Speedball
Copyright/Publisher: Mirrorsoft, Produced by: Image Works,
Bitmap Brothers & Pantheon Software, Music By: David Whittaker,
Release Year: 1989, Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Nowt like it, is there? A nice bit of sport in the summer. Brush away the cold, winter cobwebs, rub the linseed oil into the more creaky bits of your personage, and get yourself out on a field.

Ah, but spare a thought for our future generations. Trussed up like battery hens in cramped little domes, struggling to make a living - struggling, indeed, to survive. What fun do they get when the central heating's turned up and the blue light is shone onto the ceiling? Quite a bit, as it happens.

One of their favourite pastimes in the warmer months is the annual SPEEDBALL league. A mixture of the best parts of football and rugby (two outdated Twentieth Century sports), the rules are dead simple.

Played either against the central computer system or on a one-to-one basis, each player controls a team of five robots, one of them guarding the goal. The object is plain: using any means at your disposal, disgorge a small, metallic Speedball into the opposition's net.

The opposing team, meanhile, is attempting to stop you, again, by any way possible, be it by deflecting the ball, interception or just downright violence. There's no such thing as a referee in this sport, so it's basically anything goes, no-holds-barred action. Phwoar!

The computer keeps the game time, stopping the match at the end of the allotted span. Should any injuries, stoppages, etc result from the game, an amount of extra time is played.

During the match, a number of different icons appear on the pitch, designed to aid the team quickest to retrieve them. Bonuses include freezing the opponent's players, reversing the joystick and generally making play extremely difficult for the disadvantaged adversary.

And that's Speedball. It may sound crude, uncouth and physically impossible, but that's beacuse it is. Why do you think that the players are beheind control panels while a bunch of tin cans run around and get smashed to bits? For all these blokes almost wiped out mankind - they're not daft enough to get hurt themselves!!!

PICK-UP TALES
D - Decrease opponent's stamina
S - Increase your stamina
F - Freeze opponent (10 second timer)
M - Eight directional mine
E - Single directional mine
P - Protect against tackle
G - Get ball automatically
J - Reverses joystick direction (10 second timer)
? - Slow down opponents
BRIBES AND PURCHASES
Credits: Item:
2 Bribe official
3 Increases stamina
3 Bribe Timer
4 Bribe Trainer
4 Extra skill
4 Reduce opponent's stamina
6 Extra Power
6 Reduce skill
6 Bribe Ref
7 Reduce power
RANDY
What with all the Amiga Sizzlers this month, it's about time we got hold of something worthwhile on the 64. And how! In my (less than) humble opinion, Speedball has to rank as one of the most impressive 16 to 8 bit conversions I have laid the old sight-sensory organs on so far.

Almost everything in this game is true to its larget counterpart, although obviously scaled down to a degree in the presentation department. So instead if superfluous fancy graphics and amazingly elaborate but totally irrelevant effect at the expense of gameplay, what we have in Speedball is a piece of software that looks good, sounds great and is an absolute scorcher in the addiction department.

The gameplay is fast and furious, and while being difficult enough against the computer, it's even harder when you play someone who's really practised for a bit. Speedball is great and that's my final word.

GORDO
Speedball on the C64? 'That'll be about as rubbish as Maff', I thought. I thought wrong (apart from the Maff bit). Pantheon Software, who undertook the conversion, have come up smelling of roses, producing an admirable piece of programming, simulating all that is super on the Amiga game.

Smooth scrolling floors, marvellous (not to mention extremely fit) sprites, exemplary reproductions of the 16-bit ditties and effects, and, most importantly, that outstandingly pacey gameplay. Nothing has been lost in the transition from 512 to 64k, it's all here.

Even all of the help icons have been retained! The format is very similar to all of those birds-eye view footy games that we've seen and slated recently, but Speedball is a classic, and deserves to sell loads and loads, cos it's really good.

KATY
Yeah! Speedball on the Amiga was brill and fab and triff and stuff like that, and surprisingly it's brill and fab and triff on the C64 as well! Honest! Everything about it is first class, from the superlative scrolling pitches and subtle use of colour, to the dynamic tunes and effects.

I'm suprised how close the two versions are, in fact. Because apart from the graphics and sound the game is exactly the same! Ok, well perhaps nout quite, but near enough to keep me sitting there chucking balls into other people's goals.

I do have one moan to make, and that's that when more than one of your robots is on screen at any one time and the ball is in the air, the computer can't make its mind up over who to give control to. But that is the only derogatory thing that I can say about an otherwise, er, brill fab and triff chuckaround.


INTRO SCREEN
PRESENTATION 86%
Bright, clear screens, backed up by an endless array of option screens and an exquisite control system.
GRAPHICS 87%
Heavenly scrolling playing area, with pleasing character definition and animation, as well as realistic ball movement.
SOUND 80%
The alluring sound effects fit the action perfectly, and the Amiga tunes have been accurately translated to the 64.
HOOKABILITY 91%
It's dead easy to start off with, but the action soon hots up, much to the player's enjoyment.
LASTABILITY 90%
One or two players, the staying power will be there for some time after purchase.
OVERALL 90%
An extremely successful conversion and a better of a game in its own right. Buy it or be beaten about the head and neck with a stick.

Just before you meet your opponent, you're given a full run-down of exactly how hard it's going to be.
The player selection screen: each has his own advantages, and collecting cash will help compensate for the deficiencies.

The sprites may not be amazing, but the scrolling's smooth and the gameplay's just great.







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