Gungrave Overdose

Review

posted 10/26/2004 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PS2
You’ve played Gungrave before. Maybe you haven’t experienced this game or its prequel, but you’ve seen the style and chaos in just about every big budget action movie to come out of the Hollywood machine in the last twenty years. Gungrave is a mix of everything from the Terminator to Predator to the Matrix, all mixed together to make one of the loudest, most violent games you will ever play.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Gungrave Overdose is pure arcade excitement, a throwback to a time when you weren’t worried about solving puzzles, learning new techniques, and hiding in the shadows. This is a game for people who just want to shoot stuff up, a light gun game for the people too cheap to buy a light gun.

If you missed the first installment of Gungrave, it was the sweet story of a girl and her walking dead guy best friend. With the aid of his Cerberus guns and his coffin filled with heavy weapons, Beyond the Grave (or simply Grave, as his friends call him) ended up taking out anybody and anything in the path of his goal. But don’t worry; it’s not imperative that you play the first Gungrave to have a good time with Overdose.

Like any good sequel, Overdose fixes most of the problems the critics had with the first game, while offering more of what worked. Overdose has the same kind of game play, which mostly involves you shooting large amounts of oncoming enemies. As you continue to hit enemies without break your beat meter will increase, the higher it goes, the more special moves you will have at your disposal. If the enemies are scarce and you still want to keep your beat combo going, you can shoot boxes, pillars, beds, tables, chairs, lights, cars, and just about anything else in the highly destructible backgrounds.

It’s not until you see it in action that you realize how chaotic your situation is. You’ll constantly have all kinds of enemies on every side of you, bullets flying everywhere, and debris floating in the air. The battles you get yourself into are more like wars, with people trying to drop bombs, trying to use swords, trying to use automatic weapons on you, trying to do anything they can to stop your progress.

Thankfully Grave has a couple things going for him. For one thing, he’s nearly indestructible. He can take bullets, bombs and missiles with the best of them, and still come out fighting. Grave also has the ability to power his shield back up simply by avoiding fire, making him a force to be reckoned with no matter the situation. You will be able to charge up your Cerberus guns for powerful and accurate shots. And the coffin’s special abilities are back, but with some major improvements.

Where the game differs from the original is in where and who you fight. The first game featured one narrow hallway after another, with you battling similar looking baddies around every corner. Overdose takes you out of the congested paths and into large, wide-open areas with plenty of odds and ends to destroy. There are levels where you’ll be in a supermarket trying to kill the enemies between the aisles, all while the products on the shelf (and even the shelf itself) are flying all about. Sure there are still some corridor levels, but by and large Overdose features larger and more diverse locations.
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