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& , 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