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Soundware £25.99

Not so much world class cricket, more a minor counties second team training match. Just select the angle and power of your shot/bowl and sit back. The jittery animation is laughable and blank screens are used with alarming frequency.

Soundwise the game's backed by what sounds like Darth Vader working at a sonar screen. Even the Richie Benaude samples can't save it. Jason Hales, you were right!

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Was könnte britischer sein als dieser Sport - höchstens ein Butler im Buckingham Palast! Der könnte Euch die Regeln vermutlich sogar auswendig runterbeten, unsereins tut sich da schwerer...

Da in der Redaktion auch nach intensiver Suche kein wahrer Kenner dieses Schlagballspielchens aufzutreiben war, blieb der Test der (mit "Amos" kreierten) Versoftung halt am Ältesten hängen - von wegen Lebenserfahrung und so.

Also schön: Der "Bowler" von Mannschaft A wirft einen Ball, den der "Batter" von Mannschaft B mit seiner Keule treffen muß. Darauf dürften die B-Jungs bestimmte Zielläufe absolvieren, während sich die A-Fänger das Bällchen möglichst schnell unter den Nagel reißen und dann dann versuchen, damit eine Tormarkierung umzuwerfen. Basta!

Vier fertige Teams hat Soundware dem Programm gleich mitgegeben, weitere darf man selber stricken.

Lohnt aber kaum: Bereits die Einstellung von Schlagstärke oder Schnelligkeit der Fänger (je schneller, desto ungenauer) vor jedem Wurf funktioniert nur unbefriedigend. Die Spielszene, die dann in 3D-Draufsicht abgespult wird, ist weitgehend selbstlaufend; die Sticksteuerung beschränkt sich auf den "Daumendruck" zum richtigen Zeitpunkt.

Auch grafisch ist alles sehr schlicht gehalten, zudem ruckeln die Recken besorgniserregend. Dazu gibt es lärm der Schlachtenbummler, der angeblich gesamplet sein soll. Keine Ahnung, was da gesampelt wurde, wahrscheinlich ein asthmatischer Blasebalg.

Alles in allem ein überteuertes Game, das trotz seines Zweispielermodus wohl niemand begeistern wird - den eingangs erwähnten Butler nicht un uns unwissende Teutonen erst recht nicht!

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Now that the England cricket team are starting to prove their worth (at time of writing they'd just whomped the Windies in the first test and drawn the second), people are starting to take a renewed interest in cricket sims.

Unfortunately, Cricket from Soundware is a poor attempt at recreating the excitement of leather hitting willow.

The game starts with the team selections. England, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies are included and their respective team members can have their attributes for batting, bowling and fielding altered.

Following this, the players step out onto the field for the opening over. It's at this stage the game takes its downward plunge from which it never recovers.

The action is viewed from behind the wicked keeper, regardless of whether your team is fielding or batting. The power of a bowl, the aggression of a fielder or the strength of a throw are all determined by pressing and holding down the fire button every time the fielding side bowl a ball.

Adding insult to injury, there's an almost embarrassing lack of intelligence on behalf of the fielders. If the ball is thrown and lands next to a fielder he will, more often than not, just stand there doing nothing. This is highly frustrating if there's a good chance of running someone out.

A good shot earns a round of digitized applause along with comments such as 'and it looks like a four' or 'he's been run out'.

Apart from that, though, there is nothing to redeem Cricket. The awful control system is restricting, and the immobile fielders make for a frustrating game. I'd advise any true cricket fans to steer clear!

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Lord Paul Lakin has never been known to bowl a maiden over. However, he was keen to cast his eye over these two new cricket games (Cricket & Robin Smith's International Cricket).
Challenge Software/Amiga/£29.99/Out now

Considering the track record of English cricket recently, it's perhaps fitting that this game comes from Australia, scene of some recent humiliations. Let's forget these memories of defeat and get onto the pitch to play the game.

Cricket incorporates a similar system to that used in umpteen golf games. The power meter is divided into two sides. The meter rises on one side until you press fire. It then starts to fall down the other until you press fire again. Using this system you can select the bowler's pace and direction, your fielders' response time and aggression and the strength and accuracy of your fielders' return to the stumps.

Batting is controlled in a similar way, with a power meter dictating the strength and amount of deflection of the shot. There is an added challenge here - you must position the batsman and time his shot using the joystick. Ah, yes - it's all to do with timing.

Amiga reviewPaul: This has the makings of a very good game, but somewhere along the line it went off the rails. The graphics are more than reasonable and the idea behind the control system is a good one. So what went wrong?

Well, the first problem is the instruction manual - all the relevant information is there but in a pretty random order. Then there's the security system, which is of the 'find the word'-type - it crops up repeatedly during the game, rather breaking the mood.

Equally repetitive is the humour which includes a streaker and weeping fielders. But the funniest thing is the sound - it seems to have been sampled using a Dictaphone.

The gameplay works reasonably well, but is spoilt by graphics which aren't so much jerky as stop/starty. Basically,, this game never really gets going.