Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Twisted Metal is a series of vehicular combat video games made for the Sony PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PSP. The series is published by Sony and developed by the game studio Incog Inc. It is the longest-running PlayStation-exclusive franchise.
In basic concept, the Twisted Metal games are little more than a demolition derby with weapons. The player selects a vehicle and an arena (or plays through a series of arenas in the story mode) and battles opponents with weapons obtained by gathering pick-ups.
Although each individual game features its own storyline, they all revolve around the same basic idea of a man named Calypso holding a vehicular combat competition called Twisted Metal with the promise of granting the winner whatever they ask for. There is a general "careful what you wish for" theme, as many of the contestants wind up with not-so-happy endings. The games in the series generally contain a healthy dose of black humor.
The first two Twisted Metal games were developed by SingleTrac, and Twisted Metal 2 is regarded by most fans as the best game in the series and a PlayStation classic in general. After developing these two games, along with WarHawk and the first two games in the Jet Moto series, SingleTrac left Sony and signed with GT Interactive, using their Twisted Metal game engine to develop other vehicular combat games such as Critical Depth and Rogue Trip.
After SingleTrac left Sony, Twisted Metal development duties were handed over to Sony's in-house development team, 989 Studios. Fans generally regard the period in which these two games were released as the low point of the series; neither game scored well with critics or fans. They are no longer considered part of the official Twisted Metal canon and their storylines are disregarded in newer games in the series.
Twisted Metal: Black (2001)
Format: PlayStation 2
After developing several non-Twisted Metal vehicular combat games for GT Interactive, a large number of SingleTrac employees left the company to form the gaming studio Incog Inc. and signed with Sony. Naturally, Sony offered them the opportunity to develop a new Twisted Metal title and their first game was Twisted Metal: Black for PS2.
The game is much darker in atmosphere and style than previous games and is the first (and to date, only) game in the series to receive a Mature rating due to its content. The designers have stated that the two main sources of inspiration for the atmosphere and storylines were Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs. Although Black takes place in an alternate universe and therefore is not a true sequel to Twisted Metal 2, it nevertheless won over critics and fans alike.
Twisted Metal: Small Brawl (2001)
Instead of delivering a PS2 follow-up to Twisted Metal: Black, Incog took an unexpected turn and developed Twisted Metal: Small Brawl for the original PlayStation, a Twisted Metal aimed at a younger audience that featured radio-controlled toy cars instead of actual vehicles. Despite being developed by the same team responsible for the much-beloved Twisted Metal 2 and Twisted Metal: Black, Small Brawl was not well-received by fans. Most fans believe the game's development was rushed, as is evidenced by the poor frame rate, sloppy control, and sub-par graphics.
Twisted Metal: Black Online (2002)
Format: PlayStation 2
Simply an online version of Twisted Metal: Black, a free copy could be obtained by mailing in a card that came packaged with the PS2 online Network Adapter. It has since been added to the re-release of Twisted Metal: Black.
Twisted Metal: Head-On (2005)
Format: PlayStation Portable
Despite the return of SingleTrac/Incog with 2001's Twisted Metal: Black, they still had yet to deliver a true sequel to Twisted Metal 2. With the PSP, Incog (now known as Incognito Entertainment) created a game that picks up where Twisted Metal 2 left off. Twisted Metal: Head-On is, for all intents and purposes, the "real" Twisted Metal 3. Utilizing the Twisted Metal: Black game engine but taking place in Twisted Metal 2's universe, Head-On combines aspects of the two most highly-regarded games in the series. It's the first game in the series to ship fully online-enabled.
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