Twisted Metal 2’s Wild Soundtrack Deserves More Love

Twisted Metal 2’s Wild Soundtrack Deserves More Love
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Kotaku

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-arse sounds they make. Today we burn some rubber and blow up some shit in the PlayStation classic Twisted Metal 2.

While the original was a fun PS1 launch game, 1996’s Twisted Metal 2 (playlist / longplay) was a massive improvement and the game my brother and I were obsessed with for a long time. Though several sequels followed, I never enjoyed another Twisted Metal quite as much.

In case the series passed you by, they are all about wild, uniquely armed, powerful vehicles shooting it out and crashing into each other, often in areas where you wouldn’t expect such mayhem. And each level had its very own musical theme, each as diverse as the vehicles you could drive.

Let’s take a listen:

Sony Interactive Entertainment / RL Meeseeks (YouTube)

Twisted Metal 3 has a lot of fans because it had some Rob Zombie tracks, which is cool and all. But I prefer Twisted Metal 2’s soundtrack, which was composed by Chuck E. Myers. He would go on to produce the soundtrack for another favourite of mine, War of the Monsters, as well as a bunch of Disney games, including soundtracks for various games based on Pixar’s Cars. The man likes his automobile games, I guess. Regardless, he put together a hell of a soundtrack for Twisted Metal 2 that has stayed lodged in my brain since I first played the game.

All these years later, I still remember specific songs from my favourite Twisted Metal 2 levels. Above you can hear one of my favourite tracks from the first level of the game, “Los Angeles.” The heavy drums and chugging guitars are fine, but it’s that lead guitar wailing in the background throughout the song that really makes this a memorable track. It also felt very “LA” to young Zack, who was a dumb kid living in the Florida suburbs and didn’t really understand music. Listening to it today, I still find it LA-ish. A lot of the music was able to evoke the level it was connected to and the real-life location it was based on. Take the track for the Paris level, creatively titled “Paris”:

Sony Interactive Entertainment / RL Meeseeks (YouTube)

This is essentially an instrumental rock cover of “Frère Jacques”, that nursery rhyme you’ve undoubtedly heard a few times in your life. Mixing a classic French nursery rhyme with metal is an odd combo, but Twisted Metal 2 is an odd game and like the game, this track works. Sure, it’s a bit silly, but this is a game that stars a murderous clown with fire for hair and a dude trapped in a giant contraption made of two monster-truck wheels. None of this should be taken too seriously. (Which the series seemed to forget around the time of Twisted Metal: Black…)

Another great track is “Holland” which oddly sounds like something from a NASCAR game. In the best possible way, of course:

Sony Interactive Entertainment / RL Meeseeks (YouTube)

These days, Twisted Metal 2’s soundtrack might not be the most talked-about from the classic PS1 library, but going back to it has reminded me that it’s still a solid and eclectic collection of jamming ‘90s-appropriate music. And what more could you want?

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! How was your weekend? You see any deadly ice cream trucks driving around, shooting missiles? Probably not, but if so, please tell us in the comments below. (Alexandra tracks this stuff on a giant pinboard.) See you tomorrow!

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