Speedball (video game)
Cover art for the first game in the series
|Developers||The Bitmap Brothers, Kylotonn, Vivid Games, SOFEL|
|Publishers||Image Works, Arena Entertainment, Empire Interactive, Akella, Tower Studios, SOFEL|
|Platforms||Acorn Archimedes, Atari ST, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Commodore 64, PC, NES, Sega Master System, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Sega Mega Drive, Windows Mobile, PlayStation, Xbox 360, iPhone, Symbian|
|Platform of origin||Atari ST|
|Year of inception||1988|
|Latest release||Speedball 2 HD
Speedball is a video game series based on a violent futuristic cyberpunk sport that draws on elements of handball and ice hockey, and rewards violent play as well as goals. Three games were developed by The Bitmap Brothers, and a fourth by Kylotonn. The games were released on a variety of different formats from 1988 to 2011.
The game is played by two teams on an enclosed court with a goal at each end, similar to that of ice hockey or five-a-side football. The court contains elements that affect gameplay, such as score multipliers and power ups. Points are scored by successfully getting the ball into the goal, and also by injuring opposition players. The team that has amassed the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
A player has control of only one outfield player on a team at any one time. The game may be played by one or two players; two player games are played competitively.
Speedball was released in November 1988 for the Atari ST and ported to the Amiga, PC (DOS), Commodore 64 and the Sega Master System. SOFEL released a port for the NES in 1991, as KlashBall. It was re-released in 2004 as one of the 30 games on the C64 Direct-to-TV.
The game received scores of 862 (DOS) and 834 (Atari ST) out of 1000 from ACE, 79% from Mean Machines and 57% from Power Play. The game won the 1989 Golden Joystick Game Of The Year award. Computer Gaming World gave the game a positive review, praising its graphics and long-lasting gameplay. It was also voted Best 16-bit Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards.
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
According to the game story, the first Speedball league (founded in 2095) fails due to violence and corruption. As the organisation gives place to anarchy the game is forced underground, but five years later, in an attempt to regain public interest, Speedball 2 is born. The game starts in 2105 with the emergence of a new team, Brutal Deluxe.
The game was released for multiple platforms: the Acorn Archimedes, Atari ST, Amiga, Amiga CD32, PC, Commodore 64, NES, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. The first version was released in 1990 for the Atari ST, the most recent version for the GBA in 2002.
Speedball 2 makes several changes over the original Speedball. Teams have nine players on court rather than five, and targets on the floor and walls can be hit to receive bonus points. The amount of points that a team receives for scoring a goal starts at 10 but can be increased to 15 or 20 via the use of score multipliers located on the walls of the pitch. The same amount of points for scoring a goal is given for injuring a player from the opposing team. When a player is injured, he is replaced by one of three substitutes. If all three substitutes are injured, the injured player will be forced to return to the game and play on in spite of his injuries. There are five game modes: knockout, cup, league, practise and multiplayer. Each game lasts for 180 seconds.
Speedball 2 is one of Bitmap Brothers' most successful titles. Zzap, CU Amiga and Computer and Video Games scored the game highly. The music, written by Simon Rogers and remixed and coded by Richard Joseph, won the 1991 Golden Joystick Award for Best Soundtrack. The voices, including the 'Ice Cream' salesman, were voiced by sometime Joseph collaborator Michael Burdett working under the pseudonym Jams O'Donnell. The game was voted the 3rd best game of all time in Amiga Power.
Various remakes of Speedball 2 have been released. Speedball 2100, released only for the PlayStation, is a 3D version of Speedball 2 with more options such as choosing and renaming any team, instead of having to play with Brutal Deluxe. This version, released in September 2000, failed to win over gamers and press because it lacked the speed and gameplay of the originals.
Empire Interactive released Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe onto Xbox Live Arcade on October 17, 2007. The game features a 3D graphics mode in addition to the "classic" visuals, as well as additional teams and online play. According to statements by the Bitmap Brothers, this version of the game takes place in the 24th century. It was eventually delisted from Xbox Live Arcade, but people who have already downloaded it are still able to play it.
Frogster Interactive Pictures released a remake developed by Kylotonn, Speedball 2 Tournament onto Steam in November 2007. In February 2011, Tower Studios released another updated version called Speedball 2: Evolution, developed by Vivid Games for iOS. The game features multiplayer support and achievements via Game Center. It was also released for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3.
- "Speedball". MobyGames. MobyGames. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- "Speedball". bitmap-brothers.co.uk. The Bitmap Brothers. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Struble, Robert (October 1989), "The Sport of Fiends", Computer Gaming World: 34, 47
- "Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe". bitmap-brothers.co.uk. The Bitmap Brothers. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Mega review, Future Publishing, issue 1, October 1992
- MegaTech review, EMAO, issue 8, page 43, August 1992
- Mega Top 50 feature, Future Publishing, issue 26, page 74, November 1994
- "Speedball 2". Zzap. March 1991. pp. 70–71. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Merrett, Steve (February 1991). "Speedball II". CU Amiga (EMAP). pp. 54–55. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Swan, Robert (January 1991). "Speedball 2". Computer and Video Games (EMAP). pp. 56–58. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Amiga Power magazine issue 0, Future Publishing, May 1991
- "Speedball II Comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade (Press Release)". yahoo.com. Silverstar Holdings, Ltd. Archived from the original on May 10, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
- "Speedball II product page". xbox.com. Microsoft. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
- Speedball 2 Tournament hits Steam this November – Joystiq
- Purchese, Robert (19 November 2013). "Speedball 2 HD is "the best version that's ever been available on PC"". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Bitmap Brothers pages on Speedball, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, 2100 and Arena
- Speedball series at MobyGames
- Frogster Interactive page on Speedball 2 (2007)
- Various websites reporting on the remake announcement: RetroGT, BD Gamer, and Firing Squad
- Images of Commodore 64 version of Speedball box and manual at C64Sets.com