Speedball 2 logo

Publisher: Image Works Price: £24.95

In the year 2095 the sport of Speedball was driven underground. In a desperate attempt to regain public support, a Speedball council was set up. New rules were brought in to make the game more appealing. Teams were renamed and stadiums rebuilt. Speedball 2 was born!

Soon 16 teams were contesting the coveted Speedball 2 trophy. One of the new teams is Brutal Deluxe. You are their manager and as the 2105 season begins your hopes are riding high.

The pitch has changed, it's now 100 per cent larger! In addition to the usual goal-mouths there are now four ways in which to accumulate points.
Scoring goals will earn your team ten points. Hitting one of the two bounce domes will earn you two points Illuminating one of the stars on the side of the pitch will gain you an extra two points, while lighting all five will provide an additional bonus of ten. Taking out an opposing player will also score you ten points.

The game also features a score multiplier. Every time you throw the ball into the multiplier the points you score will be increased. Naturally, if the opposing side has control of the multiplier you can reduce his score by using it yourself.

Speedball 2 also sees the inclusion of pick-ups. Should one of your players collect a pick-up he'll gain a special ability. These range from freezing your opponent and reversing his joystick controls, to giving your team members maximum attributes and making your players immune to all tackles.

In addition to the pick-ups, players may also grab other goodies. Tokens will help you pay for extra training seasons or star players. Amour and weaponry will increase individual player's attributes.

There are two play modes in Speedball 2. The first, like the original Speedball, sees you controlling the team. The second puts you in a managerial role. You train and coach the players while the computer controls them during the actual match time.

There are three competition modes - a knockout tournament, the league and the cup. A special practice mode lets you perfect special moves and tactics. However, your team won't find their way to the top easily.

As well as skill you'll also need cash. Using the tokens you can increase your players' attributes. In addition you can also peruse the transfer tables for prospects.

At the end of the day it's goals that count. Only the elite will win their way to the top, but in the cup games it's anyone's bet.
What are you waiting for? Pad up and head for the tunnel. Speedball 2 is here.



Speedball 2 logo Amiga Format Gold

Mirrorsoft * £24.99 Joystick

Those of you who are avid fans of American Football may remember back in the late 70s (1977-79 to be precise) when certain players were deemed simply too dangerous. Several rule changes and penalty legislations had to be brought in to maintain the players' safety, covering dangerous tackles and blocking moves and some rather lethal attacking practices.

Just imagine what would have happened if things had just progressed even further into the realms of violence. Players would be in dangerous or severe wounding, and maybe even death, resulting in much lower crowd attendances - a prospect which could be damaging to the game.

Desire for violence
Now we take a leap of just over 100 years in the future. The nation's top sport of Speedball has progressively become more and more violent. With few rules to govern player safety and even fewer to cover etiquette on the pitch. Some of the more powerful teams began playing with unfair advantages - drugs, cybernetic prosthetics and other rather dubious gear - resulting in excessively violent, scrappy, unentertaining games watched by only a few hardcore fans.

When the crowds began to decline, the sport was forced underground, until five years later, when the powers that be saw a way of restoring public support of the game and earning a pretty penny to boot. Thus, in the year 2100, Speedball 2 was born.

Key members of the underground movement were tempted to help set up a major league, with new rules, new teams split into two divisions, improved player-armour for safety and last (but by no means least) an entirely redesigned playing arena to bring maximum entertainment to the punters.

Player manager
The game can be played in a number of ways. You can play as the team, trying to climb up the divisions and win the league; as the team manager, giving training and coaching decisions then sitting back to watch the team in action; or just play in a straight knockout competition to win the Speedball Players Association Cup.

Whichever section you decide to choose,you need to get to grips with the training section. This involves spending money on various pieces of equipment for your team members to train with. You can train-up a single player, a group formation or the whole team. If you want to add some spice to your team, then check out the transfer market to get yourself a star player.


WELCOME TO THE TERROR-DOME

The original Speedball is now pretty much a classic Future-sport game. Now, two years later, we have the sequel, we ask ourselves 'How does it match up to the original'?

