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Downhill Domination

Developer: Incognito | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 07/23/03 | Genre: Driving

Do you remember the Twisted Metal series? It is only one of the most popular franchises on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Developer Incog Inc. created the series and after other developers tarnished the name by releasing some subpar sequels, they took the development reigns back and created the incredibly popular Twisted Metal: Black. This game went down in history as one of the best selling selling games early on in the PS2 life cycle. We haven't seen a whole lot out of Incog Inc. since then. Earlier this year, they released the excellent War of the Monsters. This game didn't really seem to receive the attention it deserved. Probably because it was released during the "off-months" of gaming. Despite a temporary break in racing with War of the Monsters, Incog Inc. and Sony have teamed up to bring Downhill Domination.

Are you getting tired of those boring Extreme Sports titles where each title copies what others have done in the past? Downhill Domination is a refreshing breath of fresh air that rewards players for speed, style (also known as pulling off tricks), and combat. At the end of each race, you get points for the place you finish in, how many cool tricks you landed on the way, and how many other competitors you beat the crap out of. However, the best part of Downhill Domination is these sense of speed. Players race down enormous mountains by taking a variety of paths to reach the finish line. Going 60 MPH or more on a dirt bike is common place in DD and you will be forced to use quick reflexes to avoid running into huge rocks, riding off cliffs, hitting other rides, or running into trees and other obstacles in the raod. The nice part is that the AI riders also have to avoid these same things and they don't race perfect races. This gives you a chance to win.

Another nice element in Downhill Domination is the ease of pulling off tricks. In a lot of the Extreme Sports Games, players must learn a multitude of button combinations that are both confusing and difficult to pull off. While this does not mean that there are not trick combinations to learn, I found it much easier to learn them in DD using the tutorial mode. Here, players can go on a simple downhill ramp and follow the onscreen instructions to pull off tricks. It is not necessary to go through this, however, you will find that it will be very beneficial in learning how to do a few of the tricks.

There are a multitude of colorful characters that are completely fictional. These include T-bag, who comes equipped with his hacky-sack, Cosmo, a British aristocrat, and Kalolo, a strong man from an island in the Pacific. Later on, however, you can unlock several real racers too. This adds a little replay value to the game

During an actual race, players are trying to get to the bottom of the course first. Along the way, they can score some extra points by beating up their fellow riders and pulling off tricks. The courses themselves are really long. They will take you at least seven and a half to eight minutes to get through. There is also a standard path you can ride down. However, there are a multitude of alternate paths you can take to reach the finish line. Upon completion of the race, you will get points for what place you were in, combat you initiated, and the tricks you were able to do. This will then give you money that you can spend on updating your bike. Some of these upgrades aren't cheap, so you will have to keep finding ways to improve upon your scores.

Most PlayStation 2 titles only allow up to two players compete at once on a single TV. However, Downhill Domination will let two or four players compete in a split screen mode. The frame rate isn't quite as good in the split screen modes, however, for a PlayStation 2 game, it isn't bad at all and it is quite a technological achievement for the PS2 hardware.

Using the same engine that powered Twisted Metal: Black, War of the Monsters, and Twisted Metal: Black Online, Incog Inc. has created another engaging title. While Downhill Domination may be a departure from the style of their past titles, that should not stop you from at least giving this game a try. DD may not be the best Extreme Sports game or the most intense racer on the market today, however, it is a good, solid game. Go ahead and give it a run down a mountain side... You won't be disappointed.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 09/03/03
ESRB Details: Mild Language, Violence
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Screenshots for Downhill Domination

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