CRICKET is a game which countless programmers have attempted to computerise but failed miserably. This offering from Bug Byte is yet another such failure.

The game can either by played by two humans or as a man against machine contest. You can also decide whether to play over 10, 20 or 40 overs. The screen displays a view of the cricket pitch along the wicket from the bowler's end. The characters are large, chunky and consist of four fielders, two batsmen, the bowler and a wicket keeper.

When playing against the computer, you will always bowl first. You position the bowler behind the wickets and press the Spacebar. He will then pitch the ball at the batsman who will invariably hit it. You are allowed a choice of three types of bowler - slow, fast and spinner. A spinner will curve in flight as would be expected. However, it also curves when hit by the batsman and when thrown at the wickets by the bowler - odd eh?

When the ball has been struck, it will be fielded by one of your carefully positioned team mates. He then throws the ball back to the bowler. If the opposing batsmen have not finished running you can throw the ball at the far wickets. Should the ball strike the stumps before the batsman has reached the crease then he is out.

One annoying feature of the game is the way that if batsman and ball reach the wickets at the same time he will turn around and hit the ball. It's as though the program thinks you have just bowled a new ball. And while on the subject of irritations, on numerous occasions when the ball was being fielded the display reverted to the scoreboard. Pressing "C to continue" from the scoreboard allows you to carry on from the exact point at which the game was interrupted. Why this happens is a mystery to me.

The next bug came to light on my turn to bat. I struck the first couple of balls that were bowled my way and the bowler seemed to lose interest. My partner and I kept on running and nobody stopped us. Eventually I stopped and waited to face another ball but no amount of key-pressing could coax the bowler back to life.

Without the bugs the game would have been nothing special. With them, it is a complete washout.