The truth is it's not as good as the original... it's miles better. The graphics have a much more aggressive feel, as does the gameplay. However, instead of a straight blast the ball up the pitch towards the goal, there is a lot more thought needed to succeed. Mastering the various methods of scoring is almost essential, otherwise you could find yourself at the bottom of the league without even a point to your name!

The Bitmaps have packed the game with a whole host of little extras, such as the ambulance-droids that come on to carry off injured players the option to save replays on to disk and an extremely annoying salesman who shouts out 'ICE-CREAM!', at every possible opportunity.

Never before in the AF has so much shouting, cursing and wrenching of joysticks been heard with such ferocity - and we get worked up over our games in these here parts.

If you're of a faint-hearted disposition then steer well clear of this aggressive and exciting sports game.

If, on the other hand, you like the clash of metal oon metal, the grunt of an opponent as he hits the deck and the roar of the crowd as you score a goal then Speedball 2 is an absolute must. It's one of the best sequels to appear for quite some time.

THE ARENA
Speedball 2: Arena

The pitch has undergone a lot of changes for the new league, including a larger arena and a whole host of scoring methods:
  1. GOALS: The basic method of scoring. Scores: 0x - 10, 1x - 15, 2x - 20.
  2. ELECTROBOUNCE: Charge the ball up so that opposition players are automatically tackled when they try to pick the ball up. The charge lasts until the opposition gain posession or the ball stops moving. The effect can be increased so that more players are tackled with the Multiplier. Effect: 0x -1 tackle, 1x - 2 tackles, 2x - 3 tackles.
  3. WARP GATES: Transport the ball to the warp gate on the opposite side of the pitch.
  4. SCORE MULTIPLIER: Throw the ball up the ramp to increase your scoring-rate by 50% (1x) and second by 100% (2x). The opposition can cancel the multiplier by throwing the ball through themselves before boosting their own rate. See the scoring methods to see the effect of the Multiplier.
  5. STARS: Give a devious method of scoring extra points, since a useful bonus is gained for hitting all five. Scores: 0x - 2, 1x - 3, 2x - 4. Bonus: 0x - 10, 1x - 15, 2x - 20.
  6. BOUNCE DOMES: Send the ball flying away and give a bonus score when hit. Scores: 0x - 2, 1x - 3, 2x - 4.


Speedball 2 logo Amiga Joker Hit

Die Bitmap Brothers haben von jeher ein glückliches Händchen bei ihren Fortsetzungen, man denke nur an "Xenon II". Und die Neuauflage des Brutalo-Sports hat ja schon am ST recht gut ausgesehen, mit der brandneuen Amigaversion haben sich die Jungs aber mal wieder selbst übertroffen!

Und das war bestimmt nicht einfach, den schließlich ging es darum, einen Meilenstein der Softwaregeschichte nochmals zu verbessern: Als "Speedball" vor ca. zwei Jahren herauskam, war so gut wie jeder von dem futuristischen Sportspektakel begeistert - das Game war nicht nur unheimlich schnell, sondern auch genial einfach zu handhaben. Regeln gab es praktisch keine, man musste einfach den "Ball" (eine Stahlkugel) irgendwie ins gegnerische Tor bugsieren - ohne Rücksicht auf Verluste!

Daran hat sich auch bei der Fortsetzung nichts geändert, es sind aber einige Features hinzugekommen: Torwiederholungen (mit Speichermöglichkeit), auf dem vergrößerten Spielfeld liegen nun massenhaft Extras, wie Tor-Multiplikatoren, Prelikuppeln, Warp-Felder und diverse Bonus Gegenstände herum, Sanitätsroboter tragen verletzte Spieler vom Platz, wichtige Ereignisse (z.B. das "Ableben" eines Teilnehmers) werden eingeblendet und so weiter und so fort. Aber vor allem darf man sich nun auch als Manager betätigen, also neue Leute kaufen, ausrüsten und trainieren. Jeder Spieler hat acht verschiedene Werte, von der völlig unwichtigen Intelligenz bis zur alles entscheidenden Aggressivität. Mit Fitnessdrinks erhöht man die Ausdauer, mit "Bitmap Shades" steigert man die Aggressivität - sofern da überhaupt noch etwas zu steigern ist...

