Highway Pursuit puts players in control of a powerful sports car, in a world filled with enemy agents, seeking to take control of the road. Their mission is to destroy as many of these enemy agents as possible, without putting any civilian life at risk. Along the way, players will encounter varied terrain and weather conditions, a number of different enemy vehicles intent on their destruction, and also a few helpful pointers from their colleague, Ashley, back at HQ.
The player's car
The player's car is equipped with a front-mounted machine gun, which is their main weapon for use against enemy cars. It has unlimited ammunition, but they should be careful not to hit any civilian vehicles when firing. Their car is also capable of being upgraded with a number of add-on weapons (see below). Additional weapons that are fitted will be displayed as a glowing icon at the bottom left of their screen. In the bottom right of the screen is a speedometer that displays how fast the car is currently moving. Immediately above this is a health display (a red heart icon). As the car sustains damage, its health will slowly deplete. When it runs out, the car explodes and the player loses a life. Health recharges very slowly over time as they drive along. A small health boost is also given for docking with any weapons van, and a larger boost for docking with the yellow and black repair van. These are not very common, but not as rare as the life van.
Players should drive with care to avoid damaging their car. They should stay on the road at all times; straying onto the grass will cause severe damage to their (or any other) vehicle. This can be a useful way of dispatching enemy cars; however, ramming them off the edge of the road can cause extreme damage to their car if they are not careful.
Players should beware of several types of enemy vehicles that will try to destroy them:
- Crasher is the first type of car you will encounter. These cars are relatively harmless (only dangerous in mass numbers) and attack you by ramming you from the side or from behind. They will try to push you off the side of the road. They are a purple in colour.
- Blade is a much nastier enemy. These cars have retractable knives fitted to their wheels. If you are rammed from the side by a Blade vehicle when the knives are fully extended, your tires will burst causing you to spin off the road, out of control. Players should be very careful of these orange cars.
- The Jeep is bulletproof, and no amount of attack from players' machine guns will get this car out of their way. The only way to destroy these green cars is to push them off the side of the road, or to use oil or smoke in front of them so that they drive off the side of the road.
- The Chopper will hover above players and is able to follow them wherever they go. Chopper can make quite a nuisance of itself. It will drop bombs in front of players that create huge craters in the road, causing massive damage to any car that should drive over them. The Chopper can only be destroyed using surface-to-air missiles—available from a weapons van—although it will fly away on its own when it runs out of bombs to drop.
The Weapons vans are friendly vehicles. Different types of vans give players different types of assistance. Vans will either repair a player's vehicle or give them some type of weapon.
- Smoke van
- The Smoke van fits a smoke screen to a player's car. When deployed, the smoke screen forms a wide blanket of dense smoke across the road. The smoke does not cause any damage to vehicles that are caught in it, but causes them to drive blindly to the side to get out of the smoke. It can therefore be used to edge cars off the road.
- Oil van
- The Oil van fits an oil canister to the back of a player's car. When deployed, the oil pours out onto the road behind players, causing any cars that drive over it to skid uncontrollably until they crash. This can be very powerful, and also allows players to destroy the armored Jeep. Players should be careful not to let civilians get caught in the mess.
- Missile van
- The Missile van adds a small number of surface-to-air missiles to a player's car. These can be used to try and destroy the Helicopter. Players should try to fire their missile when the helicopter is almost directly above them, in order to minimise the chances of the missile missing its target.
- Repair van
- The Repair van repairs some of the damage players' cars have sustained while driving. All of the weapon vans provide a small boost, but the repair van does the best job of getting the player's car back into shape. These vans are yellow.
- Life van
- The Life vans are the rarest type of vans in the game. They are identical to the van that starts players off every time they die or start a new game.
Players are awarded points for the following:
- Distance driven
- Destroying an enemy Crasher car: 500 points
- Destroying an enemy Blade car: 1,000 points
- Destroying an enemy Jeep car: 1,500 points
- Destroying a Helicopter: 5,000 points
- Docking with a Weapons van: 500 points
When players destroy a civilian car, all scoring is suspended for five seconds. During this period, "...no score..." is displayed at the top of the screen instead of the player's game score. Players will be given an extra life at 100,000 and 200,000 points.
The game has a series of levels that can be reached as the game progresses. The levels are as follows:
After this the sequence repeats. The game continues infinitely, there is no "end" to the game except when the player runs out of lives.
The original game did not contain any cheat modes, although a number of players found ways to hack into the game and adjust its score and life counters. Strangely, a German web site, spieletipps.de, published a number of cheat codes for the game, none of which actually existed. After receiving numerous puzzled emails, the author decided to include the cheats into the second release of the game, adding several more at the same time.