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Twisted Metal: Black
Review By:  Brennan Ieyoub
Developer:   Incog Inc.
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1-4 (multitap)
Genre:   Vehicular Combat
ESRB:   Mature
Date Posted:   8-14-01

There's something to be said about smashing through a house in an ice cream truck going 100mph, firing a barrage of warheads into an eighteen wheeler while a cannibal on a motorcycle is attempting to shove an explosive scythe up your tailpipe. Well, enough about my morning commute in L.A., I'm here to tell you about Incog Inc.'s Twisted Metal: Black, the fifth game in the franchise, and probably the best effort in vehicular combat yet.

Just so you know, Incog Inc. is composed of former Singletrac employees, the development house that brought us the first two Twisted Metal games. These veteran programmers have returned to breathe new life into the suffocating genre of car combat. While originality may not be what they were focusing on, they have managed to take an old formula, and squeeze out an amazing game with a copious amount of eye candy and game play.

As soon as the title screen loads up, you know that this Twisted Metal has certainly earned the moniker: BLACK. The whole motif is a lot darker and desolate. The comical characters of past are replaced with deformed psychopaths, and murderous schizophrenics that would make Charles Manson mess his jail scrubs. Each character's story is told through a series of beautifully rendered CGI scenes that are wonderfully directed, and disturbingly dark.

Once you choose your psychopath and hit the mean streets, you'll immediately be blown away by the incredible speed this game achieves. Eye blazing lighting and special effects, real-time weather effects, and absolutely enormous battle grounds; all running at 60fps without a hitch. The level of detail in the levels is truly awe inspiring. Textures are sharp and organic, buildings and structures consist of high poly counts, and the car models are imaginatively designed. This one is a looker, and hands down some of the best graphics seen on the PS2 thus far. 

Once you get used to the speed of the game, you'll need to get to grips with the control. While I would have liked a way to completely customize my buttons, the game gives you a selection of setups that will have to suffice. Its not a glaring oversight, but it's certainly annoying. The game also supports both analog and digital control. Analog control is more of a nuisance than a benefit since certain special attacks require quick and exact directional inputs to execute. 

There is a vast array of weapons to pound your opponents into the ground with. While most of them are your standard Twisted Metal fare, there are new weapons that require skill and timing to use them to their full potential. Most of the character specific special attacks also share a similar function. Take Crazy 8's lightning leash special attack as an example: If you just fire this weapon normally, you'll wrap the closest enemy to you in a leash of electric current. But if you hit the d-pad in the direction that the enemy is in three times consecutively, you'll charge the weapon, thus delivering a much more powerful attack that will deal a greater amount of damage. This damage bonus system is prevalent in most weapons, and it adds a degree of skill and depth to the game play.

The game supports 2-4 player split screen deathmatch, as well as a 2 player cooperative story mood. The multiplayer is tight, and the frame rate remains speedy even in 4 player split screen.    

This game comes highly recommended, as it is, it's the pinnacle of car combat, and a brilliant and exciting showcase of what the PS2 has to offer.

HIGHS:

  • Great graphics.
  • Deep gameplay.
  • Return of the car combat king.

LOWS:

  • You cant completely customize your control.

FINAL VERDICT:

The glory of the Twisted Metal series has returned. This game has the gameplay of Twisted Metal 2, the ambiance of Silent Hill, and 128bits of graphic muscle that combine to give you a truly memorable gaming experience.  If you still need validation for throwing 300 bones across the counter for a PS2, look no further. Buy this game.

Overall Score: 9.8

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