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Twisted Metal: Head On: Extra Twisted Edition - PS2 - Preview

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Posted by: jkdmedia

It's not everyday that we get to play levels from an unreleased game. Though I'd jump at the chance to play the scrapped content for Resident Evil 2 and 4, the early PSone build of Onimusha, and the bits and pieces of the supposed SNES sequel to Star Fox, there is usually a valid reason for the removal of content and/or cancellation of games: something about them sucks. That's why we can assume that, if a developer is bold enough to release a portion of a scrapped project, it must be of a higher quality.

In the continued effort to proliferate PSP releases, SCEA and Eat Sleep Play are bringing another handheld hit to PS2 – Twisted Metal: Head-On. This version, titled the "Extra Twisted Edition," is more than a console adaptation of the vehicular combat classic. It's also the first chance for the world to explore the unreleased stages of Twisted Metal Black 2, the little-known sequel that was scrapped a few years back for unspecified reasons.

The game attempts to fill in the blanks with a cryptic story about six "key team members" whose plane crashed while heading for a celebratory ski trip. Some signs within the game indicate that it could be fictional, or at least a stretching of the truth. To see what David Jaffe (mastermind of the Twisted Metal series) had to say about it, check out our full interview.

Whether you read the game’s intro text – the only bit of story presented aside from the text at the end – or skip right to the gameplay, Twisted Metal fans will want to dive into the new stages. They're big, extremely well designed, and offer a zillion places to hunt, hide, and escape deadly attacks.

Level Up

If a game can't be an entirely new experience, the number-one thing players look for is an improvement over the previous title. The bonus levels are by far the best part. The first puts you in the middle of a dark city, complete with destructible environments (movie theater, bowling alley, etc.) and roads that are in need of serious repair. The roadways are broken down and propped up, creating ramps to launch your vehicles off of, and indicate that some destruction had occurred before you arrived. When entering the movie theater, rows of seats are brushed aside as your car plows into them. The effect is very nice – it’s not the best PS2 can do, but it’s not an effect you see every day either.

There are tons of hidden areas to explore, some of which can only be traveled to by cruising over one of the teleportation devices. In the carnival stage, players will drive across a lengthy roller coaster. Splash Mountain gets a slight (perhaps unintentional) parody in the form of a steep waterway that leads to the eye of a giant skull. On the ground you’ll find power-ups under tents, secret areas to crash into and hide or hunt, and numerous passages that veer off the path of the main battle areas.

In the battleship stage, two enormous ships rest together at sea. They’re connected by a small ramp – attempt to cross by any other means and you could end up in the water, facing instant death. The Stadium Slaughter stage, however, is closer to a traditional Twisted Metal stage. Much of the action takes place in one giant stadium. But there’s also a blocked off area surrounding the stadium, as well as a tunnel that leads to an additional (and fairly large) area. Climb the ramp for a path that’ll lead you to a superb missile power-up.

The gameplay of these stages is surprisingly intense. I have been a fan of the Twisted Metal series from the beginning, but as of late my cravings for vehicular combat have withered away. The Extra Twisted Edition brought ‘em back instantly. As I played the game – even with its two-player limitations – I wanted more.

New environments aren’t the only thing to get excited about. Two additional vehicles are also being included: 12-pak and a new version of Sweet Tooth, whose golden exterior makes him much harder to kill.

Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition is set to tear up the streets on February 5th. Come back then for our full review of the game’s new features, how the PSP content stacks up on PS2, and more info on the series’ most twisted secrets.

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