Developer(s) – 989 Studios
Publisher(s) – 989 Studios
Director(s) – Howard Liebeskind
Producer(s) – Ken George
ESRB – T For Teen
Released a year after Twisted Metal 2 exclusively in North America by a completely different development company, Twisted Metal 3 in some ways improved on the first two games, but in other ways, the series took a turn for the worse. Regardless, it sold relatively well in America and received a fair few positive reviews at the time too. Personally, I managed to find a middle ground with this game, as what is truly warranted. Overall, I’m glad that it didn’t get released over here because it gave me the time when I was a kid to focus more on the PlayStation classics, but overall, this isn’t one of the worse games released on the console.
Graphics – 8/10
The immediate improvement to notice is the frame rate of the game is so much faster, making it seem a lot more fluent to play in turn. However, part of the reason for this may be because of how badly the game was polished compared to the other two games. The conceptual design stayed as diverse as it was in Twisted Metal 2 thankfully, and the track designs have also stayed as intricate; something which needed to happen. But in order to have been able to top Twisted Metal 2, every aspect of the graphics needed to be improved upon. I think I may have settled for the lower frame rate if it meant the game looking technically better, or the tracks being even more elaborate.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
Again, the gameplay concept has stayed pretty much the same as it did in Twisted Metal 2, albeit with the inclusion of a few new boss races thrown in between each round for good measure. But beyond that, there was no further innovation made compared to the previous 2 games, which again, was needed at this point. I can’t help but think that 989 Studios would’ve been able to release the game overseas as well as in America if they’d simply taken that little bit more time to improve on what was already good as opposed to giving players the same game again.
Controls – 10/10
There are furthermore no issues with the controls in Twisted Metal 3, and again, the increased frame rate indeed helps the game in this regard as well. No new mechanics were introduced, but what was already there seems to have been improved slightly, and I can’t take any points off it in this regard.
Lifespan – 6/10
Now that we’re back to 12 characters, it equates to a minimum of 12 hours gameplay, falling slightly shorter than Twisted Metal 2. It’s still the same minimum time as what the first Twisted Metal can be made to last, but since this is the third installment, it seems slightly more underwhelming as it’s only around the same time as what can come to expect, and not any longer. Even if they flooded the game with characters and they sacrificed character development even more, then I think that would’ve probably been the better option.
Storyline – 4/10
Speaking of character development, this is the aspect in which the series took a drastic turn for the worse. The story of Twisted Metal 3 is pretty much the same as it was in Twisted Metal 2; the 12 best drivers hashing it out in vehicular deathmatches all around the world at the behest of Calypso. However, the cast of characters included is, even more, hit and miss than in the first 2 games, and the classic characters that have been included have still been downgraded in terms of their own individual personalities, as the game overall takes a far more cartoony approach to storytelling. The wishes that some of the drivers request from Calypso make very little sense or have no real substance to them, such as Flower Power’s wish for the world to be covered in flowers, or Damian’s wish to have a barbecue with all his friends. At least with the first two games, the characters made far more practical wishes and could be taken far more seriously; but in terms of story, it pretty much systematically destroys the legacy that David Jaffe left behind at this point.
Originality – 6/10
Although improvements were made in some areas, not enough improvements were made to make this either one of the standout entries in the series or one of the standout titles on the original PlayStation. It certainly had its fanbase, as the sales figures in America would demonstrate, but the fact of the matter is that the 989 Studios era was without a shadow of a doubt the worst period of the series until David Jaffe would become involved with the series again, and the third game definitely gives testament to that.
Overall, Twisted Metal 3 is certainly one of the lowest points of the series, but at the same time, still being more playable than a lot of the shovelware titles developed for the original PlayStation. It has its upsides and its downsides; it’s certainly not the best entry in the series, but it’s not the worst one either.