As with the Head-On game, all of the lost levels can be played in story, challenge or endurance modes, the latter of which sound more varied than they actually are. The lost levels and Head-On can also be played in multiplayer mode via split-screen, with two vehicles/characters which are new to the series.
Rounding things off is the inclusion of bonus material of varying quality, which is clearly intended for fans. Twisted Metal 1: The Lost Ending Movies is "Exhibit A" in the case against using live-action video in games. Remember those cheesy movies in early PSone games such as Disruptor and Warhawk? David Jaffe wrote and filmed similar ending videos for each of the main characters in the original TM game. Even the grainy footage can't disguise the poor acting, silly dialogue, and low-budget sets/props. It's good for a laugh, if nothing else.
Much better is Twisted Metal: The Dark Past - a 30-minute documentary on the series' history featuring interviews with David Jaffe, Scott Campbell and others. You'll get to see a lot of concept artwork and gameplay movies, and you'll learn what the original creators really thought about 989's Twisted Metal III and 4 (although, interestingly, Incognito's TM: Small Brawl is completely ignored by the documentary).
The last bit of bonus material is called Sweet Tour, which is basically the remnants of a planned on-foot combat/platform portion of the unreleased Twisted Metal: Black sequel. You control Sweet Tooth driver Needles Kane as he runs through the halls of a prison environment. As the combat and platform mechanics have been removed, your only goal is to wander the prison in search of clown head icons. Each one provides players with a Twisted Metal "factoid," often accompanied by images, which is an interesting way to access what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill art gallery.
Considering how similar the gameplay is to most first-person shooter deathmatches - quickly grab the best weapons, shoot anyone you encounter, find the health before you die, repeat - I'm surprised that Twisted Metal hasn't had much competition over the years. Vigilante 8 was the only promising alternative, but it was abandoned when the developers went on to create True Crime.
David Jaffe and company have clearly moved on, with their post-TM: Black portfolio consisting of the underrated War of the Monsters and Downhill Domination games as well as the God of War franchise and the PS3's Calling All Cars and Warhawk. If they had wanted to release a brand-new Twisted Metal game, certainly they would have done so by now. Either they were burned out on it, or - as TM: HO: ETE illustrates - perhaps they realised that the gameplay is quite limited in its scope. No online battles, no map editor, no leaving vehicles, no missions, no CTF or other modes. The game doesn't even include the M-rated story sequences of TM: Black which, while too dark for my tastes, at least gave the characters some personality.
The bottom line is that TM: HO: ETE provides the same fast-paced action that the series has always been known for, but which has failed to evolve since TM2 in 1996. I appreciated the chance to play the lost levels, but it didn't take long to explore them all - and in 2008 they just didn't have the same "wow" factor that they might have had in 2001. Newcomers who own a PS2 would be better off purchasing Twisted Metal: Black.
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