There have not been too many cricket games for the Amiga and it is not hard to see why, actually. It is a quiet, contemplative game best suited to the village green, and thus does not lend itself to constant, high-speed, joystick-blasting action. But Challenge Software, true to their name, have grasped the gauntlet firmly and plunged ahead with a game endorsed by one of the most consistent England players, Mr Robin Smith.
First, you must select which country and squad members you wish to play. As with many team games, the players' names included are out-of-date almost as soon as they have been added, but at the time of writing, the seven international teams included seem to be pretty accurate (except for the deplorable absence of Viv Richards from the West Indian side).
Each player has a rating which rises and falls during the game. This indicates how he is currently performing. You will need to watch this when changing your bowlers during the match because they get tired or damage the various tiny muscles in their toes or groins or somewhere. For the batsmen, it does not seem to matter though.
You can decide whether to play a one-day game or go for a full-test. If you co for the full test match, you are going to have to miss a couple of days of work because it does not exactly go quickly. You will also need to select the duration of the match in overs, and then the scene switches to a view of an anonymous cricket pitch, with data on the weather, the batting and the bowling displayed below it.
Here is the problem. The game takes over and you watch from the commentary box as ball after ball is played, run after run is accumulated and wicket after wicket falls. You simply play very little part in the proceedings. If you are bowling you can swap the bowlers after each over, but that is about it. If you are batting, you can change your style between defensive and attacking at the end of every over, but again, that is about all you get to do!
Short square legs
The pixelly, blocky bowler trots up, an over-large ball is hurled towards the batsman, who always seems to play the same shot, then the ball zips off in a random direction. Any nearby fielder cugs across to retrieve it whilst the batsmen rush up and down, piling on thr runs. Meanwhile, you watch the unimpressive graphics, unable to contribute anything except the odd swear-word when one of your vital batsmen bowled or caught out.
Cricket lovers will be disappointed. Even for them, there is not enough to do. You cannot change batting orders, train your players or otherwise make the team better than it starts off. People who do not start off as great fans of the real game won't get hooked (as has happened with games like Kick Off). In fact, they will be bored senseless.
It is a pity, but Robin Smith does not come off, which means the world is still waiting for playable cricket on the Amiga.