Codex Gamicus

You are what you drive.

Twisted Metal is a 1995 vehicular combat video game developed by SingleTrac, produced and published by Sony, and released for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. It was released in North America on November 5, 1995, and in Europe and Japan on January 6 and November 15, 1996, respectively; the North American version was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up on March 3, 1997.

It is the first installment in the Twisted Metal series, being succeeded by Twisted Metal 2: World Tour in 1996.

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 Calypso, the mysterious organizer of the competition who will grant them a single wish, regardless of price, size or even reality.


It's December 24, Christmas Eve of 2005, and the 10th annual Twisted Metal competition is about to begin. Calypso, a mysterious man who dwells under the streets of Los Angeles has agreed to grant any prize to the winner of this year's competition. The contest pits 12 contestants against each other in a vehicular combat contest through the streets of Los Angeles. The last man standing will be granted an audience with Calypso, and be granted whatever prize they want regardless of price, size, and according to some, even reality.


Twisted Metal has the player compete in a demolition derby contest against AI-controlled opponents to be the last one standing. The player can choose between twelve possible vehicles, each with different stats and abilities. Twisted Metal features two game modes, single-player, and two-player. In single-player, the player must compete against AI-controlled opponents in a series of six levels. Two-player mode pits two players against each other on a split-screen, where they can fight in a level of their choosing.

All vehicles are fitted with machine guns as a primary attack, but they will overheat if fired too long. Weapon pickups are located throughout each level providing the player with various other weapons such as missiles, oil slicks, and land mines. The player can also pick up turbos, which allow the vehicle to double its speed for a short period of time. Each vehicle has its own special weapon, that's ammo slowly regenerates after being fired.

The player must compete in 6 levels to complete the game. All opponents must be defeated to advance to the next level.


The first level takes place in an indoor arena, where the player must compete against a single opponent in close combat.

Warehouse District Warefare

The second level takes place in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, where the player must defeat three opponents.

Freeway Free for All

The third level takes place on the freeways of Los Angeles, where the player must defeat five opponents on a raceway-style course.

River Park Rumble

The fourth level takes place in the streets of Beverly Hills, where the player must defeat six opponents.

Assault on Cyburbia

The fifth level takes place in the Los Angeles suburbs, where the player must defeat eight opponents in the game's largest level. Rooftop Combat

The sixth and final level takes place atop the skyscrapers of Los Angeles, where the player must defeat three opponents, and last year's Twisted Metal winner, Minion.

Once the player has completed the game, they will be granted an audience with Calypso. There the player will receive an ending that corresponds to the vehicle they were playing as.


Other than the vehicle's primary machine guns the player can find various weapon pick-ups throughout the level, and hidden inside destroyable objects such as cars and crates. The player can only hold a maximum of 30 weapons. Weapon pick-ups are represented by small pink spheres with the weapon inside.

Fire Missiles- Regular missiles that fire straight and only slightly curve to hit their target. Each pick-up gives the player 4 missiles.

Rear Missiles- Missiles that fire from behind at enemies following you. Each pick-up gives the player 4 rear missiles.

Homing Missiles- Missiles that find and hit the target you're aiming at. Each pick-up gives the player 2 homing missiles.

Freeze Missiles- Missiles that temporarily freeze whoever they hit. Each pick-up gives the player 2 freeze missiles.

Power Missiles- Missiles that do intense damage, but fire directly straight. Each pick-up gives the player 2 power missiles.

Land Mine- A touch-activated explosive mine dropped from the back of the vehicle. Each pick-up gives the player 2 land mines.

Oil Slick- Releases a slippery patch of oil that makes maneuvering difficult for whoever rides over it. Each pick-up gives the player 2 oil slicks.

Tire Spikes- Drops small pointed tacks that flatten tires and temporarily slow down vehicles. Each pick-up gives the player 3 tire spikes.

Catapults- Drops a small spring-loaded catapult that hurls whoever lands on it ahead. This can be used to hurl enemies in pursuit up and over you, and into your line of fire. Each pick-up gives the player 1 catapult.

Rear Flame- Releases a burst of fire from the back of your vehicle, used to hurt pursuing enemies. Each pick-up gives the player 2 rear flames.


Twisted Metal features 12 playable contestants, each with their own personal stats, special weapons, and endings.

Sweet Tooth[]


While it drives like a bathtub on wheels, this baby is POWERFUL! Watch out for its napalm ice cream cones!

Special Weapon: Napalm Cone

A very powerful flaming projectile. Comes in vanilla and chocolate.

Twisted metal needles kane 2.png

Special Weapon Power 5

Speed 1

Handling 1

Armor 4

Needles Kane

An escaped mental patient, Sweet Tooth is a man on a mission. He has entered Twisted Metal in hopes of gaining the one prize that means more to him than anything else in the world...his best friend.

