Brutal Sports Football (Millennium) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

Brutal Sports Football
By Millennium
Amiga 500/600/1200

Published in Amiga Power #32

Brutal Sports Football

Just remember kids - it's really the taking part that counts, and not who wins or loses their life in the process

Non-specific bestial violence in an orgiastic miasma of bloodletting and pain infliction. What do you think we could be talking about? Israeli foreign policy? The Waco Texas experience? Anti-nazi protest demonstrations in Millwall? Boris Yeltsin's political strategy?

Surprisingly, the answer is none of the above. We're talking about Brutal Sports Football. A simple old computer game which by its fun nature encourages two people to get together and play against each other competitively.

The game concerns two sets of teams who play on a pitch of horror, death and carnage. Your children control them. Decapitation is actively encouraged, as is stomping and inflicting harm on your opponent when he's down. No wonder we're breeding a nation of monsters. So let's play - Brutal Sports Football!

First Down: the game consists of two teams of bestial monsters battling against each other. The point of the game, surprisingly enough, is to score more goals than your opponent.

Second Down: the pitch scrolls from left to right, side to side, much like Manchester United Europe, say. The scrolling is incredibly smooth and the pitch is fairly sizeable; about three or four screens wide.

Third Down: animation of the team is excellent; from the way they arch their backs when jumping in the air to catch a ball to the way they assault their opponents so viciously.

Fourth Down: your opponents are numerous, have snazzy team names and are out to beat you in more ways than one.

Touch Down: Gallows humour permeates the whole game. The violence is not so much horrific as horrifically funny, even when the laughter wears off after having played the game for a while.

Maybe that's whetted your appetite for more head-exploding detail. It's really hard to write about Brutal Sports without starting to rant in an insane blood-lustingly insatiable kind of a manner. At first it looks simple, but there's so much to it which isn't obvious from the first couple of plays.

Let's start with the semi-mundane things like control systems which, if they aren't well-adhered to, suddenly become very annoyingly important. Brutal Sports has an intuitive feel to it; whether kicking, passing, jumping, beating, stomping or decapitating. There are three types of match play. The League, the Knockout and the Unfriendly. Depending on the number of friends you've got, the Knockout can cater for up to eight human players. All of the teams in the knockout section are of the same type of humanoid as your own team, the only distinguishing characteristics they have to set them apart being a different colour of ship.

There are four leagues. Naturally enough, you start in the fourth. This is the first time you will come up against the disgustingly horrible bestial competitors; the Pit Fiends. These monsters from the spawning pits of hell are tough. Their tackle is particularly effective and vicious compared to the more humanoid opponents you've faced so far. The unsettling aspect of all this is that there are more unwholesome monsters to be faced, each type progressively bigger, harder and cleverer than the last.

The Unfriendly game (see the humour sneaking in again? My sides still hurt!) lets you pit yourself against any of the available humanoid teams.

The game itself is a transcendentally REM sleep-disturbing nightmare to play in a thoroughly enjoyable kind of a way. There are several different moves and strategies that can be employed. The basic idea being to get ahold of the ball and run toward your opponent's goal. Unless you've managed to get a hold of the jack rabbit power-up (lets you run very fast), it's unlikely that you'll manage to get much further than a couple of yards. You can choose one of two basic moves; kick the ball way up the field or American Football pass directly to one of your team mates.

Now that doesn't sound particularly exciting, but consider all the bolt-ons. The ability to harmfully tackle, smash your opponents in the face, decapitate them [You're quite taken with this decapitation notion, aren't you? - Ed], stomp on them to reduce their overall vitality and generally be rewarded for all out aggression is fantastic. The violence is demented, intoxicating and excessive (blood spurts and all) but it's never quite as mindless as it is strategic and humorous. The ability to decapitate can become a vital part of your overall strategy. It's best to take out the player who stands in as the goalkeeper. Then from centre, kick the ball full whack. Use your other players who are standing near the goal to pre-emptively take out any opponent who may get near the ball. The ball will trickle over the line for a very cheeky goal. Lovely stuff eh?

And there's more, loads more. Power-ups are more help than hindrance; tortoise (go-slow hindrance), jack rabbits (speed), bombs (blow up your opponent), shields (harder to be tackled), swords (easier damage infliction).

By this time, you'll have guessed that 'love' is not strong enough an adjective for my feelings toward this game. [Or, indeed, an adjective at all! - Ed] I've thought about this hard, and I've thought about this long. Brutal Sports reminds me of a side-view version of Speedball 2. When I first played the demo, I thought "Hmmm, nice try but no elastoplast." But now I've got to conclude that it at least matches Speedball 2 for fun, excitement and playability, and when it comes to humour and violent content, it kicks the Bitmaps game into touch.

It's hard when a personal icon gets shattered, but the brute force of Brutal Sports Football has forced its way, with all the subtlety of an Ice-T lyric, into my personal Top Ten.

The Bottom Line

Uppers: Beautifully animated. Lots of fun, lots of humour, lots of violence and lots of gameplay. Be prepared for the white wagon with the men in white coats and white straitjackets.

Downers: It can be hard to see what's happening in multi-way pile-up goalmouth scrambles. Fortunately it's not too much of a problem though.

Deliriously decadent. Fittingly feral. Boxingly bloody and viciously violent. Okay?

A1200 Version

Sensuously sadistic. Anarchically alarming. Haptically horrible and crazily crafted. [On the A1200 - Ed]

Steve McGill

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