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I don;t personally have a HSBC account but I have had much grief from my friends as they tell me how terrible and Illogical the service is. For starters, its a Friday night and u want to check out how much cash is in your account to see if you have enough to pay the phonebill on monday. For many banks and building societys this is not exactly a hard dask but somehow HSBC manage to mess this up on their systems. Their outdated cash machines only tell you your balance for the week before so that means whatever you put in you won't know until the next week what your balance is! Also, they aren't the simplest of banks either. Having limited time to be able to speak to an actual human, you'd think they'd want to make interaction with their clunky cash machines as user friendly as possible, however this does not seem to be the case. Unlike any other banks I know, in order to deposit your money with HSBC you still need to write out a pay in slip and pop it in the deposit envelope along with the cash. Call that efficiency? In my opinion HSBC have grown far too big and complacent to effectively respond to consumer demand. I;d strongly recommend people shop elsewhere such as Halifax and Nationwide, Nationwide offering 7% interest rates!!!
In today's free market economy where companies are forced to reduce internal costs to remain more competitive, due to the way the BBC is funded this is a constraint they can happily ignore. For too long the BBC have had the honour of a constant income no matter what their performance is or what people think of them, other channels are forced to find their own revenues so why cant the BBC. People may say that they prefer the luxury of TV without the commercials but if you think about it, commercials have a very practical use. They break down the program in to managable chunks, provide toilet breaks and most importantly for us Brits the chance to make a cup of tea. Knowing they have a government maintained monopoly over Britain's television broadcasting (not in providing content but in revenue streams) they can afford to keep internalized some of the services the public market and outsourcing could provide at a much lower cost. I think it's time the BBC had a reality check and were forced to provide their own revenues. In todays modern world government intervention is deplored, however the government can currently use the BBC as an outlet due to the BBC's dependence on the governments willingness to enforce the licence revenue on the British public. By forcing the BBC to become a real company we will truly be harnecing its power, making it independent aswell as profitable. The BBC will be forced to increase the quality of their broadcasts, listen to consumer demand and more importantly stop robbing us of our hard earned money!
You decide: With a theme which can only be classed as stolen, Big Brother is attempting to do for the mass market what Real World MTV did for teens. With its live video streams of the Big Brother house over the web it certainly has done some innovation of its own but with 56k access barely coping with the poorest quality streams perhaps the concept is a bit before it's time. More directly, Big Brother is stealing the attention from the now lacklustre series of daytime talk shows such as Sally Jessy, Jenny Jones, more thankfully Jerry Springer. So what do you think? Revolution or reinventing the wheel?
With its mind blowing clock speed of 200mhz and 800mbytes per second bus its no wonder this baby's so hot it needs a fan. Cool logo, chic design and excellent ergonomics, this beauty will make a lovely ornament infront of any wide screen TV. The first console in the world to support internet access this console delivers the same performance as WEBTV but cheaper! Although with the soon adoption of broadband technologies the dreamcast's internet may be a little slow its the present that counts! While the CPU’s 128 bit power generates amazing 3D worlds, the SH-4 also has the ability to communicate effortlessly with the Dreamcast’s modem, enabling lag-free on-line gaming, and Internet browsing and mail applications. Equipped with a GDRom (Gigabyte Disc) this console combines speed with emotive landscapes and characters. With its 4 joypads it will provide hours of fun for you and all your mates!
After the break up of Take That, everyone had their bets pinned on Gary Barlow as the most successful solo artist from the defunt band, and how wrong they were. Although Robbie's first 3 releases were relatively unsuccessful his career was turned around with the release of "Angels". This totally revolutionised people's image of Robby and he went from being the useless clown to the talented entertainer we all know him as today. His latest song is no exception, "Rock DJ". The intro has a hint of Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer" and combined with its catchy yet explicit lyrics and relaxing beat this is sure to evolve his career and public image to the same extent as "Angels" did so long ago. One thing is plain and simple, Robbie Williams is cool to listen to!
Having played all of the final fantasy series from the early days of the Nes to the modern playstation and PC formats I have failed to be disappointed yet. The latest spin off from squaresoft is a truly immersive experience and there will be atleast one character you can relate to. The rappor one develops with the characters is amazing in the Final Fantasy series and I find my own emotions changing to adjust those of the characters of the game. Squall is the main character, a somewhat fragile person who masks his vulnerability with a strong face. Take a 2 month journey with him and his friends as you make your way on a journey destined to fight the evil sorceress "Edea". The journey is full of twists and turns as you find out that Edea is infact the one who looked after you when you were in the orphanage, and is married to Cid, your headmaster. The game is truly amazing and it is far too difficult to express my opinion of it in words! For the PC the minimum processor I would recommend is a 300mhz based system with 64mb ram. A good 3D graphics card (16mb minimum) is essential!
