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CONSOLE: PlayStation 2 DEVELOPER: Big Ape Productions PUBLISHER: Gotham Games
RELEASE DATE (NA): October 14, 2003 GENRE: Fighter
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

So I hear Marilyn Manson got some ribs removed...

How can a game based on a childish, gore-obsessed, pop culture parody, clay-animated, celebrity impersonation wrestling show be this entertaining? I don't know how, but "somehow" MTV Celebrity Deathmatch not only kept me entertained but also impressed me with its speechlessness-inducing shock factor.

It wouldn't be a game about claymation celebrities without some claymation celebrities. It seems, however, that the developers didn't get the memo and instead decided it would use claymation nobodies, possibly the Z-List celebrities who were less likely to sue them for defamation. They are as follows:

    Anna Nicole Smith was best known for appearing in Playboy Magazine and winning the title of 'Playmate of the Year'. She also appeared in some '90s movies such as the third Naked Gun film.
    Busta Rhymes is a rapper, actor, record producer and all-around cool bloke who I know and love best for working with a Japanese rap outfit called the Teriyaki Boyz. No, really.
    Carmen Electra is a glamour model and also made appearances in Playboy. She was famously a regular fixture on Baywatch, and by that I mean viewers eyes were regularly fixed on her.
    Cindy Margolis is an American glamour spokesmodel and actress, according to Wikipedia. I had no idea who she was and after reading the article... nope, still no idea.
    Carrot Top is a stand-up comedian whose only positive contribution to society is developing what I consider to be one of the most attractive hairstyles on women.
    Dennis Rodman is scary. He's friends with North Korea's leader, wore a wedding dress to promote his autobiography and has more piercings than than a movie starring Pierce Brosnan and Guy Pearce about Piers Morgan's ear piercing in Pierce, Nebraska. Oh, and he was a basketball player once.
    Jerry Springer is a television personality famous for wrecking families.
    Marilyn Manson is a musician famous for wrecking hotel rooms.
    Miss Cleo was a mystical shaman from Jamaica, or at least that is what the Psychic Readers Network wanted you to believe.
    Mr. T pitys the fool who includes a lame impersonation of him in a video game.
    NSYNC was a boy-band who had some resonably respectable hits. The band members Chris, J.C., Joey, Justin and Lance are all playable in this game, which is still a better game than "Get To The Show" for the Game Boy Color.
    Ron Jeremy is not only a porn star, but maybe THE porn star. He has appeared in more than 2,000 adult films, which is probably around the same number I have watched.
    Shannen Doherty is an actress who was nominated for a heap of young actress awards. I know here best for that trashy movie Heathers.
    Tommy Lee is a musician who founded Mötley Crüe, but is most famous for filming a sex tape with Pamela Anderson.

See? I guess some of these people were relevant back when the TV series first aired. And they're recreated quite well and closely to the caricature they wear in front of the cameras.

How's this for a dream match? Margolis vs. Manson. ...seriously, who's Cindy Margolis?

I really like how the character models look and are animated. They appear to be made of clay and stop motion animated, which means they succeeded, right? The animations use a minimal number of frames keeping close to the show's aesthetic and the characters' ability to pull various objects out of their hammerspace is fitting with the show's cartoony stupidity.

Even Celebrity Deathmatch's childish level of writing and completely juvenile nonsense is accurately recreated, mixing the Sesame Street style toddler-focused wording with exorbitant amounts of immature gore and violence.

You can just mash buttons and win though. You'll likely only ever use the game's excellent limb removal features a fistful of times, but the ability to tear your opponent's legs off is hella-preciated. Sometimes gore for gore's sake is suitable for a few laughs.

There are six episodes in the main feature - each consisting of three matches. You can choose which character you control by switching them on the menu. Each episode's third and final match is the main battle of the episode, typically featuring a match-up you could only dream of if you were as dead inside as the game's writers.

There are unlockable characters (who funnily enough aren't celebrities) including the two announcers, now donning ridiculous outfits. The multiplayer allows you and a friend to play around with all the strange moves, and there's even a 'Create a Celebrity" mode for those of you who feel the need to play as someone who looks even worse than the rest of the characters. You, that is.

Who knew the beautiful people could get this ugly? I admire the gall and madness on show here — Celebrity Deathmatch is a stupid game for stupid people, but it wears it like a badge. It knows.

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