Total Overdose E3 2005 Impressions

We get a close look at this high-octane action game from Deadline Games at E3 2005.

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If you took elements of Serious Sam, Max Payne, Tony Hawk, and Robert Rodriguez's early films and smashed them all together, what do you think you'd come up with? We'd be willing to bet the result would be something similar to Total Overdose, a new over-the-top action game from Deadline Games and SCi.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

That's a pretty weird combination of influences, obviously, but we're pleased to say that it's working out pretty well. We sat down with Dax Ginn, a game designer from SCi, to get a look at the game. He describes it as a "superfueled, tequila-driven trip to Tijuana," which ties into the game's Mexican setting. It revolves around the life of one Ramiro Cruz, aka Ram, aka "El Gringo Loco." Ramiro, an ex-con, is the son of a DEA agent who was framed and eventually killed by a staged drug overdose (hence the title). We didn't get too many plot details, but it seems rather likely that Ramiro is going to have to track down the drug dealers that killed his father.

So far as the actual game goes, it plays, again, somewhat similarly to Max Payne, with a lot of quick movement, plenty of bullet time, diving shoot-dodges, and so on. The Serious Sam aspect comes into play when you consider the crazy, over-the-top, quick-paced nature of the action. We got a chance to see Ramiro as he attempted to infiltrate and destroy a marijuana field. His task was to head into the field, dispatch any enemies, and destroy a few fertilizer tanks. Getting into the base wasn't too difficult, as a car patrol quickly came up the path along which Ramiro was walking. After getting out to investigate his presence, Ramiro was able to pop one of them, then steal the hat of the other before shooting him in the face. One of the bizarre factors of Total Overdose is that it gives you bonus points for pulling off what are called "spicy moves," which it also names. As a result, the stolen hat popped up a "Hatsteal!" text message after the kill. Other moves have their own unique tags, such as the "Burnination!" call-out after setting someone on fire, which will no doubt please Trogdors everywhere. Wall flipping, dual wielding, and all other kinds of weird Matrix-y effects are in full force here.

Immediately afterward, Ramiro had to break through the car barricade blocking off the entrance to the field. To do so, he got into a truck, started barrelling toward the barricade, then eventually opened the driver-side door and hung off the side of the truck while still attempting to keep it pointed at the cars ahead. At the last moment before impact, he dove off the truck, entered bullet time, and started firing at enemies in the area that wasn't taken out by the explosion. The bullet time aspect of the game is a seemingly constant element, and if it's not available in infinite quantities, then you certainly can maintain the slowdown effect for much longer than you would in something like Max Payne.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

In addition to the normal shooting mechanics, there are also special power-ups called loco powers, which you'll be able to unlock by killing six enemies successively. The loco powers will let you escape from tight spots by performing some kind of special move that lets you hit multiple enemies simultaneously. We happened to see one called whirlwind, in which Ramiro brought out a pair of machine guns and fired at everything around him. Others included a sombrero of death, which summoned in a skeleton suit-clad helper who followed Ramiro around and shot anything he saw, and a pinata that, when thrown, would cause all nearby enemies to run toward it before exploding in their faces, killing them.

We managed to get Dax to discuss some of the general features of the game as well. Apparently, the mix will be around 70 percent on-foot missions and 30 percent vehicle missions. There are 20 story missions and around 30 side missions, which should combine for 20 to 30 hours of gameplay, all told.

Total Overdose is apparently a couple of years into development, and it's almost ready to ship, at least in Europe. It's tentatively set to release in September in the UK and Europe. A US release is still being planned out, so keep an eye on GameSpot for more details on what appears to be a game with a lot of unique appeal.

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