Total Overdose

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: SCi / Eidos
Developer: Deadline Games

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PS2/Xbox/PC Preview - 'Total Overdose'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Sept. 20, 2005 @ 2:22 a.m. PDT

Total Overdose is an over-the-top, adrenalin-fuelled, free-style action, 3rd person cinematic adventure with a strong whiff of tequila. Crash cars, steal hats, shoot bad guys with style, jump bikes, fight in the street, meet girls, shoot more bad guys, find your fathers killer, hot-wire tractors, eat Burritos, catch planes, drink tequila; the Mexican heat can make people do the strangest things.

Genre: Action
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: Deadline Games
Release Date: September 27, 2005

You know, it's not too often that a person can genuinely say they haven't quite seen a game like this before. Total Overdose is the type of title that both hearkens back to a time when games were just fun to pick up and play and also incorporates newer ideas that really haven't been explored. We recently got to play a recent build of Total Overdose and frankly, it often became a matter of people trying to drag each other off of the controls.

You remember how Desperado was over the top? Total Overdose takes that ball and runs with it, a tequila-flavored romp through the seedy underbelly of Mexico's drug cartels. The story is serious enough, the player plays as Ramiro Cruz who is an ex-con investigating the death of his DEA agent father, but the gameplay is more along the lines of outrageous action and references to Mexican-styled action movies. Although the game is fairly simplistic in both nature and controls, the sheer amount of stuff you can do in humor makes Total Overdose stand out.

The gameplay takes place either on foot or while driving a vehicle, with the majority of the time spent on foot. The player has a large selection of guns to utilize, ranging from pistols such as 9mm handguns and revolvers to rifles and shotguns, as well as the odd machete or shovel. The player has the ability to dive around, simultaneously avoiding gunfire while dealing out some of his own in slow-motion glory similar to that of the Max Payne titles.

What makes Total Overdose different, however, is the combo system. While just riddling an enemy full of holes nets you some points, why not pull a tequila takedown and blast him point-blank in the face to earn even more? How about diving sideways and landing a perfect headshot? There are many combinations that the player can achieve to net more points, making the scoring system based more on style than body count alone. The player can also use special abilities for a limited time, such as machine gun guitar cases or a spin attack that kills all nearby and visible enemies in every direction.

To keep things kicking, enemies will often constantly come at you from all sides, and after you kill one, a timer ticks down. Continue chaining together enemy kills before time runs out, and you'll get more points; all the while, the music gets about twice as frantic and just as loud. Undoubtedly, there will be times after these sprees that the player needs to replenish health or ammunition, both of which are pickups scattered around the levels. Standard weapons can be pried from the cold, dead hands of anyone who stands in your way, but oftentimes, unique weapons such as grenade launchers are just waiting to be picked up off the beaten path.

Speaking of paths, Total Overdose also features zip lines from elevated structures to otherwise inaccessible areas of the map. Simply approach and press the activate button, and you can still pick off enemies on your way down. While the descent is automatic, you should make yourself as compact as possible in order to evade enemy fire.

Vehicles play a somewhat significant role in Total Overdose, in that they are both excellent forms of transportation and are equally excellent when used as weapons. While driving a vehicle, the player can open the driver's side door and hang outside of the vehicle while still keeping a hand on the wheel. Press a different button and you dive from the vehicle, time slows down, and as soon as the vehicle hits a solid object, it explodes with concussive force. It never gets old to bail out of a vehicle right before a roadblock, forcing three or four cars to explode as you are flying through the air, akimbo handguns ablaze at the remaining enemies in slow-motion.

Total Overdose makes use of a very vibrant style, seemingly favoring a more in-your-face look using high-contrast colors than gritty realistic colors. For the most part, the visuals are just as eye-catching as the action, thanks to good use of color and the stylized fonts that appear on screen after a combo. The sound effects and voiceovers are in a similar style, and the little voice snippets that accompany the various combo kills will definitely lodge themselves in your brain long after you've pulled yourself away from the title.

With a casual glance, Total Overdose could come across as a fairly bland title, but in reality, the game stands to be one that people may get into fistfights to determine who gets a go at it next. It's just far, far too easy to pick up, play, and immediately start having extreme action shootouts in a Mexican-noir setting. If the final title is anything like the preview build we have been playing, I can only imagine what interesting and wildly entertaining shootouts can be had. Look for more information on Total Overdose as it nears release.

More articles about Total Overdose
blog comments powered by Disqus