Dark Summit
Game Info
PS2, GC, Xbox
Radical Entertainment
Extreme Sports
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Comic Mischief, Mild Language
The Good

• Interting Concept
• Long, branching courses
• Variety of things to do

The Bad

• Story is shallow
• Some Challenges are harder than intended


Dark Summit is one of those titles in which the concept seems to be coming out of left field. Imagine a mission-based (sort of) snowboarding game with a storyline. You start the game as Naya, a snowboarder and apparent secret operative who stumbles across a a growing list of oddities and secret atop Mt. Garrick. She must avoid the guards, pools of chemical waste, huge landmines and other skiers on her way to complete challenges given by another operative that gives her instructions by way of cell phone.

There is a large variety of things that can be done while working your way down the track. The biggest part of the game is the Challenges, most of which can be started from "challenge points", which can be seen by their colored cone of light in the skyline. The variety of Challenges range from knocking down or escaping ski guards to performing a number of stunts within a certain area. Most of the Challenges can be done within a few tries, while others take some time to complete correctly. Fortunately, a player doesn't need to complete all of the Challenges to open the next track. They need only get enough Challenge Points to do so. Along with the Challenges, the player can perform tricks or locate money icons to increase their Equipment points, which gives them access to new boards and outfits. While there isn't a huge list of tricks to pull off, there is enough variety to keep the game from getting boring quick. The control scheme is simple and easy to pick up, especially since a number of the early Challenges feel like gameplay tutorials.

Strong on the arcade-like visuals, Dark Summit isn't on the Top-Shelf of graphical powerhouse, but manages to be good enough not to detract from enjoying the game. There are some rough edges on the courses and the lighting effects add to a surreal effect to the apocalyptic landscape. The tracks themselves are designed effectively, allowing for multiple paths and a few hidden areas in each of the four long tracks. One of the nicer features is on the later tracks, you can actaully take paths to get back to the lower tracks, lengthening the time spent on the slopes.

The real problem with the voice acting is that, for the most part, it's poorly written. The voice acting on it's own does well. If the developers had worked a little harder on the script, Naya and the other snowboarders and skiers might have had enough personality to really flesh out Dark Summit. Musically, Dark Summit is strong in retro-techno and techno rock. For the most part it accentuates the gameplay nicely, but there are times where it feels like the music has taken a break, leaving the player alone with the decent sound effects as their only aid.

The Bad:
While the story seems to get a little more fleshed out later in the game, Dark Summit's tale feels just a little shallow. In all, it feels more like an excuse to pull off the concept. While there are multiple paths on each track, if the gamer wants to go somewhere that's plainly not available, like up the slope side, the character slows to a crawl and starts hopping around, killing any momentum. There are a small number of places where the lack of control (other than down the slope) will leave the player stuck behind an obstacle. Some of the Challenges seem to be more challenging only because of their placement or lack of direction.

While not overly long, there is a lot of replay for those who enjoy running down the tracks and looking for hidden items or finishing the numerous Challenges. Dark Summit is as long as you want it to be. Dark Summit is a fairly fun game that is easily worth a rental for those interested in a snowboarding game of a different breed. While the limits and flaws keep this from being a must-buy, they don't seem to detract too much from the overall fun of the game.

- - Vane

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