GAME NAME: Twisted Metal
DEVELOPER(S): Eat Sleep Play
PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 3
GENRE(S): Racing, Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): 09 March 2012
It’s been a long time since this American, meat and potatoes, rock & roll hunk of junk landed anywhere near our desks. It once dominated the charts where it somehow combined Mortal Kombat-like blood-thirst with a three-dimensional playground that united wheels and bullets. It’s completely tailor-made for the Yanks and now it’s got a man at the helm that’s just as angry as the mascot (Sweet Tooth) – David Jaffe. He’s responsible for creating the God of War – Kratos. See where this is going?
In general Twisted Metal’s leering clowns, thrashing soundtrack and wrought iron aesthetic have never been a natural fit with South African gamers and if you never succumbed to the lure of the game back in ’96 chances are good that nothing is going to change here as David Jaffe and his team has gone the extra mile to ensure that they retain the soul of what made the original so attractive to the American market. It’s as loud and large as ever.
For a game with such broad appeal – cars, fire, noise – it has some serious complicated controls. It’s best that you change it to classic Twisted Metal set-up, which is still no joke. To accelerate you press the Square button and the X button will have your vehicle handbrake-turning. Yes, Americans don’t just drive on the wrong side of the road… even their controller set-up is backwards. A double-tap of the Square button will inject your car with a Turbo boost. R1 and L1 are roped in to switch between weapons. Press them together and your vehicle simply hops. R2 is used to fire the weapons you’ve collected while driving while L2 acts as an alternative trigger (Machine Gun, Magnum and more). The D-Pad operates as a quick select function, similar to that of Gears of War. When pressed it activates shields for your vehicle, freezes opponents, drops mines and shoots backwards. It’s the most use you’ll get out of your D-pad in years.
Twisted Metal has never focused on the single player mode and with this effort it’s again as laughable as all previous outings. Players are introduced to the horror-ridden clown Sweet Tooth that sheds some light on his past and why he’s out to murder… someone. This is followed by two other character’s twisted quests and that’s where your single player efforts comes to an abrupt end. As you make your way through the levels new vehicles and sub-weapons will be unlocked for use in the multiplayer modes.
There’s an intimidating depth to the game that can only be found in multiplayer. Unfortunately our copy of the game arrived without a network pass, required to play online, hence we only had the opportunity to play offline split-screen multiplayer (with up to four players). That alone is a blast. Free-for-all and Team Deathmatch are frantic tearaway scraps that on the surface appear simple ‘launch hell at your enemies until they explode’ but a good strategy will always see you to victory. The cars are hard-wearing (health chips away slowly) and the lengthy line-up of vehicles, weapons and power-ups takes at least a few rounds to process. That’s while you’re just trying to kill everything in sight. There’s nothing random about it. If you see the Game Over screen all too often it means you need more practice. Some vehicles have more armour than others, while some have fast speeds… some even fly!
Visually Twisted Metal is not great. It’s not quite what you expect from a PS3 exclusive, but you’d be a fool to let that element deter you from the heart of this game – the gameplay. Twisted Metal has some great level-design that fits the multiplayer mayhem like ‘pap en wors’. Hopefully that will be enough for South Africans to find the appeal of this one.