Review by makikomi

Reviewed: 10/27/08

An enjoyable mix of genres

This third person shooter plays a bit like a mix of Grand Theft Auto, Prince of Persia and Max Payne. Normally, when I hear that a game straddles two or more genres, I start to worry, but having played the demo of this game a while back, I bought this game from an online retailer. It cost me a whopping £1.60. I had more fun with it than with some games I've paid £20 plus for.

You play Ramiro "Ram" Cruz, a laconic, sarcastic guy who'd rather be surfing and chatting up the ladies. But when his undercover cop twin brother gets injured, he is drafted by the DEA to continue the undercover work that his brother was doing to infiltrate a major Mexican drug cartel.

This is your cue for a number of missions. Some are central to the plot, but other side-missions allow you to build up your score, and earn bonuses. When not carrying out missions, you can cruise around town. Hidden all over the place are score bonuses and icons which (if you collect enough) will get you power-ups or unlimited ammo. Some of these items are only collectable if you carry out stunts like driving your car off the ramp on the top of a multi-story car park.

The missions involves either killing bad guys, or zooming around in your car, or even a mix of the two. Some are timed, but most are not.

The control of the main character is simple enough, with the usual WASD and mouse control. Using the space bar, you can cause Ramirez to dive forwards, backwards or sideways, causing bullet time to kick in a-la-Max Payne. You can also do headshots (which take a bit of practice), jump off walls (like in the Matrix) and kill the baddies in a variety of ways. Weapons vary from pistols to shotguns, rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and rocket launchers. As in GTA, you can hijack pretty much any vehicle in the street, so getting around isn't a problem.

It's not easy to die completely as there is a Prince-of-Persia "Rewind" system which allows you to go back about ten or fifteen seconds and usually allows you to undo the last stupid move you made.

The whole game has a good arcade style feel to it, and doesn't take itself too seriously, which is also a good thing. Even the screens featuring the developer's logs are amusing.

If you liked GTA 3 onwards (but fancy something a bit less intense and more fun) or if you enjoyed Just Cause, you should also like this game. It was easy to get into, good fun, can be played in short segments, and made a great chance from the FPS and RTS games that I often play.

If a sequel had come out, I'd have bought it the same day I completed this game.

You can get it cheaply enough - spend a few quid on it and try it out - you may be surprised!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Total Overdose (EU, 09/16/05)

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