"I feel the need ... the need for speed!"
[Maverick "Top Gun (1986)"]
The game is divided between the player being the racer or the cop. So, you get experience as a cop if you play like one and at certain amounts new cars or gadgets (about them later) are rewarded.
The races are sprints from point A to point B over a predefined map. This part of the game has Burnout written all over it. To beat a race you have to finish on the podium ... and survive of course. For example I have yet to finish the last racer event because the opponents knock me out usually before the finish. I should mention that the race is 70 miles long.
Now about the powerups ... as a racer you get spike-strips to ruin the car behind you, a jammer to cancel stuff that others throw at you, an EMP to temporarily disable a car in front of you (you have to lock on to it and drive behind it) and a turbo system (besides the already must-have-in-a-need-for-speed-game NOS) which gives you a instant boost of speed. The sound and visual effects accompanying the turbo are awesome, it kinda simulates an sonic boom. Also, worth mentioning is that I managed to lock the EMP on a police helicopter but never got to actually shoot it, so if anyone managed that ... please leave a comment and tell me if you can actually disable the helicopter with the EMP.
On the other hand the cop can also use the EMP and Spike-strip, but it has two other gimmicks like the Road Block which is usefull when you are in pursuit of more than one racer, but you have to pay attention not to crash into it yourself (on a more punishing note, at a higher level, the roadblock is made out of big chunky Porsche Cayennes). The other supertool the police can use is calling in air support consisting of a helicopter that throws spike strips in front of the opponent.
Of course all of these powerups (both cop and racer) have to be used wisely because in seconds they can turn against you. And, all of them level up the more you use them, so spike strips become wider, or released faster, helicopters can go after the targets when they enter a tunnel and so on.
On the visual side ... the game looks awesome. It uses high-ress textures, and the cars and enviroment are modeled beautifully. The only thing I experienced on a older PC was the lights were turning on/off at night without me doing anything. So it looks awesome, but it also sounds great, although on a more personal note, the soundtrack could use more than one Pendulum track :D.
the bad: at first glance it's Burnout with real cars
the good: at a second glance it's Need For Speed (the way we liked it) with a Burnout map