TWISTED METAL / Sony / PlayStation

For the first year or so of the PS1's life, the name of the game was Graphical Flash. Stuff that would later be regarded as total crap like Tohshinden sold big and was hyped to heaven just Because 3D Polygorz On A Home Console ZOMG.

The first Twisted Metal was part of this initial lineup and is as guilty as any of the rest of Sony's games of this time of trading on graphical novelty to mask halfassed gameplay. To be fair, working with polygons was still very new at the time and these design teams had to feel their way along and learn lessons and all that, and later refined entries in the Twisted Metal series would at least prove the core concept was a sound one. But this initial entry feels more like a PC demo than a proper fleshed-out console game. There's a generous amount of drivers, but only a handful of arenas to compete in linked by a framework that looks stitched together of amateurish resources.

Most importantly, the driving is crappy. This is the pre-Dual Shock period, so we're stuck with d-pad control, and it sucks. Both acceleration and reversing are prone to random fits of "NO I DON'T WANNA" by the game engine, and even when you're successfully rolling along, turning feels blocky and off even with the smaller vehicles.

So the theme of the game is basically all these Mad Max drivers bolt weapons onto their vehicles and compete in deadly demolition derbies. Destruction Derby with guns and missiles, basically. The series would later come up with some weird storyline/mythology but at this point it's just random combat Because Reasons. Sweet Tooth and most of the cast of beloved freaks from later games are here, however.

Each character has their own unique vehicle. Everyone has a generic machine gun as their primary weapon, but each gets a unique secondary weapon, stuff like homing missiles or land mines. I guess you'll want the manual here, though, as the weapons are so tiny and indistinct in-game it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what they are or what they do.

2-player is the way to go with this one. Single player just consists of touring the game's handful of arenas, with an increasing amount of computer opponents in each one. The game isn't that hard thanks to simple AI, but you can't go head-on with any opponent because they always outclass you in armor and firepower, and the jonky steering can make it hard to get an angle on them. Once you get up to the maps where it's like 5+ opponents at once, you might as well hang it up.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video