|Dark Summit is a game that I
wanted to like more than I actually did. Everything that I had read about the game
suggested that this was something different, and Im always looking for something
different. From what I had read, the game seemed to infuse a narrative structure into the
traditional trick/race games of the past. This game promised to be more than just getting
to the end of the track first or pulling the most tricks in a simple jump. This game
promised that there would be a reason for all of this. The good news is that there is a
reason, and the story is actually kind of interesting. The bad news is that the gameplay
just doesnt live up to its tricky predecessor.
Something shady is happening on
the slopes of Mt. Garrick. And, in the rebellious spirit of snowboarders everywhere, you
stand up against the powers that be in order to free the mountain from the grip of shady
doers. As Naya, its your job to foil the dastardly plans of the military. There are
plenty of tricks to perform and a number of races to wage. Overall the game plays well and
is pretty entertaining; it just seems to lack that thing that really gets me excited about
a new video game. I just wish that I knew exactly what that thing was.
Perhaps, if I look at the individual parts of the
game I might get a better idea as to why it just didnt gel with me. First off, the
graphics are good, the animations are nicely rendered and there is a ton of detail crammed
into the mountain. One of the nicest features of the game is how certain objects react
when you collide with them. Not only will you knock down a snowman in your path, but his
various body sections will roll down the hill alongside you for great distances. My only
complaint in the graphics department was a nagging feeling of claustrophobia. I felt more
closed in than I should have on a massive mountain. As I played, I was acutely aware that
there were a very specific number of paths that I could take. Other snowboarding games
really work hard at giving you the illusion that the mountain is completely open. Dark
Summits designers probably felt that gamers would be so distracted by all of the
goals that they wouldnt notice how few places they could go.
mountain was big but a little monotonous. It felt like whenever I unlocked a new path I
was pretty much going over the same thing. The dark atmosphere and design would have had a
little more impact if there had been a few levels to contrast with the oppressive feel of
Even though the game maintains a decent framerate,
the overall pace of the game is pretty slow. I really wanted a sense of speed and depth.
The slopes of the courses are much too gradual to really give the sensation of flying down
the mountain at breakneck speed. Some reviews have talked about how long the tracks
actually are, but Im not sure if the tracks are incredibly long or if youre
going so slow that they just seem long. The modified speed of the game also seems to make
the tricks a little easier to perform than in other similar games.
youre going to flout the conventions of the snowboarding genre, why not throw a
rocket launcher into the mix. At times I felt like I was in a sequence out of a James Bond
film rather than a snowboard game; I just didnt have any cool gadgets. Cool gadgets
would have gone a long way towards boosting my opinion of Dark Summit. This isnt a
bad game. In fact, most people will enjoy playing the game for some time. Theyll get
a kick out of the design and the story elements, but I think that after a good deal of
playing theyll have the nagging suspicion that something is missing. Like me, they
may not be able to nail it down precisely, but they will feel it. Give it a rent, play it
for a few days and youll have a pretty good time until something else comes out. I
know its not the most enthusiastic recommendation, but youll see what I mean
when you play it.
Jason Frank (05/13/2002)
Ups: Nice graphics; interesting combo of story and race/trick elements; easy
Downs: A bit limited; too short.