Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe is the 1990 sequel to The Bitmap Brothers‘ Speedball. The game makes several changes to the original Speedball, but the main change is that teams now have nine players on-field (eight outfield players and a goalkeeper), instead of the previous five.
Also, this time points can be scored for more than just scoring a goal. You can earn bonus points by hitting targets on walls with the ball, by injuring opposing players, and by using score multipliers located on the walls of the court.
There are five different game modes: knockout, cup, league, practice and multiplayer, and each game lasts for 180 seconds. The name “Brutal Deluxe” is the name of your team, and they represent the new face of the sport.
Before playing a game you can train players to improve their attributes, and you can also choose a manager from a list of nine. It costs money to improve players, though, and at the start you don’t have a great deal of money in the bank, so what you can do is limited. You have to win games, and earn more money, to really push your team hard. Or cheat and use a trainer…
When a player is injured, he is replaced by one of three substitutes. If all three substitutes are injured, the injured player will be forced to return to the game and play on in spite of his injuries.
While Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe looks and sounds great, and the controls and gameplay are an improvement over the first game, I have to admit that it’s not a game that I like very much. I fact: I dislike the Speedball games a lot – mostly because the player selection system is so incredibly frustrating. From what I can tell, the computer decides who is selected on-field, and who you get to control, and it really doesn’t do a very good job of selecting the right players – in my opinion. I played the game for three or four hours recently and didn’t come close to winning a game. The whole Speedball 2 experience is really not my cup of tea, even though I wanted to like the game. I found it far too frustrating to enjoy. Some will like it, but I’m not one of those people.
A high-definition remake of Speedball 2 is currently available on Steam and GOG.com (links below), but I haven’t yet played it. I don’t know if I dare risk parting with money to buy a remake of a game that pisses me off so much!