Tag Archives: Vehicular Combat

Twisted Metal 3 (PlayStation)

Developer(s) – 989 Studios

Publisher(s) –  989 Studios

Director(s) – Howard Liebeskind

Producer(s) – Ken George

ESRB – T For Teen


Released a year after Twisted Metal 2 exclusively in North America by a completely different development company, Twisted Metal 3 in some ways improved on the first two games, but in other ways, the series took a turn for the worse. Regardless, it sold relatively well in America and received a fair few positive reviews at the time too. Personally, I managed to find a middle ground with this game, as what is truly warranted. Overall, I’m glad that it didn’t get released over here because it gave me the time when I was a kid to focus more on the PlayStation classics, but overall, this isn’t one of the worse games released on the console. 


Graphics – 8/10

The immediate improvement to notice is the frame rate of the game is so much faster, making it seem a lot more fluent to play in turn. However, part of the reason for this may be because of how badly the game was polished compared to the other two games. The conceptual design stayed as diverse as it was in Twisted Metal 2 thankfully, and the track designs have also stayed as intricate; something which needed to happen. But in order to have been able to top Twisted Metal 2, every aspect of the graphics needed to be improved upon. I think I may have settled for the lower frame rate if it meant the game looking technically better, or the tracks being even more elaborate. 


Gameplay – 7.5/10

Again, the gameplay concept has stayed pretty much the same as it did in Twisted Metal 2, albeit with the inclusion of a few new boss races thrown in between each round for good measure. But beyond that, there was no further innovation made compared to the previous 2 games, which again, was needed at this point. I can’t help but think that 989 Studios would’ve been able to release the game overseas as well as in America if they’d simply taken that little bit more time to improve on what was already good as opposed to giving players the same game again. 


Controls – 10/10

There are furthermore no issues with the controls in Twisted Metal 3, and again, the increased frame rate indeed helps the game in this regard as well. No new mechanics were introduced, but what was already there seems to have been improved slightly, and I can’t take any points off it in this regard.


Lifespan – 6/10

Now that we’re back to 12 characters, it equates to a minimum of 12 hours gameplay, falling slightly shorter than Twisted Metal 2. It’s still the same minimum time as what the first Twisted Metal can be made to last, but since this is the third installment, it seems slightly more underwhelming as it’s only around the same time as what can come to expect, and not any longer. Even if they flooded the game with characters and they sacrificed character development even more, then I think that would’ve probably been the better option. 


Storyline – 4/10

Speaking of character development, this is the aspect in which the series took a drastic turn for the worse. The story of Twisted Metal 3 is pretty much the same as it was in Twisted Metal 2; the 12 best drivers hashing it out in vehicular deathmatches all around the world at the behest of Calypso. However, the cast of characters included is, even more, hit and miss than in the first 2 games, and the classic characters that have been included have still been downgraded in terms of their own individual personalities, as the game overall takes a far more cartoony approach to storytelling. The wishes that some of the drivers request from Calypso make very little sense or have no real substance to them, such as Flower Power’s wish for the world to be covered in flowers, or Damian’s wish to have a barbecue with all his friends. At least with the first two games, the characters made far more practical wishes and could be taken far more seriously; but in terms of story, it pretty much systematically destroys the legacy that David Jaffe left behind at this point. 


Originality – 6/10

Although improvements were made in some areas, not enough improvements were made to make this either one of the standout entries in the series or one of the standout titles on the original PlayStation. It certainly had its fanbase, as the sales figures in America would demonstrate, but the fact of the matter is that the 989 Studios era was without a shadow of a doubt the worst period of the series until David Jaffe would become involved with the series again, and the third game definitely gives testament to that. 



Overall, Twisted Metal 3 is certainly one of the lowest points of the series, but at the same time, still being more playable than a lot of the shovelware titles developed for the original PlayStation. It has its upsides and its downsides; it’s certainly not the best entry in the series, but it’s not the worst one either. 



