T.J. Owen
1983
Sport: Action
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

13,14
Chris Bourne

Of the two games Howzat comes in the more professional looking packaging with a full colour insert containing two pages of brief notes. Cricket has a yellow card insert with a line drawing on it and no instructions, but is accompanied by a large booklet containing playing instructions and many details on playing cricket in general.

In keeping with its packaging, Cricket is the less sophisticated program, although it has plenty of options, allowing play against 18 county sides. Howzat allows play against or selection from 17 county sides and 7 Test squads. Both games allow the player to select his own side and name them. In simulations of this sort, a printer is very useful - almost essential in the case of Cricket, and both games allow this facility.

CRICKET
On completion of loading you are asked to put CAPS LOCK on, as the program only accepts input in capitals. This seems a little primitive these days. You are also asked to type in '1' if using a printer, but there is no screen prompt to tell you anything else, although ENTER moves things along. A 12- option menu allows you to select a team, load or save one, play a county side, play another invented team and several other things like change the Over limit. Selecting your own team means typing in the name of 16 players, they are then given their various qualities and strengths and when playing another team or county side you may select which 11 to choose.

Cricket offers a pitch analysis before taking the toss and informing you who has won. If it is you, you may elect to bat first or bowl. The game is non-visual - you select how many balls the game is to continue for, and the computer reports on each ball. When the number of balls selected for play are over it is possible to see the scoreboard and partnership details.

HOWZAT
Howzat is a graphics type game, which shows you the field and the position of the fielders, batsmen etc. In this respect it resembles CRL's Test Match. As the player you may select the bowler and set or change your field positions, moving them via the keyboard.

Two games are provided for, one day cricket or a first class match. You may select a team from the options provided or create your own. The selected team is then displayed with the standard players and rest of squad, from which you may select the players you want.

When this is done, the players' strengths in batting and bowling are displayed. but the skill factors may be altered if so wished. When the toss has been decided, the field appears. Using the cursor keys it is possible to place a cursor over any player and move him to a new position. Between each ball it is possible to reset the field or see the scoreboard. Pressing the 'B' key results in the bowler running up and bowling. The stroke is taken automatically and the batsmen asked if they want to run or not.

CRITICISM

CRICKET 'This is another rather involved simulation. Don't worry over long delays - the prog is in Basic and these things happen. The game has no direct user involvement and there is no visible play, only screen messages. This left me rather cold. Such games should contain more user involvement - surely the idea of a game is for the player to get involved.'

Cricket got off to a bad start-- not many prompts informing the player what was happening. If a wrong input is entered the program crashes. Watching a TV screen with comments on what's happening in the game is just not cricket, and there are better such games on the market.'

'The instruction booklet is quite lovingly done, but the game seems less so. It's very primitive programming which asks you to engage CAPS LOCK for input and expects you to wait ages for a response. Whilst I can believe that cricket fans may get fun from team selection and getting to know how the players 'work out ' , I can't believe that even the most ardent fan will enjoy sitting back watching a string of repetitive comments come up on screen informing him of what happened to each ball.'

HOWZAT 'Howzat has been apparently endorsed by an England Cricketer, Brian Rose. He says, 'It's a truly addictive game.' It is involved and accurate as to the selection of county, test sides, trophies and one day cricket. The user involvement is only to the point of making decisions on team selection and commencing playing actions. I would like it to be more interactive. I am sure that cricket fans will like it, but to the rest of us I would say beware - it tends to have the same effect as TV cricket (Zzzzzzz!).'

'Compared to Cricket, Howzat is much more slick, no need here to input and ENTER, the input is sufficient and the response almost instant. But actual play is very unrealistic. The bowler always bowls from the same end, no matter what over, and fielders move in steps to the ball to field it between each run you take. No skill is used to judge a run. Although not a cricket fan, I did enjoy CRL's Test Match, but this one left me cold, and I can't see it being in the least bit addictive.'

'Howzat has reasonably large characters, although no real animation is used. Moving the fielders around is not very realistic as you cannot put anyone very near the actual pitch. In the end, it seems most unrealistic to expect any sort of enjoyable skill from a game which requires a vast playing area in real life, when it is reduced to this size on a TV screen.'

38%
N/A
25%
78%
45%
40%
45%