|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Deadline Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.15, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
There are few gamers that would not appreciate Chili Con Carnage. I have to admit that it's a fresh and fun game that is certain to appeal to a wide variety of players. Primarily a third-person shooter, it's filled with gameplay variations and jam-packed with action.
With arcade-style controls, framed by a ridiculously campy storyline that plays out like an interactive movie, Chili Con Carnage will have you blasting heads and busting a gut. The dialogue is funny and delivered in an over-the-top fashion that, to the untrained ear, just sounds terrible, but is entirely intentional. This game likes to have fun poking fun at itself, but it also wants you to have fun playing it. Just try not to have fun with Chili Con Carnage, I dare you, partner.
Before I go any further I have to reveal that Chili Con Carnage is an incredibly short game, and even with the ad hoc multiplayer modes, there isn't much replay value. You can shoot your way through the single-player story mode in an afternoon, so it makes a great rental. I started this game during my first cup of coffee in the morning and was pretty much done with all of the modes before my afternoon nap. While I did have a very positive experience with the game, I didn't have the desire to play any part of it again. It was satisfying enough the first time through, and it didn't give me gas.
Chili Con Carnage is actually a revamped version of an older PS2 game called Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico. The original didn't fare all that well on the PS2, but with a brand new storyline, new modes, characters, and gameplay elements, it's been given a second lease on life. It looks fantastic, and the gameplay mechanics are very solid. There are some camera issues, but mechanically the game is solid. The structure of the game has been overhauled. It's less open-ended with more linear levels. As a result, it's more polished and focused.
This is a tale of dastardly deeds and retribution. It's dripping with evil characters that you will want to hunt down and see them get their comeuppance. These guys murdered your paw and a box full of cuddly kittens for crying out loud - with a combine machine no less. As Ramiro Cruz, you will go gunning for these lowdown, dirty varmints. As members of a powerful drug cartel, there are tons of heavily armed enemies to confront. With a variety of guns and various power-ups, you will be more than well equipped to deal with them.
Chaining combat kills will earn you more points, and it will also keep the music going. Take a break, and you'll revel in dead air. If you want the action to continue, you've got to take matters into your own hands. Keep filling your meter by shooting at your enemies while ducking their shots. You'll earn bonus points for doing so which you can use to acquire new skills at the end of each mission.
The controls are very simple, but they are responsive and effective. Mostly you'll just use a couple of buttons for your various abilities that include rewind and loco moves. The targeting system is great. It takes out the most dangerous foes first and is capable of good range. There are times when you'll have to resort to manual targeting, and that's when things get a little dicey. It's not a very accurate system and the camera angles have to be controlled manually as well. All of this when you're facing off against the most powerful enemies, the bosses. Cesar Moralis is the drug lord. He's your main objective. The game does a great job of providing you with weapons and skills in addition to challenges that will give you plenty of practice.
If you like lots of killing, destruction, and explosions, then you've come to the right game. Depending on your skills, it can be literally non-stop if you keep the combos going. There are lots of enemies swarming you, but the weapons, such as dual machine guns, can cut a pretty wide swath. There are also some screen-clearing power-ups that you can access, in addition to a giant Mexican wrestler that you can summon to kick the tar out of the baddies. Some levels are on-rails, and some involve turrets which are mounted on vehicles such as trucks, and even on a helicopter. There is a good blend of gameplay elements, but they all directly related to the theme of the game, even though some situations can really push the boundaries.
The other single-player modes are basically shooting galleries. In one, you'll shoot enemies wearing chicken outfits. It's fun, but it's nothing more than a novelty that you'll grow weary of in less than half-an-hour unless you're competing for high score. There are a couple of multiplayer modes that accommodate up to four players via the ad hoc wireless system. In these modes, you don't necessarily shoot at each other. Instead, it's each man for himself in a point-collecting free-for-all. Of course, the game has devised ways to annoy your fellow competitors. Power-ups will give you the ability to start an earthquake which will render your competitors unable to shoot. There's even one that will cause their screen to turn upside down. The Hangman mode only requires one PSP and one copy of the game. You take turns and pass it around. The novelty wears off quickly, as I'm sure you can imagine.
Graphically, this is a great looking game. There is lots of detail in the background that helps perpetuate the Western atmosphere. Even with a screen filled with enemies and wonderfully colored explosions that display great particle effects, there is no slowdown. Although you do have the ability to slow time down and even reverse it.
Chili Con Carnage is a great game on many levels. It's moderately challenging as far as gameplay goes, and the storyline is very entertaining. The only fault is that it's over all too soon. A game that leaves you wanting more is definitely the sign of a good game, and it's also the sign of a perfect rental.
CCC Senior Writer