Chili Con Carnage

July 2, 2007

Chili Con Carnage isn’t the traditional model of a good game. With somewhat restrictive controls, little in the way of extra modes, and a storyline that’s more offensive than intriguing, this PSP title from Eidos sets itself up much like many sub-par games. Somehow, though, it comes through in the area that matters the most: it’s fun.

Carnage‘s protagonist, Ramiro Cruz, is out to avenge his father’s death against Mexican crime lords. Wait, make that very, very stereotypical Mexican crime lords. In this third-person shooter, developer Deadline Games places players against large old chicken ladies, guys in sombreros with shovels, and big men in skeleton suits. There’s no doubt that this game will offend some people.

Those who can get by that will enjoy the pure craziness of the storyline. Carnage doesn’t take itself seriously, and it makes for bizarre fun. The game rewards crazy combos, with jumping in the air, nailing some headshots, rolling, and getting to the enemies’ hats before they hit the ground. Some levels have players run vehicles into structures, and jumping off in slow motion is a cool experience.

The controls aren’t the best. The lock-on feature works well for most levels, though it is mostly disabled in boss fights when it would be most useful. There’s no camera control, and the automatic camera can be confused a bit after some crazy maneuvers. This is normal for a game like this, but Carnage rewards stunts like these, so it should have been covered in testing.

The soundtrack has some cool Latin hip-hop tunes that become more intense when the action gets frantic, making for an immersive experience. The cutscenes are laughably bad, but it seems to be on purpose, and it ends up being entertaining enough. The menus and graphics, while not stellar, are solid and polished and do the job well. What is most amazing about this game is the short loading time between menus and levels, usually only about four or five seconds.

The extra modes are fairly mediocre. A

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.