Twisted Metal 3
Just a few short years ago, Twisted Metal was the unchallenged car combat game. There was nothing that compared to the "twisted" characters and awesome action. Well, here we are today and Twisted Metal III is almost like the forgotten step-child. You know, people vaguely remember the name but that is about all. With the new entrants into the car combat scene like Vigilante 8 and Rogue Trip, TM III has a tough battle ahead if they want to make it back to the top. Can they do it? I hate to say it but I don't think so.
I think that it is safe to say that just about everyone knows about the Twisted Metal series by now. If not, I don't know what to tell you other than you need to go to Blockbuster and rent one of them. Anyway, one of the biggest changes that you will find with this game is not in the game itself but in the team that has developed the game. The original developers of the series, Single Trac, have been bought out by GT Interactive and they have their own car combat game (see Rogue Trip above). Sony (now 989) retained all of the rights to the game because it was originally developed under their direction so instead of scrapping the whole project, the public cried for another TM and the team at 989 Studios was more than happy to oblige.
Even with all of the other similar games in this genre, I still hold a tiny little soft spot in my heart for the Twisted Metal series. It is, after all, the originator of this genre and rip-offs can come and go but I will always know that this is the series that started it all off. That has to be worth something, doesn't it?
Like I said above, the original development company that dreamed up the TM world has moved on and all of the development has been taken over by the in-house team at 989 Studios. This is a very bold move. On one hand, they know that the name alone will sell games. That is a given. The reason that this is such a bold move is because if they screw things up, 989 Studios will never live it down. This series has such a cult following that if the game does not satisfy, well, I just would not want to be answering the phones or email around 989 for awhile. Just watch TV and you will see a perfect example of how well known this series is. Sweet Tooth, the demented clown, has been seen running around in the commercials for Crash Bandicoot: Warped and they don't even mention Twisted Metal III. It is just assumed that everyone already knows who it is or they will remember that face when they see the game in the store.
All throughout my Rogue Trip review, I said that the game was obviously what Twisted Metal III would have been had Single Trac still done the development of the game. Now that I have played the real TM III, I think I was wrong in a way. This game is exactly what TM III would be. The reason I say this is because the game is just like the first two in the series with upgraded graphics, new environments and new contestants. Everything else about this game lives, breathes and feels TM. I do have to give 989 Studios credit for this.
What I don't have to give them credit for is the fact that they just made a game that is just like the ones before it. I want to see something new and something different. The one thing that I like about Rogue Trip was that they introduced the whole concept of money. I thought that added a ton to the replay value of the game. When it comes to a single player game, the TM series has not been the best and this game does not do much to improve on that. I know that it would be tough to introduce a new twist to the genre but the third game in the series should be a lot more different and not just more of the same.
I guess that may have been a little harsh. There are a lot of subtle changes from the previous version of the game. Most noticeably is the vehicles handling. They really handle different from the past games. They use a trademarked technology that 989 Studios is calling TruPhysics that is supposed to be more realistic. Is it? In some cases yes and in other cases no. I will say that the cars corner better and it does feel more like driving. On the other hand, the cars had a tendency to get stuck standing on the trunk with the front end of the car pointing straight up to the sky. I don't know how realistic this is. Also, I tended to get stuck against walls and could not break free unless I got pummeled by enemy fire. Lame.
On a more positive not, this game is pure TM when it comes to the characters and the action. One of the things that made the originals so much fun was the over-the-top characters and action. This has all been preserved and the new character do not shame the long tradition of those before tem. There are a total of 14 vehicles available now but I am sure you will find your old favorite or a new favorite and stick with it throughout your battles.
Speaking of battles, they are as hot and heavy as always. One of the coolest things about this series is that the computer-controlled players will beat up on each other just as much as they beat up on you. They don't really play favorites. They just look for an ass to kick and they don't care if it is a computer-controlled ass or a human ass, they just want to blow stuff up. This same philosophy remains keeping true to the originals. This is one thing that does help spice up the one player game.
