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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

Speedball 2, by Infinite Ventures, $19.99
Reviewed August 2002

If you think NFL football is fun, you are about to find what would really be fun in a football game. I remember I was watching a comedy routine by George Carlin. He said if you really want to have fun sports, you place landmines in baseball field and give gauntlets to football players. Putting gauntlets on football players’ arms is exactly what you get in Speedball 2! Converted from The Bitmap Brothers’ hit to the Pocket PC by Broadsword Interactive and published by Infinite Ventures, Speedball 2 will make you forget the Madden NFL series!

Speedball is a futuristic ball game that combines the rules of football, soccer and hockey. The game is played in a metal pitch with 9 players on each team. You get to use your hands to pass the ball or bounce it off the walls and bounce domes, and you have a goalie. You can pick up gauntlets and other power ups so that you can win the slug fight and gain possession of the ball. You are the Brutal Deluxe! The linemen here don’t have extra carbohydrates stacked up in their reserve, what you do have is the metal pieces chipped off the defender’s arms when the players clash.

The history of the game is also interesting. In the year of 2095, corruption and violence force the game underground. Unregulated and ungoverned, the game degenerates into a fiasco. In 2100, attempting to regain public interest, Speedball 2 is born. In 2105, a new team emerges, and it’s called Brutal Deluxe.

There are 3 modes you can play the game in: Knockout, Cup and League. In Knockout game mode, you will play a number of increasingly tougher opponents. There are no trades or team manager, only the gym screen so that you can improve your team’s attributes. In the Cup game format, the teams are paired up and play two legs in each round. The team with the most points wins the Speedball Cup Championship. In the League game, you are in one of the two divisions and play a 14-week season. In this mode, you can have a team manager and will achieve higher positions in the league by winning more games than losing.

There are a few essential screens you need to get familiar with before getting serious. The Gym Screen allows you to improve the attributes of your team. When you pick up armor power ups and other tokens in the game, your attributes will temporarily increase. But only after you’ve worked in the Gym will the attribute increase be permanent. You can study the strengths and weaknesses of your next opponents, and shape your team up accordingly. The Management Screen is the main starting point for Cup and League games. You can access every player’s stats from this screen to make decisions on substitutions or set up players’ positions, along with shortcut keys that can take you to the Trade Screen, Save or league draw and much more. The Trading Screen will become active when there is a star player on the market. The star players will only be on the market temporarily and are usually better than the players on your team.

The graphics showcase some cool futuristic arena settings, the metal walls, the gold color tokens, the warp holes, and the electro bounce holes, etc. and some really nice still graphic works throughout the grueling game and metallic interface. The game plays in a top view with smooth controls. You can use either the hardware buttons or stylus and hardware buttons combined. There is a virtual D-pad on the in-game screen if you don’t want to use the D-pad on your PDA. Mastering the controls is not hard, though if you haven’t improve your speed or picked up some power ups, the movements of players will seem slow. The game offers variety of audio and graphic options as well as 5 difficulty levels.

The sound effects are cool to match the visuals, and the music tracks are straight out of the movie Triple X. The game supports both ARM and MIPS, and requires 2.4 MB of storage space.

While I thoroughly enjoy playing the game and the experience of building a team, I did wonder: where are the cheerleaders?

Playing Hints and Tips

Go through the Gym session, it will pay in the long run. When there are players available on the market, spend all your money on them. It’s worth it! Read about the power ups in the help file before you pick them up. Pay attention to the attributes of players when you manage a team, when you work in the gym improve attributes with a purpose.

Speedball 2 screen shot Speedball 2 screen shot



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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Very creative visual world of a new sport! The metallic settings go very well with the game play.
Sound The sound effects are very engaging, giving you the feeling of playing in a metal arena. The music tracks fit the game theme very well.
Fun Meter If you’ve played football games with rules or yellow cards or penalty boxes you can liberate yourself with this future ball game! While overgrowing your muscles to beat up opponents, exercise your brains managing a championship team.
Addictivity With 5 difficulty levels and 3 game modes to play, this game has amazing depth. It is easy to get hooked on this game because there is plenty of game play to match the eye candy. You can play this game for a few minutes or few hours.

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