Chili Con Carnage PSP Review

If you’ve previously played 2005’s Total Overdose then this 2007 release of the jokingly-titled Chili Con Carnage should be very familiar to you. This isn’t a sequel as such, it’s more of a retread of Total Overdose, with locations, weapons, characters and actions all lifted from the said game.

The story is stupid, but entertaining, beginning with the death of your character’s father via a combine harvester, which also cruelly kills the kittens that Ramiro Cruz (Ram for short and the main playable character) had fetched his dad for his birthday. It’s most obvious that this isn’t going to be a dark revenge story in the mould of Max Payne etc, as like Total Overdose that came before it, Chili Con Carnage is tongue in cheek storytelling.

The city aspect of Total Overdose did feel a little tacked on it has to be said, and it also brought the game some comparisons with the busily mentioned Grand Theft Auto series. This was a totally unfair comparison, given that the true heart of the game was that of John Woo-style acrobatic gunplay as well as stringing fancy combos together. If you are wondering, there is no such driving around city streets here, which means that Chili takes the loud and stylish action, the true worth of Total Overdose.

The combo system of Total Overdose is fortunately something that has survived the translation from console to handheld. Simply put, a fiery bar on the right hand of the screen starts depleting following an enemy kill, and it’s then up to you to keep the combo alive for as long as possible, by taking out further enemies in an inventive and unrepeated manner.

Ram, the games central and playable character has been given great motivation following the murder of his father, so that’s perhaps why he is capable of copying many of the one-man army actions of John Woo‘s movie cast. He can dive in various directions to avoid bullets like a Mexican Max Payne, and just basically look cool, taking out a number of enemies, before magically coming to rest on the ground with an enemy hat on his head and without even breaking a single finger nail. Then there’s the OTT Loco moves, which would definitely be the ones to choose if you were looking for vengeance with a bold lettered capital V. These moves include such sights as Ram spinning around in the air like a tornado and firing off his Uzis (which is most effective when there’s lots of enemies to kill and lots of things to blow up), running like a charging bull and taking enemies down like an American football player with an iron shoulder, and using his gun most effectively for snappy head shots, amongst other silly and stylish moves.

One of the major plusses of Chili Con Carnage is the genius control system that soon becomes second nature. Aiming at enemies, barrels, and achieving those all important head shots is all helped by a fantastic two-button targeting system, which makes perfect sense if you are wanting to pop some bullets into a very flammable barrel opposed to a single enemy, or vice versa.

The single player mode may be pretty short, although comfort does come in the form of bettering your combos as well as the medals that you earn on each level, with the latter often unlocking additional characters for the El Macho mode. The aforementioned mode basically allows you to go for as high score as possible, and you’ll most probably return to it to try and improve upon a previous number set by yourself or another player. There’s also a multiplayer mode, which can be played by passing your PSP around or via Ad-Hoc for up to four players, with the aim being to compete for the highest score.

This writer was a huge fan of Total Overdose, so it goes without saying that he also enjoyed this re-imagining immensely. If you like action games with more bang than sizzle, then the spicy Mexican-fuelled Chili Con Carnage should do you a great service, as well as showcasing a bad taste in headwear!