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Twisted Metal III is a vehicular combat video game developed and published by 989 Studios for the PlayStation. The game was released in North America on October 31, 1998 and was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up in 1999.[1] It is the first installment that was not released in the PAL regions.

Twisted Metal III
Twisted Metal III
Cover art
Developer(s)989 Studios
Publisher(s)989 Studios
Director(s)Howard Liebeskind
Producer(s)Ken George
Artist(s)Darrin Fuller
Barry Pringle
James Doyle
Thai Tran
Diane Covill
Brian O'Hara
Composer(s)Rob Zombie
Lance Lenhart (additional music)
SeriesTwisted Metal
Genre(s)Vehicular combat
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Twisted Metal III is the third installment in the Twisted Metal series and the first installment to be fully developed by 989 Studios. The game's plot is centered on the titular competition in which various drivers in modified vehicles must destroy the other vehicles in an attempt to be the last one alive. The winner meets the organizer of the competition, a mysterious man named Calypso, who will grant the winner a single wish, regardless of price, size or even reality.[2]

Twisted Metal III received generally mixed reviews from critics, who criticized the game's level design and physics engine but commented positively on the multiplayer gameplay and soundtrack by Rob Zombie and Pitchshifter. However, the game was commercially successful, selling 1.14 million copies in the United States alone.[3]



An example of gameplay in Twisted Metal III featuring Spectre in the North Pole stage

Twisted Metal III is a vehicular combat game in which the player takes control of one of twelve unique vehicles. While in control of a vehicle, the player can accelerate, steer, brake, reverse, activate the turbo, turn tightly, toggle between and activate weapons using the game controller's d-pad, analog sticks and buttons.[4] The game can be played in either the one-player "Tournament" mode or the multi-player "Deathmatch" mode. The Tournament mode consists of an eight-level game. The goal of each level is to destroy all of the opponent vehicles. The enemy vehicles are automatically chosen and their skill increases with each level that is successfully passed. The Tournament continues until all of the player's lives have expired or all levels have been completed. The player has the option to play with a computer-assisted ally to aid in destroying their opponents. However, the ending cinematics will not be viewable if a computer-controlled ally is used. If a computer-controlled ally is used, the player has the option to share their total number of lives with the ally. When either player loses a life, the collective number of lives decreases.[5] The Deathmatch mode is a one-to-four-player game in which the player fights head-to-head with other players, though computer-controlled enemy cars can also be incorporated. The Deathmatch ends when one player successfully destroys all other player vehicles, after which the match resets for another battle. Depending on the level selected, the player may select up to seven enemy cars to compete in the match.[6]

The player begins the Tournament mode of the game with three lives. The total number of lives remaining is indicated in the lower left-hand display with the player's health bar, speedometer and turbo. The health bar indicates how much health the player's vehicle has remaining. The length of each of the player's lives is tied to their health bar, which decreases whenever the player's vehicle is damaged by enemy attacks. When the health meter fully depletes, the player loses a life. The player can gain additional health by picking up health icons scattered throughout the environment. If the last life is lost, the game ends prematurely.[7]

Weapons play a key role in winning the game. All vehicles come with a pair of mounted machine guns. They are weak in power, but have unlimited ammunition.[4] Additional weapons scattered throughout the environments can be picked up and utilized if the player drives through them. These weapons include a variety of missiles, bombs, napalm and mortars.[8] Each vehicle can execute three categories of attacks: "Special Weapon Attacks", "Advanced Attacks" and "Combo Attacks". Special Weapon Attacks are unique to each vehicle and are unlimited in stock, but need time to recharge if used repeatedly. Advanced Attacks allow the player to attack enemies when the player is out of weapons, but they can only be used if the Advanced Attack Energy Bar on the lower-right corner of the screen is fully charged. Most Advanced Attacks require three or four buttons sequences to initiate.[9] Combo Attacks combine Advanced Attacks and maneuvers with weapon pick-ups. Combo Attacks can also be performed with a vehicle's special weapon. Due to the open-environment nature of Twisted Metal III, there are numerous possible combos and strategies to invent and discover.[10]



