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Dark Summit (Xbox)
Snowboarding for great justice! Along with the right to break stuff...
By - Jason D'Aprile


The Xbox will soon find itself awash in snowboarding games, but even with so many choices, it's remarkable how different each game is from the other. While Amped takes a more no-nonsense, direct approach to the sport, and SSX Tricky just inundates players with some of the most bizarre tricks ever, THQ's Dark Summit takes a more visually impressive, narrative approach to the art of sliding down a hill on a slick board. Oddly enough, the game manages to be both visually impressive and surprisingly engaging.


Dark Summit mixes extreme sports with a plot that involves an evil, board-hating ski resort owner and a noticeable amount of X-Files-like conspiracies. This strange snowboarding quest has players burning down the mountain completing boarding-related tasks, earning points for better equipment, and just trying to make the Summit safe for snowboarders everywhere. The general atmosphere on Dark Summit is actually pretty dark, even if the tone sways between the urgent and the absurd.

Featuring blatant sponsorship from Nokia cell phones, you'll take on new objectives by stopping under glowing beacons to receive new cell phone communiqués. Goals range from snatching up a bomb by grinding a precariously high rail and evading nazi-like ski patrol guards, to knocking over the owner's turkey dinner on a picnic table and getting to the outhouse before the effects of a bad candy bar overwhelm you. You don't have to take on all the new objectives, but completing them earns you big points, which are then used to get boarding passes to the next part of the mountain.


Most of the quests are actually quite challenging, and even intense at times, since you're constantly battling both the mountain and time. Thankfully, if you fail, you can easily restart a specific goal and try again. To facilitate all the snowboarding business, Dark Summit's controls are generally simple and intuitive to get into, if somewhat over-crowded.

Mixing button combinations and single button/D-pad maneuvers, you can make your extreme sportster perform a wide array of tricks, from grinds to flips, grabs, and a myriad of combinations. As you complete goals, you'll learn new special moves that consist of three button presses. Successful completion of tricks earns big points that unlock new outfits and equipment, which can further boost your performance abilities.


While the graphics in Dark Summit might not scream out the powers of the uber-box, it's still a great looking game. The developers really went out of their way to make sure this mountain had a different look than any of the competition thanks to almost surreally dark, colorful landscapes. The Summit is replete with strange blues and yellows, and other colors, giving everything an unrealistic, yet ominous feel. Snowboarding animations look slick and some of the stunts are wildly cool looking feats of aerial acrobatics. Animations for non-player snowboarders, skiers, and other denizens of the mountain seem a little sloppy, but overall, things look great.

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