Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Half Ashes

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Sport: fine legs and silly sods.

Oh wow, I’m so pleased my excessive bleating about there being too many football games has paid off – this year’s CGC finally has a cricket game.  It’s an especially well timed one too, because at the time of writing England are about to launch the most heroic sporting comeback resulting in them winning the 2013/14 ashes 3-2.  The Half Ashes is here to help us celebrate this historic victory to come.

Programmed in C, and like so many of Steve’s other CGC games, this has so much to it.  Going by most people’s standards T.H.A. is a crap game, mainly as the graphics are simple but I would say the spectrum’s palette was heaven sent for a cricket game.

You take control of the fielding side, and unsurprisingly have to bowl out 10 batsmen within 30 (rather unorthodox) overs.  At first glance the keys appear a little unwieldy but bearing in mind you need to control 11 men they are actually excellent once you get to grips with them.  Once you have set (your ideally unorthodox) field you get to the task of bowling, the speed and aim of the ball can be regulated by bowler position and the rate you toggle keys ‘C’ and ‘M’.  It is possible to get a batsman out in the usual ways, run outs being most common, then being bowled, followed by catching least.

Cricket is not everyone’s cup of tea, so for those people The Half Ashes will be just as tedious as the long Wednesday afternoons spent standing around playing pocket billiards on the boundary during P.E.  But for people who enjoy such a profound game as cricket it’s a real treat.  As said, there is so much to it – setting fields, getting the ball right, stopping the ball hitting the boundary.  Absolutely fascinating, and I will keep returning to this game.

At least I would, if it was a bit more stable.  I managed to make it return to BASIC (Out of Memory Error) and crash over about 1 hours play.  So Steve has just about saved face with these rather irritating flaws.  But if he sorts the bugs and gives it a bit more polish (starting with a nice wicket clattering noise), this would probably be the best cricket game for the Spectrum ever!

Thank you Steve, and as Geoffrey Boycott so often says:

My Grandmother coulda programmed that wi' a stick o' Rhubarb.”

Download TAP here.
Download support files(remote link)
Download my RZX playing it,until the unfortunate ending.

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