Oct 24, 2007
If you were a gamer in Europe in the early nineties, chances are you'd at least played Speedball 2, even if you didn't own it. This series was pretty popular back in the day, which means this Live Arcade release should be fairly big in Europe. In the US, however, Speedball never really caught on, and that carries over to today, where it's really hard to find a whole lot of people playing Speedball 2 over Xbox Live at any given time.
Speedball is a futuristic sport that can best be described as a mish-mash of basketball, hockey, and a bit of arena football thrown in for good measure. Players wear armor, and fire a little, dangerous ball around the arena to earn points. Points are not only awarded for the obvious - scoring goals - but hitting various targets around the arena also yields points... as well as injuring other players. Games are rife with power-ups, as well, which can change the whole complexion of a match.
Brutal Deluxe features a nice amount of play options, including competing with one of the 32 teams on tap, as well as a managerial mode - where you don't actually play the game, but simply make key, managerial-type decisions - and online play modes.
The problem with online is, as mentioned earlier, the community. It simply isn't that big. So waiting around while the system searches for an open game is really common. And a high percentage of those matches tend to suffer from some awful lag issues.
Speedball 2 is a fun little game that will probably do a better job in stirring nostalgia in those who were playing it 16 years ago rather than drawing in any new players. It's not going to set the Xbox Live Arcade world on fire by any means, but slots in nicely as another well-done classic game revival.