The time is the future. The Earth's atmosphere has all but disappeared – filled to breaking point with noxious substances. Normal outdoor sports have ceased to exist, so a new type of sport has been invented: Speedball.
The game takes place in a fully contained metal arena with a goal at either end. There are two teams of five players, the idea being to score as many goals as possible in the allotted time. You play the part of one of the team captains choosing to play in a solo league, knockout championship or against another player.
Normal ball-sport rules don't play any more. Tubbing the opposition is the only thing that counts, so you must win by thumping, tripping and fighting your way into the lead. The game creators and judges felt that this itself wouldn't attract huge crowds, so they added extra excitement in the form of pick-ups, which affect the players in certain ways (see TILES box).
Since work is scarce, people will get hold of money in any way they can. This includes Speedball judges and officials, who will accept bribes in exchange for dirty tricks (see BRIBES box), so the result at the end of a match can change, too..
Zzap! Issue 45, January 1989, p.93
If you're a regular ZZAP! reader, you may remember that I was particularly looking forward to this, being a fan of the Bitmap Brothers' last masterpiece, saying 'Lets hope it's as good as Xenon, Guys'. Well I'm glad to say that it's every bit as good and then some. The graphics put their last game to shame, looking about as solid as the Amiga will allow. I was amazed when I saw the opening sequence with the player tapping his leg, complete with a metallic clunk. The game itself is incredibly playable, more so than any other computer ball-sport – even International Basketball - and from me that's saying something!
BRIBES AND PURCHASES
2 Bribe official
3 Increase stamine
4 Bribe timer
4 Bribe trainer
4 Extra skill
4 Reduce opponent's stamine
6 Extra power
6 Reduce skill
6 Bribe Ref
7 Reduce power
D - Decrease opponent's stamine
S – Increase your stamine
F – Freeze opponent (10 second timer)
M – Eight directional mine
E – Single directional mine
P – Protect against tackle
G – Get ball automatically
J – Reverse joystick direction (10 second timer)
? - Slow down opponents
By the looks of things, the Bitmap Brothers are becoming a force to be reckoned with, what with Xenon already under their belts and now this! Speedball is brilliant – superb graphics, excellent gameplay and wonderful presentation. What more could you ask? Let's start with the visuals… well, Bitmap certainly know how to program graphics, that's for sure! Everything looks as if you could reach into the screen and touch it. Playing the game is as much of a joy as looking at the graphics. The action is fast and competitive and will keep sports fans playing for a long time: what I really liked was the fact that there are no real rules – you can bribe people for extra time or to change the result, or you can simply punch somebody in the gob to get the ball off them! No questions - just buy it!
Comprehensive league and knockout rules, brilliant intermissions and menu screens and loads more!
Superbly designed and animated with smooth, full-screen scrolling.
Good effects and a decent tune, which is slightly repetitive.
Great fun from the word go. It really brings out the worst in some people… (ie, Maff).
Enough included to keep you playing for ages.
The best futuresport we've seen on the Amiga.