Total Overdose Preview
By: Kurt Knudsen

Total Overdose comes to us from Deadline Games and, at first glance, looks like being a fairly generic shooter. However, beneath its somewhat tacky title and general premise lies a game that dishes out considerable fast-paced action and a really good time. Despite doing an average job in the graphics department, Total Overdose offers a great mix of gameplay elements. To give you a better overall idea, think Grand Theft Auto meets Max Payne meets Desperado. You can steal cars, slow down time, and run over some rake-wielding Mexicans all within a few minutes of one another.

The preview copy offered a single level of play that demonstrated the type of game Total Overdose will become. The level contained various hints to illustrate what to do and how to best approach the game. Whenever you see a special item, or need to perform a special move, the game lets you know about it and tells you which keys to use to perform it. Throughout the game you’ll be gleefully slowing time down to perform insane combinations of kills, which help build points and, in turn, score more bonuses. With a myriad of weapons to choose from, the variety of ways to kill someone is almost unlimited.

The graphics in Total Overdose are fairly basic. Though not terrible, the graphics certainly don’t elevate the title above similar genre games or offer anything remotely original to make the game stand out. Instead the developers have focused on bringing an extremely fun game to the overly saturated shooter marketplace. Explosions are plentiful and so are the gibs, which look especially cool with time slowed. Character models aren’t particularly detailed, which, though limiting in visual standard, allows for a whole lot of them to be on the screen at once.

Slowing down time gives you an all-too obvious advantage during the game, but what it also does is allow you to pick off several foes at once—and in a variety of styles. You can jump off a wall, get a headshot perfectly lined, and then blow an enemy away, or you can do a cartwheel off a wall and just blast anything that your crosshairs find. The game has an obvious auto-aim function that helps a great deal because unfortunately the camera can be obscured occasionally. Some people might find this function annoying or indeed useless, but it doesn’t detract from the game as a whole. It isn’t perhaps as severe as a certain aimbot for one of the most played—and most cheat prone—online games I could mention. The auto-aim does sometimes become cumbersome by targeting the wrong enemy or item but, for the most part, it isn’t very noticeable.

The game controls are simple and work well. Driving is a little weird since you can freely smash a car into a wall—while driving—but the second you hop out it explodes. Regardless, it’s a nice effect and sets up for some interesting ideas later on. Switching between loco moves is simple and using them is as easy as pressing ‘CTRL’. Total Overdose does a good job at explaining how to manipulate the controls to gain the best advantage.

During play you can obtain special, loco, moves. One might be a golden gun, which kills an enemy in one hit, another might be a twister, which allows you to jump in the air with dual Uzis and spin around killing anything near you. The full game will likely contain a lot more than those, but from what was seen during the preview they are definitely fun and easily add more depth to the gameplay. The game has a small timer that starts when you kill someone and refills when you continue killing. If you can get a lot of kills during this time, your score is increased and you can also get some bonuses such as health and loco moves. Every enemy in the game drops his weapon when killed, so ammo is always in plentiful supply.

Since there was only one level of play for the preview build, the gameplay on offer was relatively limited. Yet, if the full game emerges anything like this preview, then we can expect a definite success—and some more lawsuits from our favorite lawyer. Look out for a full review when this title hits retail.