Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal was the first PlayStation game I remember, and the series was the first game I purchased on the PS2 and PSP. I owned all the games (except the one for the PS3) as it is one of my favorite games.

Each game has a variety of characters and vehicles to play as. Some vehicles return in future games, sometimes with different drivers. My personal favorite is Sweet Tooth. He’s the mascot for the Twisted Metal series.

This is a difficult game, and I’m not even sure if I completed much of it when I was younger. Once you lose your lives, it’s over. I may have resorted to passwords to get to certain areas, but I also played plenty of 2-player with family and friends which made up for the difficult one-player game.

Also, in the game Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition, there are ‘lost endings’ for the first game. These endings feature real people and were cut from the original. According to the endings, Calypso refers to the competition as “High Octane,” which appeared to be the original name of the game. Furthermore, there are six clips (three Channel 7 and three Apocalypse 9) that were also cut from the game and never on the Head-On disc.

Additionally, while the game was released on the original PlayStation, a rare PC port was made in Japan only where it is possible to save between levels.

This game was played using the PlayStation emulator, DuckStation. I increased the resolution with widescreen and PGXP on.

Story

Every year a man by the name of Calypso holds the Twisted Metal competition. This year it takes place on the streets of Lost Angeles on Christmas Eve, 2005. Each driver was contacted by Calypso via an email that reads “Will You Drive?” There are six areas that the driver must battle through, destroying their opponents, including last year’s victor, Minion. If the driver is successful and wins the competition, they meet Calypso and are granted a single wish. However, their wish doesn’t always work out the way they want.

Each character has a different ending. There are the original scrolling text endings, and the ‘lost endings’ that were removed from the game. For more info on these endings from David Jaffe, one of the creators of the game, check out his live stream.

