Tag: Grand Theft Auto

Total Overdose: Mex Payne.

If there’s anything I kinda miss about gaming these days, is the sense of people copycatting ideas from other games because they became a breakout success. Sonic the Hedgehog was popular, so here’s a bunch of platformers of characters with some ‘tude. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater rejuvenated a fading extreme sports genre and had a few copycats throughout the 2000s.

But the biggest was around 2001, when two major franchises released that would shift the balance towards what games were for the first half of the decade: Grand Theft Auto III and Max Payne. GTAIII was a free-roaming open world game that was actually critically acclaimed. Its success suddenly had many games pivot to making GTA clones or even open worlds to drive around in an otherwise linear action game. Likewise with Max Payne‘s release, a fair share of games started taking the bullet time shooting mechanic as well, though not as big.

Now most of these copycats are perfectly fine, solid game, but they rarely stood out unless they had some kind of gimmick attached to them. One game in particular decided to copy both of those games together, with a pinch of Mexican cinema pastiche for flavor.

hey, watch where you point that, buddy

Total Overdose: A Gunslinger’s Tale in Mexico is a game definitely in that Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne mold, but with a little Latin flavor. Developed by Deadline Games, a Denmark development studio mostly known for adventure games, this game has them trying to make something previously unknown to them: the third-person shooter meets open-world sandbox.

Guess you gotta start things off action-packed somehow.

The game starts in 1989-era Mexico as DEA agent Ernesto Cruz tries to find Papa Muerte, a major drug kingpin. While shooting his way through a Mayan jungle, Ernesto makes his escape on a plane before forcibly being removed from it. The death was reported as a drug overdose.

Cut to a few years later, when Ernesto’s son Tommy, who’s also a DEA agent, tries to figure out the mystery of his father’s death, where he goes undercover working for some drug cartels. But an unfortunate incident at a gas station leads to him being stuck in a wheelchair and being strictly reconnaissance for the time being.

Real smooth there, dude.

Enter Ram Cruz: Tommy’s delinquent brother who helps him out by doing missions for the DEA in exchange for his freedom. While Tommy is kind and supportive, Ram is a massive dickhead at the start. This doesn’t last for long, though, as he eventually sheds a lot of that attitude for a more casual personality towards the end.

Dive, shoot, survive. Easy to learn, difficult to master.

Total Overdose starts like a conventional mid-2000s shooter for the time. WASD moves, left mouse button shoots. Since this is taking a page from the Max Payne playbook, hitting the shootdodge key – Spacebar by default – Ram can dodge and shoot enemies for bonus points. Holding right mouse button gives a more precision headshot that can be a one-hit KO if timed correctly. There’s other little tricks Ram can do, including climbing up walls and rappelling down wires while shooting, giving that sense of style that Max Payne refined just a couple years earlier.

perhaps they took inspiration from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater as well…

True Crime: Streets of LA Uncovered.

Remember True Crime: Streets of LA? It was a decent Grand Theft Auto clone developed by Luxoflux (RIP) and published by Activision in 2003. While it didn’t reinvent the wheel, it was a decent shooter, driving game and beat-em up. While I was doing my Game Fuel hunt a few weeks back, I had stumbled upon this mysterious gem in the DVD section at a Goodwill.

This is True Crime: Streets of LA Uncovered. A promo DVD for the game, presumably given to GameStop employees or people who pre-ordered the game. For $3, I couldn’t pass this up.

This promo DVD is chock full of interesting videos that highlight the game’s mechanics, a few behind the scenes features, even a video advertising the (now-defunct) truecrimela.com. There’s even a trailer for the original Xbox version of the game, which looked somewhat better than the other versions of True Crime.

Late to the Party: Red Dead Redemption.

I had written this shortly after I finished the main campaign of Red Dead Redemption in mid-2011. I was intending to post it as a community blog on Destructoid, but I didn’t get around to it for whatever reason. As I was sifting through my past writings, I found this one and decide to post it here. I only changed minor grammar and spelling errors, and changed the formatted BBCode back to HTML.


So, I wrote a blog back in January on how I’ve always been behind on video games. Thankfully, I’ve gotten better this year at trying to keep up, but I can’t afford every single game at launch. Because of this, I end up getting games long after their release date, sometimes end up playing them much later after that. Since L.A. Noire just came out a week ago, I think it’s topical that I write about another Rockstar-published game that came out last year. This, my friends, is me being late to the party on Red Dead Redemption.

Shout out to whoever made the cover. It’s rather stark. If only the rest of the game looked like this.

Red Dead Redemption
Played on 360
Released on May 18, 2010
Started January 18, 2011, Finished May 14, 2011

(Finished in this case means “Finished last story mission, roll credits.” Since it’s a free-roaming action game and all.)

My dad was the one who got me to notice this game. He’s not a gamer, he just pays attention to TV ads and asks if I’m familiar with certain games. This, coupled with the Man from Blackwater Machinima that aired on FOX shortly after the game’s release, made me mildly interested in it. I asked for it as a Christmas gift, and started by dabbling with multiplayer in early January. (First achievement I got? “Red Dead Rockstar.” The viral achievement.) After a while, I started playing the single player on and off, playing it around the same time as other games like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Saints Row 2.

Now, I hadn’t played a recent Rockstar game. The last Grand Theft Auto game I’ve played was GTA: San Andreas, so I can’t make any comparisons from RDR to GTA4 as I haven’t played it. I also never played the spiritual predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. That game was released back in a time where I didn’t have a large Xbox/PS2/Gamecube collection. I was essentially going into this with little expectations other than who published it — Rockstar, known for high quality and critically acclaimed games — and who developed it — Rockstar San Diego, the guys who brought us Smuggler’s Run back in the PS2/GC days, as well as the Midnight Club games.

For 2010, this looks rather alright.

I’ll refrain from spoiling large chunks of the story, as it’s a decent story for a Western-style game. When I started the game, I just assumed that John Marston’s role is similar to The Man with No Name’s from the famous Dollars trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns.