Sega’s Ferrari F355 Challenge

Unlike most racing titles Sega has put out in the past, F355 Challenge is more akin to a simulator which makes it hard to jump into and enjoy.  I first came across F355 Challenge in Sega’s massive Joypolis arcade in Tokyo Japan.  I travelled to attend the 2000 Tokyo Auto Salon and spent time in the arcade after show-hours.

I love that Sega put out a simulator, but it’s really tough for even seasoned racing game fans.  It is perhaps TOO realistic!  Enter a turn too fast and you’ll go straight into understeer.  Apply too much throttle mid-corner and you spin-out.  What makes things even more difficult is that the game isn’t particularly fast so it can be hard to judge your braking points until you’ve played a few times.  Thankfully, there is a training level which helps to a degree, but it takes time to master.  What I remember loving about the arcade version was the working clutch pedal!  How cool!!  F355 Challenge is aptly named as it’s a particularly challenging to play, however, what keeps me coming back to is the thought that if I can master this game, perhaps I could be competitive on the track (silly perhaps, but it’s true).  The game makes you WANT to improve as you’ll really fight it out with the AI drivers for position.

This PS2 version (which is actually ported from the Dreamcast release) makes playing much more enjoyable!  The ability to actually tune the car’s setup really makes it much more enjoyable and accessible as you aren’t locked into having to adapt completely to the default tune.

You can find this game on ebay all day long for around $15.00

Some of the sky rending is actually pretty nice!

Unlike the arcade version, you can tweak the car’s setup which is a HUGE bonus.

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