Chili Con CarnageESRB:
Category: 3rd Person: Action
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Deadline Games
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Based on the 2005 release of Total Overdose on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC; Eidos and Deadline Games return with Chili Con Carnage for the PSP. In the past year we have seen our share of disappointing 3rd person shooters for the PSP. Fortunately, Chili Con Carnage arrives, delivering non-stop gun tooting action and an overall enjoyable experience. The game is fun and certainly has lasting appeal; however it’s not without some concerns which are examined below.
In terms of the visuals, Chili Con Carnage looks really good and appears to take advantage of the PSP’s hardware. The following visuals really stood out for me:
- The graphics are stylish,
- Slow-motion camera is bang on, giving a ‘Max Payne’ element to the game,
- Character models are simple however they do the job technically.
There is nothing too complicated with Chili Con Carnage for the PSP which is what makes the game so much fun and enjoyable to watch on Sony’s handheld. You almost get the felling you are stuck inside a Frank Rodriguez movie, blasting away nasty desperados, drug guerrillas and renegade cops. All of the slow-motion camera angles are effective and do not distract from the gameplay. The explosions pack a punch and the bullets look good, giving you that Matrix or Max Payne type feeling when in slow-motion. You do occasionally get some slow down, however for the most part the framerate is solid and non-problematic. The character models are a simple and limited, however that being said the characters did not take away from the gameplay.
As far as the sound is concerned, Chili Con Carnage is quite enjoyable. The following sounds stood out for me:
- Comical voice dialogue;
- The soundtrack is solid;
- The overall presentation and sound of the battle actions is effective.
I have to admit Chili Con Carnage’s voice acting is horrible but it almost appears as if this was done on purpose. The accents are terrible but funny at the same time. Additionally, the dialogue is comical as well. As some would say, it’s so bad that it’s good. The soundtrack is also pleasant and very much reminds me of Total Overdose’s track list. Once again, it’s non-stop Latino hip hop and it blends into the game perfectly. It should also be noted that the tunes change depending on your current combo (combo described a little more below). The music becomes more intense as your combos increase and the music does a great job fading in and out during a given mission.
In Chili Con Carnage you play the role of Ramiro "Ram" Cruz. The storyline is a tale of revenge which begins with your father’s assassination. As you progress through the game the storyline becomes more comical and irrelevant. Chili Con Carnage is all about bullet time, headshots and shot dodge actions. Bottomline, if you like to blow things up and shoot down hundreds of enemies, and could care less about an intriguing storyline; then Chili Con Carnage is definitely for you.
As far as the missions and levels are concerned the free-roaming city from Total Overdose is gone. Chili Con Carnage includes numerous shorter missions and plenty of bonus challenges. Unique to Chili Con Carnage is the scoring system which is effective. The multiplier is self-explanatory and your score increases with each gravity defying move which contributes to the demise of the enemy. The combo meter is unique and gradually drains too. Therefore killing a large amount of enemies becomes an integral part of your success while keeping your multiplier from resetting.
The best part of the game, as suggested above, is killing the enemies and the many ways you can accomplish this. For instance, the slow-motion camera comes into play when you have an enemy in your sights and you subsequently dive in any direction (similar to Max Payne). The developers did a nice job with this feature which is worth the price of the game alone. In addition to the ‘slo-mo’ feature, you can perform flips and stunts which produce spectacular results.
As you progress through the game the battles do get somewhat repetitive and I found that I had a tendency to rely on moves which previously resulted in the best results. The enemies don’t offer up as much resistance as I would have liked and it can make the single player campaign go by rather quickly. The control scheme is a bit finicky but it is to be expected from a PSP third person shooter and you will most likely adjust.
As far as the multiplayer is concerned Chili Con Carnage has two modes. The Fiesta mode includes up to four players and throws all of you into an area filled with enemies. It’s all about killing and trying to get as many points as possible. The Hangman mode is also four players but this time you take turns switching from player to player after each round. Overall, the multiplayer is entertaining but I do question the lasting appeal.
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