Speedball 2 - Tournament Review

Speedball 2 - Tournament manages to turn you off from the game before you even make it to the playing field. The game is saddled with a non-intuitive and difficult to navigate interface that takes all of the friendly out of user friendly. You know that you're in trouble from the very beginning when the game asks you to create a "profil", and this is merely the first of many spelling and grammatical errors you'll see in the game. The first time you'll try to play the game online it will inform you that you need to exit the game and visit the given web address to register a multiplayer account before you can play. If you want to play a two player game on your computer, then you somehow need to figure out that to do so requires creating a LAN game on a single computer. Even setting up a single game is fraught with frustration and confusion. You can't help but think that there must be a game buried somewhere under this mess of an interface, and that getting to it is definitely not half of the fun.

The game itself is a remake of a fifteen or so year old computer game that in its day was able to build a pretty loyal following. I never played the original game, so I won't be waxing nostalgic about the great memories that the mere mention of Speedball evokes, and as such I won't be able to give the game much slack based on its nostalgic value. I will however feel free to wonder what all the fuss was about. Speedball 2 is a mediocre at best future sport game that can best be described as a combination of Rollerball and indoor soccer. The basic goal is to put the ball into the opponent's goal, but things are spiced up a bit by the inclusion of ball warps, score multipliers, and power-ups which appear on the playing field from time to time. Speedball is a full contact sport with no penalties, so trying to take out your opponents is all a part of the game.

It all sounds good enough on paper, but something went terribly wrong in the implementation. Control is clunky at best and it's virtually impossible to pass the ball where you want it to go or to aim your shots on goal. The playing field is not all that large, but you can only see a small portion of it at a time which makes it impossible to tell where your teammates are at any given moment. When playing the game you'll feel more like you're in the middle of a soccer game with a bunch of six year olds than in a futuristic pro sports game; the ball goes in random directions and everybody runs after it. This is what we have to look forward to for our future sports entertainment?

The action on the field is viewed from directly overhead and the game is a strictly 2D affair. I suppose that this was done to evoke memories of the original game, but lacking such memories the game simply looks dated to me. Player movement feels sluggish throughout, and I couldn't help but feel that things in the game were all moving at an unnaturally slow pace. The game is supposed to be a full contact sport, but it utterly fails to deliver any kind of feeling of impact between the players. Two players bump into each other and one is left prone and that's about it. NFL and NHL games have been able to make you wince at some of the player collisions for years now so this problem is embarrassingly obvious in Speedball 2.

I suppose that if you have strong nostalgic feel for Speedball then the game may hold a certain appeal to you, but be forewarned that Speedball 2 - Tournament may tarnish some of your cherished memories of the game. For everyone else Speedball 2 will simply be what it really is, a poorly implemented and ultimately boring arcade sports game.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 50%. I have seen the future of sport and it is boring.


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