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How I got into the vehicular destruction genre...

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yurrenstein12's picture
Norman E. Carnage
Posts: 64
Submitted: Sat, 25/06/2016 - 14:07

Espyo wrote:
Hey, 2 is certainly bigger than 0!
I initially played the PS2 version at a friend's house. Some years later, at home, I bought it for my trusty GameCube. That's when I learned that the two aren't quite the same. The PS2 version has a health bar and an extra level, which really confused me when I jumped into the GameCube one... I've always wanted to play back the PS2 version, but tell me, why do you think it's so crappy? Maybe I'm blinded by nostalgia and I'm forgetting some important nasty detail in the PS2 version. Also, as far as I know, the Xbox and GameCube versions are identical. (Fun fact, I snooped through the GameCube version's files and found data for the Xbox version!)

I’m going to tell you the full story (because I can :P):

The game was first an Xbox exclusive launch title, but was later ported to the GameCube. These versions are pretty much identical, other than some slightly better graphics on Xbox.

The game was criticized for being too difficult and frustrating (which I still don’t understand). The game didn’t sell well, due to poor marketing of EA Games and the mixed reviews of critics.

A few months later, the publisher Play It! got their hands on the license and a PlayStation 2 release was planned to release soon, under the name Cel Damage: Overdrive (Europe only). A LOT had to be changed to get better critic reviews and to make it work properly on the weaker PlayStation 2 hardware. Ironically, reviews and sales of Cel Damage: Overdrive where even worse.

In 2014, Finish Line Games got their hands on the license and released an HD version on PS3, PS4, PS Vita and Xbox One, called Cel Damage HD. This is a upscaled port of the PS2 version. However, the voices and sound effects are messed up (some effects are even missing), making this version even worse than the PS2 version.

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So what is the difference between the Xbox/Gamecube version and the PS2 version? Well, here’s the complete comparison:

- The Xbox/Gamecube version has unique death animations, like cars splitting in half or being on fire. All of these are removed from the PS2 version (due to hardware limitations). Instead, the PS2 version only has a 'cloud' explosion.

- In the Xbox/Gamecube version, pretty much all weapons and hazards are instadeath, making it really chaotic (which I really like). The PS2 version got rid of that and replaced it with health bars, which makes destroying opponents a long, boring chore. Also, all hazards and a lot of the weapons are pointless/useless because of this. (For example: the Nuclear Mine is one of the most powerful weapons in the Xbox/Gamecube version, while it is completely useless in the PS2 version. Also, the dynamite house in the Wild Wooly West level kills you instantly in the Xbox/GameCube version, while it does almost nothing in the PS2 version.)

- In the the Xbox/Gamecube version, car parts bounce all over the place when cars are destroyed. In the PS2 version, they clip through the ground. (Again due to hardware limitations.)

- In the level Swamp Stomp in the the Xbox/Gamecube version, you can swing on vines to reach the platforms in the trees. This is removed from the PS2 version, which makes reaching the platforms a real pain.

- The cars are a LOT slower in the PS2 version. (The speed is based on the difficulty settings. The higher the difficulty, the faster the cars.) The lowest speed in the Xbox/Gamecube version is the highest speed in the PS2 version.

- In the Xbox/Gamecube version, you have to complete all levels on all modes with all 10 characters to unlock everything in the game. In the PS2 version, you get everything much earlier, which makes completing the game pointless.

- The Xbox/Gamecube version has an "Unlock mode". If you customize the settings, Unlock mode will be turned off automatically. This prevents the player from using custom settings to unlock weapons, characters and levels. This feature is removed in the PS2 version, which allows the player to cheat (which sucks).

- The PS2 version added turbo boost and stunts to the game. You gain turbo boost by stunting forward. If you stunt left or right, you are invincible for a short time. You can also score bonus smacks by smacking opponents while stunting. All of these features make the player way too overpowered.

