Cricket World Cup 99
Your average British citizen neither knows nor cares when the next cricket World Cup is being held. And given England's recent suicidal surrender of the Ashes, the public's apathy is understandable. Unfortunately, further international humiliation is looming large, because England have qualified for World Cup 99 by virtue of past glory and volunteering to host the event. The slipstream of publicity created by the competition will no doubt ensure that the resulting flood of PC cricket games gives fans some sort of consolation following England's inevitable first round exit - no doubt at the hands of cricket giants Namibia or the Pot-Pot Islands.
Impending doom aside, Electronic Arts are the first company to pitch for your cash with the officially licensed Cricket World Cup 99, and with their reputation for presentation and playability it may well be that they'll knock the competition for six.
We're promised a full-on team management simulation that will appeal to action fans and strategists alike. Thankfully, hit-and-hope players (ie those modelling themselves on the current England team) can forget about the technicalities of batting orders and field placements, and take advantage of the basic 'pick up and play' game mode. This offers simplified one-button batting and bowling options, and leaves the strategy management to those of a more cerebral disposition. Alec Stuart wannabes, however, will embrace the game's Captain mode, which gives complete control over all aspects of team selection and tournament strategy.
EA, concerned that their PC version of the tournament should be able to accurately reflect the unfolding drama of the real event, will be constantly updating their website with up-to-the-minute player and team statistics, and weather news - the bad weather being as inevitable as England's early demise. As it's an EA Sports title, coded by the same guys who brought us the FIFA series, we can anticipate an option-laden front end with every aspect of the simulation being user-adjustable. Play will be viewed through a beautifully fast and fluid 3D engine equipped with multiple camera angles (including the now obligatory television-style stump and out-field views). To add to the realism several key England players have been motion-captured performing over 600 fielding, batting and bowling manoeuvres, so we can expect to see some stunningly portrayed golden ducks, dropped catches, run outs and leg-before dismissals - situations the England team are well versed in. The carnival atmosphere will be enhanced by the inclusion of all the World Cup grounds, and verbose in-game commentary and analysis from a host of cricket legends.
Cricket has had a far from illustrious history on the PC, so EA undoubtedly have their work cut out attempting to overcome the gaming public's indifference towards cricket in general and the England team in particular. It could be, however, that EA are about to bowl us over with something special - which may be the only thing that fans have left to cheer come the final on June 20.
Download Cricket World Cup 99
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP