Graham Gooch's Test Cricket
Copyright/Publisher: Audiogenic, Release Year: 1985,
Genre: Cricket, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Cricket simulations on the 64 have been few and far between and apart from Tim Love's Cricket and Ian Botham's there have been no really notable ones.

Cricket simulations are quite a difficult thing to do, since the game itself is a slow and leisurely one (despite recent developments in one day cricket and equipping players with futuristic protective clothing to induce a feeling a fast danger into the game), but Audiogenic have added a little action to spice it up.

GG's TC has two playing modes - simulation and arcade. With simulation one or two players can play but in mode arcade it's only the one player that can take part. When you want to play you first have to decide how long the match will actually be; 40, 55 or 60 overs each side.

If you're in arcade mode then there's a choice of nine levels on the computer to battle against. There's squad of twenty men from which to choose your team, although you have to be careful to choose all the correct members of the team (ie skills in wicket keeping, bowling, batting etc), otherwise the team can't play properly.

When you choose simulation you don't actually take part as such. You can choose your team with fast/slow bowlers etc and can make tactical changes within your team but once started it becomes a sit-back-and-watch strategy game with some interaction. If you are bowling then you can choose between the bowler attacking on the offside or the legside. If you're batting then you can choose between defensive, normal or aggressive play.

Arcade mode is entirely different, you actually take part in a test and bat and bowl as in real life. When bowling you have to move the joystick from side to side 'Decathlon' style to make your bowler deliver a fast and hard ball. If you want a slow delivery then just slow up the toggling for a bit.

When you bat you have to manoeuvre the batsman to a good position and strike the ball by a timely press on the fire button. If you get your stroke right then you'll knock the ball for some runs. Get it spot on and you get a four or even a six.

Throughout the game the score is shown after each over or when a batsman is out. There is also another feature which allows cricket teams to be loaded in so you can play all your favourites - old or REALLY old.

P.S.
There are obviously lots of cricket fans - they're a breed apart! I have to admit I'm not in their ranks, and that does make it a bit hard to review a game on the subject objectively. Some sports lend themselves to arcade games rather well, but I feel cricket falls more into the strategy simulation area - something which makes it even more boring for the lesser cricket fan.

Audiogenic have here provided a game to suit both tastes, while at the same time using the 64's graphics capabilities to provide large characters (cricket's been quite a popular theme on the Spectrum where such extravagant animation is a bigger problem).

Unlike Ian Bothem, GG's TC opts for a presentation that is familiar to TV cricket watchers, with an over-the-bowler close up view of the action, cutting to longer views of the field when a batsman hits a long shot to the boundary. While the players are a bit blocky looking, their movements are realistic enough.

After a bit of getting into the game I came to enjoy it in arcade mode - simulation mode, I must say, seemed a bit pointless - and I think this will prove popular with cricket fans and may even tempt some philistines. I think it only fair to rate it on its merits as a game that must have specialist appeal.

Gary Penn
This gave me the impression of being more of an 'arcade' person's sort of cricket than say Tim Love's Cricket. After a fair few plays I wasn't too impressed as it was rather slow and didn't allow a great deal of interaction. The graphics are slightly blocky and not exactly that well animated but I feel they work well.

Not having any true control over fielding is a bit silly and disappointing but the game is still quite playable. Graeme Gooch's is a brave attempt at a new style of cricket game that gave me initial high expectations but unfortunelately didn't quite live up to them.

Julian Rignall
A decent cricket simulation seems to be a difficult thing to achieve on the 64 and to me this is about the best one yey. Although having some annoying touches like not being able to control your fielders it does have some very good ones.

Bowling and batting is quite good fun, especially with the wiggle technique and the game is extremely easy to use for those uninitiated to cricket games. The graphics aren't TOO bad although I think they could have been improved upon quite a bit.

Sound is pretty poopy with a few clicks, clocks and shhhhhhhhhh's from the crowd when you do something clever and there's also some speech. The gameplay isn't too bad and overall it's quite a good simulation. The only trouble is that it does get rather boing.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 86%
Two types of games and two player option.
GRAPHICS 63%
Not superbly animated but sufficient.
SOUND 32%
Not a lot.
HOOKABILITY 69%
A good cricket simulation.
LASTABILITY 81%
Level nine of the computer is a real toughie.
VALUE FOR MONEY 72%
Has quite bit to offer to cricketers.
OVERALL 73%
The best cricket simulation yet.


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