6.5/10 (Above Average)

Twisted Metal 2 (PlayStation)

Developer(s) – SingleTrac/Sony Interactive Studios America

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Director(s) – David Jaffe

Producer(s) – David Jaffe

ELSPA – Suitable for all ages

ESRB – T for Teen


Released two years after the original game back in 1997 following a development cycle of 16 months, Twisted Metal 2 was praised worldwide as a decisive improvement over the original game and garnished sales figures of almost 2 million copies in America alone. To me personally, not only is the second game indeed a significant improvement over what SingleTrac did with the first Twisted Metal, but it is most definitely also the best game of the original PlayStation quadrilogy, and among many, remains one of the most definitive experiences on the original PlayStation.


Graphics – 8/10

The major improvements made to the game’s graphics are not on the technical side, as in that respect, it’s just about on par with the original game; something that it was criticized for at the time. The major improvements lie in its conceptual design, with the Twisted Metal tournament now taking place throughout the entire world as opposed to simply being confined to Los Angeles. The track designs are also far more intricate as well, making for better gameplay in turn; something which would then become a series mainstay. The accompanying soundtrack is also the best of the series overall in terms of its original score. Although the later games would include a lot of Rob Zombie music, which worked pretty well for me as a fan of his, the concept of original composition is still a lot more impressive to me personally.


Gameplay – 7.5/10

The basic gameplay premise remains the same as the first Twisted Metal with deathmatches played over a series of rounds complete with an end boss. But what makes this game far better than the original is in its increased variety in weapons, and of course, the intricately designed tracks. Not only does it make for more fun, but it also makes for more challenge as well, but not to the point of it being inaccessible to gamers. Later entries would include new game modes, but what was included in this game was indeed a massive improvement over the original. 


Controls – 10/10

What’s more, is that the minor problems with the first game’s controls have also been ironed out in the second, and no longer does the low framerate pose anywhere near as much of a problem. Again, this is something that would be further improved upon with both Twisted Metal 3 and 4, as both of those games are significantly less affected by in-game memory, but nevertheless, major improvements were made here that needed to happen if this series was going to go any further. 


Lifespan – 7.5/10

As there are 14 characters in total in the second game, it can be made to last fractionally longer at 14 hours. Again, it may have been a good idea for the developers to add more game modes at this stage as opposed to later in order to offer players even more than what they were given with this, but the fact of the matter is that 14 hours was still a significant amount for a game of this type to last at the time, and I can’t bring myself to criticize it too much in terms of lifespan. 


Storyline – 7/10

Another pretty sizable improvement made to the series with the second game was the expansion of its mythology and improved character development. in Twisted Metal 2, The Twisted Metal tournament had now branched throughout every major capital city on Earth as the owner of the contest Calypso has expanded his own empire globally. New and classic contestants return to hash it out for the title of Twisted Metal champion. The basic premise remains the same, but this time, cutscenes were added; albeit animated ones instead of full-motion video cutscenes as what was planned for the original game. The different endings overall are quite good; some can be taken relatively seriously, like Roadkill and Axel, and some of which are downright hilarious like Hammerhead and Spectre. The quality of the dialogue varies, but for the most part, the writers did a pretty good job. 


Originality – 7.5/10

To begin with, the vehicular combat genre had already been re-popularized with the introduction of the first game, but what kept the second game is fresh was the introduction of some new gameplay elements, some new characters being brought in, and characters of lesser quality in the first game being shipped out, and obviously with the expansion of the Twisted Metal mythos in general. It was definitely more evolutionary and revolutionary this time round, but the concept was kept fresh enough for people to still be talking about this game over 20 years on.



Overall, Twisted Metal 2 is unanimously the best game out of the original 4 games, and still an experience that very much holds up to this day. A lot of its flaws can be forgiven, as it was a by-product of a time when the concept of detailed story in video games was still a relatively primitive idea, and regardless, delivered on the aspect that matters most; gameplay. 



7.5/10 (Good)