The graphics in the TM series have always been a weak spot. The prevailing attitude has always been one that the gameplay was so good that the graphical shortcomings could be overlooked. Have they improved? I would have to say that yes, they have improved some. They do still have the same look to them but they are better. I don't think they are nearly as good ad Vigilante but once again, the fun gameplay makes up for any shortcomings they may have.
If you just can't get enough of Twisted Metal 1 & 2 , you should really enjoy Twisted Metal III. I think that there is enough competition now that 989 Studios needed to add a wrinkle to the genre which they did not. I think this hurt the overall enjoyment of the one player game. This game was great because it was original. Now it is just pretty good because it is no longer original. Don't get me wrong. There is still some fun to be had but if you own any of the other games in this genre, I really don't see any reason to buy this.
Download Twisted Metal 3
So you want to know if Twisted Metal 3 is a good game? How it compares to Rogue Trip and Vigilante 8? Well, we're afraid you'll have to wait for the answers to those questions in coming months. We can tell you the game is progressing nicely and has that old Twisted Metal feel even though it's being developed internally at 989 Studios instead of SingleTrac, the original team behind Twisted Metal and TM 2. Today, we will explore the question: What's in a name?
It looks as if some of the members of the original cast are returning with a new art style. They include Thumper, Roadkill, Mr. Grimm, Hammerhead, Axel, Warthog and the ever-popular Sweet Tooth. New to the series are Clubkid, Firestarter, Auger and Flower Power. In addition, the Bosses Dark Tooth and Minion are returning. Expect another Boss and other hidden cars as well--possibly a semitruck called Dark Side. All of the cars have a new physics model attached to them, which 989 says is more realistic than previous versions of Twisted Metal...well, as realistic as Twisted Metal can be anyway. Now, when you take corners fast, jump over ramps while turning or drive over certain surfaces (like water, sand or ice), your vehicle will react accordingly.
In addition, all of the cars have their own weapons and special attacks. Like the previous games, each car has a standard machine gun. Special attacks (or combos as they're often called) are performed with up, down, left, right-type D-pad movements and a button. Other weapons can be obtained by driving over a particular icon. Does this sound really familiar? Good--it should.
With these various offensive techniques you can blow away your enemies with style. Freeze them, then lay into them with your car's unique special attack, or turn invisible and camp out for a couple of seconds unloading a few rockets toward your enemy. Of course, a Twisted Metal game would not be complete without the obligatory interactive environments. For example, in Area 51 (how...urn, original) you can trigger four switches inside of an arena. After doing so, a flying saucer that's suspended in the middle falls to the ground, opening up a new area with fresh power-ups. Other locales to devastate include London (sorry Johnny England), Egypt, a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Tokyo. Other levels aren't so normal: the North Pole, high above the Earth in a blimp and...Hollywood, the weirdest place of them all. All of the levels have loads of ramps, hills, ledges, holes, secret areas and straight-aways--all of which make for some heavy-duty car-blowing-up high jinks. Well, the holes may not be too fun if you fall to your death--that would just plain suck.
Graphically Twisted Metal 3 has a number of special effects, best seen when explosions occur and special weapons are fired. Something noticeable over older Twisted Metals are the environment graphics. Levels look better than they used to, although the design of them in this early build was a bit chunky. Still, the game's using some nice-looking texture maps on both the machines and the environmental objects. The cars also show various degrees of damage when hit. But when there are dozens of explosions going on around you, who has time to notice?! All of this action goes on at a brisk 30 fps, although in this build it slowed at times. 989 Studios assures us the game will remain at a constant 30 fps (in addition to an even more solid physics model) once further tweaking and playtesting takes place.
Various multiplayer modes will be implemented, including a Four-player Link Mode (for those of you who actually own one...and two TVs, two PlayStations and two copies of the game). Of course, a Two-player Mode will be readily available for us normal folk. Another piece of good news from 989 Studios is the implementation of multiplayer-specific levels, per suggestions made by fans of the other two Twisted Metal games.
