Lovely old book maker Read-Only Memory is doing another video game book, this time chronicling the history of the Bitmap Brothers.
The Club or Yakuza 3. Those are our pick of the new demos. You can probably scoot off now. Not a lot else to suggest unless you own a PC. Oh, you do. Better read on then!
It's more than a little weird that, after sixteen years of being little more than a fond memory for those who came of age during the last gasp of the quaint "home computer" era, we're faced with two new Speedball games. In fact, the whole Amiga scene - so quickly trampled into the dust once those spanky 16-bit consoles bounced into view - has been undergoing an impressive resurgence of late thanks to the likes of Xbox Live Arcade and Steam. Spookily, as it's gone a bit nippy and I can't be arsed turning the heating on, I've just thrown on the nearest item of clothing and realised that it's an old plaid shirt. All I need to do is cue up some Sonic Youth, grow back my virginity and it could be 1991 all over again.
Unlike the recent port of Brutal Deluxe on XBLA, this part sequel/part update actually tinkers with the guts of Speedball and thus can't coast on nostalgia alone. Even with original creator Mike Montgomery at the helm, the spectre of over-compensation loomed large. Thankfully, despite several surrounding tweaks, the gameplay is virtually identical to how it was way back when. However, that's not to say that this modern makeover has been a complete success.
The most immediately obvious change is graphically. While the burly Bitmap Brothers shoulder pad style has been retained, the chunky sprites of old are now more slender and lithe polygon beasts. Unlike the rather gruesome updated visuals available in the XBLA release, this is a smart and welcome update. You see more of the arena (different viewpoints are also available) and there are more players on screen at a time. The default view is at a nice distance, allowing you to enjoy the new details, but offering greater scope for plotting a course to the goal and finding space for your team-mates.
Frogster and Kylotonn's PC remake of Speedball 2 - recently renamed "Speedball 2 - Tournament" - is set to be sold through Steam at the end of November.
The official website for Speedball 2 is now alive in English, French, and German.
Between frenetic bouts of Speedball 2, as related in our earlier feature, we had a chance to chat to Mike Montgomery of the Bitmaps and discuss the long history of Brutal Deluxe's legacy.
I've just performed a brutal sliding tackle into the knees of some armoured gimp, scooped up the metallic ball and sent it skimming across the bas-relief surface of war-zone-cum-pitch towards an open-goal. It's been a while.
Bitmap Brothers' managing director Mike Montgomery has told Eurogamer that now is the right time for a Speedball 2 remake, one that will go head-to-head with the biggest and best the games industry has to offer.
A remake of Bitmap's 16-bit classic Speedball 2 is coming to the PC this Autumn, Frogster Interactive has announced.