Wanna be da boss? Throw your old one out the window!
When I see a four at the end of a title I have a little voice in the back of
my head (we’re working on it in therapy) which says “Warning: cheap sequel ahead”.
But this is not completely true for Twisted Metal 4. Although not the best
of the series, is certainly better than the failure that was Twisted
those of you who care about the story, this is how it goes: Sweet Tooth, who had
become the reigning star of Twisted Metal, wasn’t satisfied with his job
of head clown; He waned to be the big boss! So he decided pay a visit to Calypso,
the current head honcho, and defenestrate him (Defenestrate: v. to throw out of
a window. Look it up). Then he took his place. Calypso, of course, now wants revenge.
If you’ve played any of the previous games, you know how this game goes: You pick a car, then you’re put into an arena with a bunch of other cars with the mission to kill them before they kill you. To help you, you’re given lots of guns, missiles, bombs, and other WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). While doing this, you must navigate some of the weirdest levels you have seen, ranging from construction yards to a reeeealy big bedroom.
The level design has improved since the last game. In every level, there are
you standard set of tall platforms, things to duck behind, jump over, and blow
up. But in most levels, there’s some sort of cool thing specific to that level.
In the construction zone, for example, you have a crane that you can take control
of, pick up other cars, and put them in metal smashers (I’ve always wanted to
do that!). In the Neon City arena, there’s a train track complete with train.
And trust me, getting hit with that thing stings!
That’s not to say that all of the levels are peachy-keen. In one level, it’s
too easy to die by falling off of the edge (given how valuable a life is in this
game, that’s bad), and another is a huge maze, where it’s really hard to find
anyone to shoot at. It seems like they worked hard on the first few levels, then
sort of slacked off near the end.
The graphics are reasonable, but not outstanding. Everything looks pretty good, with bright colors and interesting textures. The vehicles are well made, with a lot of variance between different drivers and cars (I love that guy with a bug on his roof). And of course the explosions and other weapon effects are great. But there are still lots of problems with pop-up and with the camera going through walls.
sound is pretty good, with your standard set of guns firing, large nuclear weapons
exploding, and things being frozen. My only major gripe is the songs they play.
On each level, they keep on playing the same one over and over and over and over
and… you get the idea. I can only listen to Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” so many times
before becoming clinically ill.
What makes or breaks most of these games is the physics engine, which is the
thing which lets you drive around, jump off of cliffs, flip over, and so on. Although
better than TM3, there are still a lot of bugs in the system. The main
one has to do with jumping between platforms. If you just miss the platform, you
will stay on the edge, but will never be able to get on it. It’s as if the game
were trying to push you off. This also happens when you just go a little off the
edge. It gets to be a real pain after the hundredth time it happens. Also, with
certain cars, you can go into this weird position where your car is pointing straight
up, and moving backwards. It won’t stop unless you let up on the throttle (Although
it is funny to see your cars acting like dolphins).
One of the major problems from TM3 was how often you’d end up on your
back, with your wheels in the air. Here they tried to make it less annoying by
putting you right side up as soon as it happens. Although it’s unrealistic, considering
how often you end up on your back, it’s a welcome change.
One feature that the makers have been pushing is the ability to create your
own cars. Even though it is cool to create a personalized car, it’s only sort
of a novelty. There are only nine car bodies to choose from, ranging from small
to large. Then you can select a paint job, and whether or not it has “extras”
(a spoiler for sports cars, and those cool lights on the monster trucks). Then
you select a special weapon (only four of them), and a battle cry (about twelve
of these), and then you go into the ring. Despite the fact that you can save them
to the memory card, after you’ve seen all of the models, there really isn’t much
of a reason to make new cars except to get those special weapons.
An improvement over TM3, Twisted Metal 4 is a reasonably fun
game. It puts some of the entertainment value back into blowing up over-armed
cars. But it still has its flaws. If you already own Twisted Metal 1 or
2 , make sure to rent this one first.