Bundled with Office 2000, Outlook 2000 makes a great addition to your myriad of personal organisation utilities. It offers a vast range of features from calender, contact management, task lists and sticky notes. The product however, is a little unstable and uses lots of memory. Microsoft have never been good at prodiving cut down solutions and Outlook 2000 is no exception. On my 400mhz system with 96mb of ram Outlook takes quite some time to load up and occasionally still resides in the memory although it appears I have closed it. This is a common problem with the software and means that you could soon find all your resources being drained from your fingertips. One of the big advantages of the software is its "rules" feature which allows you to dynamically manage your incoming and received mail based on set criteria. This allows you to sort your email in to foloders "on the fly" and automatically delete what it detects to be junkmail using its in built algorithm. What this feature does lack from its "outlook express" counterpart is the ability to read newsgroups which is vital for many people so unless you know you are never going to need newsgroups then I wouldn;t recommend the upgrade from express to standard.
After upgrading from office 97 to office 2000 I never noticed a remarkable difference between word 97 and 2000 until I looked more closely in to how the program operates. One of the more discrete improvements in the program is in the way it is executed. Microsoft have designed this product to enable you to get typing right away and no sooner have you clicked the icon the typing buffer is open and everything you type appears in the document, no more waiting for programs to fully load anymore! Another improvement is the products ergonomics and customisation. The product learns to evolve to your demands and actions. Using a similar method as in Windows 2000, IE 5.5 and the rest of the Office 2000 product range it has adaptive menus. What this means for the user is that rather than showing you the whole range of menu items it "scrunches" the menu bars up so you can only see the things you have most recently used. This is an excellent time saving feature and will increase your productivity no end!
Owned by advertising.com, formerly Teknosurf.com; Getpaid 4 is one of the most legitimate pay 2 surf programs. Although their program doesn't exactly have the highest payout rate (avg. 48c/hour) this is mainly due to the nature of the program. Rather than being a simple "pay 2 surf" program like alladvantage for example, it is actually a "pay 2 do" program. What this basically means is that you aren't being paid to use the internet but you are being paid to do ANYTHING on your computer aslong as it involves moving the mouse atleast once every minute to remain "active". I have been payed by getpaid4 in the past and they offer a simple method of payment whereby you allow your credits to accumulate in your account then you "request" a cheque when you feel you have enough. Taking in to account the fact that this program only pays out in US$ you will almost certainly lose some of your earnings when you cash your cheques due to the currency conversion imposed by banks, and if ya dont then please tell me which bank you use :) The main disadvantage of their US$ cheques is that you sometimes have to wait up to 30 days for your money to be deposited in to your bank account although typically I find my bank, "halifax", deposits the money within 5 days. While getpaid4 do mess you around a little with their insistance on "upgrading" your viewbar all the time and server down time you may get a little enfuriated by their antics but apart from that I am safe in the knowledge I am dealing with a respectable company and can be sure I will receive my money.
