PS2 Games: Downhill Domination

Interesting title, isn’t it? You’re not really sure if you’re getting an extreme sports game or some perverted sexual simulation. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this is most certainly an extreme sports title. In fact, it’s mountain biking, and it has you hurtling down massive, obstacle-filled mountains performing outrageous stunts and head-butting trees, just like the kamikaze nutters who participate in this sport. And it’s fun, too, especially due to some wicked level design and a ferocious pace, although sub-standard trick physics never allow it to reach its full potential.

Anyone familiar with the genre will have a good idea about how this game progresses. There are three main modes — Freeride, Mountain Cross and Technical Downhill — as well as a Multiplayer component. You select a rider from the 14 ‘cool dudes’ available and begin with a basic bike.

The better you perform, the more money you earn, and this can be used to upgrade your pushy into a true wildlife- and tourist-crushing weapon. You cannot customise your rider’s look, but there are 12 sponsors and 20 bikes to earn, plus 27 tracks and 30 tricks to master.

The tracks are the most impressive part of the game. There are nine diverse mountains to dominate, including the deserts of the US, the volcanic landscape of Hawaii and the snowfields of Russia. Roaring down the mountains is addictive and exciting gaming. You will have to deal with moving wildlife, hikers, cars, boulders and even lightning bolts, not to mention the other riders who will try to punch, kick, throw bottles, whack or manipulate-into-fauna their competitors. This is great fun, and with multiple ways down each mountain and solid four-person multiplayer, repeat gaming remains entertaining.

Although DD is exhilarating on the ground, things go pear-shaped when you’re in the air, like getting your trackies caught in the chain at 60km/h. The physics are just horridly unrealistic and illogical. You’ll end up landing on everything bar the wheels in your attempts to do simple moves, which is quite frustrating during the learning process.

Still, DD is a very good extreme sports title. It looks good, plays quickly, has plenty of replay value and, most importantly, is addictive. Had the physics been on song this could have been great, but, none-the-less, anyone who enjoys the genre will not be disappointed by this title.

Visuals: Excellent mountain design
Audio: Licensed audio tracks from different genres
Gameplay: Addictive, with a tremendous sense of speed
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Incog Entertainment

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Chris Stead

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