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Dark Summit

Radical Entertainment



1 - 2


The blending of two great tastes takes the blending of two great reviewers. Find out what happens as we tackle the slopes.

"You got your action-adventure game mixed up with my snowboarding game!" "You got your snowboarding game mixed up with my action-adventure game!"

What do you get when you add the extreme snowboarding action of SSX and combine it with the mission oriented game play of an action adventure game? Well you get THQ's Dark Summit (developed by Radical Entertainment). With its unique mix of different play styles is it enough to stand out among the snowboarding crowd?

"The further up the mountain you go, the more sinister the environment becomes letting you know something is wrong."
Dark Summit joins SSX Tricky and Amped as the snowboarding trio on the Xbox (TransWorld Snowboarding isn't getting released until early next year). Yes, Dark Summit has elements of the Tony Hawk Pro Skating trick based gameplay and yes, it also has elements of a racing game. What sets it apart from other snowboarding titles is the mission based gameplay. Basically it's a platformer along the lines of a Sonic or Super Mario, but instead of walking on 2 feet to get to the end of the level you use a snowboard.

You play the game as Naya, who decided to snowboard where she wasn't wanted. The games villain Chief O'Leary is hiding something mysterious on the backside of the mountain. The story is told in CG cut scenes, as well as through some of the missions you undertake. It's pretty much standard stuff and while the story comes across as cliché it does its job well.

You start the game attempting to satisfy goals, these give you lift points which then allows traveling further up the mountain. One of the best parts of the game is that you can choose which order you want to attempt the goals in. These missions will award points, and more of the mountain opens up with certain amounts of mission points. The further up the mountain you go, the more sinister the environment becomes, letting you know something is wrong.

To unlock new snowboards and new outfits you want to attempt as many tricks as possible. Trick points are different from mission points, and are awarded cumulatively with each trick you perform. There is plenty of time not only in between mission, but during them as well to perform tricks Each track is large and it can take several minutes to go from the beginning to the end.

Dark Summit controls very smoothly, and if you're a Tony Hawk or SSX vet, you should be right at home - using the three buttons (in various combinations) to execute tricks. You will be able to grind, grab and handplant with the best of them after only a short time playing the game, although you have to make sure she lands upright. If not, faceplant city, and points as well as mission objectives won't get met. In order to unlock some of the more elaborate tricks in the game your going to need to explore the level very carefully. There are trick icons throughout the game that will need to be gathered in order for Naya to "learn" these new tricks.

Graphic wise Dark Summit holds its own compared to SSX and Amped, but we expected more on the Xbox. Everything is very pretty and some of environmental elements on the mountains are visually impressive to look at. The characters look great and the trick animations are excellent as well. Another impressive aspect in the game is the amount (and execution) of objects that litter the mountainside. For example if you crash into a barrel it will go flying down the mountain, and unless something stops it, it will roll on down to the base.

Dark Summit stays at a steady 30fps 90% of the time. But usually it's only at the beginning or when you perform some extensive aerial tricks the rate drops. It doesn't ruin the game but it is noticeable.

Multiplayer is definitely a weakness with Dark Summit, and hurts the replayability quite a bit. There are three multiplayer games: a race to the finish line, who can destroy more objects before time runs out, and who can score the highest trick point total before time runs out. Unfortunately, you can't pick where you start from. Since the locations really are varied in their paths, this would have been a great feature here. The lack of 4 player support is also an oversight that should not have taken place.

The soundtrack that Dark Summit uses is a mixture of retro and techno music that really doesn't stand out one way or the other. Being able to use a soundtrack from the hard drive would have been very beneficial here, as hearing the same type of tuneless ditty after a while got boring.

Mike Regan and Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
World Heavyweight Tag Team Review Champs.

Dark Summit: The Scores













The Final Word:  Overall, Dark Summit offers a enjoyable experience despite its shortcomings - especially in the multiplayer department. The single player game is still worth paying a visit to. The mission-based gameplay goes very well with the trick based gameplay. For those who are looking for something different than your typical Snowboarding game Dark Summit does the trick.

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Dark Summit Screenshots

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