Finally, The Rock has come back to Playstation!! Rock bottom, Pedigree, Tombstone, Stunner. If you know what these words mean, you are probably one of The Millions and Millions of wrestling fans. THQ has come out with WWF Smackdown, a title from the popular WWF prime time show. So are you hyped yet? You want to be a super star? On one side, representing all that is corrupt and evil is the current WWF champion, Triple H. He calls himself 'The Game' because he is the self-proclaimed reason why people tune in. On the other side is the people's champion, the Rock. With tons of catch phrases he yells to Triple H "You want to go one on one with The Great One?" The battleground is the dark parking lot in this 'Anywhere Fall' match. The premise is easy, bash your opponent with anything you get your hands on, execute killer moves, and make the pin anywhere. The two combatants tangle with Triple H getting the upper hand. He picks up the Rock and slams him on the parking lot. As the people's champ lies there Triple H grabs the leg and smashes the knee onto the blacktop. As the Rock staggers up he lunges forward and executes an Irish Whip, which propels The Game into the ambulance. An ambulance gurney tumbles out and the champ grabs it and pushes it right into the Rock's midsection. Triple H grabs the Rock and throws him through a doorway leading into the boiler room. With pipes on the ground, the Rock seizes an opportunity and smashes the lead pipes into the head of Triple H. Cowering from fear the WWF champion runs away through another room into the kitchen. The Rock goes in hot pursuit only to find an ambush. A big crate was waiting and greets the Rock right in the head. As they exchange blows back and forth they stumble into the entranceway. The fans erupt seeing the two warriors battling in out. They fight all the way to the ring where Triple H jumps and hits a flying knee. The Rock stands up in a groggy s
tate and Triple H smells victory. The WWF champion sets up the people's champion for his finisher, the Pedigree. Slammed down the Rock is in a daze. ONE!! The people are chanting Rocky!! Rocky!! TWO!! The Rock swings his leg to the rope one tenth of a second before the ref's hand goes down for the final time and breaks the 3 count. The Game thinks the contest is over and starts to taunt the crowd. The Rock stands up behind the unknowing champ, turns him around and executes the Rock Bottom. The Rock knows the win is in hand but there's one more thing he has to do. The Rock kicks the arm in, throws his elbow pad to the crowd, runs to one side of the ring, jumps across the carnage to the other side of the ring and delivers The Most Electrifying Move in Sports Entertainment Today. And you thought your working conditions was rough. Sound and Vision: The music background was good. It keeps pace with the action and fits well. I just wish they used more than one track because after playing a while the music gets repetitive. Also there is an awkward pause when it starts over and plays again. The strikes and grapple move sounds are what's expected in a wrestling game. The entrance music is true to life with actual sound bytes from their wrestling counterparts. The graphics were impressive. The wrestlers are big enough to see good detail. The polygons are smooth and add to the effect of a wrestling show when various camera angles zoom in at different moments in the match. Weapons are made in good enough detail to tell them apart. Backgrounds were appropriate with many different backdrops such as the ring, entranceway, kitchen, boiler room, and a parking lot.
========== New Intro: ========== _Very_ Nice. Gives brief intros for each of the returning characters. Heihachi crawls out of the pit, Michelle returns to her house to find it trashed, etc. Each character is given a reason for returning to the tournament. It is for the most part very clean FMV, with a bit of the trademark JPG edge distortion only on distance shots. Close-ups are all really clear though. ========= Graphics: ========= Better? The individual characters looked cleaner to me, but the backgrounds have a 2D backdrop. I know that the arcade did to some degree also, but it does seem a little flat on my monitor. The graphics are quite clean overall, and the chracter selection screens have all been preserved from the arcade version, so the purists should be happy. ============= Sounds/Music: ============= Both original and reorchestrated music is available in the option menu, and both are excellent. The sounds however seem fewer (just me?). Some of the characters seem to be making the same set grunts over and over. ========== New Modes: ========== Time Attack, Team Battle, and Practice Mode. Time Attack is pretty self explanatory, Team Battle allows you to pit your choice of 5 characters against an opponent's, and then there is Practice Mode. Practice mode is GREAT. Similar to SFA, it allows you to pick a character to play and an opponent (who takes no damage). During the practice there is a meter determining number of hits in a combo, a damge meter, and along the bottom of the screen there is a display showing you which buttons/D-Pad directions you have pressed. Each mode also has a feature in the pause menu which shows ALL of the moves for the character that you have chosen. ======= Bosses: ======= The bosses are obtainable in the style of Tekken 1 (i.e. each character has a sub boss who becaomes enabled after you complete the game). I was able to get everyone
with the exception of Roger/Alex, Kazuya, and Devil/Angel (for these I have no idea). =========== New Stuff?: =========== I didn't find any, but that doesn't mean that there isn't anything there. As with the other bosses (Kazuya, etc.) I will keep you guys posted. =) =========== Intro Game: =========== THERE ISN'T ONE! I was kind of disappointed. =( ============= Loading Time: ============= Nice and quick. 2 to 3 seconds tops.
