Speedball 2
Copyright/Publisher: Mirrorsoft/Bitmap Brothers, Programming: Carl Muller, Graphics: Alan Tomkins,
Sound: Martin Walker, Produced by: Image Works, Release Year: 1991, Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

During the past two years, Speedball has undergone a transformation. Teams have been reorganized and renamed, new stadia have been built, and the league has split into two divisions. The most important changes have occurred on the pitch: it's now 100% bigger, and includes a host of new features. Speedball 2 is a different ball game.

After the game has loaded this is the first the first screen you see. Move the joystick up or down and press fire to make your selection.

Takes you to the SELECT MATCH screen.

Takes you straight into a game between two teams of equal abilities, either as a solo match, or the best of three, or the best of five. Plug joystick 1 (Blue team) into port 1; plug joystick 2 (Red team) into port 2. The teams swap ends at half-time. See PLAYING A MATCH.

If you don't make any selections, the game enters demo mode automatically after a short time. Press [RUN/STOP] to exit the demo.

In single player mode you control the red team. There are five basic game types:

This takes you into a match against the computer, via the gym (see THE GYM). If you want to skip training, just press the ESC key on the gym screen to go directly to the action. In a knockout game you face series of ever-tougher teams and continue playing until you lose (see PLAYING A MATCH): it's a way of familiarising yourself with the action without having to take part in a league or cup competition. You cannot load or save a knockout game.

In both League and Cup you control Brutal Deluxe - one of the less fancied sides in Division 2. Each season lasts for 14 weeks: if you finish in first place you are promoted; if you finish second you enter a playoff against the team second from bottom in the First Division; finish bottom and the shame will haunt you for the rest of your career! 10 points are awarded for a win and 5 points for a draw, plus 1 for every 10 you score; point difference is significant if you tie on points with another team. See MANAGEMENT.

This is a knockout tournament which consists of 4 rounds. In each round you play one match over 2 legs. If you draw you play a decider. One player only.

This is like a instant game, except that there's no opposition; it's just you, the ball and as much time you need to perfect those tricks shots and passes.

CUP and League Sub Menu
New Game - Starts a new game.
Team Game - A new game where you play as the team manager and the computer controls the team on the pitch.
Load Game - Load a previously saved game.

The management side of Speedball 2 allows you to strengthen your squad of 12 (nine team members and three subs) by buying and selling players and improving their vital attributes. At the start of the game you have a number of credits in the bank. This screen (MANAGER) allows you to select the gym or transfer screens, examine the attributes of brutal Deluxe and their opponents, and make substitutions. To activate a key, highlight it and press fire. The players' positions are indicated by letters next to their portraits. [ESC] - Play Game.

[FIX] - Both teams' relative attributes in the next match. By gauging their strengths, you can train your players accordingly.

[STA] - Match statistics. Will not be operational until match has been played.

[GYM] - Go to the GYM.

[TRA] - Go to the TRANSFER screen (only if there are players on the market).

[DOWN] - Cycle through Players.

[UP] - Cycle through Players.

[TAB] - (League) View League table.

[TAB] - (Cup) View fixtures.

[SAV] - Save game - ensure you have a blank disk available.

[SUB] - Substitute a player (see Changing team position below).

To do this, firstly select the player you wish to move by highlighting him and pressing fire. use the "Cycle" keys to select the player you wish to swap positions with and use the SUB key to make the substitution.

The gym screen allows you to improve you squad's attributes. These can be temporarily supplemented on the field with pieces of armour or tokens, but any work you do in the gym is permanent.

You can enhance just one attribute for an individual player, or improve all the attributes for the whole team, or everything in between. In order to train the squad first select who you want to train using the keyboard; Individual players, Groups of players (Defence, Midfield, Attack, Subs) or the whole Team - see GYM KEYBOARD, below. If you want to improve all eight attributes (see ATTRIBUTES box, below), select the ALL key. If you want to improve specific areas (such as aggression or power), move the joystick right until you reach the Attribute buttons. Highlight the attribute you want to improve and press fire (this illuminates the corresponding area on the training panel). Finally, select buy BUY on the keyboard or press attribute button again and the cost is automatically deducted.

AGR - 5
DEF - 10
THR - 10
STA - 15
ATT - 10
SPD - 15
POW - 10
INT - 15

The FIX (fixture) key is the same as for the MANAGER screen. The other keys have the following functions:

I - Train Individual players
T - Train Team
ESC - Return to MANAGER screen. If you're playing an INSTANT game, ESC takes you into the match.
UP - Cycle through individual players/groups.
DOWN - Cycle through individual players/groups.
G - Train Group
ALL - Increase All attributes by 10 units.
BUY - Buy Individual attributes.

A player's attributes determine his/her individual strengths during a match. For example you might think speed is essential to attackers and attack capabilities vital to defenders. The Attribute buttons allow you to customize your team according to your needs.

Defines whether player will attack or avoid opponent in his area. Aggressive players go off and fight their opponents rather than actually playing the game.

This determines how successful you are when trying to take the ball from an opponent.

