Single Race: Race on any track in any car. This was your overall basic race around the track.
Practice: Self explanatory. This mode was offered in order for players to get a feel for the specifics of the track including each turn before trying in an actual race.
Knock-out: A series of 7 races in which everyone except the car that ends up in last place continues to the next race. Last car left is the winner. In multiplayer, knocked out players come back in later races as a slow delivery truck (Multiplayer only available in PC version, not PS1 version)
Tournament: A series of races in which racers accumulate points. At the end of the tournament the car with the most points win.
Hot Pursuit: A mode in which cops are present while the player is race against an opponent. The PC version also lets the the player take controls over a cop car. This was the brand new feature for the series and ultimately the main draw of Need for Speed III.
If the player chooses to race in Hot pursuit mode he/she will not just try to outrace an opponent, but also trying to escape pursuing cops. When the cops manages to slow down the player to under a certain speed, he/she will get a ticket. The player will lose the race if he/she receives more tickets than the number of laps in the race. The cops will not only try to stop the racers by overtaking them, but also use roadblocks and spike strips.
Players can also be issued "warnings" if they pull over right away the first time the police are chasing them. This will only work once. Every other time, they will be fined until they are ultimately arrested.
The player does get to listen in on police radio chatter, which reveals current locations of racers, police cars, as well as roadblocks and spike strips. It also reveal reactions to specific events, such as a racer's collision with a parked police car, as well as referencing the racer's passing speed.
If the player chooses to be the cop. He/she must ticket all six racers before they complete their race (only available in the PC Version, not the PS1 version).
The game has a total of nine tracks (including one bonus track), all of which are set in varied locations around in United States.
- Redrock Ridge
- Rocky Pass
- Country Woods
- Lost Canyons
- The Summit
- Empire City (bonus track)
- Ferrari 550 Maranello
- Ferrari 355 F1 Spider (not available in Hot Pursuit Mode)
- Italdesign Scighera
- Lamborghini Diablo SV
- Lamborghini Countach
- Jaguar XJR-15
- Jaguar XK8
- Aston Martin DB7
- '98 Corvette C5
- Mercedes SL600
- Mercedes CLK GTR.
- Lister Storm (Available from the Need for Speed website)
- El Nino (unlockable car with cheat code "SPOILT on Playstation"
Police Pursuit Vehicles
- Chevrolet Caprice Classic
- Ford Crown Victoria
- Eagle Talon
- Ford Falcon (PC only)
- Lamborghini LM002 (PSX only)
- Land Rover Discovery
Music was done by Rom Di Prisco, Saki Kaskas, and Matt Regan.