Speedball

  • Manufacturer: Spotlight Software

Spotlight Software, a new label from Cinemaware, gets off to a rousing start with the release of Speedball. This excellent British action game from Mirrorsoft and the Bitmap Brothers is a pseudo-sport of the future in which teams of roughnecks clad in spiked body armor contest over a metal ball. The object is to put said ball in the opposing team's net. Reminiscent of field hocky played by gladiators, Speedball is an impressive, fast-action contest.

The user first selects one of the three available franchises then works to build that team into a phalanx of unstoppable monsters. This is accomplished by picking up power tokens that sporadically appear on the court. At the end of each play session, those coins can be spent on anything from toughening up one's team to buying off officials.

Speedball is played on a fascinating court: a walled, metal arena with a floor comprised of glass bubbles and blue tiles, a net at either end and a pair of facing doorways along the center walls. Passing the steel speedball into one doorway causes it to emerge shortly thereafter from the other, making for some intriguing strategic possibilities. At the start of the game or after a goal is scored, players line up near center court, where a turret emerges containing the steel speedball. The turret then spins like a roulette wheel and randomly releases the ball, precipitating a free-for-all as both five-player squads battle for possession.

Speedball offers extremely impressive graphics. Action is displayed from a top-down perspective with each detail of the court skillfully rendered. Even in Tandy mode, this is a slick-looking game, and the Amiga and ST versions are quite beautiful. The players, ball and arena are all rendered with a glistening realism that greatly enhances the overall experience. More impressive than the game's look, however, is its play. The ball is passed or shot instantly, and players move up and down the court at realistic speeds, even in the IBM version, without the annoying lag time that mars most MS-DOS games.

The game even offers a league option. Eleven teams compete for the championship, with the length of the season dictated by the computerist. Once the schedule is created, complete statistics are provided after each game.

Speedball is a superior action-strategy game of a type not previously available to owners of IBM PC computers. Sports fans, science-fiction mavens and general lovers of mayhem will definitely want to check this out

Other games by
Bitmap Brothers

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