Graham Gooch Cricket

Title		Graham Gooch Cricket
Game Type	Sport
Publisher	Audiogenic, 1993
Players		1 or 2
HD Installable  With WHDLoad Patch
Compatibility	With Patch
Submission	Martin Smith Profiled Reviewer

Popular mostly in English-speaking countries (although not in North
America, despite an infamous attempt to get African-American gang members
playing the game - the notion that a gentlemanly game played by posh
colonials will solve the social problems leading to violence and drug
abuse seems to be at best naive and at worst downright sinister), cricket
is a game similar to baseball, although I personally feel it involves more
skill and style, though it takes rather longer.

Each team of 11 players aims to score more runs than the other, either in
a single innings of between 20 and 60 ‘overs’ (sets of six deliveries,
each of which is bowled by the same bowler, who can't bowl 2 successive
overs), or across 2 innings of unlimited length, up to an allowance of 4
or 5 days of 6 hours each. The batting team has 2 players in at a time,
with the aim being to run between the wickets (sets of pieces of wood at
either end) before the fielding team can throw the ball back to the wicket
area. The bowling team's aim is to get the players "out" - this can be
done in a number of ways including catching a shot before it hits the
ground, bowling a delivery to hit the wickets (classed as ‘bowled’) or to
hit the player's leg when set to hit the wicket (LBW’ or leg before
wicket), or by running a player out by throwing the ball on to the stumps
while he is still running.

Commercially, Audiogenic had their priorities right with this one. At
different times and in different parts of the world, this game was
released under a myriad of names, licensed by various stars including
Graham Gooch, Allan Border, Shane Warne and Brian Lara (which looked
especially silly, considering that every player in the game is depicted as
white). They also released a succession of data disks and cut-down budget
versions for all occasions. It was the ultimate cash cow, even more so
than the company's reissued games of up to 8 years old, or the belated
release of the lying-half-finished-for-5-years Super League Manager
(complete with linkup to the equally-old Emlyn Hughes' International
Soccer; a cunning way to try to sell a frankly third-rate action game).

When this hit the shelves, cricket fans had very few games of any quality
to play, so this caught a lot of attention. It had large and impressive
3D graphics; all the international teams, all with statistics stored,
editable and affecting their performances, plus a World IX; one-day and
test match options, implementation of different bowling and battling
styles, customisable field set-ups which could be saved for each bowler,
precise and versatile batting techniques, and loads more.

And yet, it wasn't fun to play. The first big problem is the AI. Its one
of those games where the computer players initially seem impossible to
face, until you find one or two little tricks; specifically, bowling
centrally using a spin bowler, but without any spin, is likely to get the
opposition out regularly. Also, the logic of the fielders is distinctly
flawed at times; they have a habit of missing run-out opportunities by
throwing to the wrong end, and they never manage ‘direct hits on to the
wicket. Misfields (throwing the ball back so badly it misses the wicket
area completely, allowing the batsmen to resume running) are extremely
common, and it’s not unknown for them to throw it past the boundary for a
four, which is ridiculous.

Running between the wickets is initiated by tapping the fire button, and
the speed of the run is dictated by joystick waggling. The speed or spin
of a bowl is determined by the pace of waggling as well. These are
completely unbalanced, as its possible to run for more runs than is
realistically possible, but very difficult to bowl a really menacing pace
delivery. It was too easy to accidentally start a run as well, and this
causes some ludicrous run-outs.

The game's manual is noteworthy as well, especially the hints and tips
section. I quote, "Occasionally you'll find that a fielder ‘gets stuck’,
perhaps running on the spot. If you press the ESCAPE key the game will
continue normally." Brilliant. They're aware of a significant bug, yet
instead of fixing it, they simply explain how to work around it. (The more
astute of you will notice that you can press Escape to end every shot, as
soon as the batsman has hit it, so he scores nothing). This begs the
question how many of the other bugs and restrictions were they aware of?

For a start, they knew the fact that you can only restore Computer vs
Computer matches with at least 1 human-controlled player, and that the
Best 11 selection routine is flawed, as these are among the other hints
and tips. You can only save one game per disk, it says, unless you use
Workbench to rename the existing save file. How long would it take to
write a code routine to handle this transparently?

Most of these problems were never fixed, despite the continuous profits
the series made. These niggles are a real shame, because it is comfortably
the Amiga's best cricket game, and has all the right ingredients under the

Overall 68%

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