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Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico

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Once they were merely known as “mules” for Colombia’s powerful cocaine cartels. Today, Mexico’s narcotics traffickers have grown into drug lords in their own right, and the front line of the drug war has shifted from the Andean jungles to America’s front door.

Mexican gangs run their own distribution networks in the United States, and they produce most of the methamphetamine used north of the border. They have even bypassed the Colombians several times to buy cocaine directly from producers in Bolivia and Peru.

Thomas Constantine, director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, told a congressional committee this year: “These sophisticated drug syndicate groups from Mexico have eclipsed organized crime groups from Colombia as the premier law enforcement threat facing the United States today.”

The year is 1989 and deep in the sweltering heat of the Mayan jungle, camouflaged among the Inca ruins; Ernesto Cruz catches his breath as he makes a last gasp effort to board a DEA plane to take him to safety. He never made it home, the tragic victim of an alleged “overdose”.

The search for their father’s killer takes twin brothers Ram and Tommy through 18 different environments from the city of Los Toro’s to the Mexican desert. From stylized Mexican neighborhoods and jungle hide-outs to the swanky California coast; Total Overdose is an over-the-top, adrenaline-fueled, free-style action, 3rd person cinematic adventure with a strong whiff of tequila.

As I said in the paragraph beginning this review, Mexican drug lords have brought the sale of illicit drugs from the Jungles to America’s front door, much similar to the movement of drugs; Total Overdose takes you on that exact same path, from the jungle to the concrete jungle. Total Overdose is an RPG, shooter game much in the same vein as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, True Crimes: Streets of L.A., and Max Payne.

Take those titles, add 1 part Streets of Rage, mix in a little dash of Tony Hawk: Pro Skater, a hint of Diablo II, the slightest touch of Man on Fire and a man apart, and of course add 10 parts Robert Rodriguez movie (El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a time in Mexico…yes the movie Johnny Depp wears a belt clad with a weed leaf belt buckle.) Do these things and you may have the recipe for Total Overdose: a Gunslingers tale in Mexico.

Total Overdose: A gunslingers tale in Mexico, came to me by way of Kevin Gill and the incredible staff at Eidos Interactive, When I first heard of the game, I had no clue it was even being developed, there is defiantly a lack of publicity about the game and obviously that/’s one of the great things surrounding the release of a new game, publicity and the ability to get the product in the hands of the consumer.

At first glance, one cannot help but have the urge to play Total Overdose; the cover art is gorgeous and highly creative. Just examining the cover what more could you want? You have hot Latina women of course scantily clad, fat greedy drug overlords, and of course the Badass ‘Gunslinger’ surrounded in fire foreshadowing the overall feel of the game, hot and spicy. Also included in Total Overdose is a first look into the new adventure of Laura Croft, “Tomb Raider: Legend.”

Upon insertion of the game you can’t help but want to go around killing things as you press different button combinations you have endless possibilities with over 60+ Freestyle action moves, a huge array of weapons and ammunition to take over the whole country of Mexico in one quick swoop. There are tons of ramps to go all out and get Dukes of Hazard style on Mexico. When reviewing a game like this one you have to obviously first talk about the three things which make every game like this more fun, and more appealing and they of course are the weapons, the vehicles, and the ability to move around and connect with the overall theme of the game, well lets get some of these out of the way first.

Weapons: There are a ton of weapons just waiting to be unlocked, my personal favorite so far has been the Combat Shotgun, After shooting somebody with the Combat shotgun in most games or a shotgun in general the person just falls to the ground, not in Total Overdose, this time around they fly back about a foot to show the sheer destruction of one of these weapons. Also a great weapon, the Machete, the machete allows you to go around and swipe a targets head off with ease very effective and very fun. The great thing about using weapons on a civilian is occasionally you get a civilian wearing a hat, if you shoot the bystander correctly there hat will fly off and if you can get it to land on your head then you can collect extra points!

Vehicles: The Vehicles are very much like you would see in a country like México, broke down, ugly, dated. Another great thing about the vehicles unlike most games if you leave your car in one spot after jumping out of it, it disappears, now you can go jump your car up onto a roof and it will stay! Just like in Street Fighter (the bonus round) and in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you can break the car apart by hitting it, ultimately leading to its explosion.

