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SYFY WIRE Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal Video Game Easter Eggs You Might’ve Missed in the New Peacock Series

Our favorite callbacks to the petro-fueled PlayStation games that inspired Peacock’s new Twisted Metal series.

By Benjamin Bullard

When you absolutely, positively have to haul a super-secret package through the post-apocalyptic remnants of a bombed-out America, there’s only one Milkman for the job. Twisted Metal viewers are loving Anthony Mackie in the iconic role of do-or-die courier John Doe in Peacock’s new adaptation (stream it here!) of the cartoonishly crazy car-crashing PlayStation franchise. And longtime hallmarks of the venerable video games themselves — none bigger than insane-in-the-brain killer clown Sweet Tooth — abound in the new live-action series.

RELATED: 10 Wild Sci-fi Shows to Binge After Peacock's Twisted Metal

You don’t have to be a Twisted Metal gaming veteran, though, to get a petro-fueled kick from the Peacock series, which flows with tons of bullet-riddled action (and even a pretty emotional story twist or two) that resonates equally well with O.G.s and first-timers. But the series does cleverly call out tons of characters, cars, and sly visual cues from the video games themselves — so keep reading to see which Easter egg highlights you might’ve spotted across Twisted Metal’s 10 gonzo Season 1 episodes.

Top Twisted Metal Video Game Easter Eggs in Peacock's New Series 

John Doe Himself

It’s technically not an Easter egg since John Doe is the show’s main character, but there’s no swerving around his central role in bridging the canonical character gap between the Twisted Metal games and Peacock’s smash-‘em-up series. Making his first PlayStation appearance in 2001’s Twisted Metal: Black, John Doe showed up on consoles just as he does in the TV show — as an amnesiac guy who can’t even remember his real name. Sure, his ride-or-die whip Evelyn is new for the series and he’s not covered in tattoos like his PlayStation namesake, but the key parts of John’s overall story are more or less lifted intact right from the games… all the way down to his headstrong determination to carve out a better life beyond the anonymity of running with wasteland thugs.

The Original Twisted Metal PlayStation Game

The cover of the Twisted Metal Playstation 2 box

Right in the midst of the chaotic car chase that opens the series inside a bombed-out shopping mall, time slows down for John Doe and Evelyn just long enough for our Milkman hero to admire a pretty pristine boxed copy of the original Twisted Metal video game for the PlayStation 2. Kicked up amid the fracas from a nearby abandoned EB Games store, the O.G. game case sails through the maelstrom and manages to land smack in the middle of Evelyn’s windshield… before it’s back to real time, where John has to think fast, shoot fast, and beat a hasty exit.

Crazy Harold (The Wacky Lunch Sack)

It’s tough to call Sweet Tooth the clown a throwback Easter egg to the Twisted Metal games — after all, he features pretty prominently in the series and it took two whole actors to play him (with Will Arnett doing voice acting honors while wrestler Samoa Joe brings the bodily burl). But the same can’t quite be said of Harold, the amazingly agile brown paper lunch sack who doubles as Sweet Tooth’s best and only true friend. In the games, Harold’s Twisted Metal bona fides are as canonical as it gets: Needles Kane (aka Sweet Tooth) claims his humble paper pal as the top prize for placing first in the 1995 game’s car contest. In the series, Sweet Tooth guards Harold like an infant, strapping the sack behind a seat belt while somehow dodging all the perils that typically fry your average paper lunch bag, from bullets to flames to the occasional head-on collision.

RELATED: Twisted Metal: Why Anthony Mackie, Stephanie Beatriz & Thomas Haden Church Signed On For Wild Peacock Series

The Up-Up-Down-Down Cheat Code

John Doe (Anthony Mackie) hangs out his car window in Twisted Metal 101

John Doe gets off a general shoutout to one of gaming’s most old-school secrets in an early Twisted Metal episode, revving up Evelyn to escape Sweet Tooth’s clutches while invoking what amounts to an almost superstitious gamer’s prayer. While coaxing Evelyn to stop sputtering and effect a fast escape, John hops in the driver’s seat and inputs the famous Konami cheat code — Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. Sure, we don’t quite get how a cheat code mapped to game controller buttons also (somehow) works from behind the steering wheel of a Subaru, but hey — the important thing is that it does work.


