GET. READY. Speedball 2 HD Out 5th December

By John Walker on November 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

The last time someone said they were remaking Speedball 2, it didn’t go well. The classic, fantastic future-sports game had even a sportless buffoon like me absolutely enthralled. For years after it came out, Greg, Fred, James and I regularly invaded Mike Smith’s house to engage in lengthy tournaments, before things inevitably descended into cider and Night Trap. Or just hammering away at the Atari ST version in ’91 aged 13, not having fully grasped the rules, but enjoying the punching. Then in 2007 Kylotonn decided to remake it in 3D. Remember Speedball 2 Tournament? No? Exactly. It was released onto Steam at the time. It’s not there any more.

But now we have news of yet another remake, Speedball 2 HD, due out next month, this time headed up by Sensible’s Jon Hare, and Bitmap’s Mike Montgomery. This sounds far more promising.

Not least because it’s still in 2D. Even the Xbox Live re-release in 2007 tried to crowbar in a 3D mode – and that too can no longer be purchased. Look, see, it looks like Speedball 2!

Well, almost. There’s something just off about the scratchiness of the players. Weirdly, they somehow look more dated than the original. I’m not sure quite how this earns the mantel of “HD”. Still though, it’s defiantly not a cloying attempt to modernise – let’s desperately hope it can maintain the speed and one-button perfection of the original. We’ll find out on the 5th December.

It’ll be available on Steam, GetGames and GamersGate (no listing yet). Looks like it’ll be around £6-£7.

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45 Comments »

  1. Artist says:

    Still an awsome game, indeed. I just wished they would brush up the the league system instead of “either you get the first place or the game ends”. Ok back those days, but spoils gameplay 2013.

  2. konrad_ha says:

    What’s with the sound? This HD remake is probably a bit too faithful to the original, sound and animation could’ve used a little more work.

    • UmmonTL says:

      Exactly, I fondly remember playing the original on my Amiga and the Hands getting huge when they attempt to catch the ball did ping my nostalgia. But I can’t even remember the silly dance and I also can’t remember there being only two pain sounds. If this is how it was, this is something you should change for a remake, the reason to play the game was the solid super-twitchy gameplay and the fun you had leveling your players and making them a great team. Kind of like Blood Bowl, was it possible for players to die in Speedball?

      On the positive side it’s good to have more than 8 directions to work with. And is the Ball flying in a slight curve in that last goal? Slices would be a fun addition even though I don’t know how you’d slice a steel ball.

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        If you took out their health they they didn’t die, but got stretchered off the pitch and you scored points for it.

  3. Ergates_Antius says:

    I have a sudden hankering for icecream.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      I sit here {on my birthday} reading this happy news, eating a mars bar ice cream :)

      As an aside, this’d probably sell really well on PSN, Live, Ouya and Gamestick.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      Also, after this then need to do SWOS HD.

      Pretty please, with sugar on top!

  4. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    Me and my brother always ended fighting for real over the original, good times hehe.

  5. Lobotomist says:

    I really dont like where they took it.
    Futuristic metallic looking game , remade in form of cartoon line art style.
    Poor choice.

    I actually prefer pixel version over this.

    • dansdata says:

      Yeah. Just add more pixels and more sprite animation frames to the Amiga/ST version and call it good. They haven’t quite done that. The ball looks particularly bizarre when it’s up high and trying to make you think it’s spinning.

      The only real problem with the old Speedball II was that you couldn’t see a lot of the field at once (fixing that on old low-res computers was why Sensible Soccer was so fantastic). That’s easy to fix today too. The amount of screen you can see in the video is probably optimal for playing on a TV, but a bit more would be good for PCs. Perhaps a mild zoom-in-and-out.

      (I also want the single-player to still let you buy that one monstrous centre-forward early in the game and then just point north and throw-tackle-grab-throw-tackle-grab-throw-tackle-grab-throw-GOOOOOAAAAAALLL your way through the next five teams.)

  6. swiftshlock says:

    I don’t know… the Bitmap Brothers had a very distinctive art style, while this just looks bland and uninspired. Even the spectators are just about four different sprites.

  7. martoq007 says:

    Never heard of this game. It reminds me of Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball on the SNES. May pick this up when it comes out. I had a blast playing Combat Basketball as a teenager.

    • MrThingy says:

      “Never heard of this game.”

      Security. Please escort this person from the premises.

      • PostieDoc says:

        It’s possible he is too young to know this game (and all the other glorious titles of the Amiga era).

        • martoq007 says:

          I’m 37,just never had an Amiga. Didn’t get into PC gaming till 1999. Game just seems really similar to Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball. From the research I’ve done, Looks like Combat Basketball was a direct ripoff of Speedball. Speedball came out in 1988.

  8. Jimbo says:

    I have a box copy of Speedball 2 Tournament… I don’t know what I was thinking.

    Acegamez.co.uk apparently called it “an essential purchase”! Perhaps unsurprisingly, acegamez.co.uk no longer seems to exist.

    • AbyssUK says:

      Dude.. I was given a free copy for contributing to thier online forums.. and I am ashamed of it… just look at it there sitting in my steam list… to have actually paid money for it … I think I’d have to delete my steam account and start a new.

