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PSP  header logo

Twisted Metal: Head-On

For: PSP

Shoot. Drive. Shoot. Kill. And repeat.

Product: Twisted Metal: Head-On | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe | Format: PSP | Genre: Racing, Shooter | Players: 1-8 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Twisted Metal: Head-On PSP, thumbnail 1
Road rage may have lost its flavour of the month status amongst the tabloids, but no one seems to have told Sony. Twisted Metal Head-On takes that particular concept to its logical extreme, featuring a series of vehicles equipped to the grille with weapons, fighting it out for no discernable reason other than the fact that it might be a laugh to blow each other's radiators out.

The concept has an undeniable American flavour to it, by which I mean it's loud, brash and decidedly lacking in anything remotely approaching finesse. If it moves, shoot it. Then keep moving before someone shoots you. It's simple in practice, too, with a straightforward control system that you'll master in no time. In other words, all the qualities you would wish for this type of game. Hell yeah. (And so on.)

Okay, it's a little more complicated than that. If it doesn't move, then you better run it over because it's probably a power-up. Scattered throughout the arenas you'll find a range of missiles (homing, fire or power), napalm, and remote bombs, amongst others, which require picking up – as much for improving your chances of survival by depriving the opposition from getting their wheels on them as to increase your arsenal. In addition, you'll find environment-specific weapons, a signature attack for each of the distinct vehicles, and finally energy strikes, which swap a portion of your health bar in exchange for a special ability, such as freezing an adversary. Should you manage to destroy an enemy, search the location of their wreck for an upgrade icon which further increases your vehicle or weapon abilities – the more you have, the easier wreaking carnage becomes.

Given its kill-or-be-killed philosophy, the various gameplay options come as little surprise. Story mode takes whichever vehicle you've selected – or rather, its character – through their predetermined adventure, meaning a series of battle rounds spent shooting and ramming the rivals. Challenge sets up a quick last vehicle standing type game, while Endurance enables you to face up to as many of an endless supply of computer-controlled opponents as you're able to send to the scrapyard before either joining them yourself, or switching your PSP off due to boredom.

As a singleplayer game, you see, Head-On doesn't quite cut it. As fast and furious as the action may be, it also comes across as lightweight, repetitive and bland. This is because the underlying design is undeniably biased towards multiplayer combat, its wireless options enabling contestants from as varied international locations as those featured in the game to meet up for frantic fun. Within this online setting the game may not offer a deeper experience, but it certainly feels more accomplished and purposeful, the challenge offered by human adversaries infinitely preferable to the PSP's equivalent. Suddenly, amassing the highest score becomes a priority.

How important a purchase Twisted Metal Head-On will represent to you depends entirely on your multiplayer plans. If online isn't your thing, then don't expect any long term enjoyment from this (even the two-player ad hoc mode feels limited). If it is, then there's certainly some decent brainless entertainment to be had.

Twisted Metal: Head-On
Twisted Metal: Head-On
Reviewer photo
Joao Diniz Sanches | 4 November 2005
Agreeably action-packed multiplayer vehicle combat, but solo players will wish they'd spent their money elsewhere.
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