Brian Lara Cricket
Let's face it, for most people a cricket game on the PC is a prospect about as appealing as witnessing a three-way sex session between Robin Cook, Vanessa Feltz and Jimmy Saville. In a jacuzzi full of ravioli. And fish heads. With the eyes staring up at you and everything.
This attitude is understandable given:
a) the less than fast-paced action of the average cricket match,
and b) the less than stunning array of cricket games available up to now. Basically, there's been EA Cricket and International Cricket Captain. And that's it (unless you count Robin Smith's Cricket, which appeared on our desks one Godforsaken morning about six years ago and was so primitive in appearance we thought it was the potential basis of an antibiotic. But let's not.)
So, anyway, this should mean that if you wanted to make a cricket game, you wouldn't think you'd have to try very hard to impress people. Which makes it quite a surprise to see how hard Codemasters have tried with Brian Lara Cricket. And even more of a surprise to see that it's been worth the effort. It's good. Honest.
The Spice Of Life
For a start there's just about every variety of cricket imaginable. You can have pyjama-based fun in one-day (or night) games; there's a World Cup and a World Series (unfortunately you have to have Australia in that because it's theirs); and there are Tests, Test Series and even an entire Test year. Up to seven years, in fact - in a row, with all your schedules worked out for you. Obviously this would take seven real years to complete, but it's there if you want it. And, Codemasters being Codemasters, there's a password-based Classic Match option (one of those 'win one and you get the next match' efforts). You can go pinch-hitting crazy playing as Sri Lanka versus the Aussies in the World Cup Final at Lahore; thrash the arse off the Aussies in Botham's match at Headingley 1981; and so on.
Oh, What An Atmosphere (Trad.Arr)
And then there's the atmosphere, which the game oozes like a fast-bowler's jockstrap after a long spell up the slope in Karachi. Brian Lara Cricket is really nicely put together, right from when you get Jonathan Agnew and 'Battling' Boycott discussing the pitch. They exchange jolly remarks about Agnew's lack of Bowling ability. They avoid jokes about hook shots. And so on. It's slick, just like on the telly/radio (delete as appropriate).
The grounds (garnered from all the Test-playing countries) look like the real thing, with a real sense of distance when the ball's whacked skywards. They have different weather conditions - and different pitches - as a result (Bowling is affected by the pitches too. Don't worry, you get a handy chart to help.) Shadows lengthen as the day wears on. Even the crowds react appropriately: the English get pissed and start singing boorishly; New Zealanders get pissed and start reappraising their relationships with lanolin-rich farmyard animals; Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers attack the ground in a bus-bomb... Well, sort of.
So How Does It Play?
Pretty well. The players are well-animated and move fluidly to play shots and field (more on that in a minute). Batting is good, with a wide range of shots, and it works logically - play a cut against a ball going down the leg side and you look a right tit. Which is how it should be. Bowling is more or less enjoyable according to who you're bowling with: leg spinners can vary things with googlies and flippers; off-spinners have arm balls, and swing bowlers move it either way; the fast bowlers are the least rewarding to use, with just a slower ball in their repertoire. However, all bowlers can be given pace by a bit of button bashing.
But back to that animation. There are loads of little touches of in-game animation (like fielders running in and faking throws before returning the ball to the bowler) which are great during a two-player game, but when you're playing on your own it can get a little tiresome. The problem is that the only button that skips all this is the same button that tells your batsmen to run - pressing it absent-mindedly is a recipe for disaster.
The manual fielding option is too difficult to be enjoyable, but then it's only an option. The only other thing is a problem inherent in any cricket game: if you play it properly, you're going to take bloody ages to do anything. No matter how determined you are to nurse your way to a century (and it's a mark of the quality of this game that you get quite tense as you near any milestone), eventually your mate will goad you, or you feel guilty about blocking everything and boring him; or if you're on your own you'll simply go stir-crazy. Whatever the reason, it won't be long before you go so over the top you'll make a Sri Lankan one-day opener's assault look like Chris Tavare at his most torpid. Unrealistic. But that's your fault, not the game's.
Download Brian Lara Cricket
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
What we have is a Cricket emulator the home of which is England. Certainly, it is an adventure or a shooter, it is simply excellent cricket! It is clear that cricket is a summer sport... So, English people who prefer safe sports are having a good time, rolling balls on the pitch and trying to guide them in small goal posts.
Here you can choose the country for which you are willing to play and against whom. Also, you can choose the team command as you wish. The graphics in this game is not marked by anything special but quite tolerant and but the sound track simply depresses.
So become a gentleman and have fun in a English way without going to England.