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Speedball 2100
Score: 45%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Empire Interactive
Developer: Bitmap Brothers
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Sports/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:
Any 'old school' gamers out there (Commodore 64, anyone?) are likely to remember the Bitmap Brothers' Speedball. Well, they're back, with a new rendition of the game - Speedball 2100. This time, the actionís a little faster (!?) and there are more ways to score. The graphics are a little improved, but not nearly as to be expected from the PlayStation. The game is still an above view scrolling sports game, looking very similar to the old version. The old familiar sounds are present, from the grunts and smacks down to the vendors yelling, 'Ice Cream!' If you miss the old Speedball, this version will bring back old memories. If you were hoping for an updated version... there's not much improvement.

In the future, there is no war. The 'peace' is kept by huge corporations who struggle to dominate. There is one sport - Speedball. Imagine taking body armor, bio-enhancements, and mixing them with the most violent (and therefore, entertaining) aspects of football, soccer, hockey, etc., and rolling them into one sport. Now, add 'powerups,' money pickups randomly showing up on the field, extra ways to score, and ridiculously short, fast-paced games. The result is a game that might be fun to watch, but is difficult to play.

The original Speedball was fun, but awkward - in a time in which games were generally fairly awkward. It didn't revolutionize the industry, but it was about as difficult to control as other games available at the same time. To Speedball 2100's credit, I don't believe it's any more difficult to control than it ever was. However, control has come a long way these past few years. At this point, Speedball 2100 seems very hard to control. The speed makes it difficult to keep track of what's happening. The overhead view makes it difficult to judge how far the ball will travel. The automatic player selection will jump to the closest player to the ball, usually while you're trying to get another player to move in the opposite direction of that which you'd want to move the newly selected player. This leads to confusion and games where you struggle to 'hang in there' for most of the game, and then sit there scratching your head, trying to figure out exactly how and why you lost. The addition of the 'stars' on the sides of the arenas adds a way to get a couple extra points, but 'dilutes' the gameplay considerably. Imagine how a football game might progress if there was a way to score some extra points somewhere on the 50 yard line.

Game Mechanics:
The original idea behind Speedball was a great one. The original version of the game was very fun. The new Speedball 2100, however, is simply dated. The graphics were not brought 'up-to-date,' and the 'improvements' made to the gameplay merely dilute it a bit. When this game first arrived, I had to fight another old school gamer for the privilege to review this game. After seeing the new ways of scoring in the center field, I didn't have to fight very hard to get the game. I really wish this game was worthy of the rave review I'd love to be able to give it. Unfortunately, this game is not for most people. If you loved Speedball or you're related to the Bitmap Brothers, you might want to consider picking up Speedball 2100. (Maybe...)

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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