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How much do you love Twisted Metal? If the answer is "more than anything else," then hoo boy, has your game arrived. Extra Twisted Edition is a gushing fan letter/developer pat-on-the-back that celebrates everything about the series' 13 year history. For a measly $20 you get the full PSP game Head-On, lost levels from Twisted Metal: Black and a boatload of bonus content that's more interesting than the aging gameplay.
See, Head-On was a PSP launch game that came out in 2005. The three year gap doesn't hurt the gameplay at all - blasting cars to fiery bits in run-down locales across the globe is as fun as it ever was - but it feels odd handing money over for something that we were tired of when firmware updates were still a novelty. Press sheets tout "enhanced" graphics, but forgive these old eyes if a new PS2 game still looks a lot like a PSP game blown up to fit a TV screen. Everything else is as it was then - fun, simple and a multiplayer blast.
About the multiplayer - you'd think any new Twisted Metal entry would support online play. But given the PS2's diminutive standing in the gaming world today, Extra Twisted only allows two people to go head to head. Not that big of a loss, considering that's how it was done on the first two (excellent) games, but we have to dock points for removing the one feature that made the PSP game relevant - online play.
As for the bonus Black levels, well, they're more of the same too, only without a story, cutscenes or reason for being. It'll take you about 10 minutes to play through them all, and even though they're well-designed, multi-tiered arenas (the carnival level is particularly cool), they're only worth seeing once or twice. No online play hurts again, as Black introduced internet play to the series years ago. So, with some competent but ultimately rehashed gameplay at the fore, it's the bonus features that make this disc worth checking out.
Anyone who's waiting in line to play a PS2 port of a PSP remake of Twisted Metal 2 (more or less, right?) will absolutely love the extra features crammed into this deal. The biggest and best is a 30 minute documentary that includes interviews with franchise mastermind and frequently quotable David Jaffe. It's quite interesting to hear the developers' honest opinions on the first game, how it was initially perceived as a total failure and the second game's rise to fame. The candid statements on the awful third and fourth games are worth hearing too. If you're interested in Twisted Metal in the slightest, this documentary justifies the price.
If you're a really big fan, and remember the super-bland endings to the first game, seeing the lost live-action endings is priceless. They're cheesy, campy, over the top, terribly acted and every other descriptor you'd add to a budgetless high school film project. Here's just a taste:
Once you've laughed your ass off at these bad boys enough there's still one more feature of note - the Sweet Ride, an incomplete third-person adventure game starring Sweet Tooth. It's brown, drab and ugly as hell, but that's not the point. It's included as a means to uncover 29 factoids about the unfinished Twisted Metal Black 2, including concept art, behind-the-scenes info and developer photos. Guiding a sloppily controlled Sweet Tooth around a network of sewers is just as boring as it sounds, but it's fun to see in a "here's what might have been" kind of way.
Like we said in the very first paragraph, this is a love letter to longtime fans first and a cheap means for new players to meet the series second. Head-On is a complete game and fun for a while, but the extra features are the real reason you'll want to sniff around.
Feb 6, 2008