SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$44.99

DEVELOPER
989 Studios

PUBLISHER
989 Studios

RELEASE
11/99

Twisted Metal 4 Review

By: John Doe


With so many car combat games on the market it's getting harder to compete in what was once a "new" genre. Thankfully 989 has re-invented the Twisted Metal franchise, and returned it to somewhat of its former glory after the disappointing performance of the last game in the series. Most people just want to know, "Is it better than TMIII?" Definitely.


Highs:
Lows:

Power on. PlayStation logo kicks in. 989 Studios logo. Then the most entertaining intro of a Twisted Metal game begins. Watch it. It's great. I was glad to be back in the TM driver seat for another kick at the cat. I was hoping that 989 really worked hard at this installment of the series which originated back in 95 and was developed by Single Trac (TM1, TM2, Warhawk, Rogue Trip). Although I was a little nervous after playing the first level, which just happens to be the most boring in the game, I found TM4 to be right on track. The game looks good, although not as shiny and clean as V82, and it plays very well. For fans of the series, this is very good news.

New to Twisted Metal is the Create-A-Car feature, which oddly enough I had requested in a review not long ago, and low and behold here it is. It's not as in-depth as I'd like - only allowing size modifications (small, medium and large), style (1-3), paint (3 colors) and options (rear spoiler) - but it's a start. Due to the limitations in the imagination dept. I'm guessing most of us would probably stick with a vehicle that is already available and already much cooler looking. But if you just have to be you, within some tight regulations, by all means go for it.

TM4 starts you with 13 selectable players at first; some old and some new. Heck you can be Mr. Unlucky 13 himself, Rob Zombie in the Dragula. You'll have to beat the game to be able to play as the nine bosses throughout, including Sweet Tooth himself, which brings the total number of playable characters to 21. And yes, you read that right; nine bosses. You'll have to fight a boss at the end of every level in this game. Personally I thought that was overkill because by the time I actually defeated the other opponents, I was already tired of the level. Most of the bosses you'll recognize from past games, but be prepared for a battle because they are pretty tough. Also new to TM4 are environmental weapons you can use against your opponents. For example, in the first level you can use a giant magnet to lift the others up in to the air and then watch 'em fall. Every level has a ton of secrets, shortcuts, warps and powerups just waiting to be discovered. Expect to spend a few nights playing this game to find everything.

The control in Twisted Metal has always been a little loose and definitely unrealistic. The downside to the loose control and unrealistic car physics, is the constant flipping over of your car. You'll spend more time on your back than Cartman's mom. Once you get used to the control then you'll know how to under-compensate for the steering. The weapon buttons are set to the shoulder buttons which works extremely well. You'll be able to drive, reverse, swerve, and turn all while in complete control of your artillery.

Although this game is light years beyond the poor frame rates and blocky textures of TM1 and 2, TM4 still pales in comparison to other games in this genre, most noticeably Vigilante 8. The game does give you the option of graphics or gameplay, and you'll have to choose dependent not only on your playing style but also on your level of motion sickness. The environments are fairly large which makes hunting for that last victim a little tedious. As well there are lots of instances of polygon clipping especially near walls.

The music is remixed, rehashed tunes you've probably heard before. One song in particular, was also featured in Test Drive 6. The song choices are good and work for this style of game. Expect to hear Rob Zombie, Cyprus Hill and Skold among others. The sound effects are dynamite. From the flanged whistles of projectile missiles to the bassy bombardment of mortyr shells, all is right with the sound in TM4.

The two-four player games are done well, and as you might expect the frame rate does drop while playing in the Death Match or Co-op modes. Don't let that stop you from taking on some friends though; we had a great time playing four player. The more tournaments you finish, the more Death Match arenas you unlock, however you must save your game after each level to do so.

Twisted Metal 4 brings the franchise back in to the limelight. 989 Studios did a fine job and deserve thanks for making the game playable again. Fans of the series will no doubt be anxious to get their hands on this one. It's not perfect, but it does a lot of things right. Recommended.

OVERALL
8.0

GRAPHICS
7.5

CONTROL
7.0

MUSIC/FX
8.5

FRUSTRATION
6.0

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