Metal Gear Solid is the game that has been sending chills down the back of this industry for over two years. Konami leaked bits of information about it here and there, but there was no hiding the notion that Metal Gear Solid would be an adventure of epic proportions. Now, all the waiting has ceased, and the game is finally upon us. But does Metal Gear Solid live up to the years of hype? That really depends on your perspective. At its core, Metal Gear Solid is truly a lesson in stealth. Forget about running into rooms with your gun blazing, leaving nothing alive but an occasional rat. Here, living by the gun readily equates into dying by the gun. Why bother fighting the guards when you can just sneak around behind their backs, crawl along walls just out of the sight range of surveillance cameras, and hide behind boxes? Unlike most other games, Metal Gear Solid really knows how to tell a story. You, as retired supersneaky agent Solid Snake, must infiltrate a base that has been overrun by terrorists. These terrorists, however, are members of your old unit, a top secret organization known as Fox Hound. The hounders are sitting on a supersecret new weapon and enough nuclear warheads to send the planet back to the Ice Age. Your mission (no choice here - you're forced to accept) is to infiltrate the base carrying nothing but a pair of binoculars and a pack of smokes, check up on a couple hostages, find out if Fox Hound even has the ability to carry out its apocalyptic threats, and if it does, stop it. The storyline unfolds in a seemingly never-ending collection of cutscenes, all extremely well rendered using the game engine. The game doesn't need FMV to clog up the process (given the amount of time spent watching cutscenes, FMV probably would have made MGS a three- or four-disc game), although it does use video in a few isolated cases and uses it reasonably well.
The frequented slogan of EA Sports throughout the year's boasts, "If it's in the game, it's in the game!" Now football's millennium maestros continue their FIFA and UEFA branding with the official game of Euro 2000. Peripherals Support >Memory Card >Dual Shock >Multi-tap After the unfortunate incident that was FIFA 2000 a few months ago, many of the hardcore FIFA fans have turned towards the bright light of ISS Pro Evolution, so EA Sports will be hoping that the official licence is the tonic needed to re-establish their dominance. No one can argue that Euro 2000 isn't easy on the eyes, the polished look of the players and the inspiring size of the stadiums never fail to draw a gasp from those unfamiliar with the long-running series. Gimme Options Try as we might, it has become impossible to avoid comparing any new football game to the pinnacle of PlayStation football: ISS Pro Evolution. But unlike other efforts, the FIFA series (and now Euro 2000) has many positive and enjoyable aspects to enhance your football pleasures. Motty, Lynam and Lawrenson return to add the authentic air of commentary to the proceedings, whilst all the familiar options return. A beginners guide to the game appears in the form of the Skill Drill. Experienced players will find this an empty inclusion, but newcomers to the fast and furious arcade pace may like to learn some skills before venturing onto the field of play. Other modes include the standard Friendly game, the official Euro 2000 championships, a token Challenge mode and the lets-try-and-fit-one-more-useless-mode-in Golden Goal match. As the EA football dynasty rolls on indefinitely, Euro 2000 struggles to provide spanking new methods of approaching the football genre – the only thing that changes is the menu design! Unfortunately for football fans, the player transfer system that was undoubtedly the most entertaining ‘off-field' mode
plays no part in this EA Sports presentation. Thus, the most positive motivation to buy this latest title is absent (without leave!). Gimme Gameplay Unforgivably there are two major deterrents with Euro 2000 's gameplay. The first is the lack of fluid motion: the obvious tendencies for the game engine to slowdown is fraught with disappointment and neglected playability. The most unforgivable disincentive is the severe slowdown that occurs when attacking the opponents goal: enter the penalty box and it feels (and looks) like the keeper's area is filled with water, as you find yourself struggling to come to terms with a sharp aquatic dip in frame rate. Although the regular inclusion of substitutions, set piece and bookings FMV remains a pleasant sight, it's obviously hard for the developers to find exciting and innovative ways of designing the game. The all-too-familiar phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" suitably fits the marketing bill, especially if the public returns for more. The promotions team could no doubt convince the world that Paul Gascoign is in the prime of his sporting life.