Es gibt jetzt Knockout, Liga-, Cup- und Übungsmodi, und der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist ungefähr auf das Doppelte angewachsen (von den zwei Ligen ist ein Schwer, die andere noch viel schwerer!).

Was sich nicht geändert hat, ist die gelungene Steuerung und die Spieldauer: zweimal 90 Sekunden, dann ist alles vorbei.

Grafisch und soundmäßig haben die Bitmaps so ziemlich alles aus dem Rechner herausgeholt, was in diesem Genre überhaupt machbar ist: 32 Farben (im Gegensatz zur ST-Version, die mit 16 auskommen muss), eingeblendete Siegerfotos, fetzige Titelmusik, irre Effekte und eine knackige Sprachausgabe. Leider ist nicht alles nur besser geworden, so ist der Screen jetzt nicht mehr im PAL - sondern im NTSC-Format, und das Scrolling ruckelt etwas stärker als im ersten Teil. Besonders betrüblich ist, dass es nur einen Zwei-Spieler-, aber keinen Vier-Spieler-Modus gibt: Wer weiß, wieviel Spaß z.B. "Kick Off 2" zu viert macht, ärgert sich schon darüber dass die Bitmaps hier nichts Vergleichbares eingebaut haben.

Schwamm drüber, trotz der kleinen Mängel zählt Speedball 2 schon jetzt zu den besten Sportspielen des Jahres - wer den ersten Teil mochte, wird absolut hingerissen sein. Nachahmer wie "Future Basketball" oder das grauenhafte "Prosoccer 2190" könnt Ihr ab sofort vergessen, jetzt heißt es wiede: Möge der Härtere gewinnen! (mm)



Speedball 2 logo CU Amiga Superstar

Every machine has its classics. The Spectrum had Knight Lore and Atic Atac, the C64 had Impossible Mission and Pitstop II. As for the Amiga, what games can truly rank as the best the machine can produce? Obviously, there's Kick Off II, but apart from that? Well, Speedball II can definitely add itself to that much-revered list.

Set two years after the events of the original game, Speedball II marks the comeback of the future's most popular sport.
Due to falling viewing figures, the authorities took Speedball temporarily off the air, until a more violent alternative could be found. The result is a revamped version of the old favourite, with a larger playing area, faster action, and rougher players.

Taking the basic ideas behind Speedball, the near-legendary Bitmap Brothers have taken the best parts of the first game, and incorporated them with a whole host of new features for this long-awaited sequel.

With the programming talents of Rob Trevellyan and graphics supplied by ex-Palace artist, Dan Malone, the result is far better than I ever expected. As well as introducing the ability to add specific talents and improvements to each of your team's players, you are also allowed to groom your team into champions by taking on a management mantle and buying and selling players or purchasing extra kit to raise their stamina or aggression levels.

As can be expected for a novice, you begin the game in charge of the weakest team in the Speedball II league - Brutal Deluxe. This band of miscreants need a massive shake-up before they can be transformed into championship material, and you are placed as the man to do the job.

Once the game has loaded, an option screen offers the choice of entering a league or a cup tournament, or to go straight into a one-off game. Once selected, the action then switches to the all-important arena where the match will begin.

It is here you realise the extent to which this sequel has been improved. Whereas the first pitch was only three screens high and was scrolled vertically, the Speedball II arena spans roughly 6x2 screens, and boasts a number of new, improved features.

Whilst the positioning of the goals hasn't changed and they are still located at each end of the pitch, each side is now cluttered with useful or bonus-giving gates and features. Kept over from the first game, the warp holes are back with a vengeance, with nearly three times as many as the first game. But the most impressive addition is a spiral channel which doubles the value of each of your goals every time the ball is thrown int it.

