MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch

MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch

The popular MTV show from years ago gets made into a videogame for no good reason.
Author: Kyle Sutton
Published: November 2, 2003
As a game journalist, I've come to notice a lot of familiar patterns in the industry, and if experience has taught me anything, it's that games based on television shows never work. MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, based on the "hit" show from a few years back, is no exception from this shameful trend. Now normally, I'd start off a review listing all of the fantastic features a game has going for it, but in all honestly, CD's cons outweigh its pros so heavily that I'd be better off tearing this game apart throughout the majority of this review. And you know what? I think I just may do that.

One of the main problems that bogs down Celebrity Deathmatch so heavily is that it is so damn limited. From the Main Menu, you'll likely notice something very awkward: the game only offers two modes of gameplay. The most involving (and I use that term lightly) of the two, Episode, allows you to play through six "episodes," each of them featuring three matches of their own, for a grand total of 18 playable matches. Scoring "Perfect!" in each of the episodes and accessing all of the unlockables is a task that takes under an hour to complete. Afterwards, you've got either the Deathmatch mode, where you can pretty much go up against a CPU or human opponent using any of the characters or arenas you have unlocked, or the extremely shallow Create-A-Celebrity mode to choose from. Out of those two, I'd say you'll get maybe out an hour of fun, and that's assuming you have a tolerance for redundancy. So what does that come two, a two-hour lifetime for this game? Simply pathetic.

But no, the confinement doesn't stop there, my friends. Fire up a match choosing any celebrity and you'll be treated to an array of about eight moves to use against your opponent, most of them gimmicks and having no use whatsoever, in addition to one "special move" to use if you charge up your MTV meter and an original finishing move (Mortal Kombat, anyone?). It's quite obvious by now that the development team favored cheap laughs over quality content while creating this game, for depth and complexity are nowhere to be found in the gameplay. Throw in a set of unnecessarily length load times, and you've got yourself a game that even fans of the show should be ashamed for shelling out $20 for.

There's one thing in particular about Celebrity Deathmatch that really boggles my mind, and it's the fact that the game is based on a show that went off the air years ago. Showing even more of this dated-ness is the game's cast, which, although containing a solid amount of diverse celebs, features all five members of *NSYNC, a band that isn't even together anymore, if I remember correctly. Disgraceful, indeed.

Now, although CD features more than its fair share of poorly-executed content, a scarce number of aspect of the game actually fare quite well. First off, with its corny celebrity antics and crappy voiceovers, the game does an honorable job of staying true to the show. Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond provide the same random but humorous commentary (and lots of it) as they would in an episode of the actual show, while Debbie Matenopolulos stars as herself to throw in a few lines of dialogue, as well as guide you through the Episode mode as she would for her current gig on the TV Guide Channel (give Big Ape a point for creativeness on that one). Unique references such as the latter also make an appearance in the ring, such as Carrot Top using his opponent to dial down the center and Carmen Electra using various Battlebots in order to shred up an enemy (When's the last time you've seen an episode of that show, by the way?). Although the game hardly hints at complexity in the gameplay category, the weapons that will randomly drop into the ring do allow some non-linearity, for example, being able to saw off an opponent's limbs using The Chainsaw of Cruelty. Nothing incredibly deep, that's for sure, but the game does deserve a bit of praise for its semi-admirable features.

In the graphic department, Celebrity Deathmatch's are far from impressive, but they work. For the most part, the visuals have the clay-animated look to them, and when compared to the TV show, the in-game graphics do look a bit crisper and cleaner. CD lives up to its Mature rating with the extreme use of blood 'n' gore, but if you're a fan of the show, this should come as no surprise. As each match progresses, a celebrity will look more and more bruised up as he/she is gradually beaten to a pulp, so by the end of the match, you can almost always expect to see your opponent in terrible condition. Other than that, CD really does nothing visually impressive to appeal to the eyes, but the graphics that are there work well enough to keep up with the pace of the brutal action.

So by now, you're probably asking yourself, "Should I still buy a copy of Celebrity Deathmatch?" If you're looking for a game with tons of depth, then no. If you're looking for a game with replayability, then no. If you're looking for a game with jaw-dropping visuals and topic-notch audio, then no. But if you're looking for a poorly-assembled gimmick of a game that serves as a friendly reminder of the good ol' Celebrity Deathmatch days on MTV, all for a discounted price of $19.99, then CD just might be for you. If you're not looking for authenticity, though, stay far, far away from this one.
The Verdict