Peacock’s take on Twisted Metal brings a bit of new lore to the game franchise, especially in later-season scenes like Quiet’s happenstance Season 1 finale encounter with long-running character Dollface. Like her video game counterpart, Dollface hides behind a porcelain-plain mask, though she’s revealed in the Peacock series to be John’s long-lost sister... a sister he only starts to remember once he concentrates hard on the tattered family photo he’s been toting around since his childhood.

Shadow the Hearse

Behind the scenes of Twisted Metal 101

Early in the series, we see Quiet and her ill-fated brother Loud (Richard Cabral) fleeing the law from behind the wheel of a blinged-out fuchsia-pink hearse. It looks right at home in Twisted Metal’s carnage-strewn landscape of bespoke, Mad Max-style road warrior vehicles, but there’s more to the story than that. Fans of the Twisted Metal video games have no trouble recognizing the hearse as none other than Shadow, the mad, bad ride that first made its PlayStation debut in 1996’s Twisted Metal 2 and continued to show up, in one form or another, in subsequent game installments.


When John Doe and Quiet make friends with Miranda Watts (Jamie Neumann) aboard the rolling convoy they encounter in Episode 4, they’re making friends with one legendary Twisted Metal road racer in the process. Miranda herself is a character who crosses over to the series from the video games, as does her low-slung, open-wheeled ride: The IndyCar whip known as Twister, which Miranda rolls out in the season finale for a spectacular standoff against Agent Stone (Thomas Haden Church). Fun side note: If Twisted Metal gets a second season green light, Miranda and Twister will likely be right in the thick of things. They’re listed among the names on the infamous tournament bracket that shows up onscreen at the end of the Season 1 finale.

RELATED: Anthony Mackie Wants a Rematch With Samoa Joe After His Twisted Metal Smackdown

The Blackfield Asylum

(l-r) Mike Mitchell as Stu, Joe Seanoa as Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal 107

Needles Kane spent his most formative years inside the creepy walls of Blackfield Asylum, so it’s only fair that the demolition artist now known as Sweet Tooth heads back there, in the Peacock series, to seek “closure” with his violently fragmented past. So far the series has focused only on Sweet Tooth’s time at the Arkham-like facility, though in the games, Blackfield’s been home at some point for many of the franchise’s major characters (including Agent Stone, Dollface, and even A-list amnesiac John Doe himself).

Calypso & the Tournament

Think of this one as the fan-friendly payoff for making it all the way to the end of Season 1. Just as John realizes his whole cross-country journey has been nothing more than a qualifying test from New San Fransisco boss Raven (Neve Campbell) to take part in something much bigger, a car racing tournament bracket appears onscreen to suggest that Twisted Metal’s possible second season might more closely mimic the structure of the road rage-y games on which they’re based. Raven informs John that he’s her ace in the hole to claim the top prize in an anything-goes contest staged by the mysterious Calypso — a character straight from the games who, at least so far, has remained offscreen in the Peacock series. If the show gets the green light for a second season, though, be on the lookout for Calypso to play a major ringleader’s role.


(l-r) Stephanie Beatriz as Quiet, Anthony Mackie as John Doe in Twisted Metal 110

John and Evelyn go way, way back — all the way back, as the series shows in flashbacks, to his sad and lonely childhood. But even a faithful workhorse like Evelyn (aka a heavily-modded 2002 Subaru WRX that John discovered, decades ago, with a corpse inside) can’t survive a point-blank bomb blast by the Holy Men, which is where Roadkill enters the picture. John and Quiet agree upon the gnarly name for Evelyn’s replacement, an ‘80s-vintage Camaro fully equipped for street duty with a menacing front end and a mini-arsenal of weapons. In the games, Roadkill is the ultimate cobbled-together muscle car, a scrappy pony car that's appeared in every PlayStation Twisted Metal title except for Twisted Metal 4 and Twisted Metal: Small Brawl.

All 10 episodes of Twisted Metal are now streaming on Peacock