Speedball 2 – Atari ST – Guest Review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

System: Atari ST
Developer: The Bitmap Brothers
Year: 1987

Guest Review courtesy of SweetMrGibs

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Title Screen
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Title Screen

[ Image – mobygames.com ]

Psychopaths in stadiums, bloodied steel struts for goalposts

If you wanted to sum up Speedball 2 in one sentence “Imagine playing a futuristic, ultra-violent Kick Off, or – even better, Sensi Soccer… on a pinball table” would be pretty accurate.

Released on the Atari ST and Amiga in 1987, The Bitmap Brother’s sequel to Speedball improved on every aspect of the smaller-scale original. The stadium was bigger, the action faster and more ferocious – even the soundtrack was catchier.

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Game On
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Game On

[ Image – ribouleau.net ]

A rudimentary transfer system allowed you to improve your squad and, most importantly, there were more ways to score points; bumpers! multipliers! and, perhaps the most satisfying of all, injuring the opposition. Bring on the robo-medics! And whilst modern football games require you to memorise a dozen button combinations in order to perform a back-heel, all of the player actions in Speedball 2 could be achieved at the press of one. single. button. “PUNCH!” Press button 1. “THROW!” Press button 1. “BIGGER PUNCH!” Press button 1. Take note, PES developers.

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Player Selection
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Player Selection

[ Image – mobygames.com ]

Rather tragically, your initial team consisted of players called “Nigel” and “Kenneth”. Gentle folk who were into poetry, accountancy and coffee shops. In a game where the opposition were comprised of the nuttiest-nutters-from-down-the-roughest-of-the-rough pubs, resplendent with steel-plated jaws and cybernetic enhancements designed to cause great pain, this was a bad thing. And it meant you’d often be left cursing as your hapless goalie, or substitute goalie, or substitute goalie’s aunty was stretchered off as a result of the latest sliding wall-of-death tackle by the murderous opposition forward. In Speedball 2, the term ‘goalmouth scramble’ is more applicable to the state of your goalie after the latest attack (literally).

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe - Atari ST - Player Editor
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe – Atari ST – Player Editor

[ Image – mobygames.com ]

However, slowly – so very, very slowly, you’d acquire players who were able to fight back, and perhaps dish out a little pain of your own. “This is for Rupert!” Exodeathmachine005 would shout (probably) as he strategically placed the ball in the opposition keeper’s cyber-rectum, before throwing the twitching body into the goal (that’s twenty points right there).

Perhaps the greatest and most frustrating aspect of Speedball 2 is that once you’ve finally assembled a squad who are able to actually compete, you find yourself with only a few games left before the season end. And there are only two seasons in the game. It effectively meant that you’d have to totally and utterly destroy the remaining opposition to stand a chance at winning the coveted Speedball 2 trophy. A frenetic season end to a frenetic game. Ron Manager would approve.

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