  9. Hypnotron says:

    What I like about the game?
    - top down team sport

    What I don’t like about the game?
    - the narrative. It needs to be more absurd and twisted.
    For example, “Humans have taken over the entire galaxy. We have enslaved EVERY single alien species discovered. God truly does favor us! Our scientists have created brain implants which we can use to re-program any alien to play various blood sports. We can program the rules of the sport, we can program the behavior of the aliens. And we can have fun wagering on their matches. Gambling is now the ultimate entertainment for humanity. However, debtors are allowed to compete in the games to pay off their debts.

    Ok that’s the basic narrative. What else?

    - The number of species is limitless (can u say DLC$$$$?)
    - Players now play as any alien they want in mixed mode matches.
    -Some matches are only species vs species.
    - Your patent pending handicapping & odds making system is dynamic and part of the overall wagering system. eg. your team of 2 Rancorus versus your opponents 5 Klingonites which you agree to play at 2:1 odds. (remember, our corporate overlords have successfully modified the system so that patents are now first to file and not first to invent!)
    - The rules of the games can change. There might be a soccer goal, there may be just an endzone line, there may be a fence of a certain height that a ball must go over, or there might just be a sumo circle or just straight up gladitorial.
    -What never changes are the capabilities of the species used. (eg like Natural Selection by Unknown Worlds)

    The style of the game is one where humanity edifies itself everywhere like the ancient Greeks & Romans by showing all of these gods in their image. Statues of humans standing on the skulls of aliens in battles long since fought… etc

    For a thousand years now, all of humanity across the galaxy have been united by their common exploitation of alien species. But what we see as the player is just the narrow slice of this universe – the blood sports. But perhaps also… we see clues to an “impossible” and unthinkable future event… the intragalactic slave revolt.

    (you heard it here first)

    • Williz says:

      Go to Kickstarter, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to Kickstarter….
      But no seriously I’d pay for a game like that. I miss my Monster Hockey on Megadrive (Not sure if that’s the name but you had undeads and other things playing violent hockey)…. Wait just remembered it! Mutant League Hockey. Good times.

      • Hypnotron says:

        ;) i do not intend to make a game like this. it just popped into my head while reading this article and just figured if you do hear of a game like it in the future, it’s possible they got from my post. (i guess that makes me a little vain) In any case, i was inspired by this article, Planet Hulk, Warhammer40,000 AD, Starseige and Mechwarrior, Running Man, Smash TV, and who knows what else.

    • c-Row says:

      M.U.D.S. in space? I want this right now!

      • Spongbo says:

        Yes. This. Actually, I’d kill for a mildly updated copy of M.U.D.S.

      • Hypnotron says:

        I had to google this. M.U.D.S -> Mean Ugly Dirty Sport

  10. Hodge says:

    Looks like one of those ‘buy it to support the devs then go back to playing the original on FS-UAE’ type deals.

  11. CookPassBabtridge says:

    1. IIITH CWEAM
    2. Loved this on amiga
    3. Autofire joystick FTW
    4. Got SB Tournament on steam. Never played it.
    5. Need an autofire joystick for my PC
    6. What exactly was implanted in the arm of that guy in that picture you saw between matches?
    7. Medibots
    8. Buying and upgrading players
    9. Autofire. Autofire or I will lose. Brutally (Deluxe)

    Also CLANG… YEEEEAAAAAH!

  12. hjd_uk says:

    Programmer art? :)

  13. Eukatheude says:

    Ahaha, loved playing it back then. I actually have the remake on steam, i got a free key when it came out but don’t even remember how i got it. And somehow i never bothered even installing the thing.

  14. Donners says:

    Ah, so many hours spent on the Sega Master System – and so many save games lost because I couldn’t read my handwritten save game code…

    There’s already an iOS version which is quite true to the original.

  15. Ross says:

    This looks remarkably similar to the android version : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBUTCdmWiBI

    Definitely recommend that version, not sure it will hold up on the PC though.

  16. Ross says:

    ah great minds etc…

  17. Hanban says:

    Man there used to be so many cool sports games. Hyperblade springs to mind.. Loved that game.

  18. CrowPath says:

    Favourite tactic used to be blowing all my money on a brutally strong wingman, then spamming the stars at the side. Ridiculous points when you have the multiplier active.

  19. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Animation and sound look really bad but as long as they get the game-play right I’ll probably bite anyway.

  20. sophof says:

    I got really excited by the title, but as the article says, this somehow manages to look more dated. The least they could’ve done is some better animations surely? I would have gone with 3D from a fixed perspective as well…

    On the other hand, there was really nothing wrong with the original, so the gameplay is solid :)

  21. Kelron says:

    Does the PC version of the original work on modern systems? I don’t have my Megadrive cartridge anymore but I picked up the PC one in a bargain bin years ago.

  22. Sinomatic says:

    I got very excited (and worried for my time and the oncoming development of RSI) at the title but then, as mentioned, it doesn’t look as good as I’d have expected. Having said that, the movement looks about right, and that’s the most important thing.

  23. Neurotic says:

    Wow, a Sensible/Bitmap sandwich, I love it!

  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    For some reason this reminds me of Pararena. Par.. A.. RENAAAA! *ahem*

  25. Megadestructo says:

    I had this for my PC and I broke two Gravis joysticks playing this game furiously as a kid. Absolutely loved it. Tried the XBL version and just couldn’t get into the “3d enhanced” version. Luckily it also had a direct conversion of the original.

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  28. Defenestrate_My_Style says:

    I played the the hell outta this game on my Amiga when I was a kid. My brother and I used to have some epic games; one time he snapped the 2nd joystick in half. He refused to replace it! I wanted to kick him in his speedballs