(Brain)Cell Damage – Cel Damage HD
Remastering old games in high-definition is a great way to bring classics from previous generations up to date, for a new audience. Critically acclaimed titles like Ico, Shadow of The Colossus and God of War have all had the HD treatment to great success, and why not? They are fantastic games! So, it strikes us as odd to see a game, released to almost complete critical indifference, re-released and given the HD spitshine. That game is Cel Damage HD, and this is why you don’t need to buy it.
For those not in the know, Cel Damage was released on Xbox, Gamecube and Playstation 2 back in 2001. It’s basically Wacky Races with less memorable, more generic characters. You race across 12 forgettable courses, using weapons such as the comedy boxing glove, bow and arrow, and minigun to take down the competition. This brings us to our first main issue with the game.
We were incredulous to find that Cel Damage HD has no Grand-Prix mode. Instead you race across a single track at a time. There are no cups to win here, and no real competitive modes to play with friends. However, there are three different, albeit boring, modes to play.
Gate relay is the standard “go through all of the gates” mode, and has you do 8 laps of the circuit. Smack attack has you try to be the first to hit an opponent 300 times. And then there is Flag Rally, where everyone races to collect flags. Playing these modes allows you to unlock new race courses, a few more characters, cut scenes and PSN trophies. The selection of modes was boring back then, and they are positively prehistoric now. Finish Line Games could have at least added some new modes to keep things varied and current.
Even with friends the game inspires no excitement. The action is flat and dull, with nothing striking us as particularly fun. Things aren’t helped by the lack of online play either. Gamers playing the PS Vita version are particularly out of luck, and are expected to play the whole game on their lonesome. That’s right, there’s no multiplayer whatsoever. No online and no Ad-Hoc multiplayer. This not only represents a missed opportunity, but complete laziness from the developer. Cel Damage HD is the quickest, most barebones update that ticks only the boxes required to make it run on today’s modern platforms.
On the plus side the game is quite visually pleasing. Cel-shading, when done correctly, can withstand the test of time. Loading screens aside, the game looks great across all three platforms, and plays at a good pace too.
The same cannot be said for the game’s audio, however. The music is forgettable, and is interspersed with the casual droning from the characters. It’s all very uninspiring, and shows just how old the game is.
When we first caught wind of Cel Damage HD we didn’t have high hopes for it, after all, it wasn’t exactly a hit back on its original release. It was the title that many people got bundled with their console, only to be forgotten in favour of Pikmin, Halo CE, or TimeSplitters. There was never any need to bring it back, especially given the lack of online multiplayer, or any kind of gameplay updates. Even with the inclusion of triple crossbuy we cannot recommend Cel Damage HD. Racers are ten-a-penny these days, and there is much better out there for the money.
Cel Damage HD is now available on PSN.