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Ah... a traditional summer Sunday. A rise first thing in the morning, roll over to stifle it, then it's time to get up out of bed. Wonder what scandal David Beckham's look-a-like has been up to over the last few days? Best stroll out and pick up the Sunday Rags and check out the latest (made up) rumors. So what's it to be... a lazy day in front of the box? Roast Beef and slippers? A few jars down at the local and a game of bar billiards? Or how about wandering down to the village green to watch the Boring Old Codgers take on their local rivals the Musculo Arthritic XII in a tightly fought contest of cricket? Ah... a traditional summer Sunday.
Of course the alternative to watching the real game would be to load up a copy of EA Sports Cricket 2000. But would it be as much fun? This is the game that was postponed prior to it's release just before last years Cricket World Cup. Surely the extra development time would mean that Cricket 2000 blows away the brilliant Brian Lara (Shane Warne) game from Codemasters. Let's see.
Sound and Vision:
Surprisingly the intro is a tad... err... shall we say... cricket. Actually this must be the most boring opening to a game that EA Sports have ever presented. A few real live action strikes with the bat and a couple of diving catches may sound spectacular but the mixture of hazy psychedelic camera shots and Shaft style backing music makes you thankful that it's been kept very brief.
The options screens are tidily presented. Small animations of cricketers in team colors backed by the National Flag makes selection of your favorite country simple.
As the coin is about to be tossed we hear the match commentators for the first time. Ritchie Benaud and David Gower prove a formidable team as they offer vital information on pitch conditions, weather and suggestions on preference to bat or bowl. Once the game begins they provide exclusive play-by-play commentary adding further realism to the whole event. Sadly, after a few sessions of play, it does become repetitive.
EA Sports have taken the time to recreate many real life venues such as Middlesex, Nottingham, Glamorgan, Durham, Brisbane and Auckland. Within these packed stadium the crowd react realistically enough quietly mumbling and murmuring until the 'big hit' suddenly wakes them up and forces a rousing cheer.
Deciding on a camera angle depends on how daring you are. The standard perspective begins with an outward view of the fielding positions, allowing the batsman to pick his spot. It then zooms in behind the bowlers arm for the most sensible all-round view for both bat and ball. You may, however, take in a top-down perspective, a mid-wicket delivery, reverse delivery, batsman or ball cam. Each of these makes the action seem much more exciting but are almost impossible to play.
The players look fine for game characters, but are a little straight and pointy around the edges for realism. Don't expect the ultra smooth contours of Tekken 3, or Brian Lara Cricket... more Tobal No1 and Tenchu. When the game engine takes control of the fielders their animation is fairly smooth and accurate at first, although a little slow for my liking. It's when the ball is played towards the stumps where things get a little messy. The wicket keeper insists on catching every single throw perfectly, but then he freezes until the batsman makes his crease. He then has an epileptic fit smashing the bails off the wicket and screaming "HOWZAT!" More of how this affects the gameplay later.
Overall Cricket 2000 is tidily presented and would definitely be the best looking cricket game on Playstation... if it weren't for the only other one, Brian Lara Cricket.
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