SONY PSP REVIEW: TWISTED METAL: HEAD ON
Twisted Metal: Head-On doesn't take you anywhere you haven't already been in the Twisted Metal universe - although you can now take Twisted Metal anywhere in your world thanks to the portability of the PSP.

One could think of Head-On as a kind of "Best of" version with a few new tracks. It's not entirely original as it features many classic characters and vehicles engaged in the time honored, arcade tradition of vehicular combat. An incredible army of outrageously customized vehicles including jeeps, tanks, RVs, ice-cream trucks and a front-end loader are prepared to do battle.

The single-player story mode is not very long but it's packed with secrets and unlockables. It can take you a while to find all of the secret characters and portals which will transport you to a variety of mini-games. At the successful conclusion of each match you will be awarded various upgrades for your efforts. The more destructive and aggressive you are the more stuff you'll acquire. New attacks, better armor, more powerful weapons and higher jumps are some of the upgrades you'll receive. You'll keep them for as long as your drive stays alive so you've got a vested interest to keep from getting killed. And as we all know, death is the name of the game in Twisted Metal.

Head-On makes a decent single-player mode but the multi-player and co-op modes allow you to have your cake and eat it too. If you're not planning on getting into the multi-player modes then don't even plan on buying this game. You'll get through the single-player mode in an hour and even if you go after most of the unlockables you will have completed all your objectives at the end of the day. Multi-player is where it's at. The two-player co-op mode is heads and shoulders above the single-player mode.

Head-On features eight multi-player modes including the obligatory Deathmatch which includes a number of options to vary the gameplay to different players' tastes. The vehicles smash, crunch, twist and explode as they drive into one another, are forced into walls or on the receiving end of a missile or other destructive device. The weapons are relatively easy to use thanks to the automatic tracking and they do make quite a mess. The environments aren't heavily detailed but they are interactive and destructible.

Setting up a game is incredibly easy and I was lucky enough to be able to connect quickly and get playing. I was able to get my hands on the PSP early thanks to my job as the local high tech reporter and it was a weird feeling playing with other players in the world who were just like me, lucky enough to be standing on the brink of new technology and finding a group to share the feeling with. And then promptly trying to kill them. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! [Evil laughter].

With such sparse environments the game doesn't suffer from any lag or slowdown. The controls are tight and the gameplay is solid. It's packed with action and senseless violence. Of course this game wouldn't be Twisted Metal without the twisted, dark humor which is expressed in the cutscenes, the characters, the vehicles and the weapons. The voiceovers are over-the-top camp. You can't take them seriously but that's the whole point. The sound effects are good, the music rocks and the explosions will really rattle your earbuds. With tons of replay value and excellent online play, Head-On is highly recommended for all gamers that want to exercise their right to pursue happiness in the form of destruction.

PReview by Vaughn

Incog Inc. nor Sony haven't officially announced this title for the PSP yet, but we all know it's coming sometime in 2005.

Twisted Metal, for those of you who just started gaming yesterday, was one of the PSone's killer titles, which helped propel the system and Sony into videogame history. Unfortunately a few sequels at the hands of other developers and kiddy versions of the license turned off many gamers and the excitement surrounding the series ended almost as abruptly as it started.

Fast forward to 2001 (or rewind for those of you living in the present) and Incog Inc's resurrection of the vehicular action series, Twisted Metal Black returned the series to its former glory and managed to submerge the franchise into dark, disturbing waters which was A-OK with fans.

We know that Twisted Metal PSP will support the wireless multiplayer option, but we aren't sure how many players will be able to try and kill each other simultaneously. Consider this: Sony knows how important this game will be in demonstrating the power of the systems multiplayer capabilities. We fully expect Incog Inc and Sony to pull out all of the stops on this one. Expect favorite characters such as Sweet Tooth, as well as a few new psychopaths to enter the arena. Stay tuned for more info.

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System: PSP
Dev: Incog Inc.
Pub: Sony
Released: TBA 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Review by Darrin
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
ONLINE
4.5
VALUE
4.5