Yellow Jacket[]

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Speeding in from the mean streets of New York, Yellow Jacket is one of the this year's most well rounded competitors.

Special Weapon: Molotov Cocktails

Bottles of the good stuff set aflame! Crude but effective.

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Special Weapon Power 3

Speed 3

Handling 3

Armor 3

Charlie Kane

An old and lonely cab driver from the streets of New York. He has entered Calypso's contest to learn what happened to his son, a young man who disappeared 20 years ago.


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A massive vehicle with awesome power but slow acceleration.

Special Weapon: Death Blast

A thin beam of white hot fire, stolen from the depths of Hell.

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Special Weapon Power 1

Speed 1

Handling 1

Armor 5

Mr. Ash

A ravenous creature who wants to get back what is rightfully his. He's hoping Calypso can help him retrieve an item so powerful it could destroy the world!


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A sturdy, dependable car with a close range weapon that can be counted on to pull Sgt. Roberts out of the deadliest of battles.

Special Weapon: Tazer

Take charge and shock your opponents with your omni-directional tazer.

Twisted metal carl roberts.png

Special Weapon Power 3

Speed 3

Handling 2

Armor 4

Sgt. Carl Roberts

A good cop in a world gone mad. He has entered the contest in hopes of forcing Calypso to put an end to Twisted Metal once and for all...


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The lowest of the low riders, this car is tough and big, able to escape from the toughest of the neighborhoods.

Special Weapon: Scorcher

Burn your enemies to a cinder with this red hot column of flame. Strong with lots of reach!

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Special Weapon Power 5

Speed 4

Handling 2

Armor 4


A passionate kid from the streets of LA. He's got one last shot at taking his neighborhood out of the war zone.

Crimson Fury[]

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Sharp and SUPER FAST. This sports car can outrun every other vehicle in this year's contest.

Special Weapon: Crimson Blade

A thin red armor melting laser. Very precise to have at your command.

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Special Weapon Power 2

Speed 5

Handling 5

Armor 1

Agent Stone

Agent Stone has been hired by an underground freedom organization. His job is to use his prize to claim an object that could liberate the world!

Pit Viper[]

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Tough and Sturdy, the viper shoots a stream of acid that can melt most opponents with a single hit.

Special Weapon: Sizzle

Your opponents will sizzle when covered with the deadly green slime.

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Special Weapon Power 4

Speed 3

Handling 2

Armor 3

Angela Fortin

A woman leading a double life. She is competing for 1 million dollars in cash.


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Slower than most of this year's competitors, but with a mean special weapon and a ton of armor, it doesn't need to be fast.

Special Weapon: XQJ-37 Hornets

Nail an enemy with all 3 of these homing missiles for some major damage!

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Special Weapon Power 3

Speed 1

Handling 2

Armor 4

Commander Mason

Commander Mason is working for the US government. He's hoping Calypso can help him retrieve an item so powerful it could destroy the world!

Mr. Grimm[]

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A fast, highly maneuverable chopper built to go the distance. Besides handling, this vehicle carries a weapon "from the other side".

Special Weapon: Death Spawn

Scare the life out of your enemies when you launch these spirits "from the other side".

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Special Weapon Power 5

Speed 4

Handling 3

Armor 1


A collector of sorts. Tonight, he will claim the one item that has eluded him for years...


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A classic ride from 1965. Fast and manuevarable, Spectre is a great rush on the open road.

Special Weapon: Phantom Burst

This missile will fly through walls and floors, homing in for some major damage!

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Special Weapon Power 4

Speed 5

Handling 4

Armor 1

Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell is a restless spirit who hopes Calypso's contest can make him whole again.


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A MONSTER that crushes it's enemies under it's giant tires. It handles for crud, but it's power is awesome!

Special Weapon: Crusher

Smash opponents to a pulp under your giant treads of death!

Special Weapon Power 5

Speed 1

Handling 2

Armor 4

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Dave and Mike

A stolen monster truck, two high school drop outs, and a collection of hard rock CD's. What could possibly go wrong?


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Pieced together from many junkyard hulks, Roadkill is a heavily armored demolition derby on wheels.

Special Weapon: Steel Dagger

A giant rod of rusty metal fired at 100 mph...a metal javelin that destroys whatever it hits!

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Special Weapon Power 3

Speed 4

Handling 2

Armor 4

Capt. Spears

Captain Spears is a man filled with regret. He is competing in Twisted Metal in hopes of recreating the past in which he is currently living.


Reception and Legacy[]

Twisted Metal was received well by Critics and Gamers alike, who praised the games variety of weapons and vehicles, and also it's two player versus game mode. Twisted Metal was also commercially successful, selling over 1.08 million copies in the US. Twisted Metal was re-released on March 3, 1997 as part of Sony's Greatest Hits line up. Twisted Metal was followed by a sequel, Twisted Metal 2: World Tour just a year later.


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