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Developer:
Red Entertainment
Publisher: Mastiff
Platform: PS2
Release Date: September 15, 2004

by Jason Ferguson




Gungrave: Overdose is an action-packed shooter based on the popular Gungrave anime. The game is violent, chaotic and all around crazy as you go from level to level obliterating everything in your path. Unfortunately, control problems and extremely repetitive gameplay keep it from being as positive an experience as it could have been.


You play the game as Beyond the Grave, but will pick up two additional characters. Grave had been at rest for years, but a crime syndicate has arisen and threatens to destroy those that Grave has sworn to protect. An all-out battle for survival ensues as Grave goes from Syndicate leader to syndicate leader in order to wipe the crime lords off the face of the earth. The story isnít horribly deep or complex, but it helps tie the chaos together. The story is told through a series of well-done anime scenes, which will probably make you want to watch the Gungrave anime.


The game plays pretty simply... fire your weapons and kill stuff. You also have powerful Demolition shots that you can perform by slaying hordes of foes. Youíll unlock more Demolition shots as the game progresses and you can choose from which one you perform. Aside from that, you have a coffin that you can use to perform a melee attack. You can perform all sorts of combos using your guns and coffin, allowing you to slay foes before they get a chance to touch you. You can also charge up your guns to do a very powerful gun attack. Gameplay is quite simple. You enter a level, slaughter all the foes in the room, and then are led by ĎGo Markersí to your next destination where you continue to massacre enemies with a hail of gunfire. Youíll often find yourself horribly outnumbered, so youíve got to be fast and keep the gunfire going. It's easy to get disoriented with all the chaos going on around you, so pay attention. Youíve got a shield to help keep you alive, and you can block shots with your coffin, so Grave manages to keep himself alive. It doesnít take much thinking, but if youíre looking for intense action, then Gungrave is meant for you.


Although there are three playable characters, they all play pretty much the same, so donít expect much variety aside from how they look. Still, it offers something additional for those who want to play some more.


The game allows you to lock onto enemies, but the lock on system is clumsy. Rarely does the lock on actually work, and by the time you successfully lock onto the foe that you want, heís already dead. The controls cause numerous problems throughout the game. Being attacked from all sides can be chaotic, as the camera is very problematic. Youíll often find yourself running around in circles trying to find where the enemies are.


The gameís graphics arenít exactly up to date, but the animated sequences are done very well, and the highly destructible environments add a lot to the game. The sounds pretty much consist of gunfire, but the gameís heavy metal tunes are nice and fit the game well. The presentation in Gungrave wonít wow you, but it works.


Gungrave: Overdose is often too chaotic for its own good. Struggling to lock onto enemies and the clunky camera will often frustrate gamers. Making matters worse, the action is extremely repetitive... but at least you get a good feeling from being outnumbered 20 to one and walking out alive. If youíre a fan of the Gungrave anime, then I recommend you pick this up. Otherwise, itís worthy of a rental, but probably not worth a purchase unless youíre a hardcore action fan. On the positive side, if it does interest you, you should be able to pick the game up fairly cheap.


Final Grade: 68%




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