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     " Can I just ask- What is this crap?!? "

      Title: Dark Summit by THQ

      Format: XBox Sports Game

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: One of the XBox launch titles, we're promised the first snowboarding action-adventure. Over 45missions, tons of crazy tricks, and a slew of excitement is what they want us to find here. Now brush up on your lingo, like some bad ad executive, and jib you're way through this review

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: There's nothing wrong with the graphics of this game. Considering the vast quantities of bitching I'm going to do for most of the rest of this review, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what it looks like when I'm not bitching. The characters all hold together well, and look fine doing their various snowboarding activities. The environments (despite how ludicrous the contents are) all look good. End "Mr. Nice Guy". 4 out of 5

      Sound: The music in this game is overly quiet and overly ominous. They're trying to build a mood with it that every other object in the entire game belies. What this leads to is a game practically without music. There are a few tracks that spring up here and there, mostly "genero-extreme" crap that I could really do without. The voice work is mediocre to crappy depending on whom you're listening to. The main character comes in just over mediocre, so you won't need earplugs to listen to her. The sound effects are generally decent, although sometimes they seem out of synch with the action on screen. 2 out of 5

      Playability: Essentially gameplay goes like this- Slide down mountain, do tricks down mountain, do tricks for mission, get points, use points, repeat until bored silly. All the proper snowboarding controls are there; they've even been simplified from systems like those found in games like SSX. Remembering how to do all of the special tricks is a pain, and not particularly worth it, as doing simpler tricks can often times net you just as many points as doing really complicated ones that are almost certain to make you crash. The physics seem a little dull to me. I mean I am pretty sure that humans don't bounce around like that after a crash. I saw more bouncing around than a superball in a rubber factory. I can't say how many times I went for a simple ollie (a hop) onto a rail, only to mysteriously overshoot it with my superhuman strength. That or not be capable of hopping up a foot and a half, and miss it anyway. I think they tried to make speed a factor, but there are way too many bugs in the physics engine. I'm fairly sure one can't get 80 feet of air off of a half pipe. Doing missions can be a real pain in the ass, thanks to poor physics and control.
          The load times aren't particularly long, unless you're loading a mission you've been trying to complete for the last hour. Then they get a bit tedious. Once you actually get the hang of doing tricks, they can be kind of fun. When coupled with everything around them however, they fall short, rather quickly. 2.5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: There are only three types of multiplayer games for two players to share. In two of those types, the person who does tricks will lose to the person who just holds the duck/accelerate button. This is wrong in oh so many ways. The multiplayer games are completely uninspired, and won't serve to entertain anybody who didn't enjoy the single player. Which once you've beaten, you'll likely not want to touch this title ever again. They try to boost replayability by giving you access to new character types. Unfortunately, the new types get no new costumes and just go through the exact same story sequences as the first character you play, making it worthless to replay them. Each of the characters even plays the same. 1 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: There's a reason why most sports games don't have stories. It's because when people who make sports games try to come up with stories, they come up with crap like this. Let me lay it out for you. Apparently a while back something mysterious hit Mt. Garrick. Rather than closing the mountain down like any rational group would do, they kept it open. Soon afterwards, the overly secretive military bought the mountain. Again, unlike what a rational government trying to foster a conspiracy would do, they kept the mountain open. Why? Well because the skiers are dumb and pliable. They're easily controlled. The ones to look out for are those wily punk snowboarders. Why they're so unpredictable and free willed! Can I just ask- WHAT IS THIS CRAP?! Anyway, what with being busy creating your average government conspiracy, the Man had little time to clean up all the crap around. This is why the whole area is littered with toxic waste pits, glowing snow, and radioactive barrels. Add in some asinine conspiracy elements, some alien crap here and there, and you've got the layout for the game. You receive missions from "Generically Mysterious Benefactor X" who is never revealed. You receive them over your prominently advertised Nokia phone. Remember snowboarders, this is the phone you should be using, so says Dark Summit. And this is the story woven into everything in Dark Summit. Usually I'm all for an interwoven story, but when the story is as stupid as this it just drags down everything else. The dramatics are all rendered moot by a lack of interest in what passes for a story. 1 out of 5 (One point because it has a story. Stupid as that story may be)

      The Verdict:

       This whole game simply reeks asinine. Everything implemented is as stereotypical or simply dumb as possible. If you're looking for a snowboarding game that will, by turns, frustrate, disgust, and only on very rare occasions please, then maybe you've found your game. Otherwise there are far better fares out there.

      The Good: Relatively fun tricks, good graphics.

      The Bad: An ad execs attempt to cash in on the "rebel" feel of snowboarders, basically a whole boatload of dumb crap.

      The Overall Ugly: Actually the main character is kind of homely… And she's got a thing for fat guys.

      What it's Worth: A swift blow to the head.

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