I recently purchased this game at GameStop, so this review will definitely be biased.
Twisted Metal was one of the Playstation's launch titles, way back in 1995; it shows its age with mostly non-distinct graphics, an onslaught of levels, bland gameplay, glitches, irritating physics, and a bad control setup.
The graphics are hardest to decipher. It's too easy to mistake a random vehicle for Ghost, which leads to some cheap deaths. The radar screen is blank except for your opponents' locations and inexplicable white X's (come on, shouldn't I know what they do if I've beaten the game?). I'm usually not one to fuss over graphics, but it's hard to beat a game with graphics so ugly they result in cheap deaths.
The onslaught of levels would be acceptable, if it wasn't for the fact that every level is staged in the same place with different vehicles. You beat two enemies, then you beat three, then five, then eight, then three, and then you face Minion, the final boss. I get that since the Playstation was so new, they didn't know how MUCH they could put in Twisted Metal, but this is like they didn't even try.
I add the term "bland gameplay" into this review because, while every stage is frantically fast-paced, it always breaks down into the same basic routine: Hunt down one lone combatant, and blast him with Homing Missiles until he's dead.
Twisted Metal's irritating physics and bad control setup go hand-in-hand. Up and down on the D-Pad work like the Gas (Square) and Brake (Circle) buttons, so you'll stall whenever you try to back up and you don't hold exactly left or exactly right. Irritating physics also don't help, making your character seems like he floats, thus crashing into things, or like he's in quicksand and can barely move. Also note that many vehicles, even if they are slower than you, are easily able to drive circles around you while shooting you. And why does the monster truck always run over me? That's pretty cheap. While its true that you can change the controls from default, taking time to switch them is an unnecessary chore one shouldn't have to endure.
Aside from these many bad points - I often have to focus purely on the radar to see an enemy down the street - the game is still pretty fun. Since you can easily beat it in about 30 minutes, it offers some quick, fast-paced action. It has a plot, and it also has an individual ending for each character. It's fun to read the endings, and quite a few of the characters are memorable. The fact that this came out around the time Aquanaut's Holiday did also helps boost its score.
I would recommend this game, but only if you can spend very little for it. Compared to today's games, it sucks more than Paris Hilton's Oreck. Compared to the games of yesteryear, however, it's definitely passable.