IGN Review of Chili Con Carnage
Chili Con Carnage may have a completely absurd name, but it fits perfectly well with the game's over-the-top style and themes. Focusing on Hollywood-esque kills where you'll flip off a wall, spin around and nail a couple headshots all in one foul swoop, the last thing the game does is take itself seriously. In this way, Chili Con Carnage manages to stand out amongst a "me too" collection of action games and offers a ride that rarely slows down.
While Chili Con Carnage features the same basic action setup as its predecessor, Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico, one important thing to note about the sequel is that it's not an open-world game like the first was. Instead, the game's progression is broken up into a number of individual missions that you can take on one by one. While it would have been nice to see the collection stuff return, this setup does work pretty well on the PSP and arguably allows for more level variety.
The game's greatest strength is the variety of ways that you're able to kill a man. When someone is in your sights and you dive in any direction, the game slows to a crawl to allow you to hone in your shots and put a bullet in his head, sometimes multiple times per leap. On top of this, you're able to use objects to perform flips and score additional points. Clearing out a room while leaping left and right and mixing in some wall jumps here or there is great fun.
Likewise, the special kills that you can pick up are both fantastic and funny. The Tornado move where you spin in a circle with Uzis firing in opposite directions is borrowed directly from Hard Boiled. The bull special where you run head-first into enemies is hilarious, and the pi¿ata move is, well, filled with candy.
While all this is great, it does get a little repetitive after a while. You'll find that you're performing the same "jump, lock-on and nail a headshot" move over and over and over again. Being as the enemies don't offer a whole lot of variety in their tactics, the battles only really change depending upon what weapons they're carrying.
The weakest point of the game however is its control scheme. As you don't have a second analog stick, you're unable to control the camera like you would in a console action game, meaning that you're almost always firing in the direction that you're moving. The biggest problem here is that you can easily become discombobulated after jumping off a wall or performing a reverse dive. Also, it's sometimes hard to target enemies when they're really close to you while they sit there and open fire on you.
While the lack of camera control does mean that there will be some frustrations here and there, it doesn't ruin the game. So long as you're able to play by its rules, meaning that you distance yourself a bit and move slowly through the levels so that you aren't surrounded, things won't be too bad and you can have a nicely enjoyable experience with the game.
Outside of the controls, there are a couple things that we wish had been addressed prior to release, mostly relating to the level design. It's sometimes hard to tell exactly where you're supposed to be going, as ladders and such that you need to take to progress are sometimes not easily noticeable.
Also, a few sections of the game rely on a bit of simplistic platforming. While this mostly only means climbing up and over boxes or jumping from ledge to ledge, these mechanics aren't implemented well. Ram is picky about exactly how high something can be before he'll climb on it, and you can't actually jump up to a ledge. And as you always dive when jumping, you can't simply hop over a ledge - you need to hope that you don't roll off the other side.
Outside of the main game, there's a fair bit of stuff to do. You can earn medals on each and every level if you can manage to score enough points, and the ability to go back and play any level whenever you want will allow gamers to try and perfect everything. Between some missions you'll find bonus sections, like Style or Survival Challenges. These missions give you relatively simplistic (but sometimes difficult) goals, and completing them unlocks new levels for the El Macho mode where you simply try and kill as many people as possible while keeping your combo running. El Macho keeps track of your high scores, which helps it work well as a competitive mode.
Chili Con Carnage has two multiplayer modes, both of which are decent for a few laughs but don't really offer a whole lot of staying power. The Fiesta mode offers Ad-Hoc play for up to four players and throws all of them into a level filled with enemies. The goal here is to rack up as many points as possible. One interesting thing is that while you're playing against each other, you're not actually in the same physical level shooting at each other, so it doesn't actually offer true head-to-head competitive play outside of a race for a score. The Hangman mode also allows for four players but works on a single system. You swap from player to player after each round and compete for the highest score. Again, it's a decent bit of fun, but it does get old rather quickly.
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