Calypso: "I am Calypso. Each year, I gather the twelve worthiest drivers to face off in the Twisted Metal competition. They must face each other-- and some of my friends-- to claim the ultimate prize. I grant a single wish; whatever the winner asks for. To the losers? DEATH! Welcome to Twisted Metal!"
TMIII was met with a lukewarm reception from critics, many of whom felt it was an "old hat" and did "little to innovate" or build upon the franchise. It has received the aggregate score of 48.97% from GameRankings and 4.7/10 from GameSpot. The fan site Twisted Metal Alliance protested against 989 studios.
Many Twisted Metal fans consider this game to be the worst in the franchise, primarily because of disapproving character redesigns and a gameplay engine which many saw as inferior to TM2's engine.
Interestingly, although this is considered to be the worst in the franchise, TMIII had still sold enough copies to gain the "Greatest Hits" distinction.
This game marks Darkside's first and so far, last appearance as a boss character.
This was the first game in the series to introduce a 4-player Deathmatch mode.
Several continuity errors within the Twisted Metal storyline exist because of the events in this game. A good example of this is character ages. TMIII only takes place two years after the events of TM2, but some characters aged more than just two years, including Jamie Roberts, the driver of Outlaw, as an example. These errors were most likely just developer oversights by 989 Studios. However, since the game is considered non-canon with the rest of the series, these errors should be considered null.
Here are some examples of continuity errors this game brings about:
Captain Rogers, the driver of Warthog, only aged two years after TM2. Jamie Roberts, the driver of Outlaw, on the other hand, aged five years.
Axel appears in this game, despite tearing his arms free from his vehicle and becoming disfigured. It is possible that he managed to acquire prosthetics, but the game simply states that he climbed back into his machine. In his ending, his arms and feet are shown to be in perfect condition, as if the events of his TM2 ending never occured.
Needles Kane is not a serial killer; he is instead a psychotic clown who is obsessed with candy and ice cream.
Minion is no longer interested in getting revenge on Calypso for stealing his powers.
Marcus Kane's storyline, although not yet fully developed, displays him as simply a crazy homeless man and not as someone who wishes to end his nightmares of the Twisted Metal tournaments.
Darkside's driver is Mr. Ash, as shown in the TMIII manual. The picture doesn't show him as, "Mr. Ash does not reflect light so he can't be photographed." This makes little sense as Mr. Ash never had an alliance with Calypso, in fact the last time they saw each other was when Mr. Ash took Black back from Calypso and even then that was non canonical.
People today consider this game to be non-canon to the real Twisted Metal storyline. Twisted Metal: Head-On became the real sequel to TM2. It actually does make sense because of what happened to Axel's arms, the case of Marcus Kane, Mortimer Scharf's life, and Krista Sparks' storyline.
This was the second game in the series to offer a first-person view, the first being Twisted Metal (1995). However, the first-person view in this game does not display the interior of the vehicle and instead only has the camera placed directly in front of the vehicle.
This game introduced many new weapons, such as the Mortar and the Speed Missiles, which only appeared again in TM4.
This is one of the only two games in the series in which Calypso is not outsmarted by any of the winning contestants.
This was the first, and so far only, game to introduce the regeneration concept in gameplay, in which computerized opponents respawn after being killed.
All characters, upon death, scream with the same voice, despite the gender of the driver. This would also be the case in TM4.
This is the only game in the series in which opponents create damaging explosions upon death. To add, this is the only game where a player can be killed from the explosion of a dying opponent.
This is the first game in the series to include licensed music in-game instead of original music. This concept would later be applied to TM4 and Twisted Metal (2012).
TMIII doesn't seem to tie into TM4. There are many reasons for this:
None of the competitors from TMIII are able to benefit from their wish because they are tricked by Calypso.
Nearly all the TM4 contestants are original characters.
TM4 seems to take place long before TMIII.
989 studios put two text boxes in the TMIII manual; one for Darkside, and one for Primeval. Darkside's was to inform the reader why Mr. Ash didn't have a picture. It read, "Mr. Ash does not reflect light so he can't be photographed." The other was for Primeval. (because he didn't have a picture) It read, "Photo not available; Primeval was busy tormenting souls when photos were taken."
This is the first of only two games in the series to feature character biographies with voices(The second being TM4).
This is the third out of the four games in the series to feature the Password screen.
In a scene in the 1999 comedy film Big Daddy, the character Julian "Frankenstein" McGrath is playing TMIII as Sweet Tooth.