The stronger this is, the harder it is for someone to take the ball from you.

Determines your speed, slide and jumping distance.

Players who can throw further are a great asset!

A player with more power tackles harder and injures his opponent more severely.

This is a defence against POWER. A player with high stamina will will be injured less severely when tackled.

Controls prediction of player position or ball reaction time, and how far the player can look around him. A smart squad has quicker reactions and moves into intelligent attacking positions more frequently.

The transfer screen allows you to purchase any of the Star Players available, in exchange for a member of your own team and a cash fee. Star Players are characterised by their great strength in all departments and can have higher attributes than a normal team members. To buy a Star Player, move the up and down cursor arrows until the player you wish to purchase appears in the Star Player panel.

Move the joystick right until you highlight the player you wish to transfer from your own squad, and press fire. Finally highlight the BUY key, and press fire: money is automatically deducted and the Star Player should now appear as a member of your team. if nothing happens, you cant afford the transaction, or you are trying to buy a player into the wrong position.

The STA (statistics) key is the same as for the MANAGER screen. The other keys have the following functions: ESC - Return to MANAGER screen.
DOWN/UP - Cycle through players on offer.
BUY - Buy Player.

Speedball 2 is played over two halves lasting 90 seconds each. Teams swap ends at half time: the action starts when the ball is launched into play in the centre of the pitch.

This happens at the beginning of each period, or after a goal or after a player has been substituted. The object of the game is score more points than your opponent - but how do you do it is up to you (see SCORING POINTS, below).

Your control the player on your team who is nearest the ball; this is your control player (CP). He/she will be highlighted with an arc in your team's colour above his head. When the player has the ball he will have a letter above his head denoting his group position:
A - centre forward; M - midfield; D - defence; W - winger; G - goalkeeper.

Each member of the team can move and throw the ball in eight directions. To throw the ball, press the fire button; a short press releases it at waist height, a longer press means the ball is thrown high in the air. In addition, a subtle amount of 'aftertouch' can be applied to the ball after it has been thrown by moving the joystick up or down, left or right: this means you can direct the ball anywhere you want to.

If your team is not in possession, pressing the fire button can have three effects. If the ball is in the air near your CP, he/she will jump to catch it. If the ball is on the ground or at waist height, your player will slide to intercept it. If a member of the opposing team has the ball, pressing fire will attempt a tackle.

The goalkeeper is controlled when he is CP. When roving away from the goal-line he can jump and catch the ball, throw it and tackle as normal; additionally, when the ball is moving, pressing fire with joystick left or right causes him to dive for the ball. However, he can't travel outside his own 'goal area' - about a screen's distance from the goal.

Successful tackles depend on the relative attack/defence attributes of the two players involved ; if you win the tackle, your opponent loses energy, and vice versa. Tackling a player also reduces his/her attributes. You can tackle any player at any time - even off the ball. Players are most vulnerable when jumping and facing away from you.

When their energy is reduced to zero, players are unable to move and have to be stretched off by the attendant RoboDocs; a substitute is brought on as a replacement. For every player you injure you score 10 points. Substituted players' attributes do not reset to their starting levels after a match.

Games can only be saved and loaded when playing in the League or Cup competitions. Ensure that you have a blank disk available. Press SAV when in Manager screen. Screen says "Please insert game save disk". Press fire to save, ESC key to abort. Any previous information will be overwritten. You can save one League or one Cup per disk.

Scoring a goal has two important benefits; firstly, it gives you 10 points. To help you know where the goal is when you actually can't see it, there are two white markers at the top of the screen, or at the bottom depending on which half of the pitch you are in.

Points can also be scored by INJURING PLAYERS, or by using BOUNCE DOMES and STARS. Scores can be multiplied by gaining control of the SCORE MULTIPLIER.

Two on the pitch: 2 points every time you hit them.

STARS: Five for each tram:
light them to score 2 points each. The team playing upfield hits the cluster at the top left; the team playing down hits the group at the bottom right. A 10-point bonus is awarded for lighting all five at once. Teams can 'turn off' each others stars, this subtracts 2 points from opponents score. Targets are reset at half time.

This is a simple way to increase every score you make by up to 100%. To activate the Score Multiplier; throw the ball up to the ramp. Your opponents can regain control by throwing the ball up to the ramp themselves; two throws cancel out your advantage, another two increase their score by 100%. Red/blue lights on top of the SM signal who is in control and by how much. the Score Multiplier also affects the electrobounce (see below)

There are four Electrobounce units: when you throw the ball against one of them, the ball becomes electrified and stays electrified until it comes to a complete stop. When electrified, the ball will tackle the first opponent it hits. If you retain possession of the ball after it has tackled an opponent it will remain electrified. If the opposition take possession or the ball sops moving it will be cancelled. The SM (Score Multiplier) affects the electrified ball as follows: if you have one light lit it will tackle two opponents; if you have two lights lit it will tackle three opponents. Opponents can steal the electrified ball by tackling the player who is holding it.

Four warp gates (two in each half) transport the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. they can be effective way to disorient your opponent!

