
the immediate differences when they were behind the wheel. There’s nothing like
having the wind at your back while evading a nasty cop that’s out to put you
In the end though, Hot Pursuit pushed the
graphical aspects for the racing genre and brought the general idea that racing
games can be fun and addicting for an audience that doesn’t have hours upon
hours to dedicate to building their dream car, even though the replay value of
Hot Pursuit was sky high.
Does it stand the test of time?
In comparison to the rest of the Need for Speed
series, Hot Pursuit stands the test of time with ease. Even though the series is
always selling a million copies across several platforms, it has never topped
the general excitement that Hot Pursuit brought forth. Outside of the latest
iteration, Need for Speed: Shift, and the 2005’s Most Wanted, Need for Speed has
been all over the board with its installments in terms of value and quality.
If we were to compare it to the rest of the
genre, Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo (pick your poison), Burnout, Colin McRae
Rally (DIRT) and TOCA Touring Car (GRID) series have set themselves apart as the
leading titles in their respective subgenres with titles that have gone above
and beyond the norm.
The other piece of the puzzle, as well as
rules/legal, can be found on