Stir up trouble, then escape it: that’s the heart of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It’s not enough merely to lose the cops as soon as possible – you have to get them to escalate the pursuit, calling in backup, then the feds, then big 4x4s that veer across the carriageway and try to smash you off the road.

If all goes well, it’ll soon feel as if the whole force is after you. The longer it goes on, the more wanted you become, and the more bounty you accumulate. Colliding with civilian cars, smashing into bus stops and generally causing damage will all add to your total. Hitting pursuit breakers, those bits of marked scenery designed to obstruct or destroy chasing cars, serve a dual purpose of earning bounty and relieving some pressure.

Eventually, though, when proscribed bounty targets have been reached, and/or it feels as if it’s the right time, you need to end the chase. Which is easier said than done. As you desperately veer across the greens of Rockport’s golf course, the rotor blades of the police helicopter kicking up dust all around you, you start to feel like Burt Reynolds at the end of Smokey and the Bandit when Sally Field observes the chasing hordes and asks, “Did you count on this? I mean… all of this?” (Burt: “No I didn’t, honey.”)

Need for Speed tends to be a quit-and-try-again type series, with even supposedly high-stakes one-off battles able to be repeated without consequence. Here, though, it’s not a viable option: moreover, there’s been an investment in the chase, where minutes have seemed like hours, the hands gripping the joypad are now aching, and beads of sweat are starting to form on your brow. The sense of panic is palpable.

Put enough distance between you and the cops, though, and you’ll eventually see the welcome sight of the Cooldown meter. Stay undetected for the next little while and the chase is over, leaving you free to slink off to your safe house for a new paint job and a cup of tea, ready to do it all again in due course.