Amiga Power

Robin Smith's International Cricket

Author: Matt Bielby
Publisher: Challenge
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #5

Robin Smith's International Cricket

Oh dear, I'm not at all sure where to start with this one, so I guess I'll start with a question - who is this Robin Smith character anyway? Unfortunately, I don't know how to follow that up (I certainly don't know the answer!) except with another question - like have there ever been any good computer cricket games?

And, indeed, have there ever been any good management games for that matter? (I've certainly not enjoyed many of them!) When you realise that not only is International Cricket (a) about cricket, (b) a management game but (c) endorsed by the utterly infamous Robin Smith, you'll begin to see the extent of my predicament in reviewing this. I really really don't know where to start.

Well, let's start at the beginning, with the cricket bit. You could hardly accuse the game of being well presented, but it does feature a neat little pad of cricket scorecards where you can keep all your averages or whatever they are marked down. Now I've forgotten how you're meant to score cricket anyway - indeed, I'm not sure I ever really knew - so they're not of much use to me, but they do, I feel, nicely symbolise my feelings about this game. It's all about numbers, and statistics, and watching things you don't really understand.

It's certainly not about joining in the action, such as it is - once you've picked your opening batsmen or bowlers, laid out your fields (if relevant) and watched your opponents pick the men they'll use, all you get to do is watch one white ant-like figure 'run' towards the wicket, bowl something that looks the size of a watermelon, and stand still as various other little ants flicker on and off screen haphazardly in their attempts to grab the melon and get it back towards the wicket. To point out that the batsmen don't actually seem to have to move to score any runs, or that the ball always gets returned to the wicket keeper, then miraculously re-appears in the bowler's hand, seems almost churlish - this is only a representation of the game we're watching, after all, not something you're inteding to take part in and play.

As for the strategy/management side of things - which you are meant to play - this seems as dull and pointless to me as all straight management games. There are certainly a lot of names, figures and so on bandied around - though I haven't the faintest idea if they're really accurate or not, and no real way of finding out. I guess the best I can do is abandon any intention of reviewing this as a cricket game - it'll no doubt sell almost exclusively to cricket fans, and there's so little available for them they'll probably lap it up - and treat it from the perspective of a normal computer game fan. For us, it's as lethargic, mysterious, old-fashioned and uninvolving as cricket itself.

(PS. I've just found out who Robin Smith is - he's a Hampshire and England batsman, and the guy who won us a test against the West Indies earlier this year. So sorry, it seems he is actually quite famous after all!)

The Bottom Line

Typically laughable graphics and lots of tables in this very average management game. Fine for the more forgiving cricket fan but a complete and utter waste of time for the rest of us.

Matt Bielby

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