Ferrari F355 Challenge Passione Rossa
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Daytona USA was a great game, but it's been a long and winding road since the release of that classic. No Sega racer has quite captured the imagination like Daytona did, which brings us neatly to Yu Suzuki/AM2's F355 Challenge. Originally released as an arcade game (featuring three monitors replicating your driver and passenger side windows), the game plays much more like a simulator than anything else. The learning curve is so steep that finishing in the top three is a mighty feat indeed. Although the ingame tutorial shows you the perfect lines to drive, and when to apply the brakes, etc., the game is still punishingly difficult. Having actually raced on Laguna Seca, I can say that AM2's attention to detail is on point. That track alone is a pinpoint replica of the real deal. Subtle nuances in track detail, like inclines and chicanes are exact, as are roadside markers and geographic landmarks. From the looks of things, the other tracks (of which there are quite a few) are all as carefully constructed. The car models are also quite stunning, and the in-cockpit view is great (it's also the only view available). By the way, the game controls much, much better if you have the Sega/Agetec steering wheel. May I also mention that Sega's obsession with horrible '80s guitar-rock has got to stop? The miserable sub-Winger soundtrack is best turned down. Technically excellent, but not hardcore, lust hard.
Complete mastery of the analog controller and trigger buttons is the only way you'll have a prayer in this game. For those of us who don't mind the challenge that's fine, but for the casual racing gamer F355 presents an almost unattainable goal. Prepare to finish mid-pack a lot before reaching the podium. Even though this is hands-down the best-looking racer on the Dreamcast to date, the sensation of speed just Isn't there at all. The game always looks like you're in second gear or something. Normally a racing game developed by Mr. Suzuki is a no-brainer, but I definitely suggest renting this one before you consider paying full price.
Never before has there been a more appropriately titled game--you drive an F355, and man, is it a challenge. Across a healthy assortment of tracks, the game offers assistance to the point of driving the car for you to make things easier, and a helpful ramp-up training program softens the shock of realistic racing. But taking full control of the Ferrari yourself just can't happen without a ton of practice. While necessary for real racecar drivers, extensive training is not something that a lot of gamers are going to enjoy or even bother with, so unless you're willing to endure major frustration to master this racer in the end, take this one for a test drive before buying.