Twisted Metal: Black Online
By: Matt C. on November 17, 2002
When a game comes free with a product or a piece of hardware, it usually turns out to be absolute crap. Luckily, this isn't the case with Twisted Metal: Black Online. Instead of simply slapping the Twisted Metal Black engine into an online environment, SCEA actually went as far as to add three new game modes and a variety of new game modifiers.
Like all PS2 games, Twisted Metal: Black Online is very simple to take online. Assuming that you all ready have a network configuration file saved onto your memory card from the Network Adaptor start-up disc, all you need to do is create a new TM:Black Online account. Once your account has been verified, you can host your own game or join another one. As of this review, there are usually 15 to 20 games going on in the Internet Lobby, so finding a match to join shouldn't be a problem.
If you are the type of person who usually hosts games, TM: Black Online gives you plenty of options to tweak your custom match. You can decide the arena you want to play in (20 to choose from), the kill limit, the time limit, the scoring method and much more. You can even disable/enable the radar, bots, or the health indicators if you wish. And yes, a password can be set so that only your friends can join your game.
The three game modes are Deathmatch (which seems to be the most popular), Collector, and Man Hunt. The objective of Collector is to be the first player to collect all the artifacts throughout the environment. Of course, you can also steal artifacts by killing other players. In Man Hunt, one person is the "prey" and the rest of the players are the "hunters". As the name suggests, the "hunters" all gang up on the "prey" until he or she is dead. The "hunter" that kills the "prey" then becomes the main target. The person with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
To further enhance gameplay, hosts can throw in power relics into the game. These relics provide special abilities to the players who pick them up. For instance, the Assassin relic allows the player to cloak when they are motionless. All of all, there are about 12 relics in TM: Black Online and they are definitely a welcome addition to the game.
Twisted Metal: Black Online supports up to 8 players with a broadband connection, and up to 2 players with a dial-up modem. Broadband users will be happy to know that dial-up users cannot join Cable, DSL, or T1 games. From what I experienced, there is some latency problems when more than 5 players are on the screen at once in broadband games, but for the most part, everything remained smooth. I also tested the game using dial-up, and everything stayed fairly smooth on this end as well. The other player who you battle against tends to "teleport" from location to location due to the lag, but it isn't too bad.
From a visual standpoint, TM: Black Online appears to look exactly like the original game. If SCEA has added additional special effects to any weapons or environments, I haven't really noticed any.
Despite the new game modes, Twisted Metal: Black Online is still a little too simplistic for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, the game is certainly enjoyable, but it mostly boils down to "hit and run" gameplay. Unlike SOCOM, I can't really see people playing TM: Black Online for hours and hours at a time. However, the game is still a blast to play on those lazy weekends.