The overhead viewed camera racer used to be a staple of the old arcades and consoles what with Super Off Road and of course micro machines offering hours of fun but with the advent of 3D racers they became pretty much redundant to the modern gamer. Occasionally a producer will attempt to bring back some classics but for some reason, even though the consoles are more than capable of recreating the former glory days, most overcomplicate the matter; Fuel Overdose is one of these games.
Set in a the near future, the world has been ravaged by a series of terrible events, starting with the a terrible disease called Lilith that was killing all life on earth, the cure was just as dangerous, saving us from Lilith but leaving the remaining world's population addicted to the vaccine, skipping doses also resulting in a horrific death. To make thing worse, global warming increases dramatically and then add to this the earth's inclination changes, creating new poles and wiping out a third of the population, leaving only small pockets of survivors. These tribes try to survive, obtaining the vaccine for Lilith to continue to live, with one group rising above the ashes and becoming the only supplier of the vaccine, The Consortium. Getting hold of the vaccine yourself is simple, join the cause, steal it or join the brave few in the Race of Chaos, an ultimate version of destruction derby put on as a show for followers of the Consortium.
This Death Race rip-off is a mixture of negotiating tight corners and hazards whilst shooting away at the opposition, thanks to the cars you drive all being equipped with a basic set of weapons that include machine guns, rockets and a mine, which you fire with the X button and swap by tapping the shoulder buttons. Each vehicle is also fitted with a grapple hook, allowing you to not only latch onto poles on tight corners to slingshot you around, but also to grab other cars and earn a speed boost off them or if you are feeling particularly nasty, send an electrical pulse charging through them. As well as earning cash to purchase faster and more powerful cars the variation between characters comes in the way of special bonuses like better acceleration or increased weapon damage and plenty of special moves that are connected to the Berserk Gauge, which once charged you pull off a quick combination on the right stick, unleashing game changing Super and Ultra Attacks.
The problem with Fuel Overdose is that there is just far too much going on when racing, with so many offensive weapons and the numerous ways to operate them, driving takes the back seat which is a serious problem as you can't have all of this without the basic fundamentals, something that Fuel Overdose just gets all wrong. The steering is just a little too floaty plus the extremely erratic camera makes it very hard to judge and successfully negotiate even the simplest of corners; add to this the constant barrage of rival attacks from small fire to their own special attacks leaving you spinning constantly around and most races are won by sheer luck rather than any skill, that is if boredom does not set in thanks to the very basic looking graphics, a shame as at least the characters are well drawn with their heavily anime influenced styles.
If you are still considering this game then you can at least expect a decent amount of gaming modes, with quick races, a championship, story and multiplayer modes all allowing you to vent some road rage. Each mode allows you to choose your favourite character and race, with championships unlocking more courses upon completion and a story mode that will give you more of an insight into the Consortium. There is also a huge selection of Challenges to play through offering various time attack and high score battle modes plus an online multiplayer mode, however at the time of writing this review there were no games available and despite many attempts at connecting I had no luck, therefore I'm obviously unable comment on connection speeds or lag.
Fuel Overdose is a game that on paper would have seemed like a sure fire hit what with its racing, numerous weapons and anime characters, but it fails on the basics and throws far too much at you to get any enjoyment from it.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3 - PlayStation Network)
- Interesting story
- Poor handling
- Too much going on
- Sub-standard graphics
- Too much going on
- Sub-standard graphics