A team is awarded 10 points for every opponent who has to be stretched off.

This is a summery of the points system. Standard (Std) points score can be increased by using the Double Playfield feature once (+50%) or twice (+100%).

Std +DP1 +DP2
GOALS 10 - 15 - 20
ONE STAR 2 - 3 - 4
5-STAR BONUS 10 - 15 - 20
INJURE PLAYER 10 - 15 - 20

There are two basic kinds of pick-up on the Speedball 2 pitch: tokens and armour/weaponry.

Tokens affect the entire team, and almost all of them are fixed by a time limit of 6 seconds. Collecting one which operates on a timer cancels any currently active token.

Freezes opponents for a limited period

Reverses opponents' joystick controls (two-player game only)

Reduces all opponents' attributes to minimum

Increases all your players' attributes to maximum

Increases both teams' attributes to maximum

Reduces all opponents' speed ratings to minimum

Gives you possession of the ball

Transport the ball to your centre forward

Prevents the ball entering your goal

your team immune to tackles

Boosts a single player's energy and attributes to initial values

Tackles all on-screen opponents, reducing their attributes as if a player tackled them

Coins aren't strictly tokens but they are worth a whopping 100 credits (200 in a cup match). Computer teams can pick them up, but don't use them, except to restore injured players attributes, preferring to invest their money overseas. As a result, they can't buy Star Players or enhance their attributes.

Items of hardware affect individual players and are found lying on the pitch at various intervals. Both teams can pick them up and benefit from their effect, until they're tackled and forced to drop them. Items can be picked up a maximum of twice only.

BOOTS: enhance speed

HELMET: greater intelligence

CHESTPLATE: increases defensive ability

SHOULDER: stronger attacking ability

GLOVE: increases power

BOTTLE: a glucose solution providing extra stamina

ARMPLATE: gives greater throwing ability

BITMAP SHADES: enhances aggression

Players can move throw, slide and tackle in 8 directions, and apply aftertouch to the ball. Pressing the fire button has varying effects according to the circumstances.

(in possession) - THROW BALL

(not in possession) - TACKLE

(ball on the ground) - SLIDE

(ball in the air) - JUMP FOR BALL

RUN/STOP - Escape to main menu

F - Fast Mode (team manager)

ANY OTHER KEY - Pauses the game - press any key to release

Many followers of the league reckon that Powerhouse are well overdue for relegation. Due to several violent clashes with Lethal Formula their defence is severely weakened and their attack is unable to summon the strength that nearly brought them to victory.

RAGE 2100
Despite a reputation of extreme violence the other qualities of the team have prevented them from ever scraping themselves off the lower ranks of division 1. Their power and attack are notable but they are no longer an effective first division team.

Due to a series of defeats their defenders and midfield have become a liability to the team. They have suffered fewer injures than most teams because of their defensive abilities and stamina.

Although on paper this team is average some have doubted the ability of their attack. The light build of this squad has resulted in a slightly faster team that generally avoids contact.

Taking after their name, this is the most destructive team in division 1. Their attack squad contain players who combine extreme aggression, power intelligence and attacking abilities. Many players have fallen under the blows of Lethal Formula.

The best defensive squad in the whole history of Speedball, few balls get past grabbing hands of the Turbo Hammers. Once they have the ball few are able to recover it and long throws down the pitch have set up many goals. The midfield complement the strong defence and the attack are competent but nothing special.

An attack that is second to none has sometimes placed Fatal Justice at the top of the league. Speed, intelligence and power have given them a string of victories though their defence has not been as effective.

The superstars of the league, spending every day in training and tactics sessions has resulted in a team that relies upon sheer skill rather than brutality. To have played Super Nashwan is to have played the best, their position in the league has sometimes been challenged by Fatal Justice and Turbo Hammers, they have no apparent weaknesses.

Basically the worst team in the Speedball league. Midfield and attack are appalling, the only redeeming feature is a slightly less than average defence which has shown some signs of intelligence.

Another hopeless team, their extreme aggression is let down by their low power. Their defence is the lowest in the division and the rest of the team hardly rise above this level. A team that will provide little resistance to a concerted attack.

Despite their name this team is unaggressive and weak in the attack, their defence has proved its strength in past sessions but this average team has never risen to the upper ranks of the division despite the defence's above-average speed and throwing range.

A team that has specialised in lightening attacks for a couple of seasons. They are intelligent but their defence has generally weakened the side. They have occasionally threatened Steel Fury for the top position in the division.

With one of the best attacking formations in the division The Renegades are rated highly among speedball experts. This attacking strength is let down by an average defence. Fast, intelligent and aggressive few can stop The Renegades.

The defensive squad of this team are legendary, few shots get past their excellent goalie. The defenders have some of the best throwing in the division and can down most attackers. Intelligence combined with speed make Damocles formidable in all areas.

Steel Fury have sat at the top of division 2 for three seasons in a row, after a frantic spending spree they have a first rate team. The fast super intelligent attackers have broken nearly every team in the league, they are supported by an experienced and unshakeable mid-field.