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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

Preview:
Twisted Metal: Black

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June 2001 for PS2

 

tmb3-01.jpg (3838 bytes)I’ve been looking forward to Twisted Metal Black since I heard the whispers several months ago. It was one of the games I was looking forward to the most at this year’s E3 show, and it didn’t disappoint. Speaking of disappointment, those of you who played Twisted Metal 3 and 4 know that the series took a hardcore nosedive after the unrivaled Twisted Metal 2. Shortly after the release of the masterful TM2, the developer, Singletrack, and Sony got into a bit of a scuffle. Sony’s 989 studios took over the license and released two games that sold well because of the TM name but failed to deliver the quality and thunderously fun gameplay of the first two installments. Since that time many gamers, myself among them, have been dreaming of the day when the original development team would come back home to the TM name and give us back the gamepay we’ve been longing for. I paid homage to the videogame gods and offered them sacrifice by burning my copies of TM 3 and 4 in the hopes that they would find the scent pleasing and answer my prayers. And answer they have; the dream is now a reality in Twisted Metal: Black.

The story line for TM: Black is original, but very similar to the diabolic dark humor of the first two TM games. Sony promises us a sinister story full of freaks, murderers, bloodthirsty clowns, and other forms of wholesome goodness. The evil mastermind Calypso is back, and he has recruited new TM contestants straight from the asylum and promised them a single wish if they can manage to win the tournament.

tmb2-01.jpg (4276 bytes)Gameplay has the same frenzied pace that we’ve all grown to know and love. Weapons and ammo are littered throughout the level, and each character also has a special attack. Each stage also has an environmental weapon unique to that stage, much like the system employed in Vigilante 8: 2ND Offense. In addition, special moves can be executed in with a D-pad movement similar to a Streetfighter attack. Mastering these moves was an integral part of TM2 and will likely be just as cool in TM: Black.

The level designs look impressive in both quality and scope. TM: Black obviously has taken advantage of the PS2’s power to create living, vibrant, interactive worlds to do battle in. Game stages feature moving traffic, changing weather, pedestrians, and interactive terrain. If you enjoyed TM2’s pulse pounding combat, wait till you see TM: Black running at 60 FPS with such effects as blowing an amusement park ferris wheel off it’s hinges and watching it crush the competition.

tmb4-01.jpg (5741 bytes)Not all the characters were on display at E3 this year, but many of our old favorites have returned, such as Roadkill, and many others have undergone a facelift but remain conceptually faithful to their classic counterparts. Still, expect a few surprises in the TM: Black lineup.

TM: Black will support up to four players with the multitap, and that’s good news. The car combat genre combines the best parts of an FPS and a racing game, and the only thing better than taking down one friend in bloody combat is taking down three. TM: Black will have a Mature rating and should be available in June 2001. I will be counting down the days.

Jeff Luther

 

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