Sony’s new PSP seems to be the system of choice for reviving an old series, and Twisted Metal is certainly a series in need of rejuvenation. After hitting its peak with Twisted Metal 2, the series rock-bottomed with the subsequent sequel. Some redemption was found in Twisted Metal Black for the PS2, but that was more of a dark re-imagining of the series than a genuine return to form. Luckily, Twisted Metal: Head On has now arrived, and fans are likely to receive it as a breath of fresh exhaust fumes. It returns to the light-hearted art and gameplay style of Twisted Metal 2, and it even includes a few levels from that game. Updating old franchises for newer generations can be a dicey proposition, but Head-On succeeds by adding enough new content to make the trip worthwhile.
If you’ve played Twisted Metal, the concept shouldn’t be anything new to you. Vehicular deathmatch is the best way to describe it. Twisted Metal takes the Demolition Derby concept and adds guns, rockets, upgrades, and undead bikers. The gameplay formula isn’t anything special, but it’s a lot of fun in practice. Players can choose between ten classic characters at the outset, and there are also a few more hidden within the game. Head-On looks and plays great on the PSP, though it is a bit difficult to get used to. The analog stick is very sensitive, and this leads to a bit of a learning curve for controlling the vehicles. After a few matches, though, you should be able to exercise the right amount of pressure on each turn and dominate the competition. The graphics look fantastic, complete with awe-inspiring weapon effects and great-looking levelsA