At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date Screenshots
Matt Bailey PlayStation 2 Eidos Interactive Deadline Games 1 16th September 2005 Here

GME: Total Overdose preview

This preview is based solely on the code available at Games Market Europe.

A few quick glances at Total Overdose would suggest it was a GTA clone. Admittedly it does contain the free-roaming gun-slinging car-stealing mission-based action from that series, but there's more to it than that. For a start there's bullet time, which shows the greater emphasis on the on-the-foot gun action than the GTA series.

So the game is ultimately shamelessly 'borrowing' ideas from the likes of San Andreas and Max Payne (so much so it was even pointed out to us by a friendly PR guy who was present), but is this necessarily bad? Well, despite the ideas themselves not being original, it is a unique blend. Ultimately it will all come down to how well these features gel together in the final game, and our initial impression is that it's going rather well at the moment.

Although the driving was possibly a bit too light at the moment (the cars themselves don't seem to convey their own weight too well), it was still perfectly playable, and I was able to drive around to various locations with ease. I didn't get a chance to try out the missions themselves in the short play time I had - instead I went to check out the game's training section in order to get a feel for what the game had on offer. While the Grand Theft Auto series focuses on gaining bigger and better guns and vehicles, Total Overdose instead introduces you to new aspects through training exercises. I was able to try a range of these, including some based on the weapons, with the game's targeting being satisfactorily smooth. Gaining head-shots also worked well; it was a matter of holding down a button, letting the target focus in and turn yellow, before hitting the fire button. Another part of training was learning the game's "Loco" moves. These are things like a Tornado attack - shown in the video at the bottom of the page - where you can take out large numbers of enemies in one go. These moves need to picked up, and can offer a lifeline when you are overwhelmed by the enemy.

There is also another game which has influenced Total Overdose; the Tony Hawk's series. It isn't the free-roaming of the recent games (itself arguably influenced by GTA3), but surprisingly the combos which have been taken from the series. By stringing together multiple kills you can earn various rewards. As well as being an interesting inclusion for an action game, it's also more forgiving than in skateboarding titles; you can actually travel between sections and continue your combo if done right.

More time is needed to assess the game visually. Though not photo realistic, the initial impressions were good. It can seem a bit too 'bright' for the style of game - it doesn't appear to have a darker edge that I noticed. However, there are two counter-points to this; firstly I only played during the daytime, so it will obviously be lighter, and secondly the game is set in Mexico, which is in itself considerably more brighter than the likes of London or Liberty City. Whether the atmosphere isn't quite right is, as I said, something that needs more time to determine, but at least the game does look like a lot of effort has been put in to its 18 environments.

Total Overdose has already earned itself an 18-rating, so you can expect lots of violence in this Friday's release of the game.

A video of Matt playing Total Overdose at Games Market Europe is available (requires the XviD codec). You will need to save this to disk before playing.

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