Since the release of Resident Evil, Capcom have dominated the market in third-person perspective games and Dino Crisis marks the latest addition to the genre they have mastered. Cleverly the developers at Capcom make their games feel like late '80s action movies. Characters are very stereotypical and, while an edge of suspension hangs over you, the action comes thick and fast. But the problem with many of Capcom's games is they all play exactly the same and, unfortunately, this is the case with Dino Crisis. If you've played Resident Evil or Silent Hill I think you'll be disappointed with this venture into Lost World territory. The story is based on a team of Special Forces who go to repatriate a scientist called Dr Kirk - thought to have died in his remote island laboratory three years ago, but having now resurfaced on another island. You play Regina, the heroine of the game, and along with the macho Gail and Rick - a man most likely to say "Leave me here to fight!" while mortally wounded - must complete the mission. You might have guessed that not everything goes to plan. In fact, as soon as you start out, you instantly lose a member of your team to a T-Rex. Swiftly on, and soon you are running and dodging Velociraptors. The control system is the same as Dino Crisis' predecessors, but even if you're new to the games you should be able to pick it up within about 20 minutes of picking up the joypad. Since the release of the 1993 film Jurassic Park the dinosaur of choice has been the Velociraptor and Dino Crisis doesn't disappoint - which is a shame because I'm sure there are hundreds of dinosaurs that can fit into rooms and are equally as dangerous. Deja Vu is a problem that reverberates around the game. The sense that you've seen it all before, washes over you, while you are playing the game. Silent Hill mastered suspense and expertly built
tension as the game progressed, but while there is a certain shock aspect to Dino Crisis when confronted by one of its man-eating monsters, there is no foreboding sense of danger as you make your way through the levels. Music is suitably moody but does not control the player's sense of apprehension or get them excited when the action starts. The sound effects are done well, but again, there are so many variations of what a handgun sounds like in games it's hard to know how the real thing should sound. Combat is difficult in Dino Crisis - real ammunition is in short supply, while tranquilliser darts are in abundance, the problem with the darts is they only make the dinosaurs you shoot fall unconscious for a short while. The puzzles in the game are the best part, which probably says something about Dino Crisis. The solutions are all very intuitive and the answers are there on the screen for you to see. You'll figure them out long before you get tired of the game and then wonder why you didn't see the solution before. Dino Crisis' graphics are passable – the team hasn't really pushed the Playstation to its limit, but the animations of the dinosaurs are really convincing. The way the baby Velociraptors bounce along and the Pterodactyl swoop in for the kill seems to match the way we expect them to move. The over-the-shoulder viewing angle generally works well, but sometimes the camera pans to such an angle that it makes it hard to steer Regina across the terrain. In one instance where you are on a cliff-side and the camera slowly drops to ground level making it hard to get round the corners and away from the dangerous dinosaurs in pursuit. The game's designers must have thought this would add to the tension but you can't help but feel they are actually trying to cheat and kill you. Occasionally the AI is a bit strange with Velociraptors repeatedly banging their heads
off force fields in an attempt to get at you and the tactics they supposedly use when they hunt in packs is never really displayed. The Cut-scenes involving the dinosaurs are exciting to a certain degree, but it just doesn't work when the designers use point-of-view shots to try to fool you into wondering whether it's human or dinosaur. Overall Dino Crisis isn't the great leap forward we all hoped for. It's more of a straight to video film, rather than a blockbuster destined to spend eight weeks in the cinema. Dino Crisis isn't up to the quality of the games Capcom have provided us with before. Without the fantastic use of camera and building suspense that kept us on the edge of our seats in the original Resident Evil, it falls flat on it's face and seems like a pointless shooting game with a few good puzzles. If you're a newcomer to the series you might just like Dino Crisis, but for the hardened gamer it just doesn't quite hit the mark.
Among the vast array of sports games now available for the Playstation, cricket is an area that is sadly depleted. However, I have to admit that although I'd only usually attend a test match to drink copious amounts of lager while catching the rays, Codemasters' Brian Lara Cricket really captured my interest with a superb debut performance. Now ready to accept the challenge, EA Sports has entered the oval to challenge Codemasters, with another addition to their 2000 sports range. Will EA be able to deliver the consistently high standard of play, characteristic of the Australian team or perhaps sink to an all too familiar sub-standard English performance? Without further ado, let's head out to the crease. Within the menu system, EA's familiar crisp presentation greets you, offering the options of a quick match, a friendly match, world cup tournament or super 6 tournament. Quick start game randomizes team and ground selection and as such is ideal for those who want to head straight into the action, without any hassle. Friendly match lets you match up any of the 12 nations, which are ranked according to batting, bowling, fielding and overall ratings. The main event in the cricket calendar is obviously the world cup, where in the game, up to 12 humans can control a competing nation, or allow the computer to control the remaining teams. Teams are -split into two groups, as in the real thing and only the top three nations within each will progress onto the super 6 tournament. This provides an ideal opportunity to rewrite the records as far as England is concerned. Finally, the super 6 tournament can be attempted without having to play through all of the group matches. Firstly, you have to select the teams to compete, which again is ideal if you're an England or Scotland fan. Within the actual tournament, all of the teams have to play each other, with the top two progressing on to pla
