Downhill Domination

Downhill Domination

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DEVELOPER: Incog Inc.   |   PUBLISHER: SCEA   |   RELEASE: 07/23/2003

What do you think of when you ponder the sport of mountain biking? OK wake up sheesh ask a simple question and you are bombarded with sarcasm. My point is that the sport of biking isn’t something you see or read about on a daily basis and the thought of a videogame based on it is absolutely insane. That is unless of course you have the talented minds behind Twisted Metal (the originals and Black mind you), Warhawk, and the ever popular Jet Moto series at the helm, oooh now I have your attention I see! Downhill Domination is Incog Inc’s latest foray into the gaming market and alas their reputation has yet to fail them. With break neck speed and top notch visuals this could easily be the game that brings mountain biking to the mainstream, well probably not but it’s still a lotta damn fun!

Uphill Determination
Downhill Domination has you blazing through twenty seven different courses at break neck speed. Events include Freeride, Technical Downhill, and Mountain Cross all of which are pretty self explanatory. The emphasis is definitely on speed and Incog does not fail to please, this game is fast. Sure you may be wondering how a bike travelling down a mountain at a maximum of forty miles an hour could possibly give you a sense of speed but trust me, this game is blazing! The rock solid frame rate also doesn’t hurt and did I mention the crashes? These things cause serious references of pain to one’s brain, you can almost feel them! From the get go you have a minimal selection of riders and bikes but as you progress new riders await you as do sponsorships and new bike parts. Upgrading is the key to success so make sure you rack up as much cash through tricks and combat as possible for that brand spankin’ new ride. There are a total of 14 riders to unlock including five professional bikers and one hidden character from one of Incog’s past games, sorry gamers it isn’t a bike wielding Sweet Tooth. You can also unlock special riding devices such as a llama…ok I was awestruck too so don’t feel bad.

Breakin’ The Law..Of Physics
All of the above mentioned is well and good but how does it play? Well to be honest pretty friggin’ good, the controls are fast and responsive and the handling is dynamite. What does hinder it though is the uncomfortable trick system, Incog has opted to use the shoulder buttons to perform tricks. While this sounds good in theory when you throw in the triangle as the modifier (which is required for many tricks) it becomes more of a chore than a blessing. Imagine holding three shoulder buttons and trying to tap the triangle once to modify then a second time to modify again while keeping all triggers pressed. Yes it truly is a pain but nothing a little practice cannot remedy. If there was one thing that Incog should learn from this game is that adding a customizable control scheme will solve many a problem as it is this will turn off many casual gamers.

Twisted Symphony
While I am an avid fan of custom soundtracks on my Xbox my PS2 is always under the scrutiny of a good soundtrack. The music in Downhill Domination can be one of two things, fitting or downright repulsive. Fans of the Twisted Metal series will recognize some of the tracks as they have obviously been ripped directly from the archives but as for the rest of the music..turn it off. The rap song I unlocked later in the game was absolutely horrendous, add this to the sub par sound effects and almost insulting voice overs and this game seriously lacks in the sound department. Thankfully this game does not rely on sound so it does not hinder the experience. I sure wish my PS2 had custom soundtracks, and to add insult to injurt the intro song is My Disease by Saliva. I mean are developers that closed minded they think that song needs to be in every fucking game that has an extreme sport in it??

I Am Ready To Race…
What this all boils down to is a superb gaming experience with some minor flaws. Incog has taken yet another obscure sport and turned it into an enjoyable video game. I hope to see a sequel follow in time but with most of their project it will probably sink into demise which is a shame. Incog is a talented group of developers and I am sad that many people do not realize how great they are. Perhaps the second coming of Twisted Metal on the PS2 will be soon but until then I will enjoy my mountain biking madness thanks to the twosted folks at Incog Inc. P.S. can you PLEASE do a sequel to Warhawk? haha overall a great title that should be in every PS2 owners library, highly recommended!

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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