- In the Xbox/Gamecube version, the standard required amount of smacks in Smack Attack to win is 500. In the PS2 version, this is changed to 300.

- In the Xbox/Gamecube version, you need to bring 4 flags at the same time to the flagpole in Flag Rally to win. In the PS2 version, this changed by adding a required amount of points. You gain points by bringing flags to the flagpole.

- In the Xbox/Gamecube version, Gate Relay only has 2 gates and 20 laps (1 gate is 1 lap). In the PS2 version, this changed to 4 gates and 8 laps. (1x 4 gates is 1 lap.)

- The PS2 version adds 1 extra level (Boss Bash) and 5 extra weapons to the game (Scimitar, Javelin, TNT Sheep, Cloak and TNT Sheep). The extra level is fun, while the extra weapons are mostly copies of other weapons, and/or are pretty much useless.

- The PS2 version also has different car models, which now have a damage model. Personally, I don't really like it. (At least, not in this game.)

- The handling of the cars is slightly different in the PS2 version.

- The physics of the cars is slightly diffferent in the PS2 version due to the addition of the stunt feature.

- The spring weapon has a danger zone in the Xbox/GameCube version. If you are in the danger zone, you will get hit. If the player with the spring lands exactly on top of an opponent, the player will get some extra points/smacks. All of these features of the spring are removed from the PS2 version.

- The PS2 version added walking robots in the space levels that give you your special weapon when you hit them.

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These are all the differences that I am aware of. That's a lot of stuff, don't you think?

Edited by: yurrenstein12 on Sat, 25/06/2016 - 15:08
Espyo's picture
Velociraptor Fister
Community VIPKickstarter BackerModerator
Posts: 1472
Submitted: Sun, 26/06/2016 - 12:10

That was a really interesting read. Thanks for taking the time to write it up! After all that, I can see why the PS2 version isn't as great... And as I was reading through, more and more was coming back to me from the old days.

Agreed, I don't understand what's so frustrating and difficult about the game. Landing first place on the easiest difficulty is pretty simple, and getting on the top 3 on the hardest difficulty is an everyday occurrence. I remember some critics saying that half of the time, it's a race to the best weapon, which I agree. Who wants the bloody spring, or the portable hole? Yawn, give me a nuclear bomb or a rocket instead!

The hardware limitation things are a real pain... Those bits of juice really add to the game's quality; I can barely imagine having them removed.

I liked the health bar at the time, but now that you're explaining it, I take it back!

So wait, in the PS2 version you can make your vehicles even slower? After trying the medium and high speeds in the X/G version, I found the slowest one to be a bit dull, and you're telling me the PS2 can go even slower?

Not sure if I agree with you on the unlock system. To me, I played through all levels, in all modes, with all characters, half because I wanted to unlock everything, half because I liked playing the game, so might as well mix it up to further advance my unlock progress. But it really is a massively repetitive chore having to do everything with everyone... I think it'd be less frustrating to unlock stuff sooner.

Ah yes, I remember the stunt feature now. I actually loved it! But if you're telling me only the player can use it, then yes, I agree, it's overpowered.

I like the X/G flag mode better. While playing for 100%, I've had Flag Rally races that lasted way over 20 minutes, and some that literally lasted 10 seconds. It was pretty funny.

Ah yes, the extra level. Easily one my favorite extra levels in any game ever, even though it was just a nonsense mash. I still absolutely adored the concept, and even today hope that some games do something similar. The "pure chaos" factor is more important than the "logical level design" factor in these cases, I'd say. I don't recall any of the extra weapons, though... Did you have to do something special to unlock them? Maybe my friend hadn't unlocked them.

The damage model makes sense if the game has HP, and it's a nice replacement for all of the missing death animations and debris. Wouldn't make much sense to include it on the X/G versions, so *shrug*.

Oh, one more thing I remember being different! ...If I'm not mistaken. The character selection screen is vastly different, with a 3D menu. If I recall correctly, you could even combine characters and vehicles. Please tell me I didn't imagine this! I remember being very confused as a child, after I got my copy, as to what happened to the 3D menu. Did I imagine it? Was it from the PS2 version and I just didn't realize they were different? Was it from an early build of the game?

