#179 Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe

Posted: 20th March 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , , ,

411th played so far

speedball2Genre: Sports/Action
Platform: Amiga
Year of Release: 1990
Developer: The Bitmap Brothers
Publisher: Image Works

The Speedball series (two entries) is a sports game. Not, as the genre often implies, a sports game that is played on fields around the world right now, but instead a futuristic setup that works in a way only video games can really supply.

For that reason alone I approach it having a better feeling about it than would otherwise be the case.

Our Thoughts

There’s something interesting about these invented sports. There are elements that would never work in the real game – both because they’re difficult to track (such as walking over an area) or because it would be too silly or complicated for a game (a score multiplier if you throw the ball down slope, pinball-like).

The sport plays as a combination of rugby and ice hockey… with a generous helping of pinball mixed in, both in colourful flashing-light design and the bumpers, slopes and other point scoring mechanisms.

It’s what makes the game more entertaining. Because it doesn’t have the obscure controls to support minor aspects of play in the interest of simulation or rules that slowly grew over time, it’s easier to pick up and more straightforward to play. There’s a useful tutorial, which is needed to get the rules, but it actually feels like it prepares you enough.

It does still feature one of the annoyances still seen in FIFA 2010 – the game switches to the player nearest to the ball. It’s an annoying feature for two reasons – you lose control, first of all, while you might be setting something up. Second, it’s disorienting for a few moments – long enough for you to, at times, run the opposite away, far enough from the ball. It’s often enough annoying, and unpredictable enough to be frustrating.

There’s some team management in the league mode as well – as you play through, you gain money to upgrade your squad and replace players. It’s nothing too complicated – bars go up and you want it higher, but need to decide where you focus your efforts – but adds some gentle consistency between matches, more control than you might otherwise have.

Final Thoughts

This game shows how a sports game can be enhanced through video game additions. It has tighter controls than many we’ve played before while being easier to learn (despite it looking more complicated at first). The bumpers and holes give additional goals that mean you can get points over the other team in other ways than just scoring, which makes the game a lot more interesting and less… sporty focused.

  1. […] perspective, it would have felt like a nice, early soccer game  – a distant predecessor of Speedball 2 perhaps. Even now the game is interesting, but the struggle to comprehend where you are diminishes […]