The Games You May Have Missed: Cel Damage HD

Cel Damage

HDification (because that’s a term) has really been Sony’s thing of late. They’ve brought us the rather spangly Final Fantasy X HD, and a rather cool new God of War combo pack. And just when high definition couldn’t get any higher or… definitioner, there was another more obscure entry.

Feast your eyes on Cel Damage HD, which has just arrived on PSN.

This more obscure entry originally hit the Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox in 2001. It’s a brilliantly toontastic racer from Pseudo Interactive, which basically eschews the ‘racing’ in favour of ‘cutting your competitor’s SUV in half with a big ol’ chainsaw.’ Oh yes indeed. Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, and we’ll take a look.

As we know, cartoon characters take all kinds of unholy punishment on a regular basis. How many anvils did Tom take to the face in pursuit of Jerry? How many cliffs did Wile E. Coyotte plummet over? And yet, resilient buggers that are, they always returned unscathed. And that’s the premise of Cel Damage.

In this demented car combat game, a crew of toon-freaks (safe in the knowledge that their death is never permanent) shoot, freeze, burn and otherwise explodinate each other. You can choose from the likes of Sinder, the furious demon midget, Fowl Mouth, the 1930s gangster duck, and B.T Bruno the portly truck driving dude. Each have their own personal weapon by default and their own vehicle. Not forgetting, naturally, their own selection of ‘humourous’ soundbites.

Cel Damage 2

There are three modes of play: Smack Attack, Flag Rally and Gate Relay. The first is merely a contest for ‘kills,’ while the others are a little more race-flavoured. Gate Relay sees you dashing in an underpants-on-fire hurry between checkpoints on the map, and Flag Rally has you collecting flags. Flags that roam the level independently on tiny little stumpy flag-legs.

Along the way, you’ll work through arenas sorted by a theme. Wild West, Space, Spooky, the usual cliches are out in force. On each, you’ll find Mario Kart-esque power up boxes, containing a random weapon. Some are more deadly than others, or allow for more fiendish tactics, and there’s a wide range. Freeze rays, tommy guns, hand grenades, axes, that old favourite the boxing-glove-on-a-spring… you’re spoilt for choice.

Cel Damage HD is not a remake. As with the HD Editions before it, this is simply a prettier version of what has gone before. It’s also rather a shame that the developers didn’t take the opportunity to add any online functionality. Nevertheless, the cel shading does look eye-massagingly pretty in HD. A little like the Wii U Edition of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

The Games You May Have Missed: Destiny of Spirits

Destiny

There were some bowel-looseningly big releases in March, there’s no denying. What with South Park: Destiny The Stick of Truth and Titanfall and other such wonderment, it was a gametastic month. But for me, one of the highlights was a comparatively obscure Vita offering.

Destiny of Spirits arrived last week, and was an under-the-radar release for… just about everybody, to be frank. It’s another of the handheld’s free to play apps, following the likes of Travel Bug and Ecolibrium. This one, though, is rather more substantial, and is sure to be an intriguing little title for strategy fans.

It’s an online social strategy game (apparently, I had no idea that was a thing) with light RPG elements. The premise is that all of the evils of our world –warfare, famine, pollution, Justin Bieber, those darn telemarketers who phone while you’re in the shower and make you dash over all drippy and towel-y to answer their useless call– have seeped into the Spirit World, and corrupted some of its inhabitants. The leader of the goodly spirits needs you to marshal her forces and defeat the newborn ‘chaos’ spirits.

There are three versions of Destiny of Spirits: one for Europe, the US and Asia. The social aspect is a little like that of Pokémon, in that particular spirits (which range from fairies and fire demons to sea serpents and assorted gods) are only available in certain versions. This gives incentive to trade with international players, and the Friend system facilitates this by quickly matching you up with compatible players worldwide.

Oh, the two-dimensional humanity!
Oh, the two-dimensional humanity!

But before you get into those mechanics, you have to get started in the Spirit World. The game’s hub is an interactive globe, with your starting point being your real-world location. From there, you tackle your enemies one area at a time, defeated bosses allowing you to progress to the next. Victories also grant you summon stones, with which you can gain new spirits to add to your party.

Battles are fairly rudimentary, all told. Each warrior has an element, effective against one and weak against another. Your forces and your opponents appear on the screen looking like rather ambitious board game pieces, and fight it out pretty well automatically. You can choose targets and initiate special attacks, but otherwise the turn-based beatings deliver themselves.

All in all, Destiny of Spirits is a much ‘gameier’ game (because that’s a thing) than other offerings of its sort. It is something easy to dismiss at first, but which may well engross you if given the chance.