You can also collect "Rewind" powerups, which let you turn back time if you meet an untimely demise. I'm a big fan of this kind of feature, even if it is clearly lifted straight out of Prince of Persia - it makes tough sections of the game far less frustrating. Being able to Rewind is particularly useful if it's been a while since you've seen a save point!
However, where Total Overdose does lose out to GTA is in the freedom of movement and exploration departments. One of the great things about the GTA series is that you can, if you so desire, spend hours just driving around the streets, running down pedestrians, having shoot outs with the cops, or even just grabbing some fast food. With Total Overdose things are a bit more structured and linear, with missions dumping you in a certain part of the environment and not letting you leave until you've done your duty. Whether this is enough to put off GTA fans is open to debate, but it wasn't enough to stop me enjoying Total Overdose.
Graphically Total Overdose is about as good as any other Grade A PS2 game, although it's getting harder for developers to impress with Sony's ageing console. That said, the overall environment is superb, enhanced by great sound effects, dialogue and a thumping Latino soundtrack.
OK, so Total Overdose is somewhat lacking in the originality stakes, but the games and movies that it pays homage to are good ones. It may not have the grand scale of Rockstar's last epic, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in fun and playability.
Total.Overdose is one of those games that I hadn't heard a lot about and as a result I didn't have high expectations. However after spending some time playing it I can see that it's one of those sleepers that sneaks up on you and keeps you playing into the early hours without you even realising it. It's a bit more linear than the GTA games, but it doesn't suffer too badly as a result. The array of weapons, special moves and, most importantly Loco Moves keeps you playing just so you can finish each set piece with a bit more style. If Robert Rodriguez is thinking of making another Mariachi film, perhaps he should play Total Overdose for a while to recapture his original vision - it's a hell of a lot more fun than watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico!