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A Whole New Ball Game!
Speedball 2100 (PS)
Member Name: steveymacca
Speedball 2100 (PS)
Date: 19/02/01, updated on 19/02/01 (188 review reads)
Advantages: See opinion
Disadvantages: See opinion
The game starts with an animation telling you the main background and outline of the game. It is from this that you can discover that there is no war or fighting, but there is Speedball! If the title does not give it away, it actually tells you the setting of a century into the future in this same sequence. From the main menu, you can choose a variety of options. These include Single Player, Two Player, Exhibition, Customise Team, Options and Memory Card. These options fairly explain themselves, as they are clear and direct. The one player game is where the main part of the playing experience takes place, as you embark on a sort of career. Once this option has been selected from the start menu, you can choose a number of options, including a 'Silver Knockout', where you have to try and win as many manages in a row as you can without being eliminated, 'Bronze League', where you compete in a league of eight teams, playing each other twice, a Cup or Training, where you can improve your skills against no opposition. There are two options available with the League mode-Player Manager and Team Manager. With the player manager, you take control of the team and all actions in the arena, but with team manager, you can select only the team and influence such option but can not control the team on the field. In my view, the Player Manager option is much more enjoyable, as you play a more active role in the game.
When you play the one player game, you automatically take control of the team called 'Brutal Deluxe'. You can alter the name and team members from the
start of the game if you want to personalise your team. In the game, there are a lot of teams to compete with, all with different strengths and weaknesses', as well as weird and wonderfull names, such as 'The Renagades' or 'Violent Desire'. From the one player league mode, you can do things such as train different areas of your playing squad to give you maximum performance, providing you have enough credit to this of course-Ahh, yes, everything comes at a price! From this one player menu, as well as hitting the gym, you can change kit colours if you see a potential kit clash with the opposition coming up, view the league table, gain some information on your next opposition or 'Go to Management', where you can configure the members of your first team. Of course, you can choose the option to play the next match as well.
The matches themselves are pretty weird and can take a while to get used to. The game is played in a third person view, looking down from above. You are in an arena which appears to be indoors and you are surrounded by flashing lights and such like. At the start of the game, the two teams feel the need to walk up to each other in their American-Football style outfits and stare at each other before running off to their respective positions. The game is started by what seems like a canon launching a metal ball out of the centre of the ring, with both teams scrambling for possesion. This can be obtained by simply running to the ball, where it will be picked up by your player automatically, as well as using the square button to beat the hell out of the other players upon the way. This is a feature deeply involved in the game, with everybody continuously being pummeled to the floor. The X button is used to change player and throw the ball upon retreval. These are the only two buttons you need, so the controls themselves are pretty basic.
The hardest thing to grasp about this game is the scoring system. It is q
uite complicated and it can take you a while to work out what is going on. A goal is scored when the ball is thrown past the automatically controlled keepers at either end, with you having to attack the oppositions goal obviously. This presents your team with ten hard earned points. In addition to this, there are 'Bounce Domes' placed on the half way line and just outside each goalkeeping area, where two points can be scored if a member of your team hits these with the ball. There are also 'Stars' on the wall of the arena, which consists of five targets to hit. Both of these are on the left of the goal that you are attacking and are positioned about half way up the pitch. Each star hit is worth two points, but if you manage to hit all five targets and extra ten points is awarded. Points can also be gained from injuring another player, as for every member of the opposition you force to leave the pitch through injury you gain a further ten points. The number of points that you can obtain for each score can be changed, as if you thrwo the ball up a 'multiplier', which is a ramp which the ball loops around, then the alue of each score increases.
As well as scoring in a game, there are also a number of items that can be picked up to improve the performance of your players. These are objects which randomly appear anywhere around the pitch and when picked up will automatically benefit the receiving player. These include being able to freeze the opposition, increase both teams attributes to a maximum and make your team immune to attacks. There are many more which are featured in the instruction booklet which comes with the game, and this also tells you which symbol activates what. As well as 'Tokens', you can pick up coins. These add value to your credit, which can then be spent on improving the attributes and capabilities of your players for the next game. Armour and weaponary can also be obtained during the course of play, and the
se will temporarily improve the attributes of the player.
A final point that should be mentioned about the game is that the ball can be thrown against the wall and other items such as the bouncers and other items, and when this is done the ball will simply reflect off at a ninety degree angle. This can be useful for getting your team on the offensive quickly or to clear the ball and recover from any threat to your goal. There are also two teleport warps which can be used to do this, which are located next to the stars. When the ball is thrown in here, it simply appears out of the opposite one, and this can be used to wrongfoot the opposition.
I would say that the gameplay for this game is quite good, as it can be humerous with several bizarre sounds made by the crowd and the inappropiate comments made by somebody as a goal is scored are also quite humerous, as for no reason at all somebody decides to announce 'Ice Cream' very loudy. Due to the speed of the game, it can be hard to adjust and be able to put together two decent passes at first, as it can be hard to get the ball to go in the right places and unless you have played the previous two games, it will take some time getting used to. I would say that this is not a bad little game, as it seems to have quite a bit to do in it with a variety of options available and the fast and furious action can attract quite a few people. I would say that this game is mopre suited for the younger generation, but I see reason why the older one can not enjoy it as well. It is certainly an original game, as here a whole new sport has been invented and I do not know of too many games like this one. The graphics could have been improved though and the ease at which the players move also, as if you want to run to a certain point on the pitch you find yourself running in straight lines rather than diagonally as you would like. In this sense, the movement is very much restricted, with only 'compass poin
t' movement available (North, North East, East etc.). However this does not detract much from how much you should enjoy the game, as it is a good laugh.
The multiplayer mode is a good laugh too, with you and your mates not being able to concentrate through the laughter as you battle and smash each other to pieces in the ninety seconds that you have for a half. One annoying thing we found about the multiplayer mode is the fact then when a goal is scored, the ball is neutrally fired up into the air from the centre again. This can be quite annoying, as this gives the more accomplished the player the opportunity to just take hold of possesion and score repeatedly (Well, this didn't actually bother me much as I was the one that was doing this!), leaving the 'weaker' player feeling frustrated and helpless. I think the idea behind this game was a good one, and credit should go to the makers and designers (Empire Interactive and The Bitmap Brothers) for having a good stab at producing a futuristc sports game, which can not be easy to do!
I didn't really find any major problems with the game, as the graphics and sound all ran smoothly and there was no break ups! One major improvement that could be made is the way in which you save the game, as to do this you have t ogo right back to the start menu and select the 'Memory Card' option, and this took me a while to figure out how to do this. I would probably not consider purchasing the game if I saw it on shop shelves without any knowledge of the game, but if I had rented it and played it first then I would probably have ended up buying it. This game will not disappoint, as it promises to be a good laugh. Makes a great present for the kids or even yourself!