CCS
C.J. Dunn
1984
Sport: Action
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

101
Chris Bourne

The last of the Pulsonic collection is a sports simulation based on England's noble game of cricket. One thing to be said for these eight games is that they have spread the subject matter pretty wide. It's as if some marketing person has carefully thought out a strategy for saturating the Spectrum market and yet knew almost nothing about it. Over half the job of a marketing company in computer games is to ensure a reasonable level of quality control and Pulsonic (Warwick Leisure) have failed miserably in this aspect.

Ashes, however, isn't too bad at all, so it comes as no surprise to see a copyright warning from C.S.S. (Cases Computer Simulations) when loading is complete. Nevertheless, this must be one of their earlier programs either not marketed by themselves, or now forgotten and reawakened by Pulsonic.

There are 10 venues at which to play Test matches, five in England and five in Australia. Each pitch has its own characteristics and suits different types of play. The teams are made up of six Batsmen, one all-rounder, a wicket-keeper and tour bowlers. Three types of bowling are permitted: fast, seam/ swing and spin. Teams may be named as you wish, although the computer holds names of teams already - famous ones.

The toss takes the form of alternating the names ENGLAND and AUSTRALIA on screen and stopping at random. Winner of the toss may then elect to bat or bowl first.

Field placement is done by showing the outline on black and the possible positions in purple. There are more than you have in your team of course, the idea being to say yes or no to each in turn until all 11 team members are where you would ideally like them.

The field then turns green and ready for play. For each over a bowler must be selected (players 8 to 11). A ball is specified by its line and length (as shown in the inlay card) and entered as a two-digit number. The batsman has seven types of stroke from defensive through to off-drive. A stroke is played by pressing the appropriate key for the type of play desired while the ball is bowled. The path of the ball from bowler to batsman is shown so that the batsman has a few seconds to decide what shot to play, and then the path of the ball after batting is also shown.

A captain may declare if he wishes. Weather may interrupt play, and rain is likely to alter the characteristics of the pitch.

CRITICISM

'Ashes is a reasonable simulation given the limitations of the computer. The graphics are very small little stickmen on a green background, and there is no animation of any kind. The bowler is seen as an alternating L-shaped block, which does give the suggestion of running up I suppose. But everything happens fairly fast and it maintained my interest for a while. In the main it suffers from the usual limitations of armchair sport, plus a little bit more since it does look rather an old-fashioned program now.'

'Not a bad cricket game, using the names of real persons and places. It took me a while to realise that the batting keys had to be pressed. Not pressing a key after a ball has been bowled means the stroke was not taken. I was waiting for a screen prompt. I bowled England out in two overs, leaving Knott not out! After I got the game sorted out I found it not too bad. I'm sure that cricket fanatics will enjoy it, but it's debatable whether the average Spectrum owner will (if there is such a thing as an average Spectrum owner)!'

'Sports simulations tend to leave me a bit cold, and one on cricket is certain to 1 If there had been some real action it might have been more fun. As it is this game boils down to learning the reactions of bowler and batsman and then pressing the ENTER key endlessly.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: mostly the numerics
Keyboard play: reasonable
Use of colour: simple, but reasonable
Graphics: small, simple and unanimated
Sound: poor
General Rating: Rather an odd-ball simulation, but for those who enjoy cricket it may prove to be fun.

50%
52%
50%
45%
40%
58%
49%

Screenshot Text

SSetting up the field in Ashes.

And it's Joe Bloggs bowling a googlie from the Pavilion end...