y in the final. In game options are plentiful and cater for even the most avid cricket fan. The computer pre-selects a first XI, or if you prefer to drop the inconsistent players like Graeme Hick for example, then you can choose your ideal starting line-up. Before a match, players are informed of crucial information, such as the type of pitch, current and predicted weather conditions, which certainly helps when choosing your bowling attack. I especially liked the variation of lighting, which can prove to be a nightmare when batting. Of course, the traditional coin toss decides which team will bat first, which can be a vital strategic decision, depending upon the weather conditions. Field settings can be adjusted at the end of each over to ensure that batsmen are given a hard time and hopefully forced into making unnecessary errors. It's a bit unfortunate that you can't individually position fielders on the Playstation version, as the computer does tend to have favoured shots, which I'm sure would have formed the basis for some ideal outfield traps. The all important gameplay is sadly not up to the high standards set by Brian Lara Cricket, even though much has been borrowed from the game. Bowling requires less skill, where the aiming circle remains still until moved instead of constantly moving from side to side. Although this was initially annoying in Brian Lara Cricket, after a while I really began to appreciate the difference between a ball travelling along the perfect delivery line as opposed to a poor delivery, which could be smashed away to the covers. In Cricket 2000, I simply couldn't replicate the same sense of achievement and the computer seemed to have a field day with almost all of my deliveries. Also there are certain deliveries that the computer just doesn't seem able to cope with. For example, using a spin bowler, if you bowl short with low power and a touch of spin, the computer always s
trays onto the back foot and refuses to play the shot. This provides a great, although stupidly unrealistic way of ensuring that no runs are conceded. I much preferred the greater range of deliveries that you could use to fool the batsman, especially the unpredictable slower ball, which is something that simply isn't possible here. At the other end of the crease, batting is immediately challenging, which means that you're thrown straight in at the deep end, as there is no practice mode. Especially disappointing is the difficulty of executing your ideal shot. You basically have to decide which shot you're going to play before the ball has even been bowled and if your timing is not absolutely spot on, then you'll completely miss the ball and probably the next thing you'll see is the umpire's raised finger! I much preferred the system within Brian Lara Cricket, which was simple to pick up and play, but against harder bowling attacks, practice really paid off, as you would feel comfortable playing defensive if necessary. Also, although the big hitting slog shot can be accessed by pressing the circle button, I simply didn't get the same sense of achievement or feeling of really cracking the ball, as I did with the Codemasters' game. Fielding is controlled by the computer, although you can decide which end the ball is thrown to by holding a direction on the control pad. At times, I was left pondering if the computer had a wager going, when all too often my players would run out of the way of the ball and simply didn't seem interested in trying a spectacular catch. If it does all become too much to handle, you can always ask the computer to automatically generate the match result, although don't expect to win via this method because it simply won't happen. Graphically, Cricket 2000 is a respectable representation of the field of play, with plenty of attention paid to true to l
ife stadia replications even if the crowds suffer from the steam-roller flat textured effect. Players bear slight resemblances to their real life counterparts, although all appear to be missing their necks, which made me wonder if Gladstone Small had been used to complete all of the motion-capturing. The ugly sight of a field of blockheads is also evident when the camera gets in close to the action. Although the game boasts an impressive 500 motion captured moves, bowlers do tend to jerk along, especially in spin bowling and it appears that quite a few of the action frames have been taken out. This really spoils the opportunity for some smooth animation. On the other hand, EA's high standard of presentation menus excel in this game, helping to make changes like field settings and the multitude of camera angles, simple and clear to understand for those who are not fanatics of the sport. The ever popular Richie Benaud introduces the action, including an all-important pitch inspection report, while David Gower chips in comments, most of which are well timed and relate well to the action. Unfortunately, the game only supports up to 2 human players in one particular match. The four player mode within Brian Lara's Cricket was by far one of my favourite modes of play and so the absence of the same option here, further degraded my opinion of this title. My only other annoyance regards the positioning of the batsman when taking a shot. While it's possible to shuffle down the crease and attempt to slog the ball to the boundary, if you miss, your player remains stationary instead of attempting to avoid being stumped. This can cause many unnecessary wickets to fall, but I suppose you could always claim that at least this helps you to keep your concentration. Overall, EA's debut performance in the cricket game arena is somewhat disappointing. This is largely down to the standard of gameplay, which
fails to match that of Codemasters' Brian Lara Cricket. Die-hard cricket fans may love the rewards achieved through sheer persistence to master all of the shots, but for the majority of us, this will prove too frustrating. For a sport that may not appeal directly to the masses, the gameplay has to be absolutely top-dollar, for the game to capture the limelight and sadly this doesn't (just play Tony Hawk's Skateboarding if you don't believe me!). No doubt EA will be back next year with Cricket 2001, which I hope will be a vast improvement.