for Amiga (OCS/ECS)

Mr Creosote:Popular Vote:
Company: Bitmap Brothers
Year: 1988
Genre: Sport, Action
Theme: Multiplayer / Science Fiction / Team Sports
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 22404
Review by Mr Creosote (2022-07-02)

21st Century Entertainment brought pinball games to the Amiga? Think again! Years before Pinball Dreams, The Bitmap Brothers created this classic which, even though legend says they derived it from tennis, may very well be considered the seminal genre entry.

Stylistically taking its cue from the movie Rollerball, the game simulates a violent future sport. Two teams of five go head to head in a metallic arena, trying to score by getting a ball into the opponent's goal. By any means. In fact, knocking out the opponent's players is even rewarded.


Not only is the arena shaped like a pinball table, complete with bumpers (placed differently for each game), the ball certainly behaves very much like this as well. Unless carried, of course. Passing the ball by having it bounce of the boards is not just accidentally possible, but part of the intended move repertoire. Apart from that, the effect of catching a high pass mid-air makes for a cool graphical effect and enables some nice maneuvers.

Working around the usual issue of football-like games, the control over the goalkeeper is limited to horizontal movement. This makes spectacular saves very effective. Nevertheless, the same limitation also has its downsides. For instance, the typical 45° throws are mostly indefensible as realistic spatial placement to limit the open angle towards the goal is impossible.


In between matches, some rudimentary actions such as bribing the next game's referee can be performed. For this, coins have to be selected during the matches, making for a nice trade-off decision whether to take the detour or to try and score straight away. Music is another strong point of the game. Although titles are few, the ones played during the matches are not just thematically appropriate, but it is incredibly catchy!

Finally, there isn't much wrong with Speedball. It is a humble, entertaining little game. The elephant in the room, of course, is that in retrospect, it is overshadowed by its legendary sequel, to the point where probably hardly anyone will ever touch the original anymore. While the second part is undeniably the vastly superior game, it is also quite different in a number of ways. So do yourself a favour and give it a try; after all, you like pinball, don't you?

Archived Review(s) ↓

Review by Mr Creosote (2000-11-13)

Although there were quite a lot “simulations” of real team sports like soccer in the Amiga's days, it seemed to be nearly impossible to port such tactical games with so many players to the computer. Most companies simply didn't care and published almost unplayable sports games. But there were also the smart ones like the Bitmap Brothers who thought a bit about different concepts! The result was Speedball, the summit of team sports games.

In the future, this new sport attracts the masses! Two teams with four players and a goalkeeper each play against each other. The team which scores most goals wins. The ball can be carried as long and far as possible, but rude ways to interrupt the way to the goal are also allowed.
The playing field also has some extras like a ball-teleporter and things that throw the ball back once it touches them. So every arena is unique!

Because there are only so few players and because the arenas aren't too big, it's always possible to keep the grasp of everything. Even clever tactics can and should be used!

Between the games, you can spend the money you collected during the game (coins just appear on the ground sometimes) for upgrades of your team or illegal stuff like bribing an official. No risk though - nobody ever notices!

Overall a genious game - graphics and sound are just... WOAH! And the contents are also great - many options (league, knock-out,...), a quick fun game!

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excelant game plaer