The first thought that came to mind when I started playing Chili Con Carnage and saw the lock on system and third person view was, “is this yet another GTA clone?” Fortunately, it shares more in common with Max Payne than anything else, and mixes gameplay elements from Rock Star’s GTA titles and Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia franchise. Amazingly, it blends them together well, making for a great action romp.
Chili Con Carnage revolves around Ram, the son of an ex-cop who is out to kill the mob boss responsible for his father’s murder. Although it sounds clichéd, Chili Con Carnage spices it up with a cheesy sense of humor and fast-paced action. Here’s an example of the type of humour seen in the game: while entering your profile name at the beginning of a new game, you will notice a ‘cluck’ sound on certain letters; fill the slots with letters that make the cluck sound and you’ll activate a cheat that gives you invincibility.
As you may have guessed by now, chickens feature heavily as a running joke, even if you don’t use the cheat. In the bonus levels for instance, you run around shooting thugs in chicken suits with a number of goals to meet. In addition, there are chickens scattered throughout some of the levels. They occasionally prevent you from targeting an explosive barrel or crate and end up becoming hot chicks - literally.
Other amusing aspects show up the enemies you’re fighting with the ‘tasteful humor’ of level 6-1. To set the scene, picture yourself on a sunny day, when suddenly, you’re confronted by the other kind of ‘hot chick’ - quite a few of them in fact. In this level, you’ll be running ‘n gunning your way through hordes of bikini-clad women all trying to kill you with various guns, ranging from shotguns to grenade launchers.
Although the core gameplay appears to be simple run and gun action, time manipulation elements such as bullet time and rewinding - to save you from certain death - feature heavily. They are very helpful, as you encounter up to seven enemies to take out on a regular basis, making bullet time essential to survive - and impressive to watch - as you jump through the air gunning down the gangsters in slow motion.
In addition, aspects of GTA are present, such as a lock-on system and the ability to steal vehicles like tractors and cars. Ram’s arsenal includes the usual range of guns, including Uzis, machine guns and petrol bombs, as well as a pistol with infinite ammo.
Visually the levels are bright and quite colorful for a third-person shooter. However, there was a notable glitch, which appeared at one point when an enemy was stuck inside a crate, but could still attack me - and the only way of fighting back was by blowing up a nearby crate. This glitch only showed up once however, so the likelihood of it being a problem is low.
Even if the title may make you hungry, Chili Con Carnage blends the best elements of GTA and Max Payne with a great sense of humor to be one of the best action games on PSP - and it won’t make you run for a drink!