Review by Sour

"High octane explosive action!"

The Twisted Metal series is often met with lukewarmness. Most can take it or leave it. This was the first Twisted Metal game I had played and I was in awe. I didn't care much for racing games at the time and when I saw the cover I was unimpressed. But one of my friends fired it up and we played co-op. I was absolutely hooked, and love the game until this day, and probably always will be. This game was so different than the norm, as far as games that focused primarily on cars go. They were all racing games which wasn't my thing (a genre I would later come to appreciate). So the Twisted Metal franchise has a different flavor to it than the usual. Here we'll talk about what makes it so great, and different.

Story: 10/10: "Careful what you wish for...." should be this series' motto. Each game in the franchise pits drivers and their cars into deathmatches, for the sake of having a wish granted. The tournament is usually run by an enigmatic and powerful man with supernatural powers named Calypso. In Twisted Metal 4 however, this is not the case. Sweet Tooth (or Needles Kane, his real name), wins one of the tournaments and goes to Calypso to have his wish granted. Sweet Tooth wishes to be the star of Twisted Metal. Calypso grants his wish and Sweet Tooth becomes the poster child of Twisted Metal, as well as receiving new powers or abilities. Sweet Tooth becomes envious of Calypso, and has him thrown out of a skyscraper, as well as stealing his ring, which grants the power to grant wishes and steal souls. There are some new entries to the tournament, one of them being Calypso himself who had survived the fall. Every character has their own wish, which when obtained, is twisted in some way to cause harm to the person asking the wish. For instance I could ask for a new car, only to have it explode while I'm in it. It reminds me of the Wishmaster movies, a favorite horror franchise of mine.

Game-play: 10/10: There are several characters to choose from, each having their own vehicle. They're generally run-of-the mill vehicles but with machine guns and missile payloads. This is also the only Twisted Metal game that allows one to create their own car, at the expense of not having a character. You can choose what size of car you want, thus determining which model you get. You can pick from some different colors and designs for your custom car, and you have one of four special weapons to choose from. On top of this, there are dozens of war cries to pick from that will sound off when you fire your special weapon, such as "Ha ha ha ha ha, you suck!". I've only played with the regular characters once each in this game, I prefer the customization that you get. The game has two available multi-player modes. Co-op and Deathmatch. In Co-op you play through the main story mode with a friend, however you will not receive an ending. Deathmatch allows you to pick from up to four maps, each with their own environmental hazards. No walls and bottomless pits are in great abundance here. I prefer the co-op as they put a little more thought into each stage. For instance in the first stage of the game, the Construction Yard, I can take control of the giant magnet and use it to pick up cars. I can then choose to drop it into fire or onto a bomb, or even on another car if timed correctly. That being said, they got really creative with the environments in this game.

The controls are extremely fluid and become second nature pretty fast. You can use up on the D-pad to drive forward or you can press Triangle. Controls can be altered to tailor your preferences if so desired. R1 and L1 cycle through the various weapons that you pick up, plus your special. R2 and L2 are used to shoot your machine guns which every character has, and the other to shoot whatever weapon you have selected. Pretty simple controls and they're easy to get used to.

Graphics: 7/10: I'll be honest the graphics in this game are pretty sub-par, especially given the fact that it was such a late PS1 release. Graphics for me however don't make or break the game so this isn't a big deal for me. You can still make out what everything is and all, the textures just aren't so good. The coloring and lighting physics are excellent though and worth noting. It's just that when your car blows up it turns into tiny, flat shards. They could have put more effort into this but perhaps they didn't have the money like other, bigger named developer companies have. All in all, not a big deal really.

Sound: 10/10: This is another area besides the game-play that shines. You'll hear plenty of familiar tunes in this game. At least three of which are Rob Zombie songs. They even went so far to create a character that looks like him named "Mr. Zombie". Upon viewing his biography, Mr. Zombie will say "He writes the songs, he writes the songs!". On top of Rob Zombie they added in a track from Cyprus Hill. There are songs by Skold and Cirrus as well. The soundtrack is pretty amazing, and helps provide a dark, rocking atmosphere. I suppose Twisted Metal could have two different meanings when it comes to this series, as they often incorporate heavy rock and metal songs into their games.

Overall: 9/10: This game doesn't look like anything special upon first glance, but it sucks you in. Fast. The game-play is both simple and fun, and allows you to maximize your kill count as you blow up everything in your path, with some pretty rockin' tunes to boot. If you can find this game it's definitely worth owning and if you can find yourself a copy, go ahead and pick it up! You won't be amazed by the visuals, but the fun game-play and soundtrack make up for it in spades. So what are you waiting for! Enter Twisted Metal, the tournament of......twisted metal! Because that's exactly what becomes of the cars.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/12/10, Updated 07/06/10

Game Release: Twisted Metal 4 (US, 10/31/99)


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