Downhill Domination – PS2 – Review

Crank it up, baby!

No, no, not just the pedal action, but the volume. You are going to want to
hear what you are doing as much as doing it.

Downhill Domination is the name of the game, a PlayStation2 release from Sony
Computer Entertainment America, Inc., and Incog Inc. Entertainment, not only is
it a very good-looking ride down well-detailed mountains, but the game features
elements of combat and an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack.

This is a game that is based on downhill mountainbike action, not just racing
down perilous paths, filled with wandering hikers and wildlife, but in
performing tricks for points as you soar off improbable jumps into the
treacherous landing zones somewhere below.

And if you are on the big mountain courses, which can take in the
neighborhood of six minutes to negotiate, you might also want to be prepared for
some weather changes along the course. Yes, that was lightning that just ignited
that tree, and the accompanying downpour has created puddles along the route.

But therein lies one of the joys of this game. Yes, those puddles are there,
but the water parts and splashes away as you rip through it. The Red Rock trails
shows dust trails as riders fly along the dirt courses. Not that either of these
elements seems to affect what you are doing, but they are nice little details
that add to the visual appeal of the game.

And when it comes to the visual candy, this game is filled. The animation is
very well done, from the speed bursts on the bikes, to the crunch of a bad
landing. The game does have arcade features, but these are in the forms of
power-ups which add entertainment value to the title.

Game features include first and third-person perspectives, 14 riders (you
begin with six but can unlock new riders), three course styles, and five
gameplay options (including single race, career, arcade, moshbowl, and super

The bikes are customizable, there are 30 tricks you can pull off and then
there is the combat element. If that competitor is getting a little too close, a
quick backfist to the face can have them back off a bit. Or maybe you are afraid
of bruising your hand. No problem – just kick out the tire from under them.

The game will have players skidding across the tracks but in true arcade
style, you are back on your bike within seconds and ready to try to catch the
field. The AI of the game is quite good and riders will wipe out on their own if
they take a jump wrong or head into a corner with too much speed or the wrong

The game also features three types of racing – time trials, tricks and free
rides. There are also a number of ways to head down a mountain, so the path you
take is completely up to you. You start at the top and, sooner rather than
later, cross the finish line at the bottom.

Downhill Domination is about speed, control verging on chaotic risks, and
fun. Flying down a mountain, avoiding obstacles, marveling at the scenery and
knocking out the competition is certainly good sport, but is it a good
videogame. Yes, it definitely is.

Gameplay: 8.5
There are some options that need to be chosen prior to the start of a
competition, but once in a race, the game moves very quickly. The courses must
be negotiated with precision. Any bad track, or bobble over a jump can cost you

Graphics: 8.8
This game looks very good. The three-dimensional environments are lush and
beautifully rendered. There are some minor flaws with obstacles that are not,
but for the most part, the mapboards are detailed and wonderful to look at, as
they whiz past. The animation is also very well done.

Sound: 8.7
The soundtrack features some great tunes as well as an array of familiar tunes
bridging the alternative, thrash-punk, hip-hop, techno and classic rock genres.
The announcer does a great job, and the rider comments are typical of the style
of game.

Difficulty: Easy
The control elements are simplistic, but the pace of the action allows gamers to
challenge up. You can jump right in and go, but succeeding is another matter.
There are three difficulty levels to choose from.

Concept: 8.2
This game borrows a lot of gameplay elements from titles such as Arctic Thunder,
but gives them a nice feel in this outing.

Multiplayer: 7.5
This game will allow up to four gamers to play in head-to-head competition. This
is split-screen competition and is only average.

Overall: 8.5
Downhill Domination is a great deal of fun to play. Graphically it is strong,
and the audio tracks are superb. This is a game that will draw arcade racing
fans and those interested in an amusing, and entertaining ride down twisting,
jump-filled tracks. Put the push to the peddle and get ready for some
entertaining mountainbike action with a twist