Twisted Metal 3 takes place in the year 2008, two years after Twisted Metal 2. The interactive environments of Twisted Metal III allow the player to roam the battlefields with few restrictions. The first level takes place in Hollywood, which was devastated by the "Great Earthquake of 2007". The second level, along with the Darkside boss fight, takes place in Washington, D.C. in front of the United States Capitol. The third level takes place in Area 51's Hangar 18, which houses a large spacecraft that can be accessed. The fourth level takes place in the North Pole near Santa Claus' workshop. The fifth level, along with the Minion boss fight, takes place in London, in which the clock tower that houses Big Ben can be destroyed. The sixth level takes place on the rooftops of Tōkyō Metropolis, while the seventh level takes place in Egypt near the Great Sphinx of Giza. The eighth and final level, along with the Primeval boss fight, takes place in Calypso's personal blimp, in which defeated opponents continuously regenerate until the player destroys a regenerating device hidden in the level.[11]


Aggregate score
Review scores
AllGame     [13]
Game Informer8.25/10[16]
Game RevolutionC-[18]
GamePro     [17]
Next Generation     [21]
OPM (US)     [22]
PSM     [23]

Twisted Metal III received generally mixed reviews from critics, with an aggregate score of 48.97% on GameRankings.[12] Kevin Dick of Game Revolution criticized the "uninspired" level design, "confusing" physics engine and "grainy" graphics, but commented positively on the various multiplayer options and soundtrack by Rob Zombie.[18] Joe Fielder of GameSpot, while admitting the soundtrack by Rob Zombie and Pitchshifter was "fitting", also criticized the "lackluster" level design and "strange" physics engine, advising readers to investigate Activision's Vigilante 8 or GT Interactive's Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 instead.[19] Doug Perry of IGN stated that "with the exception of the four-player combat and Rob Zombie's hard-rock soundtrack -- the two great things about the game -- Twisted Metal 3 is a middle-of-the-road game that unfortunately doesn't do anything more than the first two games. In fact, it's just plain old hat."[20] The only positive reviews came from GameFan, which gave it 87%;[15] from GamePro, which gave it four-and-a-half stars out of five;[17] and from Game Informer, which gave the game 8.25 out of 10 and stated that "Certainly Twisted Metal 3 is a worthy addition to the series, but it isn't the same car combat game you've grown to know and love. For some this is a good thing, for others the changes are unacceptable."[16] Despite the mixed critical reception, Twisted Metal III was commercially successful, selling 1.14 million copies in the United States alone.[3] As a result, the game was rereleased for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up in 1999.[1]

Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it one star out of five, and stated that "There's nothing to Twisted Metal III but the same drive-and-shoot action from level to level with no payoff to keep your interest."[21]

This was the first Twisted Metal That didn't get a PAL Release in Europe.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Twisted Metal III for PlayStation". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  2. ^ 989 Studios (October 31, 1998). Twisted Metal III. PlayStation. 989 Studios. Level/area: Opening sequence. Calypso: I am Calypso. Each year I gather the twelve worthiest drivers to face off in the Twisted Metal competition. They must face each other and some of my friends to claim the ultimate prize. I grant a single wish. Whatever the winner asks for. To the losers... death. Welcome to Twisted Metal.
  3. ^ a b "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The Magic Box. December 27, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. pp. 3–4.
  5. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. p. 8.
  6. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. p. 9.
  7. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. p. 7.
  8. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. pp. 15–16.
  9. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. p. 17.
  10. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. pp. 18–19.
  11. ^ Twisted Metal III instruction booklet. 989 Studios. 1998. pp. 12–14.
  12. ^ a b "Twisted Metal III for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  13. ^ Michael L. House. "Twisted Metal III - Review". Allgame. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Twisted Metal III". Electronic Gaming Monthly (115). January 1999.
  15. ^ a b "REVIEW for Twisted Metal 3". GameFan. November 19, 1998.
  16. ^ a b "Twisted Metal III - PlayStation". Game Informer (69): 46. January 1999. Archived from the original on January 8, 2001. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Dan Elektro (1998). "Twisted Metal III Review for PlayStation on". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 15, 2005. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Kevin Dick (November 1998). "Twisted Metal III Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Joe Fielder (November 16, 1998). "Twisted Metal III Review". GameSpot. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Doug Perry (November 12, 1998). "Twisted Metal 3". IGN. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 50. Imagine Media. February 1999. p. 101.
  22. ^ "Twisted Metal III". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. 1999.
  23. ^ "Review: Twisted Metal III". PSM. 1998.

External linksEdit