I know that you can't judge whether something is truly emulating any given object without being familiar with the original first, and to try and do so is not only unjust to the original but unfair to the item emulating it as well. I don't know Mexico, I've never been but maybe someday I will go, but when I play Total Overdose I get the overwhelming feeling that it was all created by outside observers looking in and making rash judgements to build the product. I can't say this with certainty, but I just don't get the feeling that I do with other games.
GTA San Andreas just feels like you're in the cities and towns that they've obviously emulated, as does Vice City, GTA 3 and 4. Another great one is Just Cause, as it sends you down to South America and leaves you within what almost everyone would consider to be a chain of islands somewhere within South America, with a few minor reality breakers. While I find myself more compelled to play Just Cause, due to it's much better game control and the fact that it still gives that feeling of being in Central America, I'm still compelled to play Total Overdose because it is unquestionably trying to be located in Mexico. Even so I just can't get myself to believe that I am truly walking around anywhere in Mexico.
It isn't a lack of architecture, it isn't a lack of culture and it isn't a lack of the living environment within the game. The failure here seems to stem greatly from the way the city is cut up, and I don't mean how GTA 3 and Vice City were either. The way Total Overdose is chopped up is crude and leaves you (at least it does for me) confused about how you got from point A to point B. As where in GTA you could see what was coming up next, they just simply threw a splash screen in your face for a few seconds before you reached it, in Total Overdose you pseudo-teleport to a different area where you went in and where you come out don't really seem to match.
I wrote a review on Gamespot's website and my review received some negative feedback, but maybe they missed the point. I enjoy the game, but I simply think it doesn't flow as well as the games it was cloning, nor do I think they brought a feel for the environment they were entitled to emulate. The vehicles are almost unusable and I much prefer to walk around the sections of the country unless I absolutely have to use a vehicle. The sections are smaller than I feel they should have been, as well as some of the best areas are only accessible while you're on a mission.
Given all it's downfalls Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico does hold a greater spot in my heart than most of the games that are better than it, but I just can't motivate myself to play it as much as those other games. I heard rumors of a sequel being cancelled, and that is probably for the better. Sure I would have loved to see a sequel, but they would have had to change it so drastically that it wouldn't have been the same game anymore. Nobody likes a sequel that looks and feels absolutely nothing like the original.