Lastly, look forward to a rocking-good soundtrack by Rob Zombie, the former Zombie King of the hard-as-nails metal band White Zombie. When you hear it you'll agree there's something about blowing up cars that goes well with Rob Zombie's music.
- MANUFACTURER - 989
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Hold on to your handbrake--Twisted Metal III's roaring out of the garage with guns a-blazlng...and It's got you in Its sights!
TMIII's cars have independent suspensions and adhere to a realistic physics model. You can hit the edge of a ramp and do a corkscrew jump, pop the handbrake for a skid as you make a sharp turn, drive on two wheels, or roll the car completely. Also, weapons push your car with palpable force, changing the game's whole feel--for the better.
Metal III features a very clever A.I.--almost too clever. Computer opponents can dodge shots and locate power-ups just like a human player would. If you set your enemies on fire, they'll track you down and set you ablaze, too. It's creepy and extremely challenging.
Metal's graphic resolution is low, which is a shame, but its fiery gameplay is worth the tradeoff--and environs are getting a polish before release anyway. Sprawling multi-level decors, configurable controls, and great new weapons, such as the rain missile, will make Twisted Metal III more than just the same old shooter.
It's been a long time since Twisted Metal 2 set the standard for car combat, but Calypso and crew are not going to let some young punks steal their thunder.The third installment keeps the car fires burning, offering improvements that will make gamers' trigger fingers itchy.
THE NEW BLOOD
Those masters of automotive disaster are at it again, globetrotting their way through eight international batdegrounds that range from a burning Los Angeles to the frigid North Pole to merry olde England. A dozen cars are idling in the garage, too. Old fiends like Axel, Oudaw, Roadkill, and Spectre are joined by some fresh meat: Club Kid, the party-all-night, destroy-all-day raver; Flower Power,who's out to save the environment; Auger, a construction worker out for revenge; and Firestarter, the hot rodder whose ride really smokes.The monster truck Hammerhead s back, but now there's a bluehaired biddy behind the wheel--and she's out for blood!
Fans of the series will immediately feel a difference in the way the cars handle. As promised,989 has replaced the old physics engine; the new model gives cars independent suspensions which allow for powersliding, two-wheel driving, and realistic collisions. These improvements up the immersion factor and give hardcore driving fens something to truly command.
As vehicle combat games lose their novelty, the battlegrounds become absolutely crucial.Twisted Metal III scores with inventive, destructible environments that offer room for a proper game of cat and mouse, but aren't so expansive that two players will lose each other for hours on end. Landmarks such as Big Ben and Santa's Workshop add visual spice, while obstacles like ramps and pits keep the challenge intense. New weapons include speed missiles, which are fast, straight shooters; rain missiles, which shower balls of flame from above at your command; and mortars, which sense the nearest enemy and automatically lob toward them.
CARS ON BLOCKS
To keep the frame rate high--a full 30 frames per second in one-player games--989 had to sacrifice high-resolution textures; as a result, game environments tend to look blocky up close. Plus, textures deform as you pass them, and the player cars look a little jagged. But all the game objects are 3D, and there are some neat areas with complex shading and colored lighting--and no slowdown when multiple objects fill the screen. Even smaller details, like how Mr. Grimm turns his head as he steers his motorcycle, have been considered.The frame rate does take a hit in two-player games, however.
Still, are you here for the scenery or the carnage? In the middle of a firefight, the fast action redeems the chunky visuals. The graphics aren't bad--certainly acceptable for a PlayStation game--and they're better than those found in TMlYou get the sense that they would have been better if the hardware had allowed it Clearly, speed was the programming goal, and the goal was achieved.
NO BUM STEER
On the soundtrack side, Rob Zombie and Pitchshifter grind all the way through the game, while machine guns and explosions sound accurate and bold.The default controls are wisely the same as Twisted Metal 2's, but players can create a custom setup easily.
