The Ferrari F355 Challenge Page

Genre: Racing.

Arcade Hardware: 4 Naomi boards. (For the 3 screen version.) (VMS compatible also for uploading / downloading scores & the like.)

Compatible Peripherals: Race Controller, VGA monitor, VMS

Yu Suzuki’s Ferrari F355 Challenge tears on to the Dreamcast making a top conversion from the triple Naomi Board powered arcade original. As far as racing simulators go, realism always seems to be the top choice, rather than actually having playability or funness. (Funness?) In this instance, however, this is not the case at all. Ferrari F355 Challenge offers players top gameplay, despite that it is quite hard.
As the name suggests, it’s all about Ferrari F355 cars, and naturally this is the only car available to play. Thankfully, there are a decent amount of options to tweak, in order to get your car performing up to your exact liking.
Before racing, it’s a worthwhile idea to familiarize yourself with each of the game’s tracks. The 1st time that you play, the only tracks available to race on are those of the original arcade version. But as you progress, you’ll begin to unlock a whole bunch more. Courses include Motegi, Suzuka Short (East), Monza, Sugo, Suzuka, Long Beach, Nürburgring, Atlanta, Laguna-Seca, Sepang & Ferrari’s own test track, Fiorano.
When you’ve chosen where you want to drive, you are then presented with a Level Selection screen. Novice will give you automatic transmission or manual, as well as the option to use all of the assist functions. Intermediate loses the IBS function (Intelligent Brake System) and hands you over to manual transmission. In Versus mode, there is also a Professional level, which simply loses the handicap, but only when the handicap in the options is set to “HEAT.”
The Assist Functions come in the form of Stability Control (SC), Traction Control (TC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) & Intelligent Brake System (IBS). Turning SC on gives you more stability while taking a corner, TC improves traction & control, ABS stops your wheels from locking while you’re braking, and finally IBS automatically brakes at a turn.
The 3 different playing modes are Training, Driving & Race. In the Training mode you are given audio instructions, and a big red line around the course to help you out on the best line to take. The Driving mode lets you drive on your own and with the option enabled, you can drive with a ghost car.
Ferrari F355 Challenge also features a Championship mode which has you driving across numerous tracks with a points based system. There’s also a network race and the standard 2 player mode.
Unfortunately there is no exterior car view in which you can see you gorgeous vehicle as it drives along, instead, just an inside view. Never the less, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of, and if you happen to drive a car in real life, you’d see it pretty much like this, anyway. Luckily there is a rear view mirror also to help you see cars behind you.
Once you’ve finished racing, you should be able to get your name into the rankings, and view a compressed form of replay. (Why not the whole thing, I wonder?) From there, make sure you save it, because it doesn’t appear to have an auto-save option. Unless I over looked that somewhere.
All in all, a nifty racing game that just goes to show that some simulators can actually be fun to play.
Plus in case you were day dreaming, and didn’t notice at the top of the page, the arcade game has (/ should have) a VMS socket to allow you to transfer scores / driving data between the arcade version and the Dreamcast one. A rather handy feature, so long as you want to be carrying a VMS to the arcades.

Graphics: The car detail is astonishing. Gorgeous reflection effects, transparent windows, and fantastic geometry. Tracks are also worthy of high regard, with most realistic scenery, and high levels of detail also. The amazing skies will have you drooling also. Still retains all its stunningness in a 2 player game also. 95%
It doesn’t come much smoother than this. With no signs of slowdown, Ferrari F355 Challenge purrs along at 60 frames a second the whole way, no matter how many cars are on screen, or how much background detail emerges. Plus the 2 player game is equally as good. 98%
Beautiful engine noises, and skids, plus clear radio announcer speech. The music’s okay. 91%
Initially quite hard, but once you master these fast, furious beasts and figure out the optimal lines of the track, you’ll be scoring top racing positions all over the place. Plus to give you an idea of how realistic this really is, a professional driver used this game to improve his times at the real Long Beach track. 69%
Once you begin to get the hang of the game, you’ll be cracking this off your game shelf quite often. For those just starting out, and find it near impossible to score a good position, it can be off puting. 80%
A highly accurate, yet very playable racing game. This feels to me like a pinnacle of Sega gaming artwork that snobs off other racing games. That said though, if you’re after something a bit more easy and not as “strict,” you may not want to get this. Still, it really is worth a look, as far as I’m concerned, and you’re guaranteed that AM 2 quality. 81%