It's been two years since the last Speedball match was played, when the original Speedball League was disbanded. This nearly caused riots amongst the millions of fans worldwide, but now, it's back - bigger, better, faster, and, probably most importantly, a hell of a lot more violent!
But what's this got to do with you? Well, your task is to turn Brutal Deluxe (probably the worst team ever in Speedball history) into champions! The best way to start is to train them in the gym, but this all costs money and lots of it! So to get the money, more games have to be won! Easy, eh? Don't you believe it...
The pitch is now twice as big as the original, and, like the original, contains all manner of tokens, tricks and traps with which you can defeat the other team.
Three new additions to the pitch layout are the score multipler (which knocks up the number of points scored for each goal), and the starwall - every time a star is lit, two points are added to your score until they're all flashing when an extra ten points are awarded! The third is the electrobounce unit - hitting the ball against this gives the ball a rather large electrical charge, and when it hits another player - zap!
If an opposing player is injured badly enough, two medical droids whizz onto the pitch, cart him off, and award you yet another ten bonus points!
There are two divisions in the new Speedball League - do you think you've got what it takes to get to the top?
Brutal Deluxe is made up of twelve players - a goalie, two defenders, three midfielders, three attackers and three substitutes. If one of your team gets banged up pretty badly, he or she can be substituted for one of the players on the bench! If your players are pretty naff, they can be put on the transfer market where better players can be bought - but usually for an extortionate price!
Before each game begins, you have the opportunity to spend your money on training to improve your team's performance. To speed up the gameplay you can simply spend money on say the whole team's aggression capabilities.
More careful managers, though, are likely to develop their players one by one, catering for individual needs. Each part of the armour on the right hand side of the screen represents a quality of the team (they're the same as the on-pitch icons detailed above) whilst the middle icons are used to choose which part of the team you wish to spend your money on.
Speedball has to rank as one of the top games ever, and to beat it, the Bitmaps have had to put in a hell of a lot of work. They've listened to all the criticisms (few though they were) of the original, and have come out with a product which is destined to go down as one of the best games ever to grace the ST.
Right from the initial intro sequence, the entire thing simply oozes a class and quality that is rarely fouond in a lot of games. Don Malone's graphics are nothing short of spectacular, with brilliantly animated sprites and metallic backdrops, and the sound is a treat to the ears, with thumps, groans, cheers and the clang of the ball rebounding off the walls!
The playability hold it all together, of course, and it generates a sort of addictive power that it's almost impossible to put the joystick down once you start playing.
Overall, a totally brilliant sequel, and a magnificent game in its own right. To put it bluntly, if you don't get this immediately, you must be completely round the twist!