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The original Brian Lara Cricket for the PlayStation is still spoken of in hushed tones by gaming cricket fans today. It's not even unknown for them still to play it on occasion. The game, developed by Audiogenic Software, was the by far the best cricket game of its time in an admittedly oft-neglected genre. A large roster of real players, a selection of 'scenarios' inspired by real life matches, a good range of strokes and deliveries and charming commentary provided by the inimitable Geoffrey Boycott made for a strong package, and the game was certainly solid enough to become something of an obsession. Since those heady days, the only cricket games on the market have been those published by EA. They are developed by HB Studios, the CEO of which is Jeremy Wellard, who worked with Audiogenic on their cricket games through the nineties. The games owe much to BLC, but perhaps have not improved as much as you might have hoped. The most significant developments have been the differentiation between shots played off the front and back foot, and the engagement of Richie Benaud as commentator. EA have been performing to a captive audience though - if you wanted a cricket game you had to buy theirs. Now things are about to get interesting with the revival of the Brian Lara franchise by Codemasters.
Ten years since the first release of a Brian Lara game, the West Indian captain is still arguably the greatest batsman on the planet, and not shy of pulling out a few centuries. Once again he lends his name to the game, which offers the experience of cricket in both its One Day International and Test forms. There are tournaments to participate in too, as well as double wicket quick matches. Courtesy of the ICC, the game gets the official ICC World Cup tournament as well as the ICC Champions trophy, with real players wearing the official one day pajamas, and playing on pitches at real life cricket grounds. Commentary also comes as standard, and is laid on courtesy of the silver-tongued Jonathan Agnew and the silver-haired David Gower. This release which should be welcomed if only for the competition it brings to the console cricket market.