"King of Racers"
Despite being a mashup of racing and combat, the gameplay in Fuel Overdose is not quite Mario Kart nor Twisted Metal. It is not nearly as whimsical as the former, and it is much too focused on a serious narrative to be similar to the latter. No, this prime example of vehicular mayhem carves out its own niche.
Many analogous arcade racing games liberally place upon the track item boxes that offer power-ups that affect the game in unpredictable and random ways. Fuel Overdose takes a more sensible approach by giving each racer a basic foundation of weapons and abilities.
A quick tap of L1 lets you switch between your main weapons. You use the X button to unload magazines of your straight-shooting machine gun (long range attack), to unleash a powerful but limited homing missile (short range), or deploy proximity mines behind you (rear attack). The square button engages your shield temporarily to help dampen incoming attacks.
Most intriguing is the grappling hook that allows you to traverse tricky turns with ease. Even better, you can latch onto an opponent in front of you, altering their course while also giving you the opportunity to initiate a boost if you execute the move correctly. Further, each character has tiers of exclusive abilities that you can unleash throughout the race with fighting-game-inspired directional inputs. What makes the game a thinking man’s racer is the fact that all of the aforementioned moves are limited. Figuring out when you should use implement an action is a large part of the fun in Fuel Overdose.
There is always the chance that the competition will destroy your car in a fiery explosion. Pressing "Select" will respawn your vehicle, but only after you have already lost precious seconds. The most impressive part of this game, and it is an aspect that many, many racing games get wrong, is the fact that there is a distinct lack of rubberband A.I. You will not find yourself losing a race at the last second by some sheer dumb luck (i.e. the computer cheating its way to victory to keep the game "challenging"). Rather, the competition is exceedingly tough from the get-go.
If you lose, it's because of mistakes you have made by not deploying the right offensive weapon or defensive maneuver at the opportune moments. Everyone is on equal footing throughout the race. It is up to the player to be able to utilize their limited ammo and abilities to gain an edge. Win enough and you can eventually unlock more cars and customizations to help ease the challenge. While the developers have packed in a lot of content in that regard, you should also be on the lookout for some free DLC that adds ten extra unconventional vehicles to the fold.
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Writes for a few media outlets, does graphic design work for a few clients, as well as production work for a few studios (all poorly). Believes the best correlation between the words "twilight" and "sparkle" has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.
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