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Ah, crap...it IS "let loose". But hey, I never claimed to be a Most Wanted aficionado...8)
Though I did enjoy the police chases better than I did in HP2. And Carbon was decent I suppose, or at least different in a way that didn't completety stink like Pro Street. I'm still waiting for NFS: Fiberglass, which should complete the story trilogy that MW started. You have to travel through cities, earning enough rep to win the right to race for the most wanted carbon fiberglass in the world.
In honor of the new HP coming out, I'm going back and playing some of the previous games one-by-one. Just beat the original Hot Pursuit which is still every bit as good as when it first came out. Now I'm working on "The Need for Speed". I haven't played in a million years, and while it is pretty outdated, it definitely captures the true essence of Need for Speed: exotic cars, exotic locations, and cop chases. The main game mode consists of 1-on-1 sprints through huge, epic locales where you have to weave your ride around a fairly large amount of traffic. Every so often you'll encounter a patrol car, and if he manages to catch up with you you're automatically ticketed. The game as a whole has a different feel to it compared to Hot Pursuit and the games that followed. The focus is more on dodging traffic and taking in the scenery than it is trying to outrun the fuzz, but that doesn't take away from the entertainment value at all. The game's best moments are when you're flying down a two-lane expressway, racing neck and neck with a Testerossa, cop on your a$$, and you're forced to drive into oncoming traffic. I'm anxious to see if the new HP will be able to recapture that level of excitement.
I've been playing a lot of the original HP as well (NFS3), the PS1 version of course, and it indeed is just as awesome as it ever was. It's amazing how the police are still quite challenging and the AI makes everything so intense even after I've known each track by heart for several years. And I've still only managed to complete a ticket-less, 8-lap hot pursuit race at Atlantica on expert mode only once, lol. And when I did, I had to slam my car into a roadblock after hitting the spike strip, purposefully flipping my car through the air and over the finish line. Quite dramatic.