E3 2011: Twisted Metal’s idea of a puzzle involves mechs, men, and meat grinders

Isn’t it a bit weird that someone named Sweet Tooth has such a taste for violence? Sure, he drives an ice cream truck, but instead of Drumsticks, his freezers are filled with missiles, machine gun bullets, and a slew of other weaponry ready to get launched at whomever he deems fit. In our preview of one of the early boss fights from the single player mode, that target was fellow Twisted Metal veteran Dollface. Flying through a canyon in a huge mech, she’s certainly an intimidating figure. She’s got huge mounted guns whileSweet Tooth is stuck on a winding cliff road, and he’s got various armed limos to deal with. Obviously, the only way out is to shoot his way through.

Problem is, Dollface’s shields are up and it’s impossible to do any damage with Sweet Tooth’s normal weaponry. Fortunately, there’s a huge missile-firing truck nearby that he can use to lower her formidable defenses. For some reason, the only way to fuel a shot is to toss one of Dollface’s minions into the trucks’ grinder. And the only way to get that human fuel is by blowing up one of those aggressive limos, snagging the guy who falls out, and dragging him on the ground over to the truck. Once there, staying close to that truck is the main priority as Sweet Tooth gets bombarded by thousands of shots and rammed by other cars.

Once the missile is fueled by blood and guts, it’s time to fire the shot. Fuel is finite, so deciding whether it’s worth putting up shields in order to not get blown up while making sure enough gas has been budgeted to actually get to the mech is the first priority here. Once she gets hit the first time, she’s weakened and phase two of the fight begins. This time around, the missile truck is moving down the cliff right alongsideyou, making fueling the next shot increasingly difficult.

After getting hit for the second time, Dollface decides it’s time to up the ante a bit. She sets up a laser boundary around herself, doing huge damage to anyone that dares venture outside of her direct line of sight. This time, her shields are down, so direct fire is effectiveandit’s time to bring out the big guns. Revealing one of this special powers, Sweet Tooth’s van goes through a Transformers-style change, turning into a full-on new vehicle with all new weapons and abilities. He can use his turbo meter to boost into the air, fire the bobbling head of the mech for big damage, and use a new special pair of machine guns. The time spent in that mode completely changes the way he’s played, and if the special powers of the other characters in the game are anywhere near as cool, multiplayer modes will prove to be amazingly fun.

Finally, after taking enough damage, Dollface’s engines fail, and she crashes directly into a bridge, shutting down that section of the level and leading to a straight-up arms race for each side to kill each other. This is Twisted Metal at its violent finest. Unleashing huge, ridiculous weaponry directly into each other’s faces, hoping to finishopponents off first, andhuge set pieces that can be destroyed with one well-placed missile, combined with crazy and wholly unpredictable car combat. Not to mention the absurd character design and unapologetically ultra-violent cutscenes. It’s a style of game that’s long been abandoned, and we’re more than happy that it’s finally getting a comeback.

Jun 9, 2011

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