Who asked for this?
I was forced to dig into the deep recesses of my brain in order to recall the original Cel Damage. This obscure car combat title was first released at the launch of the original Xbox. That said, I can’t even fathom anyone was exactly chomping at the bit for an HD remake, but alas we got one. While the title was quickly forgotten after release, even with it hitting Gamecube and PS2 eventually, it certainly stood out in its time. Still, after over a decade of being forgotten, did the world really need another look at Cel Damage?
One of the most appealing things about Cel Damage at the time of its release was the visual style. Designed as a cartoon game show based around destroying opponents, it felt like a Looney Tunes episode of Twisted Metal. That part still feels refreshing. The look is both unique and interesting. The levels are like cartoon playgrounds, and the characters are certainly animated.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Vita
Multiplayer: Local splitscreen
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: 3-4 hours
One of the biggest draws of Cel Damage is how well it plays. The controls just feel right, and picking up and getting into it are quick and easy. This, combined with the four player split screen, make it an ideal party game. Adding three friends and some adult beverages results in a night of screaming and smack talk.
Unlocking everything is also simple. Taking only a couple hours to get all the arenas available make this an ideal game for local multiplayer.
The downside to this though is that it is local-only. Yes I understand the principle of couch multiplayer. In fact, I usually prefer it to being online, but times have changed, and getting together with friends is not as easy for everyone. This is why a lack of online really hurts games like Cel Damage. Being able to talk three of my friends into snagging it and playing on PSN is much easier nowadays than managing to get even two in the same room at the same time.
Combine that with the fact that one weekend was enough of Cel Damage for me for another decade, and it becomes a package that comes up a bit short. Thankfully it is only $10, so the cost of a really fun weekend is still less than a movie ticket.
While there are three modes of play, I found only deathmatch able to hold my interest for very long. Flag Rally becomes tedious quickly, and Gate Relay is a generic Mario Kart with uninspired track design.
Cel Damage was a distant memory for me until I heard the HD remake was on its way. While I enjoyed the novelty of the title back in 2001, its appeal today will be limited. With a lack of online play and only a handful of arenas to keep players occupied, I can see how it will be forgotten for another decade. Still, there is something to be said for a car combat game this day and age. The genre has fallen out of most gamers’ memories, and being reminded of its quirky style every once in a while only makes me yearn for yet another resurgence.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 4.