Similarly, pinball-style coloured stars punctuate the walls and can be lit for even more bonus points. It would seem that, with all these additions lining the pitch, that the game would get unnecessarily complex. Somehow, though, they don't get in the way of the main action, but simply add a little extra spice to the actual game and prove essential for building up points in league games.

As well as the many pitch-based additions, the basic game is more violent, too. Each player has his own list of statistics and can withstand a number of knocks. However, as the match progresses and the players take more and more hits, their resistance is suitably depleted until they finally collapse and have to be stretchered off by two robotic physios.

Likewise, all of the players now play more of a part in the matches, with the goalie being the most notable, and the control system has been refined to make passing and shooting even easier.

The joystick's directional controls send the player nearest the ball running in the relevant direction, whilst the firebutton prompts a throw or a shot, the strength of which is determined by how the firebutton is held down for. This system is one of the best I have ever encountered, in terms of both accuracy and efficiency, and is the icing on an already playable cake.

Summing up Speedball II is an almost impossible task. It retains the basic gameplay of the original, but expands on practically every part of it. The managerial side is easy to get into and the various stats of each player do actually make a difference to the gameplay. The new, enlarged pitch makes for a faster game which involves more passing and dodging skills, and the new pitch-side features add even more variety - as does the improved violence!

In fact, there is absolutely nothing to fault in Speedball II, the people involved have produced a sequel which far exceeds any of my high expectations and, in the process, have created a game which is without a doubt a classic.


SOUNDING OFF One of the most impressive features of Speedball II is its sound. When the game has loaded a suitably futuristic opening theme introduces the action. This was specially written for the Bitmaps by new group Nation 12 who comprise John Foxx (of Ultravox fame), Tim Simenon (the brains behind Bomb The Bass), Chem (from Beats International), and Simon Rogers (who was with the Fall before charting with E-Zee Posse).

They got in touch via their Rhythm King links and Simon wrote the music before assembling the impressive group to put it all together. The finished tune was then coded by Richard Joseph who was also responsible for the brilliant sound effects.

The Bitmaps had always intended to make the Amiga version of Speedball II better than its ST counterpart, and the addition of various crashing, scraping and grunting samples (not to mention the sampled ice cream salesman), round off the game nicely. This isn't going to be a one off from Nation 12, though, as they may be producing the music for Renegade's (the Bitmaps' new label) Gods.

ICON DO THAT!
Speedball II boasts more tokens than its predecessor, and they appear randomly during play. There are two kinds of tokesn to collect, and the first are cash bonuses which can be used to purchase extra kit during the intervals, whilst the assorted icons offer temporary powers such as these:
TIME OUT: Stops play, allowing you to make substitution.
GRAB: You are given automatic possession of the ball.
SLOW: Slows down your opponents.
MANIC: All players are given maximum attributes.
FREEZE: Renders the opposition paralysed.
REVERSE: Reverses your opponent's controls.
ZAP: Bowls over your opponents.
SHUT: Closes your goal for a while.
BOOST: Increases your energy level.
TRANSPORT: Gives the ball to the player nearest their goal.
SHIELD: Temporary protection from tackles.


Speedball 2 logo Zzap! Gold Medal Award

Imageworks, Amiga £24.99

One of the advantages of computerizing a fictionalized game is that you can completely change it for the sequel, doubling the size of the pitch and throwing in loads of new features. Try doing that with footie!

Speedball 2 is played over two halves of 90 seconds each, with teams swapping ends at half time. You control your team member closest the ball with a letter flashing up to indicate whether the player is a centre forward, midfielder, defender, winger or goalkeeper. Each team member can throw the ball in eight directions and, by holding down fire, at varying heights. You can even put on a bit of aftertouch to bend the ball.

If you don't have the ball, pressing fire results in the player leaping into the air or gliding to grab the ball, or alternatively making a tackle.

Succesful tackling depends on the attack/ defence attributes of the two players involved. You can tackle a player whether he has the ball or not and each tackle reduces his (or her) attributes.

