|PS2, GC, Xbox
|Comic Mischief, Mild Language
| The Good
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.
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.