Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit is the third title in the Need for Speed series. In Japan, it is called Over Drivin' III: Hot Pursuit, and in France, Need for Speed III: Poursuite Infernale.

The game was released for PC and PlayStation in March 25th, 1998, with each consisting of slightly different content. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 was released in 2002 as a sequel with another released in 2010 by Criterion Games as Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010).


Race Modes

There are three race modes players can select, although Knockout and Tournament mode are only playable as race series that take place in every race course of the title. Additionally, they can only have their difficulty altered. Players earn higher rewards for completing and winning events on higher difficulties on these modes.

  • Knockout - The last positioned racer is eliminated after each event. The last knockout race consists of a duel between the two finalists.
  • Single Race - Each race track is fully customisable allowing players to change daylight settings, traffic amount, the numbers of opponents (1 to 7), difficulty (beginner or expert), weather and have the option to drive in a mirrored version of the circuit.
  • Tournament - Similar to Knockout, although players will not be eliminated after each race. Each participant earns points based on their finishing position at the end of the race. The racer with the most points by the end of the last race wins the tournament.

Hot Pursuit Mode

A competition between two racers featuring police force, which uses tactics such as ramming the racers, Roadblocks and Spike Strips. Similar to Knockout and Tournament mode, players will receive rewards upon completing a Hot Pursuit race on every race course as a racer and cop.

Any racer including AI drivers will receive a warning if they are caught by the police. Earning too many warnings will cause the racer to be arrested and allow their opponent to win the event.

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit is the first game in the series to let players drive police cars and chase racers, although this feature is exclusive to the PC release. Players taking on the role of a cop have the primary task of busting every racer within a race. AI drivers are only allowed to earn a single warning by the police before being busted.


The car list of Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit includes a selection of American, Australian, and European sports cars.

Almost every car in the title has a Showcase option in which players can view real-life information, pictures, and a 360° interior view of the real life vehicle.

It is also possible to fine-tune a vehicle's performance as well as compare every car via in-game performance regardless of class.


The game features nine race courses with various difficulty ratings. There are also five hidden tracks exclusive to the PlayStation release. These particular tracks are not available in Hot Pursuit mode either.



Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit primarily features car-unlocking cheats, although there are also several gameplay-altering variants.

Title Differences

The PlayStation release of Hot Pursuit has a lot of differences in both gameplay and graphics in comparison with the PC release.


  • Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz vehicles are not available in Hot Pursuit mode. However, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR is available in Hot Pursuit mode for the PlayStation release.
  • The race courses Rusty Springs and Autumn Valley Speedway, both from The Need for Speed, are mentioned in signs on the track Redrock Ridge/Lost Canyons and Hometown, respectively.
  • All original nine race courses of the title reappear in the PC release of Need for Speed: High Stakes.
Development - Some content may have altered during development.
  • Near the end of the third scene that plays after waiting at the main menu, a version of El Niño featuring unused taillights textures is shown jumping a ramp at Empire City.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.