Scrap Metal Hands-On: Calling All Twisted Metal FansS

Slick Entertainment's Scrap Metal adds some much needed vehicular carnage to Xbox Live Arcade, a top down combat racer that evokes warm feelings of Twisted Metal and Ironman Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road.

The developers of N+ for XBLA look to have in Scrap Metal something for the Twisted Metal fan who might have been left wanting by the similar Calling All Cars—or never got a chance to play either of those PlayStation games. Scrap Metal seems to put a little more emphasis on the actual racing than the vehicular fisticuffs, with track designs and controls that conjure thoughts of Rare's classic racer R.C. Pro-Am for the NES.

In terms of content, Slick Entertainment is promising a campaign mode 60 missions strong, across multiple game types, including Demolition Derby, King of the Hill, Gasoline and Tank War. We tested a few of those modes, crushing contestants in a Demolition Derby ring, later outrunning Crooked Cops in a chase that escalated in intensity a la Grand Theft Auto as laps progressed, piling on more police cruisers and eventually police helicopters that rained bullets down upon us.

Scrap Metal Hands-On: Calling All Twisted Metal FansS

Scrap Metal packs in a quirky cast of characters, each with their own well-equipped, fully-armed rides, ranging from muscle cars to bulldozers to monster trucks, decked out with machine guns, flame throwers, chain saws or rocket launchers.

Those vehicles can be upgraded between battles using the scrap metal collected from the busted up, burned out carcasses of enemy cars. We cheated during our demo, maxing out the muscle car we were driving with better handling, more nitro boosts and a more powerful machine gun. That made the car a force to be reckoned with in Demolition Derby, also helping me come to grips the more challenging of the two control schemes.

The game can be played with more R.C. Pro-Am like controls, with throttle, brake and standard left and right steering. It also features a second, beginner level control option relying only on the analog stick. Just point the stick in the direction you're headed, relative to your position on screen, and you'll... well, go there.

And, like just about everything else at CES, it sports a 3D viewing mode, using a red and cyan anaglyph filter. So stock up on 3D glasses.

Scrap Metal looks nice in motion, a little gritty a la Twisted Metal, and plays splendidly, with solid controls and gameplay that borrows smartly from some classic arcade style games. It's due to hit Xbox Live Arcade some time in "Spring 2010."