  • Sweet Tooth (Needles Kane)
    • A psychotic clown who is looking for his best friend, a paper bag known as Crazy Harold the Wacky Lunch Sack. Calypso grants his wish and is confused.
    • In the lost ending after receiving the bag, Needles pulls out a gun and starts shooting at Calypso. There is a woman in his truck as well who threatens to kill both Needles and Calypso and take the truck.
  • Yellow Jacket (Charlie Kane)
    • A taxi driver from New York who is looking for his son who disappeared 20 years ago. It turns out Needles Kane is his son which he killed during the competition.
    • In the lost ending Charlie didn’t actually ask for anything. Calypso mentions Charlie killed his son during the competition, but Charlie makes no comment on it. Instead, he says that he is about to die and wants to drive again. Calypso gives him a potion, which kills him and turns him into a zombie to recruit contestants for future competitions. 
  • Darkside (Mr. Ash)
    • A creature born from the depths of hell. His wish is for the demon that Calypso stole from him, Black, to return to Hell with him. Calypso used Black to grant the winner’s prizes. Black enters Mr. Ash’s body while Calypso screams in agony.
    • In the lost ending it’s pretty much the same thing except the demon doesn’t enter Mr. Ash’s body, but rather a jar.
  • Outlaw (Carl Roberts)
    • A good cop in a bad world. He wants Calypso to put an end to his competition once and for all so that the world is free of pain and suffering. However, Calypso grants his wish by sending him into space where nothing exists.
    • In the lost ending the wish is fulfilled pretty much exactly the same, except that he is sent into a black void instead of space.
  • Thumper (Bruce Cochrane)
    • A man searing for peace in his neighborhood. With all the gang fights, drive-by shootings, and robberies, he wants Calypso to put an end to this. Calypso fulfills his wish and peace is brought into his neighborhood.
    • In the lost ending he is instead looking for his girlfriend, who was abducted by another man. Calypso brings that man to Bruce and he threatens to kill him if he ever crosses him again. As Bruce leaves, Calypso shoots the man stating that it was anti-climatic that Bruce didn’t kill him.
  • Crimson Fury (Agent Stone)
    • A special agent going against the US Government to retrieve an item that could change the world. He is looking for the flight recorder box of a downed airliner that proves alien life exists. Commander Mason (Warthog) tried to prevent Agent Stone from acquiring it.
    • In the lost ending the story is identical except Agent Stone listens to the audio recording on the box while in the same room as Calypso instead of during his drive away from the facility. Also, Agent Stone and his car are not visible during the ending. The reason, from David Jaffe’s live broadcast, is because the actor didn’t show to film his roll.
  • Pit Viper (Angela Fortin)
    • The only woman in the game. She lives a double life and is competing for $1 million. Upon winning the competition, her true identity is revealed – Agent Amanda X who was hired by the people of Los Angeles to kill Calypso and end his contest. She kills him and his bodyguards, but lets Black go.
    • In the lost ending Calypso manages to avoid getting shot and sneaks into her car to kill her.
  • Warthog (Commander Mason)
    • An army commander sent by the US government to retrieve the flight recorder box of an Arizona plane crash. Connected to Crimson Fury (Agent Stone) ending. Whoever wins the contest will get the box. When Commander Mason wins, he gets the box and drives off with it, knowing the people will live comforted in lies that alien life doesn’t exist.
    • In the lost ending Commander Mason does not leave with the box, but rather is threatened by Calypso who kills his strike team that Mason sent if Calypso didn’t cooperate. Mason also makes mention of Agent Stone, referring to him as the “traitor in the sports car.”
  • Mr. Grimm
    • A mysterious man on a motorcycle. He is a collector, but of what? When he wins the contest, it is revealed that he is the Grim Reaper and wants Calypso’s soul which has eluded him for years. He takes his soul and continues on with his job.
    • In the lost ending he does the same exact thing as the text ending and takes Calypso’s soul and leaves.
  • Spectre (Scott Campbell)
    • A spirit who wants to be whole again, back in his human body. He died due to being stabbed by a serial killer at a local circus. When he wins the competition, Calypso grants his wish and he is able to return to his wife and little girl who was born three days after he died.
    • In the lost ending Calypso grants his wish, but betrays him and pulls out a gun and kills him again. Calypso giveth and Calypso taketh away.
  • Hammerhead (Dave & Mike)
    • Two high-school drop outs who stole a monster truck and have entered the competition for the thrill of it and to blast their heavy metal CDs during combat. When they win the contest, they ask for new treads for their truck. Calypso grants them the new tires and they speed of pondering how to top the prize in next year’s competition.
    • In the lost ending they ask for nothing, but see Calypso’s women. They say, “We want babes!” And Calypso grants the wish and the girls enter the monster truck.
  • Road Kill (Captain Spears)
    • An army commando who seeks to go back in time to save his men in a jungle war. Upon winning the competition, Calypso warns him of the dangers of going back in time, but the Captain doesn’t want to hear it. When he travels back to that day when his men were killed, he is shot at point blank range by an enemy soldier. His car is later found by two high school kids who plan on using it in next year’s competition.
    • In the lost ending, it’s basically the same exact thing as his in-game ending except for the kids stealing his car.
  • Minion (Apocalypse 9)
    • A heavily armored tank, the XJ-39, also known as the “Mind Tank” can link with the driver and see their deepest fears and desires. It was developed for the government by Jackson Industries. The tank was stolen by a group of street thugs calling themselves Apocalypse 9 one year before the events of the game.
    • This character is only playable with a GameShark code, and the story is not even in the game but only available via deleted footage that wasn’t on the Head-On game. There are three Channel 7 news update videos, as well as three Apocalypse 9 videos, including one that shows their deepest desires of beating up people.

Gameplay

Control your vehicle, drive around, and destroy your opponents with various weapons. Each vehicle has different speed, handling, health and armor, as well as a special weapon.

Vehicles are equipped with a machine gun that can do minimal damage to the opponent, and it can overheat. Turbo can also be picked up that allows the vehicle to go substantially faster, but it runs out quickly. Health is not a pickup, but rather a station that you sit on and heal for a few seconds. Various weapons can be picked up including fire missile, freeze missile, power missile, rear missile, drop mines, tire spikes, catapults, rear flame, and oil slicks. There are also various environmental obstacles to avoid, mostly people who shoot at you and can damage your vehicle.

