GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween 2013: Twisted Metal: Black
Over the past few days we've taken a look at a handful of offbeat titles to play on Halloween. The latest was the kaiju movie-influenced madness of War of the Monsters, a fun giant monster fighter with a pleasant B movie feel. This time on GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween, we're returning to the dark, gritty, and bloody themes that are often associated with slasher flicks, but we're also throwing in a bit of surrealism for good measure.
Today's game to play on Halloween is none other than the dark and demented Twisted Metal: Black. Coincidentally, it was also developed by Incognito, the studio that would go on to work on War of the Monsters a couple of years later.
Why it stands out
The gameplay of Black remains faithful to what the series had been doing for years on the original PlayStation. The whole thing is like a demolition derby with explosives, ballistic weaponry, and environmental hazards. It's addictive arcade fun that can be enjoyed greatly either alone or with some buddies.
The biggest difference between Black and its predecessors is its darker tone. Each of the game's many characters are portrayed as inmates at the Blackfield Asylum. Playing Story mode lets you see the vile acts and wicked behavior that put these individuals in the asylum, and we're treated to some interesting — and often disturbing — cutscenes that delve deep into their madness. While it's easy to sympathize with some of the characters at times, in the end, you can't help but feel disgusted by most of them.
You've got a lady who's obsessed with getting married, a cannibal who wears a skull on his face, a lunatic preacher, and the iconic killer clown Sweet Tooth. There are also characters who you feel for, like the SWAT guy who was never the same after accidentally shooting an innocent family in the heat of a criminal raid, an amnesiac with tattoos that paint an ugly picture of his fuzzy past, and a young lady whose boss nailed a creepy doll mask to her face just to be a douchebag.
Is it scary?
Several things makes Black quite a scary game. While it'll never make you jump out of your seat, the story sequences contain disturbing imagery that stays with you long after you've finished playing. There are grisly murders, bloody scenes, and that creepy-ass clown mask that Sweet Tooth loves to wear. Each character has a great story, and it's entertaining seeing them all play out.
Aside from thrills, Black is also surreal. That a stranger known as Calypso can make the inmates' wildest wishes come true if they win his tournament is just weird. Even stranger, however, are the twists that come with fulfilling each of their wishes. Nothing is ever as it seems, and Calypso almost always ends up messing with the inmates after granting them the very wishes they so desire.
Why play it on Halloween?
If you're worried about a game from 2001 not holding up very well these days, fret not. Black still plays great to this day, whether you're getting in on some hectic car combat carnage with a group of pals or enjoying the characters' stories by yourself. It's still one of the best games in the Twisted Metal series, if not the absolute best, so it's worth playing by virtue of that alone.
Of course, the main reason you should play it on Halloween is because of its dark subject matter and gritty look. Even though the series was rebooted in 2012 with an equally dark game, there aren't enough differences between the two gameplay-wise to warrant one over the other. That said, Black still has some of the best story sequences in the series, and they're so violent and gruesome that they're absolutely worthy of being watched and enjoyed during the Halloween month.
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