Ability to move freely: Your movements are confined in some regards, as you can’t go into the surrounding ocean, or if you go to some parts of the map towards the edge you will be sent back to a point they deem acceptable, If you flip a car over after jumping on a ramp if it comes to a stop and your still in it will rewind itself to a point where you can try the ramp again. So in essence in some parts the feature is great while in others its not to great. One other feature that bugs me greatly concerning the ability to move freely is that you do not have the ability to climb onto walls, or to cling onto an object when you jump like most of these games have, see Grand Theft Auto. It often times gets annoying and you often find yourself running around the perimeter of a building trying to find a ladder to climb and finally get that 500 point marker which you saw from the street. This also attributes to you losing your spot and quickly forgetting your mission at hand.

While we are on that topic of the Point markers and collectible items, one of the best features of the game is the point system, if you get enough points much similar to Diablo II, you will gain experience and new abilities (Level) This is very similar to Tony Hawk Pro Skater as well, which gives the game an added feature to focus on without having to follow missions.

Another thing which also attributes to an underlying current of annoying game play issues in the game is the fact that there is little reinforcement or notice on where to find the next mission. You often times find yourself forgetting about the mission totally, going after points and other collectible objects such as weapons instead, and then you will find yourself going on a shooting rampage.

After further game play i found that the missions are rather secondary as there is just so much to do outside of missions, there is the Day of the Dead mode which finds you defending yourself from Dead Skeletons, in order to collect points, and also the Mad wrestler mode very similar to the first however this time you have Lucha Libra masked wrestlers running at you with a bat and your goal is to kill them and tone your skills.

These two modes offer something to this game that is unique, we all know about the Grand Theft Auto series, then there is the True Crimes: Streets of LA, there is Max Payne, and so many games like this. In reality there all just a spin off of the earlier arcade games.

One of these earlier arcade games was the infamous Streets of Rage, which is strangely similar to this minus the cool changeable characters. Ya know that cool missal drop that you could call on throughout the level? Well think better, because also unique to this game are cool special moves which you can collect by picking up there icons throughout game play. My favorite mode is the “El Mariachi” El Mariachi obviously being the prequel to the movie Desperado staring Antonio Bandares, when in the movie his two accomplishes (band mates) show up with two guitar cases with a twist, there loaded with ammo and ready to fire. Adapting this into the game was an incredible idea and very unique, it is amazingly cinematic and very familiar to the look and feel of its Motion Picture counterpart. Like many others have already said, this game is basically a Robert Rodriguez movie if a Robert Rodriquez movie became a video game.

As previously mentioned, the storyline/missions are both all around flimsy and are very over thought in some cases, so over thought that it makes it unbelievable. The first two missions of the game are nothing more then to setup for the main part of the game featuring the good bad son…see what im talking about? Once you get passed the first two missions (simple to do but just pointless) then you can finally get into the game.

When you do get into the main characters skin in this game and have more of a map to play on, you start exploring, and you can do a lot of it. The map is massive, however when you get to the end of a map you have to go through a wall which loads up the new map, it gets annoying the whole loading thing, because you have to do a lot of it, whether it is saving your current game, or when you die, the game has to keep reloading.

The one feature which could prevent the loading is a feature which allows you to come back from the dead before your game ends. That feature is straight from the game, “Prince of Persia” however it is efficient and very fun, this feature is the Rewind feature. It allows you to go back in time and correct your mistakes before it is to late, whether it be taking on an armed posse of about 10-15, or doing that crazy stunt which makes your car explode, with the press of a button your back to when you were still alive and kicking. This feature is great for part time gamers like me who don’t always make the smartest decisions.

That is one of the draws of this game, you don’t have to be a pro gamer to enjoy it and succeed, they give you every possibility to correct your mistakes and learn from them. Many games don’t do that, you just die and that’s all there is to it, restart level from the beginning with no weapons and no points (Grand Theft Auto).

What the game gains in ease it lacks in depth, There aren’t many interactive map sites to go to such as in Grand Theft Auto where you can go to a Barber Shop, then go to a restaurant and then to a clothing store. Your appearance is your appearance and you can’t change it. I cannot help but compare the game to Grand Theft Auto constantly, because in reality that’s what Eidos is trying to capitalize on, the GTA market; it was definatly a smart decision to do because we all know violent games are the highest selling.

The Bottom Line: The game is great I cannot complain, for those who outplayed Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne and are looking for something along that same vein to play then this game is definatly for you, Eidos came off with a great product and it is very fun, you can play it for hours, Total overdose is a total hit in my opinion, I wouldn’t so much as call it the game of the year, but perhaps one of the top 25 for game of the year if it catches wind of the Gamer world. In my opinion really the only thing holding this game back is the lame and over thought story line.




  • Eidos Interactive


  • M

Release Date:

  • 09/16/2005


  • Kevin Dank


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