"It is necessary for me to establish a winner image. Therefore,
I have to beat somebody."
Richard M. Nixon
ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: SPEEDBALL II BY THE BITMAP BROTHERS
(novel bit by Richard Karsmakers)
First, some things need to be said. For starters, Tjeerd is one
hell of an extremely lazy person! He was supposed to write this
review for our previous issue already, but it has now reached
the stage where it could simply no longer be postponed - a
release of a review more than 1 year after the game is already
MORE than late enough.
Perhaps it's in time for the budget re-release (and the Bitmap
Brother compilations arriving soon).
So that's why I took this review from "Maggie" Issue 8, which is
an excellent issue altogether with a droolinvoking user
interface. We hope they will not mind to us using this review -
and I hope that this Tartiana chap (or is it a lass with
fabulously enormous hooters?) will not mind that I put my little
introductory bit before it.
His wet footsteps echoed slowly through the darkness of the
night as if subconsciously trying to fence off invisible threats.
Slow and deliberate his steps sounded, as if he was heading for
somewhere specific where no person in the world could talk him
Little pairs of lights gleamed in various corners of the alley.
Red ones, green ones, purple ones, eyeing Warchild with attention
as if waiting for the grim certainty in the wet thuds to
disappear, waiting for a moment of hesitation so their owners
could strike with lethal accuracy.
A sudden flash, like some large metal thing catching the light
of a great sun for a moment, blinded the mercenary annex hired
gun for a couple of dangerous seconds. He rubbed his eyes in mute
frustration. Damn! His built-in reflexes were slowing down. His
head ached. He must be getting old. Tired. Battered. In other
words, he was more likely to die. The little lights, the gleaming
eyes, gained on him.
Then followed the sound of thunder.
Warchild staggered, nearly fell. He took hold of his ears,
trying to shut them off from the rolling sound that seemed to
echoe through his very body - but too late.
He was sent reeling, staggering against a wet wall, slipping,
falling. This was what the eyes had been waiting for. They closed
in on their prey.
It is believed that the future will see weather control.
For years meteorologists from all over the world have tried to
gain control over rain and sun, clouds and winds. Apart from
developing new ways of moving their hands when forecasting the
weather on TV they have not made much progress.
When Warchild woke up he felt wet throughout. A sad, miserable
drizzle descended upon his head and the rest of his body. The
rain echoed through the streets, dripped off walls, fell in ever
deepening puddles, made clogged sewers burst.
When Cronos had stopped discovering the wetness that seemed to
envelop his body like a cold blanket, he started to notice that
he was entirely (and quite offensively) nude. He was starting to
make a bad habit of getting mugged all the time. This particular
time it had reached an all-time high (or low) by leaving him
without any of his clothes - let alone his killer gadgets and,
indeed, his American Express Traveller's Cheques. The dark alley
seemed even darker than before. If its wet, dark walls could have
laughed at the ridiculity of the mercenary annex hired gun's
situation at present, they would no doubt have done so quite
When Warchild stopped noticing his rather disgraceful nudity he
saw a man standing before him.
The man was eyeing him suspiciously, the expression in his face
showing doubt as to whether perhaps this offensive piece of human
wastage he was eyeing should be accordingly dealt with or perhaps
not. The rather resolute way in which this man eventually took a
pair of handcuffs showed that he had made up his mind. Cronos,
who was desperately trying to hide some of the more private parts
of his anatomy, was roughly pulled off into a van that had blue
flashing lights strategically positioned on its roof.
The only good thing about the cell he found himself in after a
rough half hour of being transported and manhandled was the fact
that it was dry. Fungi stained the wall in colours he had never
considered his eyes capable of ever seeing. Assorted smells
arising from an improvised chemical toilet invoked a likewise
experience on his nostrils. The rain beat viciously against a
He vouched to subject himself to another commando training when
- if - he would get out of this mess. Thank God one of the police
officers had had the decency to hand him an improvised set of
clothes. Although he hated stripes, it beat hell out of the pink-
Before he could start thinking further about his present
situation, he heard booted footsteps closing in through the
corridor outside. The person halted before Cronos' cell door.
There was a short sound of keys and a couple of clicks. The door
was being opened and in stepped an officer with a pencil and a
piece of paper.
"Warchild? Cronos Jehannum Warchild?"
The mercenary annex hired gun considered it decent to nod, which
"Come with me," the man said, "you have been selected." The
voice seemed to carry with it a tone of sympathy.
An eerie sense of deja vu struck him when he was handed a
metallic uniform and a helmet the likes of which he vaguely
recalled having seen on some US television network back on earth.
He seemed constantly to get mugged, and equally constantly he
seemed to end up in some kind of underground game that involved
lots of aggression. Would he get out of this new ordeal
After he had put on the padded uniform and helmet, a sturdy
looking officer led him into a van. In the van sat several people
whom he first mistook for himself. They were all fairly rugged
looking, wearing that typical metallic uniform and, indeed, the
helmet that was obviously designed to supply the face with some
rudimentary protection against things the wearer of said helmet
would rather not think of.
