Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Team Fortress and Twisted Metal had a weird love child? Then this game is for you! Cel Damage HD is an insanely fun game for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that originally came out in 2001 and is being re-released with spiffy new high definition graphics. The game centers around a fictional TV show called Cel Damage, and each of the characters in the show are the playable characters in the game. To elaborate on the Twisted Metal/Team Fortess love child, the game play is a battle arena in which the character you choose has their own unique vehicle and weapon. The Team Fortress traits come in in the cel-shading (maybe where they got the name?), cartoonish look and the wonderful amounts of silliness.
There are six playable characters at the start of the game. Violet, the purple haired punk in a Humvee type vehicle. B.T. Bruno, driving his “18,000 pound truck that can crush anything”, a bulldozer. Sinder, a demon fired from hell who drives what is basically a square with six wheels. Dominique Trix, who drives a pink low rider and I’m sure you can imagine how she looks. Fowl Mouth, a bird who uses swear words, drives a black and white 1950’s style car, and he himself is black and white as well. And lastly, Flemming, a nerd who pilots a hover craft/air boat hybrid. Each character begins with a simple projectile weapon. They all look different but do the same thing and same amount of damage. During game play the characters shout things at each other, each unique to their character. For example, Dominique Trix makes a lot of sexual innuendo, Flemming makes references to sci fi conventions, and Fowl Mouth does about what you would expect from his name.
There are three level types and twelve arenas. Each game type can be done in each arena. In Smack Attack you are given points, or “smacks” for the damage you do to other players on the field. The base number is 300, which sounds like a lot, but when you really get the swing of things you can win in just a couple minutes! Flag Rally is similar to capture the flag, except you are picking up flags and delivering them, so there is no base or teams. The default is 10 flags to win, but it is very easy to pick up multiple flags, so again it can be very easy or very hard! The last game play mode is Gate Relay, which is simply racing, except for all the weapons and destruction. The arenas are in four different settings, wild west, swamp, graveyard/spooky area, and space. There are three arenas in each setting. At the beginning of each level you can choose the amount of points needed to win, AI presence, difficulty, and which weapons to include. You don’t have to do any of this if you don’t want to, the game has a default that is loads of fun. This game can also be played with up to four different people or by yourself, a feature I absolutely love in games.
In any of the game play modes health and different weapons are scattered across the map. Now this is where it gets fun! There are many different types of weapons and I won’t list them all, but I would like to go over a few of my favorites. First off there are melee weapons and ranged weapons. My Twisted Metal instincts kicked in a lot harder than I ever would have expected and I quickly learned that melee is better for defense and ranged for offense. Of course all the weapons are (fairly) effective, some more than others, but that has been my strategy. Some of the melee weapons I enjoy are the baseball bat, chainsaw, and wood chipper. Each weapon is unique not only in appearance and damage levels but in the way they damage. For example, the baseball bat actually pushes the car you hit away from you. You can also get a sledge hammer which flattens cars for a short period of time. Then there are the ranged ones. There is a freeze ray, which turns nearby enemies to blocks of ice that go sliding until they thaw a few seconds later. Then there’s the lightning gun which locks on to anyone in range and zaps them as long as you hold down the attack button. My favorite ranged weapon is the chain gun. Rapid fire! There are also mystery boxes you can hit for a random weapon. I could go on for paragraphs just about the weapons but you will have to play it for yourself!
The game play is also a very unique feature of the game that I will try not to ramble on about. First off the controls are very easy to get the hang of, and easy to get good with. That might sound weird but in my opinion if controls get in the way of game play it is a problem. Anyway, the driving is standard, but the left stick and bumpers can be used to bounce and dodge your car, even do a front flip, much like Speed Racer. Yet another throw back to my childhood! This makes battle more strategical than Twisted Metal, and is one of the many points that sets Cel Damage apart from other games like it. The aiming is very auto-assist, but not so much that you can just hold down the A button and win. It is just enough that you can still drive well while shooting. An absolutely perfect mix that big time games like GTA and Saints Row have yet to master. It all works together so smoothly, it is so fantastic and so, so fun!
The graphics and the music amplify the craziness and goofiness of the game absolutely perfectly. Rather than stretching the screen to meet today’s widescreen standards, the game is still played in a perfect square, and each of the sides of the screen that are normally kept black in games like this are made to look like an old TV set, complete with knobs and speakers! It’s things like this that really, to me, make the game feel complete. And the music is just silly, poppy, bouncy music, exactly what you would hear if you walked in to an arcade (if you could find one)!
There are also videos of each character you can unlock. Each character has an intro and a finale video, and then there is an intro video, the first thing you see when you boot up. They are all hilarious! I had such a fun time playing this game I played until I unlocked all the intro videos because I couldn’t wait to see them! The intro videos require you to complete any three matches with that character. The finale videos require 12 matches complete. I should have them unlocked in no time! There are also other drivers in the arenas besides the base six, and it makes me wonder if they can be unlocked as well, but I haven’t seen anything in the game that hints to that. Perhaps some DLC is in order? I sure hope so because this game is my new addiction!
The Final Verdict: 9/10
+ Hours and hours of fun
+ Laughs around every corner
– I would rate it higher if they added more content (seriously hoping for DLC!)