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In concept, Twisted Metal is a demolition derby that permits the usage of ballistic projectiles, machine guns, mines, and other types of weapons (up to and including satellite-based weapons and nuclear weapons). Players choose a vehicle, and an arena—or a series of arenas in the story mode—to engage in battle with opposing drivers. A variety of weapons and upgrades are obtainable by pick-ups scattered throughout the stage. The last driver alive is the winner. Although each individual game features its own storyline, they all revolve around the eponymous "Twisted Metal": a vehicular combat tournament hosted once a year. In almost all of the games, the host is a man called "Calypso"; however, in the series' fourth installment, perennial contestant Sweet Tooth briefly takes over. The general goal is to destroy all opponents; apart from the other contestants, unique vehicles seemingly designed by the host themselves may stand in the competitors' path. The winner is brought before the tournament host, who will grant the contestant a single wish. The hosts of these games are the persons who are, through arcane means, capable of warping reality itself to grant the wish of the contest winner; however, there is a general "be careful what you wish for" theme in the game series, as nearly all of the winning contestants end up with "not-so-happy" endings, due to the skill and proclivity of the hosts for twisting the words of their wish around—often to deadly effect. The games in the series usually contain a healthy dose of black humor.
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