Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe Review

Speedball 2 lies somewhere in that void between rollerball and soccer/hockey. Take the aggressive and cheesy nature of rollerball and apply it to a futuristic game of soccer and you have this unexpected XBLA title.

Apparently the game is a remake/re-release of a 1991 Commodore Amiga game that was so popular that there is a full-fledged remake coming to the PC. I had never played it before, so consider this review free of that retro bias.

If one were to whittle Speedball 2 down to its very basic game mechanics, they would mainly consist of "tackling" the enemy by pressing the "A" button and moving the ball forward towards the goal by passing the ball to your teammates using the "A" button once again. See the problem here? The "A" button is both tackle and pass. The worst part about this is that as you progress, the game’s frantic nature increases exponentially and the player is soon feverishly mashing on the buttons to rip the ball away from the opponent’s grasp to the point where they repeatedly pass the ball away when it is finally in their own possession.


Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe


The basic violent soccer gameplay is complemented rather nicely by a slew of different gameplay mechanics including various power-ups, score multipliers, and secondary ways of scoring. None of them seem to matter a whole lot to the overall experience as, like I previously stated, the gameplay becomes too frenetic to execute any sort of planned assault. Turn-based gaming this is not.

To its credit, the game attempts to implement RPG elements into the career games by way of managing and upgrading your team. The stats are broken down into various categories including but by no means limited to Power, Speed, Defense and Aggression. Given the gameplay mechanics, I found that the most important stats were Power and Speed. With these upgraded, I could bulldoze my way through any opposition and leave the rest far behind. Having problems with a stubborn goalie? Just knock him out of the way.

This game may or may not have been popular and revolutionary when it came out, but by today’s standards it’s just plain boring.


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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