Cel Damage HD Review

The original Cel Damage was a combat racing game in the vein of Twisted Metal that featured cel-shaded graphics at a time when cel-shaded graphics were something entirely new. About a decade later the game is being released in an HD version, but beyond cleaner aliasing, cel-shaded graphics don't necessarily benefit that much from an HD upgrade. Besides, the graphics upgrade is pretty much a moot point unless you're still playing the original game on your GameCube or you're worried that revisiting a game that you hold nostalgic feelings for will sour those feelings when you see how games from two console generations ago compare to those of today. So let's just say that the game looks presentable enough although nowhere near next-gen and just focus on the gameplay.

Cel Damage HD features a small collection of whacky racers on even whackier vehicles, and while each vehicle is rated differently in a few statistical categories you'll probably pick your favorite based on personality rather than performance. Once you have picked your favorite racer, there are three modes of gameplay to choose between: gate relay, flag relay, and smack attack.

Cel Damage HD screenshot 2

Gate relay is your basic circuit racing mode. Gates along the course ensure that you stick to the track since missing one essentially takes you out of the race until you go back and pass through it. Boost and weapon pick-ups along the course make matters a little more interesting, and help to give gate relay a kart racing game feel. Lap and positional counters give you basic information on how you're doing in the race, but the lack of any other kind of feedback regarding the locations and positions of the other racers may leave some gamers feeling like they're racing in the dark.

Flag relay is a take on capture the flag, except rather than sitting inside some enemy base the flags all sport little legs and can be found running around the course. The goal is to capture these flags by running over them with your vehicle and then bring them back to a shared goal area. The first player to return the required number of flags to the goal wins the game. This is probably the most enjoyable mode as not only are players chasing down flags, they're attacking each other to try to force their rivals to drop the flags they're carrying and move in to steal them. You can even try to play 'goalie' by guarding the goal area and trying to steal other racers' flags from them at the last minute. Adding a goal to this mode beyond simply trying to destroy other racers made this mode more fun for me to play than the final mode, smack attack, which is the pure deathmatch mode.

You can play the game in single player mode, letting the AI take over all of the other racers in the game. However, the AI doesn't present too much of a challenge and I found myself coming in first every time I played. Cel Damage HD really needs to be played in multiplayer mode against other gamers to prevent it from quickly growing boring, but to do that you'll need to bring one or more friends over to your house; the game can be played in split-screen multiplayer, but not online. This really limits the potential audience for the game, and unless you're looking to relive your GameCube years with some of your friends from those days who still live close by then you should probably pass on Cel Damage HD.

Final Rating: 58%. A decade old racer that feels like it's a decade old.

 



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