Review by Majin Zeroth

"Time to overdose on some over the top action."

Tommy Cruz is a high ranking DEA agent hot on the trail of a Mexican drug cartel and determined to get behind the truth of his fathers suspicious death. Ramiro Cruz on the other hand is a career criminal spending time in jail for multiple felonies. The two brothers might drastically differ from each other in attitude but ironically enough they are also identical twins. When Tommy is injured while gathering clues about their father it's up to Ramiro to step up and go undercover. Being a DEA agent working undercover in Mexico might not be his idea of fun but it beats rotting in hell and where else do you get to legally kill this many bad guys? Tommy might be back home giving orders and advice via headset but this is one mission Ramiro is going to do his way. Welcome to Total Overdose.

The biggest mistake to make when installing Total Overdose is to expect another Grand Theft Auto. While this game might have some similar elements it's actually worlds apart from Rockstars classic and has more in common with the Max Payne titles. Ramiro is one bad-ass character who likes nothing more than shooting people with a variety of weapons in a variety of ways. Battles are more about showing off your cool moves and killing everyone around you as fast as possible than it is about surviving. In between the action packed story missions you can take a break and explore the city of Los Toros and this is where the GTA comparisons come in. Ram can hijack a variety of vehicles and cruise through the streets doing wild stunts or hunting down bonuses while there are also some interesting side missions on offer that can help boost your skills or open up new moves. Don't expect any of the stuff that made San Andreas such a hit however this is strictly an arcade game.

Graphically Total Overdose is far from cutting edge but it does have a nice style to it. The city of Los Toros might not be that big but there are some nice areas and it's mostly fun to explore. Your missions also take you to a variety of locations like a bullring, drug dealers hacienda, a border post and even the DEA headquarters. The graphics lean more towards cartoon than realistic but looks nice none the less and everything moves at a very smooth frame rate on the required specs. While originally a console game I found that the keyboard and mouse were more than adequate to control Ram and all the outrages moves were a breeze to pull off. It's rare to find a game that gives you so much freedom for mayhem and manages to keep the keys required down to a minimum as well. I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that I couldn't manage to configure my controller for the car segments but since most of the cars handle horribly anyway this wasn't such a big loss I guess.

Total Overdose is all about action and you can expect plenty of it while playing the game. As you might have gathered by now the game doesn't take itself very seriously so watch out for some pretty wacky stuff. Ram can pull of some outrageous moves like wallrunning, slow-motion dives and plenty of other cool looking stunts. Like Max Payne you have an adrenaline bar that drains while you dive around in slow-motion but even without this gimmick Ram is a force to be reckoned with. Killing enemies nets you points and the more you kill the more points you get. It's all about combos and stringing together kills in the coolest ways possible. While some people complain about this game not being as good as GTA I feel the combat and gunfights mops the floor with anything GTA had to offer. There's nothing like jumping out of a car just before it smashes into a group of enemies and then popping off a few headshots mid air as you watch a rocket or two blast past you in slow motion. Scenes like this are common place in Total Overdose and the action just never gets old. In fact if I have any complaints then it's the fact that the game is over way too soon and will leave you wanting more.

The pad things out a bit there's some side missions you can take on ranging from “car races” to blowing up burrito stands and killing gangs of criminals. While not all of these are essential to the completion of the game they will earn you plenty of points and bonuses so they are well worth the effort. Believe me no other game has special moves where you can summon a crazy wrestler to help you beat your foes to a pulp or gives you two guitar cases spewing hot lead like in the Desperado movie. In fact why not distract enemies with an explosive pinata or nail them with your one shot kill “golden gun”. If all of these sounded weird wait until you encounter the “day of the dead” pickups. These will transform all the citizens of Los Toros into skeleton costume clad zombies out for blood and you have a limited amount of time to stop the dead in their tracks. Very reminiscent of the kill frenzies from GTA but great fun none the less. There's another pickup that sees you donning a wrestling suite and beating up other crazed wrestlers too.

The highlight of the game was definitely the audio and this game probably has the most fitting soundtrack ever. All of the tunes are distinctly Mexican flavoured and not something you'd have encountered previously in other games. It's a pity that there are no GTA style radio shows playing while driving around but laying waste to everyone in sight while some Mexican tunes play in the background is awesome. Sound effects are really nice too and I can't fault the voice overs either.

As fun as it is to play Total Overdose does have its fair share of flaws and it seems a lot of people struggle to really get into the game. As long as you want nothing more than an action packed over the top shooter you'll have a blast but if you are expecting the next GTA killer you might want to look elsewhere. I for one welcome a bit of console style action on the pc. It's nice to kick back and blow the crap out of everyone in sight without having to worry about the cops showing up to spoil your fun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/27/06

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