Test Match Cricket logo

Gosh. It's not often you come across a game that pulls back the bounds of expectations and redefines a new category of Amiga software. First it was the computer game, then it was the videogame. Then, when the software houses decided they wanted to actively seek out potential adult buyers of their products, they coined the pretentious phrase 'interactive entertainment'.

Test Match Cricket goes one further than that. It's full blown 'non-interactive boredom', from the graphics, to the method of 'non-interaction' to the gameplay, to the time taken to play the game, nothing is of interest. Quite literally nothing.

It's designed badly, it's unattractive, it lacks a feasible control interface. It's terrible.

The game comes on two disks. One of them is a save game, although it really should be a 'please save me game'. The game cons you into thinking that some of your input is actually worthwhile but after you've played for a mind numbing time (this could be anything from five minutes to two hours - time and the desire for life loses all meaning during play) you realise that the only strategy that exists lies in the swapping around of either the bowlers or the batters. And that small amount of excitement only lasts for a brief five or six seconds.

The manual (which incidentally to save production costs is a photocopied rag held together with two staples) covers four other games in the same series.

All of your actions are carried out by pressing the keys and the game is so badly programmed that the mouse pointer is exactly the same colour as the background. They would've away with it too if it hadn't been for that pesky mouse.

In conclusion,Test Match Cricket isn't just an enemy of the Amiga market, it's a blood sucking leach. Burn it off with a cigarette today.

Test Match Cricket logo

The games featured here this month (Test Match Cricket & Treble Champions 2) are courtesy of Amiga Format's generosity and Electronic Boutique's optimism. For stocking them.

Oh dear. There is something drastically wrong when you manage to invent a cricketing game which is even more tedious than cricket itself. Yet that is precisely what Challenge have managed. How? If only I knew.

Test matches are only worth watching on the second day, when the team which batted first are skittled out before the incoming opposition's top-order batsmen begin the chase for runs.

Disappointing then, that Test Match Cricket doesn't let you jump straight to the second day's play. Though not nearly as disappointing as the game itself.

As with Treble Champions 2 there are many worthy features included here. You assume the position of your chosen team's captain, affording you the privilege of making all the decisions. Decide whether to bat or bowl, organise your team in the field, select your bowlers and advise them how to bowl according to the type of wicket and then, if you're still awake, declare in time for tea.

But it's just so dull. When your team is batting, you press C for the ball to be bowled, before a commentary appears describing how your batsman dealt with the ball or asking you if you want to take a single or risk the fielder's arm and run two. Hardly thrilling stuff, but then this is cricket. Unfortunately. Hnngh.

Even the box failed to amuse me. "A new experience in Cricket strategy games... The PRESSURE is on - The DECISIONS are yours... test your cricketing knowledge and tactical skills with this SUPERB TEST MATCH STRATEGY GAME... A MUST FOR ALL CRICKET ENTHUSIASTS."

There was a series of questions posed too but the one that began "Will you risk..." never got much further. But that should be irrelevant anyway, because if you risk anything relating to this game it'll be your sanity.