Cel Damage is a turdtacular vehicle combat game that arrived on the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube triumvirate in 2001. It was as welcome on all three as a hobo with herpes nonchalantly shuffling into the plushest room in the White House. I still wake up in a cold urine-soaked sweat after nightmares of this awful game, over a decade later.
One reason for its notoriety is the terrible modes on offer. There are three to pick from, if you dare, and they all suck horribly (and equally). Smack Attack is a simple deathmatch affair. You choose a character and arena, then set about racking up points by demolishing your opponents. Gate Relay, meanwhile, is the most diabolically awful concept I’ve ever heard. Or can imagine hearing. Hyperbole aside, it involves two gates, on either side of the arena. You drive repeatedly between them. The winner is the player who hasn’t throttled themselves with the controller cord, just to end this torment, at the end of the round.
I don’t remember too much about the third option, Flag Rally. Perhaps my mind has repressed the memory, it’s just too unspeakable to let out of my tortured subconscious. I know it involved collecting flags that wandered freely about on weird little flag-legs. Other than that, I’m a little hazy. Rest assured, though, it was crap. That, I can guarantee.
The characters are dire as well. There’s the clichéd nerd with the comically thick glasses, the clichéd anime chick, and more. Not forgetting Fowl Mouth, the 30's gangster duck with a Tommy gun (I’ll admit, there was a slight glimmer of interest on seeing this guy). I quickly realised he was as terrible as everything else that makes up Cel Damage’s ungodly DNA. There’s a taunt button, offering two or three phrases of pure irritation for your chosen moron to spout during play. The inane likes of “Quack, see?” are on offer, which is just plain balls.
Just plain balls, incidentally, is emblazoned across the front of Cel Damage’s box. If I’m honest, I added it myself with a marker pen, but still.
The ideas that make up the game are bad enough, but the shoddiness of the execution is even more painful. The controls have been stupidly exaggerated, to achieve that front half of the car bends around the corner effect sometimes seen when a car turns at speed in cartoons. As a result, even simple turns are completely disorientating to pull off. As you can imagine, in a game in which you constantly drive a freaking car, this is quite the Achilles heel. Other broken mechanics abound, like the two or three utterly superior weapons which make everything else useless. In a sentence, the game is pretty much a motorized Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, only one devoid of anything even remotely resembling humour.
It’s just a mess, and a 8/10 on the Turdometer. Join us next time, when we’ll try and find a title to beat Cel Damage.
Article by Chris Littlechild