It’s that time of the week again folks. Another throwback thursday is upon us, so that we may reminisce on days gone by. Today we are going to blow the dust off our original Playstations, crack ourselves open a jewel case and enjoy some good old fashioned vehicular based combat with…Twisted Metal III
Released in the fall of 1998, Twisted Metal III was the first of two games in the series to be developed by the now defunct 989 studios. Having to follow up the insanely popular Twisted Metal 2, would have been a challenge for any developer. Having to do it with a completely rebuilt engine due to legal restrictions…Well…That pretty much let all the air of the tires.
When played side by side against Twisted Metal 2, the differences will become very apparent, even to the most casual of gamers. Vehicle handling is quite awkward and the physics engine is incredibly strange, often times leading to laughable glitches. In fact if I were to pick a defining adjective for Twisted Metal III, it would be glitchy. Everything from phasing through the perimeter walls of the rather shabbily designed levels, to random audio looping (especially in regards to Calypso’s introduction to each level). One of the more famous and incredibly frustrating occurrences, would be the game’s random failure in advancing the level after completion of a given stage.
This was quite common during the Tokyo rooftop stage.Tokyo was a frustrating battleground, where you needed to navigate between small rooftops or fall to your death into…
So, why in the hell should we revisit easily the worst game of the entire franchise (next to “Small Brawl” of course)? The answer is simple; I absolutely loved the crap out of this game, flaws and all! I was 12 when this game came out and it spoke to my 12 year old sensibilities, heavy metal, fast cars, and extreme mayhem…Yes I was quite a douche. The game featured the biggest selection of characters to date including fan favorites Sweet Tooth and Mr Grimm and it was one of the few playstation games that supported up to four players. Twisted Metal III provoked me to actually purchase that dumb boomerang shaped multi tap.
When Aggressive Comix was in its absolute infancy (basically just nerdy banter between best friends) Rich Cassidy and myself ate, slept, and breathed Twisted Metal III. It was the first video game we had ever “cooped” together. We meticulously planned elaborate strategies using our “go to” characters, Club Kid and Firestarter. Sharing a pool of merely three lives, without the safety of a memory card and fueled by my Dad’s homemade pizza and dozens of “sperm destroying” cans of Surge, we headed into the Twisted Metal tournament together.
Twisted Metal III is directly tied to some of my fondest memories as a gamer. Blasting the panels in Area 51 to access the UFO’s super weapon, filling the North Pole trenches up with dozens of ricochet bombs, the battle in London against Minion, and all set to Rob Zombie’s pulse pounding soundtrack . Even in this age where multiplayer has become synonymous with online gaming, Twisted Metal III’s simple split screen coop is still the most enjoyable multiplayer experience I have ever had. It was equal parts laughter and teeth grinding frustration but most importantly it was downright fun that I shared with my best friend. Twisted Metal III just goes to show that when a game is a technical failure, all is forgiven if it is a fun game to play and that is certainly what this game was for me.