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F1 Challenge (Saturn) artwork

F1 Challenge (Saturn) review

"For those who enjoyed Daytona USA and Championship Circuit Edition, and are looking for something similar, F1 Challenge should provide... a nice alternative. "

For those who enjoyed Daytona USA and Championship Circuit Edition, and are looking for something similar, F1 Challenge should provide... a nice alternative.

I said that in a bad kind of way, didn't I?

Well, it really isn't a bad title, and proves to be a bit more in-depth than most of the arcade racers on the Saturn. First of all, after picking one of the six tracks and a car, you'll get sent to a garage, where you can do modifications, one of which is determining how much gas you should have. After making a James Bond joke about how I like to live dangerously, and not taking the time to think about the implications of how much I should have, I kept the tank full, and started the race... I finished in 2nd place. And it was thanks to my full tank of gas slowing me down. It surprised me, because I can't recall once playing an arcade racing game where the amount of fuel I had actually affected my chances of winning.

Another aspect that took me off guard was the need to make pit stops. During every race, your tires eventually start wearing out, and your car will start drifting during turns. Yeah, that actually sounds cool, but you lose a lot more speed than you normally do. Of course, you can't just pit whenever you feel like it and still come out on top; you got to put some thought into it. Should you pit now, or struggle with your car for one more lap?

You just don't usually see this stuff in an arcade-style game. I gotta give the developers credit for trying different methods in order to make F1 Challenge challenging, but I wish they would have went the extra mile to make it a much better title. The aspects I've mentioned give this game an edge over the other arcade racers... at first. How much fuel you should have becomes a guessing game at the beginning, but you quickly figure out what you need just by taking a glance at the size of a course. As for pit stops, that's easy to figure out, as well. Every race is eight laps long, and, if you're not terrible at this game, you could pit at the end of the fourth lap every time and complete the rest of the race without much of a problem. If you wanted, you could complete F1 Challenge in about an hour and a half.

So what, right? It's an arcade racer similar to Daytona USA, and you could complete that game much quicker. That is, if you play it on the default settings. Tinker around with the game's options, and you could actually play a lengthy race with strict AI opponents. You can't do anything like readjust the laps in F1 Challenge. However, you can switch the difficulty setting, though, the changes are barely noticeable. The thing that this game needed the most was a championship mode, similar to one from Super Monaco GP for the Sega Genesis: go through seasons racing against rivals in an attempt to be the champion, and then defend it. Granted, there's only six tracks to work with, but it still would have been something. This could have easily been the Saturn's version of Super Monaco GP, but they blew their chance.

I still recommend you try F1 Challenge, if you can find it cheap, since it's a nice, early Saturn title. Just don't go in expecting it to be as good as something like Daytona USA. Come on, that game has blue, blue skies, that make you want to fly away, sky high! Let's go away, together!

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (April 06, 2009)

Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?

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