Twisted Metal: World Tour (also known as Twisted Metal 2 to the U.S.) is wanton destruction on wheels. Fans say it’s the best of the vehiclular deathmatch series, and with good reason, too. It had expansive levels, oodles of vehicles and an arsenal of deadly weapons. While it didn’t radically differ from the first game in a multitude of ways and was a bit too tricky for its own good, it still blew away gamers around the world.
One year after the first Twisted Metal tournament took place, its sadistic brainchild, Calypso, had a revelation. Now, the brutal competition will take place across the globe! The rules are the same as before: whoever overcomes the onslaught of bloodthirsty drivers will be granted a single wish. The partially-animated comic book-style cutscenes are darkly humorous and have some great voice performances. The lead villain, however, steals the show. Calypso, voiced by Mel McMurrin, is just as suave as he is insane, making him an unforgettable antagonist.
The twelve vehicles on offer (plus two unlockable ones) have their own unique stats, these being speed, turning, armour, and the damage dealt by their unique special move, of which have limited uses but are gradually awarded to players over time. These can really give you the edge; the F1 racer can spin around like a tornado, while the construction vehicle will grab your car with metallic pincers, slamming it repeatedly into the dirt. You can even input ‘power moves’ by pressing buttons in a certain order, and these include freeze rays, shields, and more. SingleTrac really spoiled us for choice here. After all, how many games allow you to control a cyborg trapped between two gigantic wheels with missile launchers mounted on his shoulders?
The eight levels on offer are a lot bigger than the ones seen in the first game. Expect destructible environments, secret teleporters, and ramps to fly across. You can topple the Eiffel Tower to access the rooftops, destroy blocks of ice in Antarctica, and blow up the electrical boxes in Los Angeles to zap everyone with lightning. Otherwise, you’ll be zipping across lava in Amazonia and leaping off the rooftops of New York during some high-octane chases and demented deathmatches. Mind you, Russia and Holland’s maps are very bland because of how symmetrical and basic they are. On the plus side, two-player mode has a few exclusive stages to unlock.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a loud BOOM from a detonated rocket, or the CRUNCH of a demonic ice cream truck smashing into an enemy. It’s a bit of a bummer, though, that the sound effects are are a bit muffled – a product of audio compression to save space. The game’s rock-centric soundtrack is decent, but the visuals are blocky and suffer from texture-warping (where patterns on walls and floors wobble a bit when you get up-close). Framerate dips were fairly common in PlayStation games back in the day, and this one was no exception.
Twisted Metal: World Tour had its fair share of niggles. Steering still feels a bit sloppy, more so if you’re at a standstill, and having to press the up-button to accelerate while fiddling with the others in order to pull off the secret moves like freeze rays and invisibility is a bit frustrating. On top of that, enemy racers will relentlessly unload their arsenal when you’re in close vicinity and won’t fight one another, which feels cheap. It makes the tournament mode unnecessarily difficult to beat. Good thing you can pick your own maps and opponents in challenge mode, which makes it worth replaying over and over, whether solo or in split-screen mode.
Two decades on, it’s safe to say that Twisted Metal: World Tour is still a banger. Anyone wearing their nostalgia goggles will no doubt admit how tricky the title is, no thanks to its relentless AI. Despite its average visuals and muffled sound effects, there’s oodles of vehicles, special moves and weapons on offer. The majority of maps have some great level designs, and the cutscenes are a must-watch experience. Not only did Twisted Metal: World Tour polish up what made the original game fun without metamorphosing into something completely different, it cemented itself as one of the most memorable titles in the series. If you’re a PlayStation fan with a desire for exciting firefights, look no further.
*Special thanks to Tara Brown for helping with proof-reading