Twisted Metal: Black
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8  |  Twisted Metal Black
Decca , 5/16/2003 4:39:42 AM
I'd like to first point out that this game was developed by the people responsible for the fantastic Twisted Metal 1 and Twisted Metal 2 Playstation games. They had nothing to do with the poor TM3 and TM4 sequels that came out later. I would also like to make a note, of all the TM installments, the ones developed by Incognito had the most entertaining storylines. In this version however, all FMV that went to plot was PULLED in the UK version. A travesty, a real joke. I'm disgusted with it simply because I thought I was going to get so much satisfaction from this game through the FMV sequences, which are hard fought for, even on the easiest difficulty. As it was, I visited a TM website and was filled in on the details. If you have this game and want to check the plots (and have the UK version) Click Me!. On to the review.

Menus

The game's menus are simple, to the point, and you can quickly flick through what you want. There are a small array of different modes: survival, battle, story and co-op story being the main ones. It is quite simple, and has a nice graphical effect of revolving around the head and vehicle of Sweet Tooth.

Characters

There are some new characters, and the story lines for them have changed. Mr Grimm, for example, is no longer the personification of death. Fortunately it is only the weaker characters that have had their plugs pulled, and its safe to say if you liked one of them, you'll find a new favourite character to replace them. The characters are usually well balanced, although Axel is weaker than the others, and Sweet Tooth has a special that's strength is stupidly good and easy to get max damage with.

Plot

For the type of game it is, the plots are good (unfortunately I don't have much to write here because my version doesn't have the cutscenes). The slideshows in the link above should give away what you wanted to know, even though it isn't the same.

Graphics

Whilst being dated now they were quite good. The explosions and rockets had a nice skimming effect over the landscape, and the colours were quite impressive. The basic game colour is dark, so you might need to adjust the brightness to get the best picture.

Unlockables

There are 5 unlockable vehicles, and numerous stages to unlock through collection of items in stages. The only way to unlock the mid-game boss, Minion, is through completion of every other characters game. These are all hard challenges, only recently i have found one of the boxes that unlock stages dispite having 4/5 characters unlocked. In short it's hard, maybe too hard, but a worthy challenge.

Stages

All stages are well designed, have a nice amount of weapons, and have a few little tricks each. The first stage unfortunately had the part where you shoot the plane down in order to unlock the underground area taken out. However, there are many little tricks like this throughout the game (as well as many getting censored out. The old favourite is still in there, the rooftops level, or the Skyscrapers as it is now known. This classic level really defines the TM genre, with miscalculations in your jumps causing swift demise. There is good variety between the levels, some having internal areas, some being completely open. There are some very hard secret areas too find as well--you wont get bored easily with this game.

Weapons

I will go through the individual weapons. I will skip the unique weapons on each vehicle.

Homing Rocket: The basic kit, low power/high accuracy.
Fire Rocket: Balance of power with accuracy, a good all round.
Power Rocket: Says it all. No homing capabilities.
Roichet: Bounces 4 times becoming stronger with each bounce. Gas Barrel: Launched in a straight-forward overhead arc, a second press will bring it crashing down. Reverse firing the weapon will drop it, it will then act as a proximity mine, getting more powerful until activation or explosion.
Machine Gun Upgrade: doubles the power of your machine gun to the tune of 30 rounds.

Specials:
Zoomy: 10 rockets with high accuracy launched consecutively. If all 10 hit the same target a bonus damage is awarded to the opponent.
Satellite: Rockets are launched into the air and a target appears in front of your vehicle, 3 seconds after the initial fire the weapon will be fully charged, press the button again to rain devestating holy hell onto your opponent.
Recticle: A timer will appear for five seconds, the object is too keep your opponent in the viever on the screen for the full five seconds then unleash. A button press is required to activate and fire.

There is also the basic machine gun on your vehicle, capable of minor damage and prone to overheating. The weapons are your basics and what you'd expect from the game, some of the weapons have been downgraded from TM2. Ricochets on the Skyscrapers could have been so much more... I fondly remember when you could use a ricochet bomb to throw an enemy clean off the rooftop. The weapons on this version do have all the basics covered, however i feel a couple of more unique weapons and the downgrading of several weapons is sad. I guess the more complex and demanding special attacks keep me happy here.

Overall

The game is great, the 2 player modes are excellent and have great replay value. The one player mode is a challenge like none other, no game hits the same challenge for me.

But there's a problem. Censorship.

The entertainment was dragged kicking and screaming from the game. As much as I'd like to blame the developers you can't fault them, it's the British standard of rating games differently from movies. I might also add here the choice of music for the credits (Rolling Stones - Paint it Black) might have awarded the game an extra percentage. It's a challenging game that keeps me constantly coming back for more. I only hope the series continues and the censors keep their noses out!

Twisted Metal Black 91% (American version with cutscenes)
Twisted Metal Black 77% (British version without the cutscene rewards for completion of tasks)
European censors... 0.000000% (Go censor Bryan Adams you ****heads!)

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