If energy falls to zero the player is stretchered off and a sub sent on, this earns the team responsible bonus points!

Unlike the original game it's not simply a case of scoring goals -winning is by earning points which can scored in a variety of ways. Besides sending a player off (10 points), hitting a bounce dome (2 points), stars on the walls (there are fives for each team with two points per star turned on -hit all five for a 10- point bonus, or hit enemy stars to turn them off and substract two points from his score). There's also a Score Multiplier, activated by throwing the ball up its spiral ramp -hit it twice and it doubles any points you then score until deactivated by the enemy. Other special features include four Electrobounces (electrifying the ball causing it to tackle the next player it hits) and four Warp Gates which zap the ball between them.

There are also various tokens which appear on screen, which can be collected for a wide variety of effects including freezing opposing players, reversing opponent's joystick, automatically gain possesion of ball, etc.

There's also plenty of temporary hardware to pick up including speed boots, powergloves, and Bitmap shades for extra aggression!

Collected cash can also be used to buy these in the gym (between matches) to upgrade eight attributes.

There are several ways of playing Speedball beside two player matches (best of one, three or five matches with each match consisting of two legs).
in Knockout you keep playing until you lose, whereas with Practice there's no opposing team. For a real challenge you can enter the League or Cup, playing for Brutal Deluxe -despite the name, a rather weak team. The League has two divisions of eight teams and a 14-week season, while the Cup is a Four-round knockout. Both allow you to save the game between matches. In addition, goals scored in any match can be saved to disk.

Should the on-pitch brutality become too much you can just manage the team, training and trading players which the computer will control during matches.


Phil King This must be the greatest 'futuresport' game ever, almost as good as footy! Whereas the original Speedball was really just a brutal (but fun!) form of handball, the sequel has a feature-packed pitch that's more like a hugh pinball table! As well as adding variety, the many different ways of scoring introduce a tactical element -do you head straight for goal, go for the bonus stars, or brutally try to injure an opposing player!? And even if you're losing a match heavily, you always got a chance of coming back as the score multiplier (an ingenious inclusion) allows you to get double points.
I also like the idea of the two-leg matches for two players: picking up plenty of coins in the first leg will give your team the edge in the second. Spending money on the right attributes for the right players really does make a noticeable difference during the match and in one-player games there's the additional managerial aspect of using subs and trading players. A superb mix of tactics and outright violence, Speedball 2 really is the sport of the future!
Robin Hogg Yeah! Violence Extreme! And I thought Speedball was the ultimate trip into designer sport thuggery. For the first few games I waded into everyone with little regard for tactics but quickly came to grief on the goal front. It's not until you the realise the significance of the score multiplier and the Goal Stars that the game really opens up and the violence with a purpose begins! Although the concept remains the same and (in my mind) the gameplay similar to the first Speedball, what makes this a massive leap over the original is the importance and potential of the team improvement facility. Redefinable stats offer the ability for each side to have unique tactics: one time my speedy team was pitted against the brutality of the CRASH team and it paid off with a brilliant 180-point victory - I love this game!!
Stuart Wynne While I liked the original, I can't say I was crazy about it. The rapid action and lightning deflections made for some superb two-player games but the league got a bit repetitive. With II there should no such problems with a comprehensive management option and, most importantly, a much more sophisticated game. Reactions and sheer aggression are no longer enough (although this is a terrifically violent game); the bonus features are critical for winning matches.
If your opponent's dumb enough to only bother about the goals, you can easily dummy him into defending the wrong direction while you rock up the points off the walls. The bigger pitch - which seems a lot larger than simply twice the size of the original - gives a roomy feel which makes passing essential. My only real disappointment is the lack of a radar scanner and multi-player league, but this apart, Speedball 2 is a magnificent game. It plays superbly, generating more aggression and excitement than half a dozen wars and the presentation is excellent.
For once a game's graphics, in this case a kind of neo-fascist brutalism, generate exactly the right atmosphere -ominous and realistic, they completely outclass the set-designs for the Rollerball movie. Without doubt the best two-player game since Kick Off II, packed with violence and spedd this can't fail to be a hit.


