Total OverdoseOkay, so playing Total Overdose is proving pretty tough thanks to my heavily scratched disc that keeps conking out on me in usually the most action-packed of places, but still, I’ve managed to play enough so that I can give a quick ‘First Impression’ of this flawed but still pretty damn entertaining and fun title.

The basic story puts you in the pants of Ramiro “Ram” Cruz, a criminal on early release, thanks to his twin brother needing a replacement for a particularly sensitive DEA mission. Agent Cruz is sent to Los Toros and tasked with infiltrating and taking down the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, which of course means battling it out with dope dealers, banditos, corrupt Federales and Mexican Army, loco luchadores, guerillas, and just plain other assorted bad guys – basically anyone the developers could think of throwing into the mix!

Gameplay is your typical Grand Theft Auto free roam style, complete with car jackings and side missions, but what sets it slightly apart from the rest is its completely off the wall colour, flair and rather liberal use of game mechanics found from other hit games. It feels kind of like the developers all sat down around a table, discussed their favourite games, took the best elements out of them and the mashed it all together to provide you with this particularly action-packed, tongue-in-cheek and very addictive game to play!

(Being a huge Max Payne fan myself, the inclusion of bullet time automatically elevates a game’s status anyway)

The game features a lot of pickups to collect, some of which unlock some crazy little tongue in the cheek sequences which sees you offing zombies in a red-tinted Day of the Dead scene or laying the smack down to a seemingly endless barrage of luchadores (Mexican masked wrestlers). Heck, even the Mariachis’ trilogy gets a nod with one of Ram’s special pickup techniques!

So this is all the plusses so far. Unfortunately it isn’t all good though. The game is hurt a LOT by particularly bad A.I. and rather bland and just plain unattractive graphics.

And when I mean a lot, I mean a lot.

It’s a pity really. From what I’ve seen so far, Total Overdose could have been one kickass fine package… if the developers had spent a little more time polishing it, or perhaps thrown just that little more money at it. Still I’m thoroughly enjoying its action, having a good laugh/chuckle while doing it and can’t wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds – if my scratched disc lets me of course!

(Don’t fret over me too much though – just found out that BT Games in Tygervalley offers a nifty disc skimming service!)

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