Written by  :  Colin Rowsell (45)
Written on  :  May 27, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
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The start of the Bitmap Brothers' incredible winning streak

The Good

Speedball is unashamedly violent and straightforward. Either hold the ball, pass, and run for the goal, or beat the opposition possessor senseless. The speed and fluidity of the game are remarkable, as are the increasingly sophisticated tactics made possible by higher difficulty levels. The ability to upgrade and improve your team, as well as the large tournament and pool-play options give considerable single player replay value. Speedball comes into its own on multiplay, however: two "friends", bashing away at the same keyboard, screaming for the ball, and howling as another goal slips by, makes for a great afternoon's entertainment.

The Bad

In the early matches there are several extremely simple tactics that will win every game. This quickly fades, however, until by halfway through the tournament option the computer teams will be comprehensively owning you. This see-sawing difficulty level makes life fairly tough, with a vicious jump in the learning curve.

The PC version really isn't a match for the Amiga, this game being from the period when PCs were the lonely cousins of the 16 bit gameplaying machines. The sound and graphics are extremely good for 1988, but EGA and speaker beeps can't quite match its rivals...

The Bottom Line

Anyone interested in the history of computer games, the elements of good mutiplayer gaming, or the Bitmap Brothers themselves should check out Speedball. Its simple, adrenalised fun that recalls the most fundamental of arcade game principles: keep them mashing the buttons and coming back for more.