Speedball 2 CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Computing Platinum Award

One of the world's best-ever Amiga games makes its debut appearance on the CD stage. Jonathan Maddock checks out the sport of the future.

INTRODUCTION

There was once a time when the Amiga gamesworld was ruled by the high and mighty Bitmap Brothers. Every piece of software they released was blessed with high-quality graphics and sound, but they also made damn sure that playability and gameplay were far more important.

Games like Magic Pockets,Xenon 2, Gods, Cadaver and The Chaos Engine would, and still do, put some of today's efforts to shame. The first product that really kicked things off was Speedball. Taking its inspiration from the film Rollerball, this hyper-violent futuristic sports game soon became a firm favourite with just about everyone who owned an Amiga.

Not ones to miss out on a sequel, the Bitmap Brothers soon improved Speedball by making the pitch larger, the action faster and even more frenzied than before, and they stuck a massive great big 2 on the end of the title.

The sequel rapidly became more popular than the original and sold by the bucketload, but now five(!!!) years later after it was first released Speedball 2 has finally found its way onto the CD32.

SOUND

In the past, Renegade and the Bitmap Brothers had close links with Rhythm King records and every so often used to use a well-known act to produce the music for their games. Betty Boo did the do on Magic Pockets while Bomb The Bass' Megablast made a starring appearance in Xenon 2.

Responsible for the Speedball 2 music were a band called Nation something or other by some bloke who used to be in Ultravox. Although I can't remember the people who did it, I can still remember the original tune, even after five years. It was a classic piece of computer game music and for this CD version it's been remixed and now sounds a lot clearer than the original.

The other slice of music that plays while you're managing your team isn't too good, but the introduction of crowd chants throughout the game has given Speedball 2 a much-needed boost in the atmosphere department.

Overall, you get a quality intro tune, a drab in-game one and a superb array of sound effects that genuinely enhance the game.

80%

 

GRAPHICS

The original graphics for the game were inspirted by Rollerball and for anyone who hasn't seen the film, the Bitmap Brothers included loads of shiny surfaces, plenty of metal, hundreds of spikes and basically gave the whole thing a futuristic lick of paint.

Speedball 2 was, graphically, amazing when it first arrived on the A500, but this is now the era of CD technology and I guess gamers are looking for that little bit extra. However, I'm glad the Bitmap Brothers haven't changed things too drastically. The original colouring was fairly drab, but now the actual Speedball players have been enlarged slightly and brightened up. There aren't any special graphical updates, but it seems as though most objects and screens have been refreshed for the nineties.

I can't really knock Speedball 2 because everything looks really good, but a new introduction sequence would've been a worthy inclusion, especially with the advancement of today's technology.

85%

 

OPINION90%

Even after playing Speedball 2 for a couple of hours, I've still got the same feelings for the game I had five years ago. The Bitmap Brothers have created a monster of a game that works just as well as a one-player game as it does with two players.

The original gameplay, playability and addiction factors that the game contained haven't been tampered with, but the enhancements in the graphics and sound departments have actually made this CD version better than the original.

CD32 owners may have been bereft of true great games for their machine, but this one starts to re-address the balance. Speedball 2 is an absolute classic and for only £15! I pity the people who are stupid enough not to own a copy..



Speedball 2 CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

Four years after it first appeared, Steve Bradley solemnly assesses the impact of the CD32 version of this ageing arcade classic.

First things first. Speedball 2 is one of the Amiga's most highly regarded games. Not once, in all my born days has anyone admonished it. Not once, has anyone dared deny that it truly is a Sport Of Kings, nay, of Gods.

If Empire Soccer was played in metal outfits, indoors, it would be Speedball 2. If James Caan and all his chums played Rollerball on computers, it would be Speedball 2, only with no roller skates. The fuss. What is it all about? And how come when I'm games ed (and therefore, supposed to be good), has Nick Veitch just pasted me 177-30? Read on.

