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F355 Challenge

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Released: 2000

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega AM2

F355_1

It’s rare for me to become fonder of an arcade game upon picking up a home conversion, but that’s exactly what happened when I snapped up a copy of F355 Challenge for the Dreamcast.

It might seem crazy that anyone would choose a dinky white box and a standard controller over the full steering wheel and elaborate panoramic display of the arcade cabinet, but F355 never felt quite like an arcade racer. In fact, it was a complete shock to the system – lured in by Yu Suzuki, beautiful visuals and the world’s most famous sports cars, I expected a modern day OutRun and got a hardcore simulator. After a thoroughly humiliating initial encounter in my local coin-op emporium, I scurried
straight back to Crazy Taxi.

Fast-forward a little, and the Dreamcast version of the game that had sent me packing was cheap enough to be an impulse purchase. Although the lack of the arcade’s background noise meant that I was subjected to the game’s dreadful music, I was pleased to find that the incredible graphics had come over flawlessly and the home version even had a good selection of additional tracks. But the biggest thing was that the prospect of actually getting good at F355 Challenge wasn’t quite so daunting. Simply getting near first place took days of solid play and was incredibly rewarding, as I’m sure it would have been in the arcade. The crucial difference was that I didn’t mind losing so much when I wasn’t paying £1 per credit to do it…

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