Those Cops Don’t Stand A Chance!
“Watch out for that cactus!,” my friend yelled at me from the passenger seat as we sped through the desert at 180 mph.
We were out for a Sunday drive in my new Ferrari 550 Maranello, and I was pushing her to the limit. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing,” I replied in my best Sledgehammer impression as I maneuvered the car through a tunnel. Just then, I heard sirens behind me and realized I was attracting attention.
I looked back and saw three or four cop cars. Over his megaphone, one of the cops shouted “Pull your vehicle over! You don’t have a chance!”
My friend began to panic, but I stayed cool. After all, this is just a video game, and it would have been boring just to pull over. So I put the pedal to the metal (or simply depressed the x button, depending on your interpretation) and began the chase.
We skid around turns, rear ended and rammed cop cars off the road, and took hidden shortcuts and side routes to avoid the pigs. But just when I thought I had lost them, they called for reinforcements. All of a sudden, I had cops heading at me straight on, forming road blocks, and even setting up tire spikes across the road in a mass effort to apprehend me. I felt my tires pop as I hit the spikes and as my car slowed to a stop the cops surrounded me and told me to keep my hands on the wheel.
“What seems to be the problem, officer?,” I asked as he approached the car.
“Well, for starters,” he replied, “you were going about 130 miles over the speed limit. You were also driving recklessly and resisting arrest. Under normal circumstances, I would give you a breathalyzer test and haul you off to jail. But I think I’ll just fine you instead, because I am a video game cop who has no regard for logic or the law. Remember, though, that if I catch you four more times before you finish your race, your game is over.”
“Whatever you say, Wiggum,” I mumbled under my breath.
“What was that!?” the cop snapped.
I recovered quickly. “Oh, I uhhh…was just wondering if there are any other race tracks around here that I can drive on,” I stammered.
“Sure there are son! In fact there are 8 known tracks in this area, although you can only gain access to four of them unless you win tournaments. Each track can be run forwards or backwards, can be turned into a mirror image, and have roadblocks and barriers in different places depending how advanced a tournament you’re in. They are all also subject to extreme weather conditions. Also, rumor has it that there are a number of hidden tracks, but I wouldn’t know anything about those.”
“Tournaments?” I asked. “How are people supposed to race with you guys always trying to knock us off the road?”
“With the exception of the practice modes, tournaments are the only time we police officers stay off the roads. In a normal tournament, you go head to head with seven other drivers over a four course circuit, gaining points for your position in each race. Races are four laps, which takes endurance since each lap runs from 2.5 to 4 minutes. In a knockout tournament, eight cars enter the first race, but only the top seven advance. The last place finisher is eliminated on each track, until there are only two cars left. They then race for the championship. Knockout races only go 2 laps.”
“By winning tournaments, you not only gain access to new tracks, but to new cars as well. You can race with eight different cars – the corvette, Lamborghini Countach, Tuldesign Nazca C2, Ferrari 550 Maranello, Ferrari 355F1, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Jaguar XJR-15, and the Mercedes Benz CLK-GTR. But you can only use the weaker cars until you prove your worth on the race track.”
“Well, I guess you can be on your way now. But try not to let us catch you again.”
Wow! What a great game I’ve landed in. The graphics are great, the controls are easy to master, and the tracks have tons of hidden roads, decoys, and surprises to keep you on your toes. Going head to head against your friends is still quite fun despite the split screen feature. Running from the cops, who in fact prove to be very skilled at catching you if you’re not willing to push the limits, is perhaps the best part of any racing game I’ve seen yet. Best if all, its just fun to play! Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit is certainly among the best racing games to hit the market yet.