Game Over Online ~ Brian Lara Cricket

GameOver Game Reviews - Brian Lara Cricket (c) Codemasters, Reviewed by - Jaguar

Game & Publisher Brian Lara Cricket (c) Codemasters
System Requirements Pentium 133, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 71%
Date Published Sunday, April 4th, 1999 at 03:39 PM

Divider Left By: Jaguar Divider Right

With the advent of the Cricket World Cup in mid-May this year, one can expect a few mediocre cricket games to be released in due course. However, as I stated in a previous cricket review, the interest in cricket games is not too high with gamers, therefore their quality lacks as there is not enough funding. Fortunately, Brian Lara Cricket does not suffer from this same plight. It is ported from the Playstation so we PC-using cricket fans have a chance to play a good cricket game. The quality of Brian Lara Cricket is not as high as one might hope for, but can be easily said to be the best cricket game so far.

Right off the bat, (no pun intended) I would like to say that this game does not lack that much in the graphics department, but when one is so used to the sporting masterpieces that are Fifa 99 and NHL 99, it can only look unclassy. Brian Lara Cricket has support for Glide, Direct3D and software modes. At first, this gave me great hope, a cricket game with 3D acceleration! Alas, upon loading my first game, I was moderately disappointed. The 3D models of the players and umpires were poorly done and lacked greatly in detail. On the positive side, the capturing of the player's movement was extremely realistic and true to life. The field is rather plain and does not have much texture. In fact, my general opinion on graphics is that the 3D acceleration is a favorable factor, but does not save it from many downfalls. These downfalls all result from a lack of attention to detail. The crowd and stadiums suffer too from a rough feel, so does the sky backdrops which seem unprofessionally done. I did notice however that the skeletal design of the stadiums matched those of real-life stadiums. My home stadium of St. George's Park was almost replicated to a tee.

We now come to the sound aspect of Brian Lara Cricket. The game starts off with a jingly little introduction tune and the usual menu sound effects. The actual game's sound was at most times average to above average. My main gripes were that the crowd's cheering and ambient sounds were muffled and it didn't come across as a passionate, convincing group of supporters. The commentary was accurate and professionally recorded, but was boring and uninspiring.

The gameplay in most aspects is where this game really shines. Never has the game of cricket been so realistically recreated than in Brian Lara Cricket. You have the choice to play friendlies or you can jump into the World Cup or World series. This is not strictly a one-day game only, as you have the option to play test matches too. The gameplay is very good and I can hardly moan at anything. The realism of the motion capturing, the way the batsmen hit their shots, the manner in which the fielder fields the ball and so forth all make up the factors which add to the superb gameplay. Many different batting shots are available and timing is crucial for a successful shot. However, when it comes to bowling there are a few problems as there is not much depth. You have the chance to place your delivery, but you cannot choose a type of delivery, such as in-swinger, out-swinger, etc. The gameplay is technically good, but as you will read in my next paragraph, everything just doesn't fall in place in regards to the playing experience.

You can have the best graphics and sound with water-tight gameplay, but what makes someone come back to play a game again is fun. Initially, when I first played Brian Lara Cricket on Playstation with a friend, we enjoyed the game greatly, but as time moved on things became tedious. Watching the animation of the batsman practicing his shots while waiting for the bowler to walk his run-up became increasingly irritating and everything just felt like it had hit a snail's pace. This was two months ago and when I got Brian Lara Cricket for PC, I was ready to play with rekindled spirit. Unfortunately, the same happened and the fun factor went on a downward spiral into hell after about twenty minutes. For some reason, the game cannot keep the momentum going and this is a major push factor.

The only way to play any form of multiplayer is two players on one keyboard. There is no support for IPX, modem or Internet play. Playing two player on the keyboard works the same way as playing against the computer.

My overall impression of Brian Lara Cricket was one of mixed feelings. I feel there is a lot of potential for this game that hasn't been exploited. I imagine this will be a good seller in cricket-playing nations when the World Cup dawns upon us. This, however, is due to there being no alternative cricket game. This is in no circumstances a bad game, and cricket fans should enjoy it immensely. I hope this whets your appetite for EA Sport's Cricket World Cup 99.


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