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Howzat W. C. Quest.

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Howzat World Cricket Quest by Mindscape appears to have been only released in Australia and New Zealand. I was kindly sent it by Ken Daniels who questioned my claim that World Cricket was the worst cricket game available.

Howzat World Cricket Quest is a arcade game based around limited over cricket. The 'Quest' is to win the ultimate One Day crown - The World Cup. A quick read at some of the features of Howzat World Cricket Quest make it sound very good. When bowling you control the line and length and can select from a variety of deliveries dependent on the bowler type. When batting you have a choice of 12 shots to play and can move freely about the crease to position yourself correctly for the shot. When fielding you have unique catching opportunities when the ball is hit in the air - judge it correctly and you make the catch, miss it and it goes for 6. You can edit the player details and add players of your own. Record performances are also saved.

When you start Howzat World Cricket Quest though it all starts to go wrong. The game has been developed used MacroMedia which just is not suited to an arcade style game. The first thing you notice is the player names which aren't real. They have been altered slightly from real names so you have Michael Tailor instead of Mark Taylor. There are also thumbnail photos of players but no attempt has been made to match them with player names. Sometimes they don't even get the skin colour correct.

The interface for Howzat World Cricket Quest is not at all intuitive. I still can not accurately work out how to continue a match from the main screen. Also sometimes the program gets confused and seems to think the mouse button is permanently down so as you move the cursor over selections it opens them up! The program also crashed several times - once even taking me back to my Windows logon screen.

When you do play the game the controls are very unresponsive. When bowling you can drag a box to indicate where to pitch the ball and select the type of delivery. You then click to start the run up and click again to bowl. This clicking does not seem to respond and I nearly always bowled a no ball no matter where I clicked. When batting you get to see where the ball will pitch and can move your batsman into position. When you select the key for your desired shot nothing seems to happen until the ball has passed or more often hit the stumps and then your batter plays the shot. The game was reviewed on a P400 with 128Mb ram so should not have had any performances problems!

The graphics are pretty poor. You get a closish view for bowling which changes to a more wide open view if the ball is hit. The shot speed and direction often don't match up when the view is switched. Fielders throw the ball back at the stumps at the speed of a bullet. The animations are jerky, the ball stops suddenly rather than coming to a gradual stop. The commentary is very repetitive. Nearly every time the ball is hit it is a magnificent or excellent shot. It is also inaccurate - shots hit off the middle of the bat struggle to reach mid off!

This is v2.0 of the Howzat World Cricket Quest. I can not imagine how bad v1.0 was. For a game released in 1997 it really is terrible. It may well have taken the prize of worst cricket game away from World Cricket. Avoid at all cost!

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Feedback received (my comments are in italics)

Send feedback about Howzat World Cricket Quest.

Timothy Glover said on 5 March 1999

Howzat WCQ is quite good now. It really looks boring once you play it for the first time but after that you get player's 50s and your team gets around 200+. It's better without sound I find. :)

Ray Skinner said on 19 October 1998

I too own this game (and live in NZ), there are a lot of problems with it (frequent crashes, bugs, etc). One of the annoying things or good depending, is the fact that if you bowl just right of the stumps you can get everyone out every time. So, its not uncommon to get 6 wickets in a over. The batting is awkward, the bowling an absolute nightmare, and fielding is a farce. The computer has names like; A. Duck,etc. The stats don't update properly or erase properly, and once you exit the game, the music keeps going. Just thought you'd be interested? This was sent before I had seen the game so I was not expecting much but was still very disappointed.

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Revised: Saturday, 16 March 2013.
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