I'm Espyo from the Carmageddon Wiki!
I'm currently working on a fangame engine for Pikmin games.

yurrenstein12's picture
Norman E. Carnage
Posts: 64
Submitted: Sun, 26/06/2016 - 14:26

No problem! ;)

Espyo wrote:
So wait, in the PS2 version you can make your vehicles even slower? After trying the medium and high speeds in the X/G version, I found the slowest one to be a bit dull, and you're telling me the PS2 can go even slower?

Yeah, the speed of the cars on Easy in the Xbox/GameCube is the same as the speed of the cars on Hard in the PS2 version. The speed on Easy and Normal in the PS2 version is not possible in the Xbox/GameCube version, and the speed on Normal and Hard in the Xbox/GameCube version is not possible in the PS2 version.

I still have both the Xbox and PS2 versions. I play both versions on Hard, and whenever I go back to the PS2 version (just for comparison), it is very noticable that the PS2 version is much slower on Hard than the Xbox version.

Espyo wrote:
Not sure if I agree with you on the unlock system. To me, I played through all levels, in all modes, with all characters, half because I wanted to unlock everything, half because I liked playing the game, so might as well mix it up to further advance my unlock progress. But it really is a massively repetitive chore having to do everything with everyone... I think it'd be less frustrating to unlock stuff sooner.

I understand your opinion. I can understand that some people find this to be repetitive and/or frustrating, but I don't have that problem myself. To me, the game never felt repetitive or frustrating. I am a completionist as well, so completing the Xbox version was way more satisfying than completing the PS2 version, because in the Xbox version you get the last locked weapon, and in the PS2 version you get nothing.

Espyo wrote:
I like the X/G flag mode better. While playing for 100%, I've had Flag Rally races that lasted way over 20 minutes, and some that literally lasted 10 seconds. It was pretty funny.

The Flag Rally in Xbox/Gamecube is way more chaotic, and that's why I like it more than the PS2 version. It's also way more challenging as well, and it can (like you said) take more than 20 minutes to complete the event.

Espyo wrote:
Ah yes, the extra level. Easily one my favorite extra levels in any game ever, even though it was just a nonsense mash. I still absolutely adored the concept, and even today hope that some games do something similar. The "pure chaos" factor is more important than the "logical level design" factor in these cases, I'd say. I don't recall any of the extra weapons, though... Did you have to do something special to unlock them? Maybe my friend hadn't unlocked them.

The bonus level is the only thing I miss in the Xbox/GameCube version. It was a really great addition. The extra weapons in the PS2 version are unlockable in the same way as the other weapons, by completing the events they first appear in.

Espyo wrote:
Oh, one more thing I remember being different! ...If I'm not mistaken. The character selection screen is vastly different, with a 3D menu. If I recall correctly, you could even combine characters and vehicles. Please tell me I didn't imagine this! I remember being very confused as a child, after I got my copy, as to what happened to the 3D menu. Did I imagine it? Was it from the PS2 version and I just didn't realize they were different? Was it from an early build of the game?

No, the character selection screen is exactly the same in all versions. It is also not possible to combine characters and vehicles.

Maybe there was an early demo of the Xbox/GameCube version that I am not aware of that had 3D models, who knows...

Edited by: yurrenstein12 on Sun, 26/06/2016 - 14:28
Espyo's picture
Velociraptor Fister
Community VIPKickstarter BackerModerator
Posts: 1472
Submitted: Sat, 02/07/2016 - 10:46

yurrenstein12 wrote:
Maybe there was an early demo of the Xbox/GameCube version that I am not aware of that had 3D models, who knows...

Damn! I'll never know where I saw that...

I'm Espyo from the Carmageddon Wiki!
I'm currently working on a fangame engine for Pikmin games.

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