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Posted on Feb 21st 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under reviews, ps2, eidos

Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico was released in 2005. It is an open world, third-person action game with driving and shooting. A lot of people refer to this game as a Grand Theft Auto clone, but honestly, I think that's being generous. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was released almost a full year before this game, and Total Overdose can't even hold a candle to Grand Theft Auto III. It is an example of a game that attempts to expand on an established formula, but falls short.

The running and gunning in Total Overdose is a lot like Max Payne or Stranglehold, with the playable character Ram having the ability to do a slow motion jump where precision targeting of foes can be achieved. The more style Ram uses while slaying his enemies, the more points you will rack up. Those points accumulate and unlock power-ups at the end of each mission, as well as "loco moves," which are powerful, timed special attacks that make Ram invincible for a short amount of time while dealing major damage. However, there are some quirks in controlling Ram. For example, to make him run the player must double-push the left analog stick. I've never played a game with this control before and it is very awkward.

One thing I liked is that story missions can be selected through the main menu. This cuts down on traveling, which is good because there isn't much to see in the small open world, and the graphics are pretty blocky and bland, even for their time. Although I used this makeshift fast-travel system throughout most of the game, I should comment that I did do some driving and it was simply serviceable, nothing to neither complain nor write home about. Furthermore, the mini-map is not a map at all, but rather just a circle on the screen that gives you a general idea where points of interest are, and there are no breadcrumb trails or a GPS feature.

**Gameplay footage courtesy of GamerZone**

The story has you assume the role of the aforementioned Ramiro Cruz, better known as Ram. Ram is a former street criminal turned DEA agent. Together with his brother Tommy, he is trying to find out who killed their father, who was also a DEA agent and died deep undercover. As Ram and Tommy infiltrate major drug cartels in search for answers, Ram's hi-jinks take center stage for the majority of the game, and despite the serious subject matter, the entire narrative is played for comedy. Ram is a generic smart-ass, and his one-liners would make both Beavis and Butthead very proud. The game is also loaded to the gills with stereotypes of Mexico and Mexican people. I don't tend to get offended by this kind of stuff, but in this case, I just found it to be inane and even a little annoying.

Total Overdose has a version on the PSP called Chili Con Carnage which I have not played, but from what I understand, is a stripped-down version of the game with the same characters, but with a modified story line. I almost feel more comfortable recommending the PSP version, even though I haven't played it, because I know that the open world elements that didn't do too much for me were removed from it.

I certainly don't regret having played Total Overdose. I had some fun moments triggering a loco move to mow down a boss or huge groups of enemies. As tasteless as ninety percent of the dialogue was, I did chuckle here and there. However, this game falls onto an unfortunate list of games I couldn't wait to be done with. In this era of gaming, if you're looking for something to scratch your Grand Theft Auto itch, there are dozens of games out there that are better than this one.

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As ridiculous and over the top this game was, I couldn't help but like it.  I ended up finding the game charming and entertaining enough to see it to the end, which was not something I always did at the time (the GTA clones were so hit or miss).  I don't know.  Maybe I need to call my local game shop and see if they have this game in stock.  Can't imagine it costs much these days, especially if I get it on the Xbox.

I had forgotten about this game for a long time and you helped me remember it.  Thanks, Ghost.
@bombatomba: I'm glad I could drum up some good memories for you. This game is definitely a cheap one, and if you liked it the first time around, you'll probably still have fun with it! For me, it was so close, just not quite good enough to land it on my good list.

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