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Wyvern Software
Not Known
1984
Sport: Management
£5.50
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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126
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Howzat! is a two player cricket simulation with plenty of options, presented on a series of menus. The first decision to make is whether to play one-day or first class cricket. There are sixteen county sides and seven test sides to choose between, depending on the level of cricket chosen, and if none of them meet with your approval names of your own choice may be input. Opting for an existing team calls up a squad of eleven players automatically. Some fine tuning is possible and when a team has been finalised, its members are given a batting and bowling rating from one to ten.

After the teams have been accepted, the computer randomly selects the winner of the toss. The batting side has to choose the opening batsmen and conversely, the fielding side needs to choose the bowler. The screen then changes to show a birds-eye-view of the cricket pitch, the two batsmen, the bowler and the ten fielders. Fielders may be repositioned at any stage of the match.

At the end of an over the score card appears and the batting card, the bowler' s analysis and the innings report may be accessed. Choose another bowler and the match continues.

The computer automatically tells you if the batsman has scored four or six runs, if the ball goes to the wicket keeper or if it's a wide. If the ball can be seen on the pitch after it is struck then it's down to you on how many runs you wish to attempt.

CRITICISM

'Howzat is truly a screamer. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. In my few years of games reviewing I haven't seen a sports simulator that has been as boring to play as this. Some may argue that Howzat captures the strategy element of cricket, but it doesn't: selecting where on the field your fielders stand or whether to run or not isn't really all there is to the great sport. The graphics are dire: UDG characters are used so there is a multitude of little stickmen on the pitch. There is no sound but in a game of this quality I wouldn't expect any. Stay well away from.' BEN

'ALTERNATIVE SOFTWARE, mmm! Well it's certainly a bit different. The game features a few realistic points like the grass being green. I was very disappointed at the amount of inaccuracies and bugs in the game. Fancy being able to play an England team against itself! At one stage Tavare was bowling against himself. Or even Botham catching himself out. The bowler doesn't even get to the crease to bowl. At least the scoreboard is pretty good - but you're not playing the scoreboard, are you? Another cricket game bites the stumps.' PAUL

'Howzat is a very, very boring game. More interest could have been added with the inclusion of a watch-the-grass-growing mode. I'm quite sure that no-one is going to find this value for money, unless they intend paying £1.99 to use the inlay for something unmentionable. The screen display is sufficiently garish to light a room, and the stick men graphics aren't even animated. ALTERNATIVE SOFTWARE deserve large congratulations for producing potentially the biggest failure ever.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: cursor keys to move cursor and individual keys to make selections
Joystick: n/a
Use of colour: white players on green field
Graphics: very basic
Sound: nothing much
Skill levels: one
Screens: menus plus the pitch
General Rating: Not much in the way of gameplay - for masochistic cricket freaks only.

34%
9%
13%
7%
15%
11%