Using the analog sticks is fun, but doesn't let you perform combos like jumps or rear attacks with ease, and you'll have to reconfigure to fully utilize them. Still, it's nice to have Dual Shock support on such an infamously explosion-riddled game.
THREE AT LAST
Twisted Metal III avoids a lot of mistakes by putting gameplay over flash and is a worthy chapter in the series. If you're more interested in obliterating your opponents than gazing at graphics,TMIII's your ride.
- The lava in Tokyo causes damage. Find a portal immediately!
- Logically, if you're on Are, driving through water will put it out.
- With some practice, you can climb some walls using turbos.
- When it comes down to you and one or two enemies, grab all health power-ups simply so they can't
- When your car's on fire, ram your opponent to set them ablaze.
- Darkside's cheap but effective assault involves freezing you from behind, ramming, and repeating. Keep moving and get him with remotes.
- Almost all small structures in TMIll-statues, cottages, etc-can be blasted to reveal secrets. Hit them early.
- Blast this cracked blue panel at switch 002 in Hangar 18 to reveal a hidden warp that leads to a power-up room.
- To avoid ground-level obstacles like fire and missiles, hit Up, Up, Left to pop into the air.
- Learn to use the Freeze Burst combo attack (Left, Right, Up). The computer4ontrolled cars use it to maximum advantage.
- Blast through the "Keep Out" barrier near Trafalgar Square In London, and you'll find this abandoned Underground station filled with power-ups.
- To gain access to the UFO, you'll need to take out the four red switches posted around the arena.
The high frame rate makes things move along nicely, but the textures tend to draw in late; the game's low-res pixelated look might turn some drivers away. Generally, you'll be moving too fast to care.
No surprise here for Twisted Metal veterans--cars respond perfectly, and the controls are yours to reconfigure to match your tastes. Analog control and Dual Shock offer more options. It's just a shame the combo attacks are so tricky to pull off.
Two words: Rob Zombie! Dirty industrial-strength liffs from rock's resident creepy character (as well as tracks by Brit sensation Pitchshifter) ensure you'll keep driving angry. Plenty of squealing tires and thundering explosions round out the package.
Twisted Metal III proves itself with a solid physics foundation, excellent level design, and bumper-to-bumper excitement. If you didn't think Twisted Metal 2 could be topped, you're in for a very pleasant, very noisy surprise.
For over a year, gamers have been spinning their wheels, waiting for the third installment of the Twisted Metal series from Sony (now dubbed 989 Studios). What does 989 have planned for the king of 3D car combat--a mild tune-up or a massive overhaul? GamePro went straight to Twisted Metal III's head mechanic, Senior Producer Ken George, for an exclusive interview on all things twisted.
30 FPS; 80 MPH
What's new with this Twisted Metal? "We're using multi-point physics, rather than single-point," says George. "It's a realistic vehicle model--the cars pitch and shift when they're turning, and they also have independent suspensions. You're able to powerslide and make the car behave in a more realistic manner, rather than an arcadey, 'Okay, we've got this box moving through space' situation." The physics model, Tru Physics, was designed by Jim Bock, who also created the realistic suspensions for Rally Cross.
989 also claims to have tamed two beasts of 3D action games: frame rate and pop-up. "We definitely wanted to improve the graphics; our sight distance is really far," boasts George. "We can display a lot more polygons, which allows us to not only see farther into the horizon, but also makes our objects look better up close. We have 3D pickups now and are trying to go fully 3D everywhere we can with the game." Twisted Metal III will also incorporate colored lii advanced shading.
Meanwhile, missiles and mortars will whiz by at BO frames per second--a standard for all 989 Studios games from now on. "Playing Twisted Metal III at 30 frames a second is unbelievable," says George. "We never would have thought that we could get eight cars running simultaneously with multi-point physics and a very far distance at 30 frames a second--and now we're there."
