Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone





Even though Itís not a full-length title, SCEA and Incogís Twisted Metal: Black Online is available to owners of the PS2 Network Adaptor for free with an enclosed coupon. TM:BO extends the popular series online, with several death-match modes that allow for plenty of carnage and destruction. Like the other games in the series, the action is typically fast and manic with loads of cool power-ups and weapons, making this online title perfect for console gamers. The question of whether thereís enough depth to make the game worthwhile is a good one, so weíve given TM:BO a comprehensive crash-test. Look inside to find out the results.

This complimentary online version of Twisted Metal Black isnít full-length, but the online death-matching is exciting and addictive, making it a nice freebie for Network Adaptor owners. TMBO features 16 vehicles at the start of the game, but thatís all the vehicles, but you donít have to unlock anything. Twisted Metal Black: Online features four different game modes: a classic Deathmatch mode where you have to kill as many opponents as possible while minimizing the number of times youíre destroyed. 

This is probably the most enjoyable of the modes and the one youíll spend the most time with. However, there are some extras, which are basically variations on the DM theme. Thereís also Last Man Standing where you have to survive the assault and be the sole survivor, though this mode differs in that all players are given a limited number of lives and have to join the game at the same time. In the Man Hunt mode, one player is selected as the prey and the others have to target and destroy their vehicle. The hunted earns points for evading action, and the player who eliminates the Hunted player becomes the prey in the next round. Finally, thereís a Collector mode where you have to collect all of the artifact icons. In addition to running over these, you can gain more from other players by either destroying or damaging them. You can also set up parameters, such as time and point limits, number of kills that will automatically declare a victory. These 4 modes are all nicely done and help to increase the gameís longevity.

During the game, youíll find many power-ups or mods scattered about. There are two main types of mods. These include single and multi-shot weapons, health packs and power-relics that unleash a super weapon. Some of the famous Twisted Metal weapons such as the gas can, homing missiles, machine guns and Satellite make return appearances, as do vehicle-specific weapons which adds to the fun. There are also some really cool single vehicle mods which allow you to have unlimited shots, double firepower, extra health, limited vulnerability, limit other players to normal shots. As always, each vehicle has a unique cache of weapons, which adds to the variety. However, your car only has space for a limited supply, so you should choose the best ones.

While Twisted Metal Black Onlineís controls and basics are similar to the off-line edition, there are some key differences. Opponents are clearly labeled this time, so you know which opponent youíre going after. Obviously, the scoring system is a bit different, and there are online rankings, but the majority of the game should be familiar. and an onscreen maps gives you a good idea of where they are. There are 20 different maps available to play, consisting of modified versions of the environments already seen in Twisted Metal Black, though the online levels seem to be simpler. This allows for easier death-matching, so itís quite understandable. These are all huge, expansive which allow for plenty of running around space. Thereís a variety of cool features such as teleports and hidden areas in each of these levels, which all retain the feel of the original title. Visually, TMBO uses virtually the same engine as Twisted Metal Black, with a similarly bleak and washed out color palette, though environments are richly detailed with plenty of buildings and many breakable objects. This is complemented by cool weapons animations that cause bright explosions. As usual, the mods glow in bright colors, making them easy to find.

Playing online is a breeze and we were able to set up an account and get going right away. It plays beautifully with little lag, and the game didnít crash once during play. Thereís little apparent sacrifice in game-speed, though we had trouble getting into a really huge game. Another annoying thing about online play is the long pauses when you die while the game reconnects to the server in Death-match mode.. The implementation isnít as smooth as it could have been, but the overall experience is still quite exciting. Luckily, the cars can take multiple hits before getting destroyed and since you donít die every three seconds, itís not really a big problem. This is overall, an excellent package that has excellent gameplay, great graphics and is surprisingly fun. Twisted Metal Black is a fantastic title considering itís free, and is a great introduction to online gaming. Even though its this type of game lends itself much better to short bursts than extended play, itís still has that classic Twisted Metal. This is an excellent gift to gamers from Sony, so donít pass it up.

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