The 1990s were certainly some great years for games. Sony and Nintendo were going at it, and Sega still made its own consoles. Now we find ourselves in the fast-paced, constant-one-upmanship that is modern gaming. Every now and again it’s nice to have a blast from the past, something to slow things down a little. And what could possibly be more soothing than a homicidal clown trying to blow your head off?
Twisted Metal was one of the icons of ’90s gaming, and chances are, if you owned an original PlayStation, you played one of these games. If you’re unfamiliar to the series, get ready for an intricately sculpted world of plot twists and storylines. Just kidding; just pick up a gun and kill somebody. Twisted Metal is a demolition derby on steroids. As you drive your four-wheeler of destruction, you’ll use every kind of weaponry short of nuclear armaments to plaster opponents all over the landscape.
The latest installment, Twisted Metal: Head On Extra Twisted Edition, is a PS2 remake of a PSP title. Normally a description like this means the game has simply been hastily re-tooled to eek out some more profit with minimal work. However, what we have in Twisted Metal: Head On- Extra Twisted Edition is a solid game, mostly due to how much game you’re actually getting in the package.
Twisted Metal: Head On Extra Twisted Edition has a truckload of bonus content and unlockables, the latter of which can be found in three modes: Head On, Lost Levels and Sweet Tour. Head On is the meat of the game, with plenty of levels to play and plenty of familiar faces to see. Mr. Grimm, Axel, Thumper and everyone’s favorite psychotic clown — as well as the rest of the misfits — join the Twisted Metal party once again. Lost Levels is basically a reworking of Twisted Metal: Black with some new tweaks thrown in, while Sweet Tour has players actually walking around as Sweet Tooth in a bonus material treasure trove. Rounding things out is Story Mode, which finds gamers participating in deathmatch rounds with multiple AI-controlled characters, plus a boss battle thrown in here and there. Add up all these modes, plus never-before-seen endings and a twisted “making of” documentary, and there’s plenty of napalm-fueled bang for your buck.
The gameplay itself won’t really be anything surprising to Twisted Metal fans. You’ll zoom around levels picking up bombs, rockets, missiles and more politically incorrect toys with which to humble your rivals. The experience changes vastly from blowing up dull-witted drivers on Super Easy to fleeing for your four-wheeled life on Hard. Luckily, constantly re-spawning health pick-ups will literally save your life on the harder settings.
The weapons themselves range in usefulness, as some are so tedious and ineffective you’ll most likely avoid them. Others, especially Napalm, are so strong you’ll find yourself running to them time and time again. However, all the same weapons appear throughout the game, and even the characters’ unique special moves are usually just a fancy projectile. In short, Twisted Metal: Head On- Extra Twisted Edition brings all of the hard, gritty action of the 1990s gaming world right back in your living room, warts and all.
Unfortunately, as great as the nostalgic gameplay might be, it’s not quite as pleasing when you fire up the multiplayer modes. Multiplayer expectations have changed quite a bit since the 1990s, yet only the original (and arguably simple) multiplayer modes remain in this game. Online play is sadly absent, and same-screen multiplayer in either co-op or deathmatch only allows for up to two players.
In addition, Twisted Metal has mostly appealed to the same audience since its conception in the ’90s, and its dark, edgy humor and macabre themes are stronger than ever in this version. When you combine this with the factors above, there probably won’t be enough variation in gameplay to attract any new fans. The game gets pretty repetitive rather quickly, and only the truly twisted will want to unlock all the secrets.
Chances are, though, that you’re considering buying this game because you’re a fan of the series, so it all works it out in the end anyway. For fans of Twisted Metal series, this one is truly a must buy. You’ll get basically two games for the price of one, with tons of extra goodies to satisfy your bloodthirsty attitude. For everyone else, however, Twisted Metal: Head On- Extra Twisted Edition might be nothing more than a good rental to experience a little nostalgia.
- Score: 7.5
- You won’t find a better deal than this overflowing bag of content. However, if you’re not a diehard Twisted Metal fan, there probably isn’t enough motivation or variation for you to really get immersed in the game.
— John Dempsey