Platforms: PS2, Xbox & PC - PS2 version reviewed.
Let’s get one thing straight from the outset, Total Overdose is, quite simply, an interactive Robert Rodriguez movie. Of course I’m talking early Robert Rodriguez, as in El Mariachi and Desperado, rather than the woefully disappointing Once Upon a Time in Mexico – and I’m not even going to mention Spy Kids! What I’m talking about here is a Mexican location, a very flimsy storyline and more bullets than you could shake a stick at.
In essence, Total Overdose is an unashamed rip off of Grand Theft Auto, which actually isn’t a bad thing. If you’ve played GTA San Andreas to death and you’re looking for something similar to get your teeth into, you could do a lot worse than Total Overdose.
Unlike in GTA, in Total Overdose you play a good guy, well sort of. Actually you play the wayward criminal twin brother of a government agent who was injured in the line of duty while trying to track down the man who double crossed his secret agent father years earlier – phew! Of course even as a good guy you get to cause pretty much every kind of carnage along the way in order to complete your mission.
Another stark difference between Total Overdose and GTA is the combat interface. Whereas even in GTA San Andreas the combat is pretty basic, in Total Overdose the gun fights have all the balletic beauty of a scene from The Matrix. In a hark back to Max Payne, you can, at the touch of a button slow down time while you throw yourself to one side, taking out the bad guys in the process - but it doesn't end there. If you're next to a wall you can run up it and jump off cartwheeling while you unleash a hail of bullets. Learning how to make the most of your acrobatic abilities is the key to walking away from gunfights where you're vastly outnumbered - which is pretty much every gunfight.
But things really get fun when you employ the "Loco Moves". These special powerups give you some awesome abilities for a set period of time and can be invaluable in desperate situations. A couple of my favourites are "Golden Gun" and "El Torro" - the former gives you a one shot, one kill ability which can be very useful when you're surrounded, while the latter turns you into a raging berserker that just mows down enemies. However, my favourite Loco Move has to be "El Mariachi" - in the ultimate homage to Rodriguez, El Mariachi gives you two machine gun equipped guitar cases, allowing you to nail even the toughest enemies with ease.