He was the last one to get in the van. The door through which he
had entered was closed and locked and the van set itself into
As soon as the van left the building in which Warchild had been
held prisoner, the clamour of a busy city surrounded him and
th other convicts. He peeked outside through the barred
windows and saw sushi parlours, people huddled in raincoats, cars
flying to and fro through the air, huge Coca Cola adverts
illuminating entire office blocks. The rain did not seem to
affect dayly life of whatever city he was in - it seemed part of
the city, something without which it and its inhabitants would
cease to be.
After about half an hour's drive, the van turned onto a long
lane that looked like the driveway to a huge, almost ill-matching
arena as though teleported directly from ancient Rome. Warchild
saw the building's huge shape at the horizon getting more
immense as the van closed in on the structure that lay silently,
almost as if lurking, grotesque amongst its surroundings.
"That's it," one of his fellows in distress muttered, his voice
carrying awe, "the arena."
"Speedball," another man said, his voice shivering with fear.
"Death," yet another spoke solemnly.
There was a dramatic silence that lasted long seconds that crept
by like extremely ordinary and not very heroic turtles with a
Cronos felt a most peculiar sensation. He felt as if he was
waking up from a long, detestingly boring sleep. Now he was
enveloped by reality - reality of life and death.
"Certain death," the man next to Cronos said, swallowing
"Horrible death. Slow and agonising. Excruciatingly painful,"
the man closest to the locked door whispered, "a way to die I
would not wish upon my worst enemy."
"Sounds like heaps of fun," Cronos said, causing the others to
look at him in surprise, "as a matter of fact I believe this
might very well be the best day in my life ever since...since..."
The others were listening intently. What horrendous things had
this obvious barbarian been through, in heaven's name? This poor
man should be pitied.
Another couple of seconds crept by like dead tortoises.
"Well, I dunno, really," Cronos said finally. He had never been
good at memorising events. He did have a fleeting sensation of a
crushing pain in his groin for a moment. Luckily, it quickly
disappeared like breath in the wind.
When the van finally stopped at the arena's back entrance, about
a dozen men stepped out of it. All of them looked beaten, ill,
sad, as if they expected the scythe of death to take them there
and then. All of them, that is, except for one that strode
proudly, his senses aware of everything around him, adrenalin
leaping through his veins. An almost insane smile lay frozen on
In his mind he read next day's headlines.
"Tea time Monday night, I was waiting
Then from the hallway, I saw mother
In her nightgown
Swaying up the stairs, up the stairs, it
seemed so unreal
I knew Grandma had send "THEM"
again, the invisible friends"
Sorry folks. A bit of a King Diamond interrupt there (off
"Them"). Bit of a peculiar chap he is, but I wish I had his vocal
Well. Where were we?
"I saw Missy struggling in Grandma's
"Oh No, let me be, Oh No Please No
Aagh Grandma You're hurting me.
Don't touch me or I'll break it, I've got
The tea pot, I'll do it anyway"
I saw liquid spreading, the bloody tea
All over the floor
Now I heard "THEIR" voices, some
Kind of demon growls
DIE - SHE BROKE AMON - AMON - DIE"
Sorry again. Good thing she does make a good cuppa tea.
This game is addictive, has great graphics and sound, good
gameplay and is a highly polished game - everything we have come
to expect from the Bitmap Brothers. The background for the game
is that the game of "Speedball" has been run underground by
corruption and has deteriorated into a fiasco. Now the game has
been reorganised with new teams, rules and leagues. You are to
take charge of the newest team - Brutal Deluxe - who at first
aren't very brutal but with your skills as a manager and a player
will soon hopefully be top of the first division and win the
championship. I say 'soon' because you have a maximum of two
seasons to do it in. If you are not promoted from the second
division in the first season your game ends there.
Upon loading you are presented with the title screen and
backround information about the game is shown on the screen. The
music (by Nation 12) is identical to the Amiga version.
The game options are to play a league as player/manager or just
manager (where you can fast forward the game to save time), play
in the cup, the knockout competion, play a two player game or
watch a demo game.
Your team at first is a bunch of hapless partimers who look like
they should be driving buses or sitting at a desk. You can change
your team by taking them to the gym to buy equipment or by
trading them in for star-players. They cost a lot but the
difference is noticable.
The game itself is three minutes (two halves of ninety seconds)
of pure violence. The pitch is large and the players are big and
well animated so you can even see them hitting each other. There
are four ways to score points: Goals (10 points), hitting one of
the two bounce domes (2 points), hitting the stars on the side of
the pitch (2 points each, 10 if you hit them all) and getting a
player from the other team stretchered off (10 points). There are
other goodies on the side of the pitch such as the score
multiplier, a ball electrifier and warp gates. Bonuses and coins
appear on the pitch and these can be picked up. After the game
you can spend your money and patch up your team.
The graphics are excellent with bold metallic colours and large
sprites. The scrolling is smooth and keeps up with the action
except when the ball is teleported from one end of the pitch to
Sound is all samples (except the cheer of the crowd (which is
pathetic if you have played the Amiga version)) and adds to the
This game is simply brilliant and full of action and is possibly
the best two player game ever. The one disadvantage is that
saving your game on a disk seems to totally knacker the disk
beyond repair (God knows why).
Title: Speedball 2
Well, again, thanks to "Maggie" and its brilliant editor Michael
Schussler and his delicious chummies at the Delta Force! A
special "High-di-high!" to New Mode.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.