Familiar Face of Death
Sony knows that part of Twisted Metal's charm is its twisted characters. Among the returning survivors are: Axel, Mr. Grimm, Outlaw, Spectre, Roadkill, Warthog, Thumper, Hammerhead (with a new, secret twist), and, of course, Sweet Tooth. Fresh blood includes Club Kid, Firestarter, Auger, and Flower Power, while bosses Minion and Dark Tooth are joined by a new big baddie, Head Hunter. George reveals that the characters who made the ' cut are the lucky few: "In our initial meetings, we had a list of about 100 different vehicles and 100 different characters, and we had to narrow it down to our favorites."
Twisted Metal wouldn't be complete without the puppet master himself, Calypso. "Calypso is running the competition again," confirms George. "It's the year 2008 and this is the fourth Twisted Metal competition. We skipped a year because we didn't have a game last year, so the chronology is correct for the story line."
Twisted Metal Ill's eight global environments--including Chicago, London, Egypt, Washington D.C., the North Pole, and Area 51--"are going to give players gameplay they haven't seen in the previous versions," says George. Plus, for the first time, four players can fight in the same battle, using split-; screen mode, two TVs, and two linked PlayStations.
Despite easier-to-perform combo attacks and new weapons like Mortars and Speed Missiles, Twisted Metal III doesn't look like it will tinker much with the established speed-and-bleed gameplay. "The great thing about a car combat game," says George, "is that people love driving and they love shooting. You put them together, and boom!--you've got a really fun game. What guy between the ages of 12 and 25--or even 40--wouldn't want to drive around and shoot stuff?"
Although I won't answer the burning question of which is better--this game or Rogue Trip (turn to page 218 for that answer)--I will say that TM3 falls well short of the standards set by the previous Twisted Metal games. Level design is particularly disappointing. Some of TM3's arenas are just plain boring--such as the mega-dull Washington, D.C. stage, which is basically a big rectangle--while the larger levels pack predictable secrets or downright cheap mega weapons. Instead of the l-wonder-if-l-can-blow-that-structure-up style of puzzles in TM2, this sequel relies more on scattered destructible switches that grant access to the mega weapons, disable enemy regeneration, etc. They're fun to figure out the first time through, but become more of a chore when you replay with other characters. I'm not too keen on the control, either, which is supposedly built off a more accurate physics engine. The cars wobble too much, making aiming extra tough, and they practically flip over every time you hit a speed bump. Visually, TM3 is a step up, with a more rounded, natural look to the levels. The four-player split screen works well if you turn off CPU opponents; otherwise, it's a choppy unplayable mess. TM2 is just lacking overall. With only two hidden tracks and two extra cars, it needs more secrets.
While I'm happy to see the Twisted Metal series finally get an upgrade in graphics, I'm not too happy with the new physics engine. The cars don't handle anywhere near as nice as they did before. I especially hate the way the cars flip around so much--it's an opening for mucho cheapness (just use the freeze burst on the helpless victim). The lackluster arenas don't help this score. Decent, but extremely disappointing.
Sure, the graphics are a bit better this time and the music sure is cool (Rob Zombie is OK in my book), but underneath the gloss TM3 is slow, sluggish and tedious. The level design is uninspired at best, while the new "realistic physics" engine seems utterly redundant. Even the multiplayer mode fails to impress. Where once the series was an innovator, imitated by many; now it's just another cookie-cutter combat game. A shame.
Twisted Metal 3 isn't a bad game but it's not very good either-certainly not as good as Rogue Trip or Vigilante 8 (although both of those games had their own unique problems). First, the control in TM3 is too real for my liking. 989 is using this "true physics' thing that ends up causing the game to lose some of its fast, arcade feel. Also, the levels could've been much more interesting and larger as well. I wouldn't buy TM3.
Sony's Twisted Metal series counts to three with 12 vehicles and a new boss character, Head Hunter. TM3 has new multiplayer options, including a four-player death match via link cable. The action is still world wide, with battle zones in Egypt. Area 51, and London--just to name a few.