Hands-onCel Damage Xbox

Check out new media and firsthand impressions of the upcoming EA-published toon smasher.

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We had the chance to play an updated build of Pseudo Interactive's upcoming Cel Damage, the Xbox launch title that stars a gang of cartoon-inspired characters and their suitably outlandish vehicles and weapons. Something of a mix between Twisted Metal, Super Smash Bros., and Quake, the game has a spastic pacing and an explosive visual dynamic that many will surely get into.

Our time spent with Cel Damage has left us with the feeling that the game is primarily deathmatch driven. But rather than structuring things in the manner that Twisted Metal does (that is, a series of fights to the death), Cel Damage's approach is a bit more reminiscent of classic FPS deathmatch play. Essentially, in the game's primary play mode, you and your opponents are thrown into a deathmatch map and made to battle it out as the clock continually ticks. The first player to accumulate a certain number of points, as per the formula, is the winner. In Cel Damage, these points are called "smacks," and the amount you gain depends wholly on the weapons you use in combat--the game, it seems, puts something of a focus on panache, rewarding you for offing your enemies with more exotic weapons.

The maps we were given access to were greatly conducive to this type of frantic, "die and spawn" gameplay. Most of them were fairly compact and had a variety of hazards scattered throughout them. Weapons were littered generously throughout their areas, and many of the elements in the environments were interactive to varying degrees--one of the space-themed stages, for instance, had giant mushrooms growing on its ground, and contact with them would cause you to bounce off pretty strongly.

We were also able to spend a good bit of time with the game's flag-rally mode, which is a kind of capture-the-flag variant. Set in some of the larger maps, the mode has you driving through a series of checkpoints scattered throughout the environments, stifling the efforts of your enemies all the way through. As the game's sense of speed is pretty tangible, playing flag-rally games seems like it'll be quite satisfying. Also, the experience proves fairly distinct from the primary mode, as you're concentrating more on going through the map quickly than blasting your co-racers.

It's obvious that the game's weapons are where Pseudo cut loose the most. There's an enormous number of them (36, according to official releases), and they range from sedate (machine guns) to outlandish (robotic ax-hurling arms). And that's only the beginning; many of the weapons have some pretty brilliant secondary uses, an example of which is the fairly simple baseball bat. With it, not only can you clonk opponents, but you can also bat their projectiles right back at them. Or the gun/propeller set, which allows you to take to the air and machine-gun an earthbound opponent. As mentioned before, the game's point system inherently balances all the weapons--powerful, accurate rockets won't net you as high a point total as something more flashy.

For more info on Cel Damage, please refer to our previous coverage . This polished diversion is set to ship alongside the Xbox in November, so keep your eyes here for more updates soon.

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