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  1. #1

    Retro|Spective 041: Twisted Metal

    And another end of the week thread to chew over the weekend, this time looking at the burning wreckage of...

    Mainline Entry 01 - Twisted Metal
    Formats: Playstation and PC
    With their first and new console Sony chased an older demographic hard with the system playing host to a raft of non-family themed series, few encapsulated this approach more than the anarchic vehicular combat game Twisted Metal that saw Calypso host a to the death tournament. The game was effectively a death match mode in game form with its car based nature marking it out. Picking up weapons and exploiting hidden shortcuts and verticality, the game quickly grew a loyal following despite its scrappy nature.

    Mainline Entry 02 - Twisted Metal 2: World Tour
    Formats: Playstation and PC
    Released the very next year, the sequel opened itself up from the US focus of the original by taking place in key locations around the world. The second game proved to be both critically and commercially better received than the original and Sony already looked to have a hit run on its hands...

    Mainline Entry 03 - Twisted Metal III
    Formats: Playstation
    However, a contract dispute with the studio meant the series found a new home, this time 989 Studios. The third game followed the exact same set up as the successful second entry but the new studio failed to find the same critical response with reviewers taking issue with the bland level design, dull visuals and changes made to the series car physics. Sales suffered as a result but the game was still overall a success and may have come closer to the last games tally had Sony not denied it as wide a global release.

    Mainline Entry 04 - Twisted Metal 4
    Formats: Playstation
    989 aimed to repeat the first two games one-two punch by having this fourth title out the year after the previous release. In a critical sense it worked as the fourth entry was better received than its predecessor with almost every area being seen as a step up even if it still fell short of the previous studios work. The steam was mostly out of the series by this late stage in the systems life though and 989 wouldn't go on to make any more entries.

    Mainline Entry 05 - Twisted Metal: Black
    Formats: Playstation 2
    Released in both an online and offline variant the fifth entry refocused the series with an even darker tone and a clear vision. The result was partially a reboot that received critical acclaim. For many it quickly became the peak of the series and it's initial negative rumbles came from the censorship the EU version received to take out some level interactivity.

    Spin Off Entry 01 - Twisted Metal: Small Brawl
    Formats: Playstation
    Giving the series a family friendly send off on its birth console, this first spin-off of the series kiddified the visuals and gameplay but brought back the favoured physics of TM2. The game struggled to attract positive responses despite that with issue being taken at the game being slow and lacking in polish.

    Spin Off Entry 02 - Twisted Metal: Head On
    Formats: Playstation Portable and Playstation 2
    This handheld incarnation avoided the new stylings of Black and focused on a more traditional style closer to the first two entries. With the cancellation of the Black sequel this entry was later ported to the PS2 with four extra levels added over the handheld version, these four levels being the ones completed for the cancelled Black sequel along with other bonus features.

    Mainline Entry 06 - Twisted Metal
    Formats: Playstation 3
    A number of years passed until Sony revisited the series and when they did it was another refresh of the branding. With online gaming being bigger by now there was a greater focus on trying to make this entry an online hit . The game received a fairly positive critical response but struggled to find a big enough audience with gamers meaning the game remains the series final entry.

    Share your thoughts and memories of Twisted Metal

  2. #2
    My main experience of this was Twisted Metal Black on the PS2. Really nice surprise at the time ... had a lot of fun with it. I did try the PS3 game but it didn't take ... it just wasn't as good, and I couldn't get on with the controls for some reason.

  3. #3
    I had no idea there was more than one!

  4. #4
    This is one of those rare occasions where I've actually owned every entry!
    The original was rough even when it first came out but split screen death match made the experience as it was something new coming off the 2D days of previous games. The sequel though really elevated the experience, the last time I ran the game it had aged too much to be fun but doing stuff like blowing up the Eiffel Tower for a shortcut etc was inspired considering just how new the game type and 3D gaming was.

    The third and fourth games were curious given the lack of UK release, I made sure to snap them up when I went to the US and the critics were right. They're both imitations more than sequels and TM4 is the better entry.

    Black was the closest to nailing the peak of TM2 it's reached. Decent levels, fun enough for some solo play etc. Head On is solid but not the same level, it's more the bonus content that makes Head On worth investigating.

    Small Brawl I picked up with TM3 and 4 but it's just kind of there.

    The PS3 version was very interesting till I actually picked it up and it just left me cold. Somehow it lacked the series appeal.

  5. #5
    I've never played this but remember it being massive in the PS1 days. Somehow I just never got round to it, although I did treat Demolition Derby like something of a deathmatch as I recall...

    I reckon this has been superseded by Rocket League these days. It's an interesting series but - from a perspective of not having actually played it for more than 5 minutes here and there - it feels very of its time.

  6. #6
    Suburb level in the first game felt so atmospheric at the time, like GTA in 3D before GTA even came my rose-tinted memories.

    1 was wonky but had some truly cool moments. 2 was better but ended up being played less in 2P. Rogue Trip was when I lost interest, although it was actually a decent game that needs revisiting.

    Never liked the Luxoflux Twisted Metal clones, slicker and better looking but not as fun.

    I DID play Twisted Metal 3 on a pirate compilation but it was clear the developers had changed, just felt weird, couldn't stick with it.

  7. #7
    I think the first one was the first game I ever played on the PS1. My and my mates used to love playing it in two player. It was unlike anything else we'd ever played and was a real breath of fresh air. I liked the fact that for all the pretension of how the Playstation was going to transform gaming with these new, mature styles of games (as opposed to the supposedly infantile likes of Zelda Street Fighter) it was something so vulgar as Twisted Metal that really grabbed us.

    2 seemed better in every way but the momentum had gone by then and we'd moved onto other things. Part of me would love to see a modern sequel but part of me questions whether I'd ever play it with friends again.

  8. #8
    For some reason I've never played any of the games in the series, despite people telling me the early ones were really good. One of my best mates said Black was the best version at the time, so I might finally buy a copy and see what I think.

    Thanks for another interesting thread, Superman Falls


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