When you think of the top genres in the video game industry today, does the vehicular combat genre cross your mind?
The answer is probably “no.” Why? Well, over the last decade this genre sort of stayed under the radar.
Only a minority of gamers are still into these games, not counting your hardcore Mario Kart-ers, but going back even earlier, we see it really wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that these games really took-off. The series that arose above all others during this time was, no doubt, Twisted Metal.
My original infatuation with Twisted Metal started with the original two, but my interest was piqued by Twisted Metal 3 when I realized how much it had improved from its predecessors, and because it left an everlasting impression.
Since I only got one game every few months as a kid, I had plenty of time to get familiar with Twisted Metal 3. Needless to say, after a while, I pretty much experienced everything it had to offer.
Many gamers complain about Twisted Metal 3 and 4 because they were developed by 989 Studios instead of Sony Interactive Studios, the series’ original developer. There was also a key component missing from 3 and 4–creator David Jaffe. Because of this change, many fans immediately withdrew from the next two entries in this growing franchise.
I got my first fill at an all night rock-a-thon. A group of friends and I played a variety of video games all night as we rocked in our chairs to raise money. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I got a hold of Twisted Metal 3, and then came the addiction.
At its core, Twisted Metal is a vehicular combat video game. If you are still unaware of what that is, allow me to enlighten you.
Basically, there are a variety of cars/characters to choose from. You drive in various terrains shooting other vehicles with an arsenal of weapons. Last man or woman standing wins. You have three lives to make it to the end, or you lose.
Every Twisted Metal game has the same fundamental story. The head honcho, named Calypso, is holding a tournament in which contestants must fight to the death in their automobiles using any means necessary. The winner is then granted one wish, allowed to ask for anything. Calypso then interprets their request in some twisted way so that it’s actually something they don’t want at all.
In order to see all the characters’ wishes, you must beat the game with each one.
There are 14 vehicles to choose from (including the unlockables) and 10 battlegrounds to conquer. Each map has weapon and health pickups. In addition to the ammo pickups, each player has a “special” attack, which once used, recharges after a specified time. If pickups become scarce, your car always has a machine gun with unlimited–yet less powerful–ammo.
Not only do the number of combatants and their skills increase as the player progresses, each level becomes more difficult to traverse. For example, one match has four enemies in a replica London, and another features eight enemies digging their way through sand dunes in Egypt and a boss fight at the end. Add in a few secret passageways to each level and an aggressive Rob Zombie soundtrack, and you can see why the game is so addicting.
Even after I played this game through, I still had not lost interest. Each playthrough provided a truly unique experience. I know many gamers say that your feelings towards a game change from adolescence to adulthood, and I would agree. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. When I go back to Twisted Metal 3, it’s still very enjoyable.
Why You Should Play It
One big reason I still play Twisted Metal 3 today is because of the cooperative play. With the capability to have two player co-op, the combat is even more fun. There is actually a bit more teamwork behind it than one might think.
For example, pulling aggro from some enemies who are up your partner’s butt so that they can collect healing items is essential in order to progress through the campaign.
Trust me, I get it. Just dropping into an arena with one main objective–eliminate everyone–actually sounds dumb and boring. But destroying other contestants by taking advantage of the environment, weapons, secret passageways and special abilities; it’s easy to see the endless variety available Twisted Metal 3 offers.
Every time I play through the game, no matter what character I choose, it’s always a unique playthrough. Even after all these years, the gameplay still has yet to get old.
For a game genre that doesn’t quite shine by today’s standards, this is certainly one that you don’t want to miss. Especially if you are a first timer to the series.