Each vehicle has different stats and special weapons:

  • Sweet Tooth
    • Excellent armor, but low speed and handling.
    • Special weapon: Napalm Cone – Burning ice cream that is one of the strongest in the game.
  • Yellow Jacket
    • Average vehicle with balanced stats. 
    • Special weapon: Molotov Cocktail – A decent weapon, but has no homing ability.
  • Darkside
    • A heavy truck that sucks in all stats except armor.
    • Special weapon: Death Blast – One of the worst weapons in the game. It’s a weak, thin beam of white fire.
  • Outlaw
    • A pretty average car with good armor.
    • Special weapon: Tazer – Shock opponents with an omnidirectional tazer gun from the sirens. It does decent damage.
  • Thumper
    • Overall a great car with high stats in almost everything except handling.
    • Special weapon: Scorcher – One of the most powerful weapons in the game. It’s a flame that emits from the front of the car and it does massive damage. One of my favorites in the game.
  • Crimson Fury
    • The fastest cars in the game, but has terrible armor. One hit will do decent damage.
    • Special weapon: Crimson Blade – A red laser that does hardly any damage, but at least makes a cool sound effect.
  • Pit Viper
    • A balanced car with lower than average handling, but can make quick turns and slide around corners.
    • Special weapon: Sizzle – A ball of green slime that is fairly powerful.
  • Warthog
    • A durable humvee with great armor, but low speed.
    • Special weapon: XQJ-37 Hornets – Three homing fire missiles that do decent damage.
  • Mr. Grimm
    • A motorcycle that is extremely weak and can be destroyed rather quickly. But has good speed and handling.
    • Special weapon: Death Spawn – Screaming souls that shot in front of the motorcycle. It is the strongest special weapon in the game and can take most enemies out in about two hits.
  • Spectre
    • High speed and handling, but low armor.
    • Special weapon: Phantom Burst – A homing missile that can go through walls to reach its target. It doesn’t always make it there, even if fired from a short range.
  • Hammerhead
    • A slow, but powerful, monster truck capable of running over the opponents with ease.
    • Special weapon: Crusher – The truck drives over the competitors and does massive damage. The special will happen automatically when within crushing range and if the user has special weapon available. This is the only special that is fully automatic and consists of running over vehicles.
  • Road Kill
    • A balanced car with good armor and speed.
    • Special weapon: Steel Dagger – A metal rod with slight homing properties that does moderate damage.
  • Minion
    • A huge tank with tons of armor. Practically all maxed stats, except speed.
    • Special weapon: Various other character’s specials – He has Darkside, Outlaw, Thumper, Pit Viper, and Spectre. 

The final boss, Minion, is unplayable and does not have a story. However, there are a few GameShark cheat codes that can enable Minion, although it’s glitchy and usually only works on emulator.

Select Minion:
801FF6A4 000C

Minion Special:
801A1830 0082

Glitch Minion/Mr. Grimm In-Car Camera:
8018EFCC 0050

Play as Minion on Rooftop Combat (play on final stage as minion – enable before battle begins):
8018EFA4 0082
8018ED04 0005

My favorite vehicles are Sweet Tooth, Thumper, Warthog, Hammerhead, and of course Minion.

Graphics

Each battle arena is designed quite well and some are rather large. There is a map and radar system that detects nearby enemies. Vehicles are also unique. They are not generic vehicles, but rather range from motorcycle to tractor-trailer to taxi to ice cream truck. Each one has a different interior.

Weapon pickups are encased in small pink bubbles throughout the stage. It’s hard to tell what an item is until you’re right up on it.

The game runs at 20fps during gameplay, but will run 60fps in menus. So the smoothness of driving around and fighting enemies isn’t really there.

Sound / Music

The music in the game is one of the PS1 games that uses Red Book CD audio, meaning it can be played in a CD player from track 2 onward. It also means it’s high quality CD audio and not compressed. Each stage has a different track and there is a sound test in options. The track “Stalk ‘n Roll” appears to play in various stages when there is no one around the player, leading to a sense of fear, like the user is being stalked.

Each character has a unique sound when firing their special weapon. You can tell what vehicle is around you based on the sound they make when they shoot.

Game Info

Twisted Metal (Cover)
Developer: SingleTrac
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Initial Release Date: November 5, 1995
Platforms: PlayStation

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