Michael Vaughan's Championship Cricket Manager is an excellent cricket management simulation, coded single-handedly by Oli Norwell and published by Midas Interactive in Europe only. The thorough review at Cricketgames.com says it all about this indie underdog: |
"For the last few years the only cricket management game available has been the International Cricket Captain series from Empire. Now at last there is a new competitor on the block in the shape of Michael Vaughan's Championship Cricket Manager (from now on shortened to MVCCM) but how does it match up. MVCCM is the results of two years development by dedicated cricket fan Oli Norwell. His aim to write the cricket equivalent of the much loved soccer management game Championship Manager. This has always been my aim as well with Cricket Manager but Oli has beaten me to the punch.
Starting the game you have two options - Career Mode and Single Game. Selecting Career Mode you can choose your team and you can select from over 120 first class teams from all over the world. As you highlight each team its squad is shown with player batting and bowling ratings plus three team ratings Reputation, Wealth and Support. These gives you an idea of the abilities and aspirations of the club. The career mode actually starts from the start of the 2001/2002 season i.e. after the 2001 English season. Unfortunately this means post 2001 English squad changes are not reflected. Also the divisions are still set up for 2001.
When it comes to your turn to play a match you are first shown the current conditions for Weather, Hardness of Pitch and Grass. The toss is then called and only after the toss do you need to select your team. You can select your own 11 or get the computer to select the 'Best XI'. Selecting Assistant will make the computer play the match for you. The main in-game screens shows the current scorecard plus details of batting and bowling aggression. Clicking BOWL will show various mini icons that show the outcome of each delivery. Change of bowlers, batting milestones, partnership records, etc. are displayed in a dialog box. When batting you control how aggressive each batsman plays. When bowling you can set the aggression of the bowler and the length you want him to pitch the ball. You can also select fielding aggression from 6 different pre-set fields although no allowance seemed to be taken for fielding restrictions in the first 15 overs of a one day match. You can select 3 speeds for playing the match or at any time get the computer to take over and finish the match for you.
MVCCM is not as pretty to look at as ICC and for some people the lack of game highlights and fewer options whilst playing a match may be disappointing. Personally I don't find it a problem as I usually play ICC with graphics turned off. MVCCM has much faster screen updates and computer controlled matches. You can certainly play a complete season much faster in MVCCM if desired.
There are some features I thought would have been included in the game that are missing like coaching of players. It is probably the case they were partially implemented but had to be removed so the game could be released. Midas I know are already seriously considering a v2 so many other features could be included. For a first attempt though by a young programmer, MVCCM is a very creditable effort."
Reviewed by: Underdogs