Hard and fast
Speedball 2 first reared its metallic head way back in the Spring of 1991 - yes, this game is four years old - and it recorded a whopping 94 per cent from AF's fawning correspondent. Spot on, good fellow, for this remains one of the finest two-player games on the park, or parek, as Kenny Dalglish might call it.

At its simplest, Speedball 2 is a ball running, throwing and passing exercise. You aim to score goals as you would in, say, Sensible Soccer, but here, there are extra ways to put one over on your opponent. There are five stars on each side wall which, if smacked with ball, proffer points (an added bonus if you light all within the period), ramps on either side of the half-way line multiply your score if successfully ridden and an electrobounce feature charges the ball, rendering opponents imminently 'tackleable' if they attempt to pick up the ball.

Violence plays an integral role, as it should in a futuristic, pugnacious sports game. Bashing your opponents aside is an essential skill, but because the game is so beautifully written, Speedball 2 is subtle in equal parts. One can turn on a sixpence, throw the opposition a dummy, pass square, jink between the central defenders and calmly palm goalward. Equally, one can smack a fellow to the floor, gain possession of the metallic sphere, chuck it half the length of the field to a team mate and batter through 'keeps'.

At this juncture, I can proudly announce that I'm almost as good as editor Veitch. By the final paragraph I fully expect superiority to be within the breadth of a thinning hair.

Winning matches allows you to strengthen the team - you can pay for stronger shoulders and faster legs and stuff, and there are cups and leagues to play in. You can even choose to manage a team and take a backseat as the fun unfolds. But you'd be foolish to do so. The real satisfaction is to be found in the thick of it.

My only gripe is that your defenders are rather too close to the goalkeeper and when control flashes between the defence and the goalie, you're often thrown completely leaving the goal totally exposed. But Speedball 2 is a metallic ball and an essential CD32 purchase as Guardian.



Pink Panzer

Speedball 2 CD32 logo CD32

Vor fünf Jahren definierten die Bitmap Brothers mit diesem futuristischen Spektakel das Sport-Genren am Amiga neu, jetzt endlich erschien eine CD-Version des Klassikers - und geriet wortwörtlich zum Schnellschuß.

Andererseits: eine lieblose Umsetzung ist immer noch besser als gar keine Umsetzung, zumal Speedball 2 als eines der besten Amiga-Games überhaupt gilt und Sportspiele am CD32 ohnehin dünn gesät sind.

Zudem hat die Scheibe ja zumindest musikalisch einiges zu bieten, denn der neue Titeltrack von Schillerscheibe geht glatt noch ein Stück besser in den Gehörgang als der gute alte Disk-song von Nation 12 - und wer den Rundling mal in seinen Audioplayer legt, darf sich an vier tollen Synthie-stücken und 14 durchaus unterschiedlichen Publikumscollagen erfreuen.

Im Spiel kommt freilich auch akustisch weniger Freude auf, da man hier auf die Geräuschkulisse keinen Einfluß hat und meist ewig gleichen Hintergrundsound ertragen muß. Vorbei die zeiten da das Publikum dem in Führung liegenden Team besonders frenetisch zujubelte und tolle Effekte wie z.B. die Rufe von Eisverkäufern aus den Box schallten.

Noch ärgerlicher ist aber die neue AGA-Grafik ausgefallen: Das sollen sorgsam überarbeitete Hintergründe und Animationen in 256 Farben sein?! Vielleicht durch die rosarote Brille von Dan Malone, dem Malermeister de Bitmaps, betrachtet, da sich die beinharte Action nun vorwiegend in tüdeligem Pink präsentiert.

Immerhin wurde die Steuerung tadellos auf das Joypad übertragen, diesbezüglich sind gegenüber dem genialen Stick-Handlung der Urversion für den A500 wirklich keinerlei Abstriche zu machen. Nach wie vor werden auch Knockout-Matches, eine Liga, Pokalspiele oder Training für ein bis zwei Futuristen geboten, man kann seine Mannschat aufpäppeln und auf dem Feld nucht nur Tore schießen, sondern auch Boni erspielen und auf andere Art und Weise Punkte machen.

