The original future sport game, Speedball is played out on a small court with five players on each team, making it more frantic than the more famous sequel. The ball must be thrown into the goal at your opponent's end. Any amount of physical contact can be made, and there are no illegal ways to get the ball or the goal.
Before each match you can bribe the referee into awarding you a head-start or strengthening the abilities of your players. You compete in a simple knockout cup tournament, or in individual 2-player games.
Credits (DOS version)
Average score: 76% (based on 31 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 55 ratings with 3 reviews)
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.
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.
DOS · by Colin Rowsell (43) · 2002
An interesting thing about Speedball: while its sequel is considered as one of the best games on the Amiga (and a classic on the PC as well), Speedball is considered one of the worst. I've seen evidence of this on numerous Amiga-oriented sites and publications, among them a page that I think was titled "the 10 worst games on the Amiga".
I disagree with this ruling completely, owing to the fact that the original Speedball was the source of countless hours of sheer enjoyment and fun. While obviously inferiour to its sequel, Speedball is still a surprisingly original and fun game, with a decent premise, good graphics and sound and reasonably smooth gameplay on a slow machine. Besides, you just gotta love the concept.
Admittedly the gameplay isn't as smooth as I'd wish (and becomes fairly jittery when the action becomes intense), the playfield isn't even remotely as well layed out as it could be (more precisely, as it was in Speedball II) and the I find the default EGA palette revolting.
The Bottom Line
A terrific game, shadowed by a magnificent, perfect sequel. Still makes a fun waste of a few hours.
DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000
The action is fast and smooth -- great gameplay. Graphics are not spectacular but perfectly adequate for the game's needs.
It is a little too simple, especially with a limited number of different angles for your shots. In addition, the difficulty ramps up very quickly -- it can be dull and easy or frustratingly difficult.
When I had red and green uniforms on the two teams, a colour-blind friend was unable to tell them apart.
The Bottom Line
Futuristic hockey with slightly more violence.
Atari ST · by Matthew Bin (1) · 2005
The C64 version of the game is one of the 30 games on the Commodore 64 Direct TV retro game joystick released in 2004.
Unofficially inspired by the 1975 movie Rollerball.
According to Eric Matthews, plain programming only took one and a half months - but play testing and fine tuning of the game play took another four months. Spending such amounts of time on the game play was very unusual at the time the game was created.
- Golden Joystick Award
- 1989 - won the 16-bit Game of the Year award
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 1466
- Wikipedia (en)
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Macintrash.
Antstream added by firefang9212. Atari ST added by tbuteler. Commodore 64 added by necronom. NES added by Alaka. SEGA Master System added by deepcut. BlackBerry added by MAT. Amiga added by Rantanplan.
Game added May 26th, 2000. Last modified September 1st, 2023.