Speedball 2

  • Bitmap Brothers

  • Formatvideo Game
  • Typesports
  • Systemmicrocomputer

The drive clicks and grinds away as if it's shredding the disk; or eating itself.  Silence. Black screen. Anticipation. You think the game is about to start. Then the drive starts up again, torturing the disk.

It's a fast paced game with plenty to do and experiment with, which is fun to play solo as you carry your team up through the leagues.
Andy Pryer
Finally, greeted with a superbly drawn title screen in characteristic Bitmap Bros style and a cacophony of clucks and beeps which develop into an ingeniously futuristic theme tune, Speedball 2 has arrived like a steel ball to the eye socket.
The bitmap brothers were the AAA stars of the Amiga - and for good reason.  The graphics were outstanding with style which was instantly recognisable and always used a soft colour pallet.  

Music was imaginative and far ahead of it's time. All these attributes always supported a solid game too, so with the Bitmaps (probably not their real name) you knew you were getting the full package and each new title was eagerly awaited.
Of all their successes, SB2: Brutal Deluxe is widely regarded as the best and was voted 3rd best game of all time by Amiga Power. The afore mentioned soundtrack actually won the 1991 golden joystick award.  
Set in the year 2105, of course sports have become more violent. I'm not sure why that's always the case (Running Man, Rollerball, The Killing Gameshow, the TV show from Flashback etc), if anything they're actually getting softer, but thems the rules:  In the future everything is more violent, and the game of speedball is certainly no exception. 
It's played with a solid steel ball for starters, shot from a canon into the steel riveted arena at the start of each round. The game is a cross between American football, soccer and a giant pinball machine. 

The heavily armoured teams can carry the ball and pass it amongst themselves while the opposing team tries to intercept the ball or brutally tackle the player carrying the ball (or anyone else for that matter).

The chief aim is to score via a soccer style goal complete with goalie. Bonus points can be gained by illuminating targets on the walls and floor by striking the surprising bouncy ball off them. There are other obstacles which deflect the course of the ball and some other achievements to be gained but that's about the size of it.
You take control of the nine players of team Brutal Deluxe, a new team hoping to bring the game up from the corrupt underworld. It's a fast paced game with plenty to do and experiment with, which is fun to play solo as you carry your team up through the leagues. 

But the game really shines in two player mode. Crippling a mate rather than a mindless drone is always more appealing somehow.  As the stretcher-bearers carry off the broken bodies, a snack vendor takes full advantage of the the lull in play, his offer of 'Ice cream! Ice cream!' is clearly audible over the concerned murmurs of the spectators. 
Each team has three substitutes to fall back on. Once these are exhausted, the original player must return to the field and play despite his injuries. Harsh. 

Although the game itself is relatively straight forward, the playing options are more varied than most sports games allowing for more complex strategies and greater opportunity for points and physical contact.  Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe was pretty much the only sports game I kept returning to. In fact, perhaps it's about time it had a reboot.

Review by Andy Pryer @clammylizard

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 Speedball 2 Gameplay

  • Bitmap Brothers

  • Formatvideo Game
  • Typesports
  • Systemmicrocomputer

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