Bottomline: Good for an instant adrenaline hit, but it has limited long-term appeal and a woeful single-player mode
Manufacturer: Ascaron Entertainment
The original Speedball arrived on the Amiga back in the late 1980s.
A couple of years later, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe was released and became an instant cult hit. Now, after almost two decades, we have Speedball 2 – Tournament. It is set in the future, where two teams of nine are pitted against each other in an indoor arena. With very few rules, it’s basically a case of score as many goals as you can.
As in previous versions, it’s a fairly violent affair, and if an opposition player gets in your way there will be no punishment for a swift punch in the face – it will, in fact, earn you extra points. Although it doesn’t take long to master the basics, scoring a goal proved difficult at first.
That was until we discovered that by running up to the goalie and making a quick change of direction we could easily circumnavigate him and literally run the ball into the back of the net. In our first competitive match we scored 12 goals to the opposition’s one. We restarted the game using the highest difficulty setting but, with our new-found skills, by half time we had more than doubled our previous goal tally.
Worse still, members of the other team didn’t seem interested, often running away from the action rather than making a tackle. The Team Management tool lets you enhance your players’ abilities, but there are few options to play around with and it makes little difference in single-player mode. Thankfully there’s an Online multiplayer alternative, and it’s here where most of the game’s appeal lies.
But although team management can give you an edge over the opposition, with such a basic set of controls and few interesting features this game will not hold your interest for long.