Die Spielzeit einer Begegnung beträgt stets 180 Sekunden, was übrigens voll ausreicht, um so schwere Verletzungen einzustecken bzw. auszuteilen, daß einzelne Cracks von Sanitätsrobotern vom Platz geschleppt werden müssen.

Auch die Replays werden immer noch automatisch angezeigt, können aber nicht mehr gespeichert werden, zudem darf man den Spielstand nur insofern sichern, als bei Erreichen der ersten Liga ein Paßwort vergeben wird.

Traurig genug also, daß man sich hier kaum über Verbesserungen freuen darf, sondern vielmehr über jedes Feature froh sein muß, das sich gegenüber dem Original nicht verschlechtert hat.

Jedoch läuft Speedball 2 tadellos, was insofern sehr löblich ist, als die ECS-Version die Zusammenarbeit mit AGA-Rechnern ja stets verweigerte. Und so ist dieser Import-Titel trotz seiner englischen Kurzanleitung und sonstiger Macken halt unter dem Strich doch eine Bereicherung für die Silbermine der Amiga-Familie. (mm)



Speedball 2 CD32 logo CD32

Renegade/£15

Amiga version: 88%, AP29

Some games don't age. They might start to look old. And, while playing, you might say to yourself, "Hmm, that scrolling's a bit dodgy." But underneath they're as timeless as sensible trousers or Lagavulin 16-year-old. Speedball 2 is like that. And now it's on the CD32.

And although in most respects it's exactly the same as its keyboarded cousin, the CD32 version has a small but intensely significant alteration - your opponents are now a different colour. Taken out of context this might sound a bit odd, but anyone who's played the original game can't help but be overjoyed that instead of having different coloured headbands, the combatants (and not players as most players call them) are completely different. Colour wise.

And that's it apart from the sampled crowd noise that gets really annoying (really quickly) and some music that plays when you load the game up.
Other than that, it's great. It's violent. It's fun. And it's a challenge. So get it.



Speedball 2 CD32 logo CD32 CU Amiga Super Star

Price: £14.99 Publisher: Warner Interactive 9171 391 4300

Did this game miss the last bus home too? Like Syndicate, Speedball 2 has been around for yonks, longer than Syndicate - much longer.

The cracking combination of American Football and Rollerball (70s movie buffs and James Caan admirers will know what I'm talking about) mmade the Bitmaps' football alternative one of the most playable and enjoyable arcade games of the 90s. Imitators like Brutal Sports Football just couldn't cope to match it.

A one or two player game, there are nine men on a team, and each can be modified in fitness and armour terms. Play takes place on a massive metal pitch, surrounded by walls with pick-up icons, floor distance markers and bonus slots. The basic object of the game is to score goals by throwing a golden metal ball at, you've guessed it, the goal.

Bonus points can also be scored by hitting various wall-mounted targets. The only way to stop the opposing team from doing this is to tackle its members, or thump them, or barge them, or kick them.

You can play a knockout game in a league or cup, or challenge a human opponent to the best of one three or five games. In league or cup games against the computer the opposing teams get progressively more difficult. Before entering each game a training screen appears where you can change, and upgrade your team's armour, speed and fitness.

The CD32 version has much improved graphics. The amount of detail and the colours for each team are a lot clearer than they were on the original Amiga version. Thus it's easier to see who is on your team and who the opposing player is.

Loading still takes a while and the frame rate hasn't been increased but it's still very playable.

Despite its age this is still a classic game, in the same way as Sensi Soccer is; a true piece of Bitmap genius. It was worth the wait. In fact, if you've got the Amiga version it's probably still worth buying at £14.99 for the improved graphics and joypad control.

You'll never regret spending money on a game as smooth and playable as this. e CD32's finest hour. Buy, and enjoy.