Total Overdose is an open-world game set in Mexico with a story of revenge and betrayal set in a drug conquered atmosphere. Developed by Deadline Games and published by SCI games in 2005. SCI games (not to be confused by CI games publishers of sniper ghost warrior franchise) later renamed Eidos and further acquired by Square Enix. As for deadline games, they ran of fuel in 2009 with their last breath being “Watchmen: End is Nigh”. Now, Total Overdose is an old game, underrated with very little audience discovery. So there is only one way to play this game legally and that is GOG.com. The studio also ran out of funds while in mid-development of a planned sequel, Total Overdose 2: Tequila Gunrise, which was supposed to include the entire map of Mexico. Pretty large scale, right? Even after so many years, we don’t know if Square Enix is thinking about bringing back the franchise or not.
Total Overdose (TOD) has hella gameplay. You see, 2004 was a time when video games started going towards realism and a more life-like feeling. TOD says screw that and remains dedicated as a really fun arcade game. There are a variety of collectible power-ups like an Akimbo Machine Guitar Gun and Red Bull gives you wings. There are also unlockable weapons found inside vending machines. There also pick-up health packs and new game modes. Yes, if you pick up these special objects the whole world will change into an all-new mode lasting for 1 minute or two. The open world may not be not as immersive but isn’t is all cyberpunk either. The map is also divided into multiple loading sections which are recognizable as they are mostly subways or under highways. There are also cop chases, though they are avoidable by switching into a new loading zone. There are also a variety of music collections on the game’s radio though 99% of them are Spanish. Just like GTA, you can enter any vehicle on the road. But instead of throwing the driver out, you just push him to the side seat and then just vibe with him. There are Taxis which take you wherever you want on the map. The gunplay is pretty amazing for the 2004 time period but for anyone from the younger generation who plays it will find it bland and not that intriguing. Granted it’s an old game and it has aged like fine milk but anyone who is in the gaming business for a long time will find it charming.
The graphics of TOD, however, haven’t aged well but not everyone could be half-life 2. The color palette represents the one used in Mexican action movies at the time with a warmer shade. There are plenty are soundtracks which are not too bad, not too good but get the job done. Animations are a bit janky and facial animations are all over the place. Weapon recoil is barely present and you cannot change your appearance unless, of course, you use a mod. Save points are mostly the protagonist’s apartment but they could also be found across the map in the form of a spinning floppy disk. There’s one last thing I want to mention before moving to the next section of this review and it’s really fun. If you headshot someone wearing a Mexican tango hat, his hat will fly off, not only that if you are fast enough you can also wear that hat! Fun!
The story kicks you in the balls twice in the first 30 minutes of gameplay. In a nutshell, you are a DEA agent who goes into a Jungle to gather intel but is later thrown from a plane. Later, you play the agent’s son, who is also an agent. He goes to a gas pump to attack a gang’s convoy. You play as the son and kill everything that dares to move even the chickens but when you are done killing, you are caught in a grenade explosion and seriously wounded. Now the son calls his smaller brother, a black-haired Spaniard Logan Paul, named Ramiro to take down the whole scandal. The game finally begins with a serious tone. There is a ton of shit explained to players in the beginning along with places to visit and things to do. You can get paid for doing automobile stunts, show your speedrun skills in arms training areas, shoot chickens because why not, and more. There aren’t many vehicles to drive mainly being limited to few models. Only ground vehicles are available to drive. The later story plays out from the POV of Ramiro. The story missions are so damn unique and action-packed, which I don’t think many games accomplish. Like chasing a train with a mountain bike before the train jumps off a dead-end AND also saving your love interest who is tied to a bomb on the same train! Raiding a bullfight arena to diffuse the bomb, fighting an old grandma, flirting with your girlfriend and much more. Accompanied by a shitton of guns, abilities and unique movements like wall-climbing, swag jumping, jumping while shooting, badass slow motion with a lot of abilities like I think I have mentioned the abilities part before, and combine all these totally jack ass exclusives, the campaign is really a hidden gem from the time.
Don’t tell IGN about that, AHEM! Total Overdose is a badass action open-world sandbox which for any gamer from the good old days will absolutely love. A rarely found hidden gem which got kicked in the attic but is definitely worth a shot.