Highway to the dangerzone. Review

F355 Challenge Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • Acclaim

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • DreamCast

rating

Highway to the dangerzone.

Racing games on the Dreamcast have come a dime a dozen lately. DC owners have

seen it all, ranging from the really good to the really bad. With so much to choose

from, race fans have been in heaven. One very popular sports car, however, has

eluded any appearances on our little magic box o’ fun. That is, until today. Ferrari

not only makes its Dreamcast debut with Acclaim’s latest racing title, it owns

the name on the box.

Unlike many other racing sims, F355 Challenge goes above and beyond

the call of duty to bring you the real deal feel of driving your own Ferrari.

There will be none of that top speed cornering or pick up and play action for

rookies here. All you’ll find is a serious, no-nonsense Ferrari simulator that

will blow you away.

The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful graphics work that Acclaim

put in this game. Each car is highly detailed, showing of the sleek stylishness

of the Ferrari line right down to the trademark emblem. The tracks also look

great and even the passing clouds in the sky look real. To top it all off, the

game blazes along at a perfect 60 FPS with no slowdown. And as good as the actual

race looks, you won’t get the full effect of the in-game graphics until you

witness the replay. Here, the graphics really shine and you’ll get to see everything

from an outside perspective.

Unfortunately, the limited replay (showing “highlights” rather than the entire

race) is the only time you’ll be able to have an outside perspective. In keeping

with its ultra-simulation qualities, F355 only has one in-game view.

You guessed it – first person. Most gamers tend to stick with the third person

view that accompanies the majority of race titles, mainly to get a better view

of what is going on around them. F355‘s first person cam narrows your

field of vision so much that it is quite difficult to get a lock on your surroundings.

It’s almost like being a racehorse with blinders on.

The narrow view is especially troubling when a car is trying to pass. The

minimal defenses in your arsenal include a rearview mirror and the small radar

that picks up cars in your immediate vicinity.

F355‘s high level of difficulty is addressed through a pair of tutorial

modes that take you by the hand and show you exactly what to do. This sort of

ruins the surprise of the track, but most drivers won’t get very far without

it. You start off with the “Training” mode, which lays out the driving line

and provides you with audible driving tips, such as when to speed up or slow

down. The next step up before the actual race is the “Driving” mode, which gives

you a chance to practice the track without any interference from any other cars.

These two modes are great training wheels to get you ready to race all by yourself.

Physics

have been a speed bump in the road to success for racing titles and F355

is no different. While the driving physics feel very realistic, it begins to

break down when you start crashing into things. Bumping into objects keeps your

car running much smoother than it should. Even smashing head on into a wall

is only a minimal disaster, resulting only in a free spin and some deceleration.

The sound for F355 is a mixed bag. On one hand you’ve got some pretty

decent engine sound effects and tire squeals. On the other hand, you’ve got

some of the cheesiest mood music ever to grace a racing simulation. Think Top

Gun with a side of Judas Priest. It just doesn’t get any cheesier than this.

F355‘s two-person multi-player mode gets a bit messy because of the

strictly the first-person camera. The rearview mirror is lost and all you have

to help negotiate your big blind spots is the little radar. On top of that,

your forward view is narrower than before in order to accommodate the split

screen.

Like some of the Dreamcast’s newer racing titles, F355 allows you to

go online and download other player’s ghost cars to race against. It’s no online

play, but this is a nice little touch for those of you that are connected.

While the single car concept isn’t as bad as you might think, not having too

many options is a definite letdown. Cars can’t be tuned much and there are no

new performance parts to be gained.

Another little fly in F355‘s soup is the limited amount of tracks.

While you’ll spend most of your time conquering the game’s six initial courses,

it just seems as though there needs to be more places to go.

F355 turns out to be a really good Ferrari simulator, but just an average

game. All of the control nuances are there, though the move from arcades to

the console is not an easy one. Some extra options for the cars, a few more

tracks and a third-person view would improve this game by leaps and bounds.

If Ferrari is your passion, this game is not one to miss, but other drivers

with a taste for customization may want to look elsewhere before picking up

the keys to the F355.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Solid graphics
Excellent driving simulation
Tutorial modes
Few options
Bad crash physics
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