for Speed 3"
By Steven Bilodeau
"Need for Speed 3"
from Electronic Arts $60Cdn for Windows 95/98
Few people would get tired
of taking an expensive new sports car for a high speed ride -- if they
had the chance. That opportunity comes shining through in Electronic Arts'
Need for Speed 3.
The 13 cars represent some
of the finest, and priciest, on the road including those from Ferrari,
Lamborghini and Aston Martin. Players can also look forward to new cars
to race every month via free download from the game's Web page. This is
a great idea and one which significantly adds to the value of the game.
There are 9 tracks including
cityscapes, desert canyon roads and small town locales. Though some of
them seem quite similar to each other, they are well designed in exquisite
detail. Signs fly when you hit them as do planks on bridges. Towns have
familiar sights including parade banners and detailed buildings. You'll
see leaves flying in the wind behind your car, and transparent smoke as
you spin away. It makes for a great atmosphere. The roads themselves are
fun to play since they don't rely on hairpin turns. You can get up to
speed and keep your car on the road without having to switch gears or
slam on the brakes at every other moment. For me, this makes the experience
a lot more enjoyable than some of the Indy car races which require constant
preferred the more familiar settings which were offered in NFS 2, like
Vancouver or the Australian outback. The landmarks were nice touches that
added reality to the game. In this new version, the familiarity is present
in that the scenes are fairly stereotypical; you've seen them before.
As an enhancement, almost all of the objects in the game are 3D models,
so it doesn't seem as though you're driving past a long painting. Instead,
there is depth to the game world -- something essential to keeping the
sense of speed.
And talk about speed! When
your Ferrari is opened up full, the road detail and scenery makes you
feel like you're travelling as fast as the speedometer says you are. This
is an important feature lacking in many racing games.
Need for Speed 3 is less of
a simulation than it is an arcade game. The focus is on fun rather than
on letting you experience every niggling detail of operating and maintaining
a high-performance vehicle. Sure, you can make various adjustments to
your car's tires, engine and transmission, and they will affect its performance,
but the game is certainly not designed with this as a necessary facet
the way that pure simulators require.
The "fun factor"
is most apparent in the game's "Hot Pursuit" mode. As you race
through the game, you may notice the telltale beep of a radar detector.
Yep, you've been nabbed. Police will attempt to stop you and, if you can
evade them until the end of the race, you win. It's not as easy as you
would think, though. You may have a Lamborghini, but they have road blocks
and spike belts. Get caught three times and you'll be in jail.
The game lets you play hot
pursuit against the computer or against other players. When it's you vs.
the machine, you can take the part of the police or the "bad guy."
When you're playing with someone else, the fun really picks up. You can
connect via modem, network, direct connect or on the Internet. Connections
with two players works quite smoothly; add more than one other player
and you may get some stuttering and jerky play.
With surround sound and optional
high-resolution 3D accelerated graphics, you'll really feel like part
of the race. You can actually see reflections on your car when you choose
the exterior view.
It's too bad that some additional
features weren't added. It would have been nice to see the damage to your
vehicle after you roll it or smash into the side of a tree. I'd also like
a bit more ability to adjust the sensitivity of the controllers.
Need for Speed 3 is a superb
evolution of the series. I'd highly recommend it to anyone; it's a guaranteed
thrill that will last for a long time.
is a columnist for the Edmonton Journal. You can find more of his columns
can be reached via e-mail at StevenB@msn.com.
And for more computer news, visit JournalExtra, the World Wide Web site
of The Edmonton Journal, at http://www.edmontonjournal.com.
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