Cricket 97 is one of the most highly underrated sports games of its time. When I was a kid I remember playing it for hours on end, hooked on its unique play style. The objectives of the game are simply that of winning a game of cricket. There are many game types, with test matches and one day matches being the frontal gameplay area in the game. You can take control of any of the world sides, although unfortunately as they have been unable to attain copyright on player names they use fictional players with their own stats.
Player statistics influence how they play, and where in the games 3 facets, batting, bowling and fielding they excel the most.
What I enjoy most about the game is the freedom. You can choose to bowl from anywhere in your run up, there is a wide selection of shots and you can place your fielders anywhere, and I mean anywhere. You can also put anyone anywhere in your batting order, and scoring runs, once mastered, is not particularly difficult. It is always highly entertaining watching your number 11 batsman hit a 100. The tactics involved for a game of its age are immense, and you really have to out think your opponent. Unfortunately, there are some exploitations. It is possible for your fielder
to grab the ball and run away from the stumps, initiating the trigger in the outfield causing the computer to make his batsmen run. Then, as all throws in the game are direct hits, runouts are commonplace. However in the games excellent two player game type you can avoid the exploitation tactics all together.
Another somewhat hilarious aspect of the game is the movies. The two commentators are both completely idiotic, and constantly say stupid things to amuse the player. Also, the movies of batsmen getting out are particularly badly acted, and I can sense perhaps that the movies are included for camp value, much like those of Red Alert II for a more recent example. However the movies add a sense of depth to the game, and make it feel like you are really getting out, unlike the animated cinematics in the recent EA Cricket games.
Overall, I think this game is a diamond in the rough. It has its faults, sure, but when it comes down to solid gameplay and enjoyment value, I rate it 9/10. I really hope you enjoy this game as much as I did!