Downhill Domination PS2 Review

Konami’s Le Tour De France may have stayed rooted to its source material; although sadly the task of taking on this ever-aging and gruelling event doesn’t exactly convert into an enjoyable game that well. Thankfully Downhill Domination is the total opposite, commanding enjoyment rather then constant attention. At the end of the day, going downhill is much less imposing then attempting to vigorously push yourself up a steep incline anyway.

Here the stars of the show aren’t the selection of riders nor is it the bikes, it’s easily those wonderful tracks. These coarse mountainous trails are ample in number, varying in length and pleasing in both the ever-changing environments and the amount of possible routes staring you right in the face. When presented with the camera fly-down on each track, the environment does appear to be rather intimidating indeed and it quickly becomes apparent that you haven’t been duped, as soon you are flying down the trails at terrifying speeds and across constantly dangerous grounds.

When we say dangerous we’re not lying as the tracks are filled with everything from uneven ground littered with trees to roaming animals, all of which pose a hazard and result in plenty of rough and tumble for any unfortunate riders. Animals? Yes being elevated in the heights of the mountains makes way for various pests, such as rather large creatures, which if collided with cause you to go plummeting off your bike and then there’s the smaller animals, which normally come off worse then yourself. No complaints here though as it’s very much in the vein of cartoon violence, meaning no grotesque blood and very little illusion that you have seriously hurt the creature, other then the somewhat hilarious outcome which sees an animal hurtling through the air in a very unrealistic manner.

Sometimes at the expense of danger, power ups can be found to aid you during each rocky race. The obligatory speed boost gives you that all important advantage as does regaining your energy when your current is almost depleted, leaving the rider to still be speeding down the mountain but without that extra push of speed brought on by the madman like pedalling. The game comes included with Road Rash like combat and this can be upgraded to better beat up any immediate opponents again by finding power ups. The more of these combat upgrades you can find without coming off your bike the more superior they will be. If you do misjudge a portion of a track and fall off your bike, your combat upgrade is downgraded a notch, this is one system that works very well indeed.

The career mode is rather lengthy and allows you to take part in a full career or a specialist version for the varying events that are on offer. Throughout you earn cash for thrashing opponents, riding along Black Diamond trials and showboating with various tricks. These cash rewards can later be deposited for bike upgrades or additional features.

It’s just a shame that the AI competition is so blatantly lax; we never felt any opponents breathing down our necks, as they would rather relax in the lower positions on the higher grounds. Competition isn’t an ideal word as the so-called “racing” is more akin to a leisurely Sunday pedal; such is the competition that they possess. This extends to the hardest difficulty also, and with all this said, the formula soon becomes haggard and dull and is certainly one of the games major downers, thank god that the game offers a terrific 2-4 multi-player mode.

As a single player game Downhill Domination is a stroll opposed to the heated competition of the split screen action. This makes the game a little tough to rate, if we had no human opposition then we’d deduct a number from our overall rating, otherwise this rather big 7 speaks highly of a serviceable enough single player mode and an excellent and competitive multi-player title.