Total Overdose is best described as Grand Theft Auto meets Max Payne (or Prince of Persia), mixed with the best Mexican movies ever created. This is a game that actually crept up on us, and it was only when it landed on our desk did we actually take note. The game puts a huge emphasis on style and diverse moves, so is Total Overdose the result of another Grand Theft Auto clone or is it actually a game worthy of your attention?
The game itself feels very similar to GTA from the very beginning. There are open-ended environments, and the game takes place in a third person perspective. However, once you get into the title it is evident that the games are really quite different. Players are given a fairly large arsenal of weapons to choose from, with a total of twenty weapons becoming available as you progress through the story mode. Total Overdose also features a much more comprehensive combo system, which allows players to string kills together to get rewards.
The game tells the basic story of a father who is killed and a son looking for answers. Total Overdose doesn't get any points for originality but the story takes place over eighteen completely different environments. Players will end up venturing through the red light district, as well as find themselves in the Mexican desert. The environments all look great and set the scene of the game well.
The game also features a real-time rewind system, similar to the one found in Prince of Persia. Players can pick up the rewind tokens which are scattered throughout the levels and these can be used when you die or even to finish off a combo. We've seen the slowdown effect used in many games, but it fits in perfectly in Total Overdose. During action sequences players can also slow time down to target their enemies, and the moveset also makes it possible to run up walls, jump backwards and dive left or right. Whilst the moveset is incredibly extensive, it does take a little while to get used to all of the possible manouvres. The game also gives some names to some of the combos, such as a 'Mexican Blow Out', which is when you dodge an attack and then kill your opponent. It won't be possible to perform such combo moves immediately, but they become essential in the latter parts of the game.
Players also have a few different ways of completing missions, vehicles have been included in the game and vary from tractors to panel vans. For example in the first mission players have to ram a tanker and then kill all the enemies. Much like in GTA, players can either take the safe route and hop in a vehicle and ram all the opponents down, or they can take enemies out on foot.
The open-ended gameplay definitely benefits a game like this, but just like GTA the game's storyline is fairly linear, whilst the environments themselves are open-ended the storyline remains the same the second time through, so whilst it is very well disguised, it is worth noting. Unfortunately you cannot enter as many of the buildings as you would like too either. Most of the buildings you can enter relate directly to the mission, and including some other interiors could have allowed the developers to show off some of their Mexican humour.
Visually the game isn't as good as we hoped it would be either. The environments are large, but there is a often a lot of pop-up and the character models are sometimes a little blocky, the cut-scenes are often a little mediocre as well. For an Xbox title we did expect a little better graphics. The environments themselves are fairly destructible though, players can shoot at bins, animals, vehicles, oil drums and all of them react in different ways.
The sound is one of the best assets of the game. All the characters sound brilliant and during the fight scenes the sound increases and keeps the game feeling extremely intense. The other sound effects, such as the background noise and the explosions all sound really good as well.
Unfortunately the game itself won't last gamers very long. The main Story mode will last about ten hours, (although there are numerous dificulty settings) and there are a few side quests to return to once the main game has been finished. There is no Multiplayer mode, which hurts the game's longevity, we would have appreciated at least a co-op mode of some kind.
If you haven't guessed by now Total Overdose takes some of the best elements from other action titles and combines them into a Mexican-themed title. As long as you don't take the game too seriously there is a lot to enjoy here, but there are a few things that could have made the game even more enjoyable. There is no two player mode at all, and the single player missions could have been a little longer to keep us entertained for a little longer, but overall it's a fairly enjoyable game that was definitely better than we had anticipated.
The game doesn't try to just be a Grand Theft Auto clone, it genuinely tries to seperate itself from the mould, fans of the GTA series will find a lot to like in this game as well though.
03 Oct, 2005
03 Oct, 2005
Total Overdose Review
Xbox Review | Indulge in a Mexican Blow Out. Whatever the hell that is.
|Total Overdose doesn't take itself too seriously; and you shouldn't either. It's a fairly solid action game that puts the emphasis on style.||7|
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