Test Match (CRL) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

Test Match
Acorn Electron

Published in A&B Computing 1.09

The first thing that has to be said about this game is that the instructions should not have been written in black on blue background. It just is not cricket if you have to screw your eyes up to read how to play the game. The first line of the program contains the offending VDU 19 statement so I suggest that anyone buying the tape ESCAPE and amend the line to something more sensible. It is OK if you have just gone out and blown £300 on a new monitor but the standard television does not distinguish an awful lot between blue and black.

The theme of Test Match is that you can enjoy the thrills of our national summer sport without leaving the armchair - which is what most of us do anyway! Still in the CRL version you can play at being David Gower or, if you prefer, and I would, Clive Lloyd, marshalling your forces out on the field.

Test Match scores as a game because of the variety which can be introduced into the play. For a start the tape contains both Test Match and World Cup Cricket games plus a Team Selector program which allows you to include a favourite country player in your side, or perhaps you fancy your local side against the West Indians? The two main programs are followed by character definitions, graphic and team data.

All the elements of proper cricket are incorporated, following on, declaration and the ability as captain to choose the type of bowler or batsman you wish to use at a particular jucture of the match, attacking, normal or defensive. The test match is played over two innings with a maximum of 450 overs and the World Cup game over one innings and a number of overs specified at the start of the game, so you can simulate any of the one-day games.

There are nine possible combinations of style and these determine the run-rate, the wicket-rate and the field placings. When you first enter the game a choice of preset teams is offered. Your choices are then loaded in from tape, and displayed with their skill levels - which we won't go into for the moment since it is a matter of personal judgement and you can redefine the whole team if you want.

When in play, the style of your chosen batsman or bowler has to be specifed each over. I'm sure the algorithms used in the game took a lot of sorting out but Tavare with a defensive style hitting an attacking Marshall for 25 off the first two overs takes a bit of believing. I think a computer cricket game is always going to need revving up a bit if it is not to be boring!

Overall, Test Match is the best of the BBC cricket games currently available with a fair balance struck between complexity and number of key strokes needed to get some action.

The actual graphical display in Test Match is secondary to the tactical element and rightly so. There is little or no variation in the bowlers run-up but each separate stroke is plotted to its destination. Test Match does not quite match up to its cricketing software rivals in this department but the overall game is superior. It certainly beats throwing dice and keeping score manually like in the old days. Such a game might even stimulate interest in the finer points of cricket but must be primarily for the enthusiast.

Dave Reeder

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