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For the most part, this is just another limited-frills car combat game. It didn’t seem to be really original aside from the myriad of different characters and vehicles. Except for the cut-scenes, the graphics weren’t too exciting and the sound is just blah. The sloppy control and light gravity also don’t help too much. Despite all this, I still found this to be a fun game once I got the hang of it and I also found myself becoming strangely addicted to it. The challenge seemed to be just right and there’s certainly replayability here, especially in the two-player mode. While I wouldn’t recommend this game immediately to anyone except maybe Twisted Metal fans or die-hard auto combat junkies, I would recommend it if you see it on the discount rack for $10 or less, which is why I give Twisted Metal: Small Brawl a score of 75.
The Twisted Metal series of car combat games is as old as the original PlayStation itself. The first Twisted Metal was one of the premier games for the system and found its place in the heart of many gamers new to the Sony style of games. The second, released in 1996, was a vast improvement upon an already great game, and for many, it was such an improvement that it rendered the first all but unplayable. With the first two installments, SCEA created the integral car combat games by which all others would be judged. Unfortunately, the original team of developers moved on to other things, and the series was moved to another studio for development. Twisted Metal 3 was widely considered a disaster, as it used a new physics model with "realistic" handling, which had no place in this style of game. Twisted Metal 4 was an improvement upon 3, but it never closed in on the control and style of the first two.
It was at the start of the PlayStation's beginning that Singletrac (now called Incognito Studios) began their true heritage as masters of being a driven wheel smashing, car crashing, and mayhem lashing corporation. After the release of Jet Moto 2, Incognito left Sony for a number of years, until later it was realized that the Twisted Metal franchise needed to be spruced up again and in its true form from those that originally took its helm, and not the temporary substitute 989, who by the way rearranged its design in a completely unwanted direction. With last summer's demented hit Twisted Metal: Black
, the come back for Incognito was surely welcomed, and now for a final showdown on the system where they took their start, Incognito has put together the final PlayStation One version of the game, Twisted Metal: Small Brawl.
Despite all the attempts, rip offs, variations, and clone efforts - no cast of characters has ever dethroned the characters of Twisted Metal as being amongst the most captivating (and insane) pack in the genre of combat racing. Sweet Tooth (who redefines the phobia of clowns), Calypso (the most megalomaniacal mastermind of them all), and the rest of the gang have been through their ups and downs in the Twisted Metal series - and the last release, Twisted Metal: Black, was definitely the pinnacle of achievement. Twisted Metal: Small Brawl? Well, let's just say that if this was the stock market - there would be quite a few bears hanging around the PSX console as you're playing this title..
If you thought either Twisted Metal III or 4 was the most disappointing entry in the TM franchise, think again. Small Brawl reduces vehicles like Sweet Tooth and Outlaw to remote-control cars, enabling them to duke it out on mini-golf courses and kitchens as part of neighborhood bully Billy Calypso?s tournament. The TM Jr. approach works well enough: Levels are cleverly designed, fireworks sub in for missiles and bombs, and you?ll find no other game where cars get mangled by a can opener. However, it's the execution that lacks.
Crazy car chaos. These three words best describe Twisted Metal Small Brawl. I've been a big fan of the Twisted Metal Series and was very intrigued when I heard they were doing another one for PlayStation. Intrigued not only that it's a new Twisted Metal, but also Incog Inc. is taking its violent twisted masterpiece and changing it into a game suitable for kids
You'd think that by the fifth Twisted Metal incarnation on the Playstation, they would at least be able to maintain a decent framerate, but no. The action gets terribly choppy, and the two-player split screen mode is almost unplayable. The physics is so lousy that your car will sometimes float through the air and take forever to land. Even the background scenery is sloppy and full of seams. Small Brawl is an interesting turn for the series, but there's no excuse for these ugly visuals.
Unfortunately for Small Brawl, once you have played Twisted Metal: Black, you can’t go home again. This "kid" version of Twisted Metal is plagued with so many problems I don’t even know where to begin, but to put it simply: This game doesn’t even live up to the first four PS-X titles in the series. It’s that bad. I just feel dirty playing it, and Sony should feel worse for publishing it. Shame on you, Sony.