And it's not just the levels that have improved; it's the actual enemies themselves, too. No longer are you shooting one or two different types of enemies, now you'll have to deal with all kinds of different opponents. Some are easy to shoot, while others will require you to get in close and use the coffin. Others have missile launchers and are looking for you to bat their ammo back at them. As you progress through the game some of the enemies will learn new tricks, while others will have a whole new look to them. These differences seem simple at first, but in the heat of battle, it quickly proves to be much more of a challenge than you had in the first game.
Overdose is a whole heck of a lot longer than the original Gungrave, as well. The first game was, at most, only a couple hours long; but Overdose goes way past doubling that. Not only are the levels much more interesting, but there are also a whole lot more of them. What seems like a simple story at the beginning ends up surprising you with one twist after another. And let's not forget the mountain of bosses you have to climb before the end, each cooler (and harder) than the last.
Gamers bored of Graves's exploits can also rip the city apart with two new characters. One, Juji Kabane, is a blind man who is always on fire. The other, Rocketbilly Redcadillac, is a ghost figure with a ridiculous haircut and an electric guitar that somehow hurts the enemies. Sure these characters are extremely lame, but they are also a lot of fun to play as, and feature a few differences from the traditional Grave game play.
No matter who you pick, Gungrave is an easy game to pick up and learn. You don't have to do much aiming, since you automatically shoot what's in front of you. If that wasn't easy enough for you, Overdose offers a lock on button, which can really help in those numerous boss battles. The controls are responsive, and most of the times I died it was due to me being overpowered, not camera issues or problems generally associated with games like this.
For the most part the graphics are above average. The characters all look good, as do the bosses, and the backgrounds are generally well designed. Some of the inanimate objects look a little rough, but those are generally the things you are destroying in the heat of battle. Overall the presentation is very good, especially when it comes to the anime cinema scenes and the use of music. You really get the feeling you're playing one of those ultra-violent cartoons, even if it's a little rough around the edges. All this is even more impressive when you consider you get all this for a mere $15!
That's right, $15. In an attempt to undersell even the Greatest Hits games, Mastiff has settled on a $15 price point for one of the best arcade-style action games of the year. At full price it might be hard to justify some of the games faults, but when it costs less than buying a movie on DVD, it's a lot easier to swallow. The price certainly doesn't make it a good game, it was already worth checking out, but it's impressive that such an entertaining game could be so cheap.
When Gungrave is at its best, it's an extremely entertaining action game with a satisfying storyline. At its worse, it's still pretty repetitive and about as deep as a wading pool. Overdose doesn't break any new ground, but still manages to be a great waste of time. Some might call it a guilty pleasure, but I see no difference in playing this than watching any one of the violent movies this was inspired by. I can think of worse things you could spend your $15 on.
At $15 this game is a steal, but it's also one of the most enjoyable arcade-style action games of the year. Buy it for the over the top violence, buy it for the story, buy it for the anime. Whatever your reason, Gungrave Overdose has a lot to offer for a very small price.
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!