Fuel Overdose Review (PS3)
Fuel Overdose is a combat racer for PlayStation 3. Unlike similar combat racing games available for the PS3, Fuel Overdose opts for an over the top camera giving the player a birds-eye view of the action. The game seems to be heavily influenced by the PC classic Death Rally, though it has a bunch of new tricks up its sleeves.
The objective of the game is simple to race three laps of the track and beat the seven other opponents to the finish line using a combination of driving skills, weapons, and special moves. There are different ways to drive depending on the type of car you are using. With some cars its best to slow down to take corners while with others its best to drift round them Ridge Racer style.
The first impression of the driving in this game wasn’t very good. Most people will automatically use the left analogue stick to try and steer their car which will result in them slamming into the nearest wall. The analogue controls are too sensitive, with the slightest movement making the car turn violently. However when using the digital pad the game becomes much more responsive allowing you to pull off some great driving moves. With a bit of practice you can pull off drifting your car to the point that its facing sideways to the direction it’s moving. This allows you to fire your cars guns on a rival that’s about to over take you, which is very satisfying.
To assist with your driving each car has grappling hooks installed which can be used in a number of ways to gain an advantage. The grappling hook can be used to hook on to a rivals car to slow them down, or to drag them into danger. When letting go of the grappling hook your car will also be given a small speed boost which is quite handy, especially if it’s a close race to the finish line. The other main use of the grappling hook is to use it to grab on to poles that are on corners to slingshot the car around them.
Each car is equipped with four types of weapons. Machine guns, which dish out the weakest damage, are good for slowing down rival cars by making them lose control. Mines can my deployed to slow down cars that are behind you. They are also useful in game modes that require the player to destroy one or more rival cars. Missiles home into a rival car and do a decent amount of damage, although due to their poor range they are almost useless in a race. Finally there are the very useful detonators which, when pressed, blow up any road side bombs that are ahead of your car.
Apart from the weapons players can dish out damage using their racers special moves. These special move work in the same way as they do in fighting games like Street Fighter. When the players Berserk Gauge is full enough the player can pull off these special moves using the right analogue stick. These special moves include air strikes, rock slides, and samurai sword attacks. It is a refreshing addition to the combat racing game, also it makes playing each character a more unique experience.
There are five main game play modes: Free Race, Championship, Story, Challenge, and multiplayer. Free Race allows the player to quickly play a race. Championship is the standard setup of five races in which players get points depending on the position the finish the race in, and the player who wins the most points wins the Championship. You are awarded money winning in Championship mode that you can use to unlock new cars. Story mode is split up for each character giving you insight as to why each of them have entered into the races.
The story mode also gives information into the history of the world within the game explaining why these combat races started out in the first place. The story mode is not bad. The history of the races and how they began is quite interesting even though most of the characters stories aren’t. Each race in the story mode has its own scenarios. Some of these are simple, such as “win the race without weapons” or “beat a certain character”. Other scenarios are more interesting and original. For example, in one you are required to get hit by another characters special freeze attack and survive the race in order to add a cooling system to a rocket part. The story mode will take a good few hours to complete, but beware this story has the laziest ending to a game since Settlers II! The story just ends with no real conclusion. You don’t even get any money to unlock more cars, just a thank you for playing the game.
Challenge mode is the most interesting single player mode in the game, and one which most players will spend most of their time. There are six different type of challenges: Driving, Time Attack, Drift, Survival, Points, and Kill’em All. The most interesting of these are Survival, Points, and Kill’em All. Survival requires the player to win the race without the use of weapons. In Points the player is required to do the most damage to other players while racing. Kill’em All is quite self explanatory: kill all the other racers.
The game has five main race track with each one having a number of variations, a bit like race tracks in Ridge Racer. These include the frozen wastelands of Kyoto, the desert of Las Vegas, the jungles of Cairo, A flooded New York, and the lava covered Prague. If some of those seem strange that’s because the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth’s tilt has changed resulting in a climate shift in most places. The graphics for each level on a whole are good, not great, but good enough for this type of game. The only issue is the New York level as it has got a lot of problems. Too much effort was put into the graphics and weather effects and it effects the performance of the game. The frame rate drops a lot in this level and game play can become sluggish. It’s ironic because due to all the effects added into this level it make it the worst looking. It’s a shame because playing the other levels is good fun, especially Kyoto and Prague.
I was not able to play the multiplayer mode in this game, but as long as there is no noticeable lag this could be the real selling point. Eight player online racing should be a chaotic blast. However, the single player modes alone are worth playing. This game is far from being the perfect successor to Death Rally as the game has a number of issues. The frame rate will drop when all 8 of the cars are on the screen. The AI racers are not the smartest and some of them move as if they have been taught at the same driving school used by Halo NPC’s. The default controls aren’t good but luckily they can be changed in the options. The physics can also sometimes be over-sensitive making cars flip over, or spin out due to the slightest touch.
Apart from those issues this is a fun game. You won’t get tired of blowing up a car, or using the grappling hook to throw someone off a cliff. If you like combat racing games, or were a fan of Death Rally, then you wont be disappointed. The single player content will take 10 – 15 hours to complete, and the added eight player online modes will make sure this is worth the purchase.
7 burnt out cars of 10