Windows - 2000
Description of Cricket 2000
Leather Upon Willow
British cricket fans, how many summers have you gone without the gentle sound of leather upon willow? How many bright sunny days have you wasted wondering what it would be like to have a Sky Sports subscription and actually see a cricket game? How many times have you thought: "Wouldn't it be great if they made a computer game of cricket? I could live out my Darren Gough fantasies and beat the Sri Lankans to within an inch of their lives." Well, look no further, my friends because thanks to EA Sports, Cricket 2000 is here.
Of course, cricket fans are rarely catered for by the computer industry. Sometimes you'd think developers should stop making rubbish racing and football games to allow some of the niche market sports see the light of day. EA Sports is the only one to provide any action on the crease at the moment, though publisher Empire does a nice range of cricket management games which includes the unparalleled International Cricket Captain 2. But how does this game compare to the real thing?
The graphics engine provides a great view of the match from any angle. Rather than county cricket, EA Sports has gone for the international side of things. It's nice to see a wide range of cricketing nations from the poor Scotland to the rather excellent South Africa make an appearance in the game. Each have their own strengths, such as Kenya's ability to slog a ball for six almost every time, but the teams seem to balance out quite nicely.
You can go for a World Cup, the big-time consuming game. If you fancy another long game you can opt for the Six Round, where eight teams are split into two leagues and the ones that get to the top of their table play each other to become champions. On the shorter side of things is the ball-slogging fest that is the One Day International. If you just fancy facing, or delivering, endless ball after ball you can book some time in the training nets and practice your talents.
Graphically, Cricket 2000 does as many good things as it does bad. The game supports resolutions beyond the call of duty. I played in a resolution of 1280x1024 at 32bit and it moved along quite nicely despite a few problems. Problem number one is that as soon as I upped the resolution, the text slipped out of its moorings and shifted around, due to the image being stretched but the text not being re-aligned. Problem number two is Games Domain's favourite phrase: "glitchy graphics." The game jumps around quite a lot and fielders speed up and slow down with almost no indication of why. This can be quite annoying when you're ready to slam a ball and a fielder appears out of nowhere at supersonic speed to stop it and your progression in run-rate.
In the game, you concentrate on all the arcade elements of cricket. Meaning all your time is spent bowling and batting. You might think that this is great, but when a fielder doesn't cut across the field at the right angle or lets a ball slip by him to go for a four without diving, you'll be sorely disappointed. The artificial intelligence of the opposition is just as bad. The quick one-run is very easy to get away with. Say the wicket keeper fumbles the ball and you start a run. If the keeper quickly recovers the ball, rather than smash apart the stumps at his end, he'll throw it to the opposite end allowing you to reach safety. This doesn't happen all the time, though it is enough of a problem to be annoying.
Cricket 2000 apparently uses a tru-spin and tru-bat system. So does this make Cricket 2000 more realistic? No. While easy to execute, bowling and batting are very difficult to execute properly. Bowling has become more difficult than that seen in EA Sports' last cricket outing, Cricket World Cup 99. Balls are easily slogged about the place and then sometimes you do the same thing with a resulting topple of wickets. Batting is insanely easy. If you don't have it set on Expert mode, that is. Expert removes the control icons such as the bowling marker, where the ball will pitch, and batting cone, where you want to hit the ball. If you place your batsman just behind the bowling marker and wait for the ball to be bowled, hitting a power shot will send the ball soaring over and out of the grounds.
What the game does well is the little animations that players perform, such as stretching out, rubbing the ball against their crotch, and batsmen leaning against the bat as they rest up. Commentary is also well performed by cricket stalwarts Richey Benuad and David Gower. They stay quiet enough during some balls so that you don't get the annoying repetition that you do with some sports games, although the raucous crowd effects make them seem very subdued. Controlling the game is very simple as you only use a direction pad and varying combinations of two buttons for all functions.
I wouldn't buy Cricket 2000, especially if I had Cricket World Cup 99 (essentially the same game but with older stats). I'd rather get my mates and go to the park for a quick game of short-cricket. Despite its good commentary and nice little animations, dodgy AI, glitchy graphics, and often off-kilter gameplay all conspire to make a game that just isn't cricket.
Review By GamesDomain
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