" In execution this works out to be total genius. "
Title: Downhill Domination by Sony
Format: PS2 Racing Combat Game
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: Mysteriously advertised as some kind of strange off-road downhill racer, Downhill Domination hit stores with little advertising and only a single bizarre (but funny) commercial to its name. Thus, when it rolled across my desk I had no idea whether I was joining the Tour de SurrenderMonkey…er…France, or if I was doomed to 10 hours on the video game equivalent of a Huffy. Here's what I found out…
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: There's been a debate raging for about a year now as to how much further the PS2 graphics can go. The answer to this question is, "I don't know…but I'm pretty sure Downhill Domination hits one of the walls." Pretty, to be sure, but plagued by some aliasing issues, Downhill Domination may be as good as it gets for this somewhat aging system. What is likely the result of too much engineering, Downhill actually tries to look better than it should and pays the price a bit. Nice to look at, and easy on the eyes, it inevitably suffers from a few key issues that may well come from them trying to over-do it. Or, alternatively, it could just be poor coding….you be the judge. Either way, it's pretty but is plagued with a few errors. 4 out of 5
Playability: In skiing there's a tradition,
made famous in the movie "Better Off Dead", called the "Chinese Downhill". In
it, a group of racers are taken to the top of a hill and let loose, the object
being to get to the bottom first, but the impetus being making it there a live
as there are no rules. It's a sick little game, played on back sides of mountains
all over the world, and Sony finally had the brilliance to put it into a videogame.
Not based on skiing, however, Downhill Domination takes the premise and slaps
it into a mountain bike racer-with players racing downhill at ridiculous speeds,
pulling wicked air tricks to power themselves up, and bashing, braining, and
generally abusing the other racers in route.
In execution this works out to be total genius. Primarily a racing/trick game, Downhill feels very much like other trick turners before it (SSX, ATV Off Road Fury, etc.). Where it really shines, though, is the combat and random race element. There are few things as fun as spoke-busting a rival racer, and with the addition of "non-traditional" track elements that racers can impale themselves on (like Russian soldiers, bears and other wildlife, etc.), there's a whole lot of entertainment waiting in the pain. The only down side is that the trick system isn't nearly as complex as other games in Downhill's pseudo-genre, but the smooth analog only (play using only the thumbsticks) and the killer physics will keep it entertaining to be sure. 4 out of 5
Story and Drama: It's a violent race game. What kind of story do you think it has? NA
Multiplayer and Replayability: Up to 4 people on multi-tap means you can have a pretty good time trashing your friends and making a mess. I would really like to have seen some on-line play with it, but split screen is plenty fun…and the wide range of tracks with 4 racing options should keep you reasonably busy on your own. 3.5 out of 5
|All in all, Downhill Domination is a fun racer and a nice addition to the field. Easy controls, a great sense of speed and violence, and some entertaining tracks all keep it really high on my "extreme" sports list. My only real complaint is the lack of on-line play (and, really Sony…if you want to convince people you have an on-line platform shouldn't your first party games ALL have it?), but it's forgivable and still fun.|
The Good: Great concept, smooth controls, and some killer racing.
The Bad: Some graphics glitches and no on-line...What the hell?
The Overall Ugly: Fun, fun…makes me want to run down the street jabbing sticks into the elementary school kid's spokes as they ride home from school.
What it's Worth: Market