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Battle Chess 1 logo  CU Screen Star

Electronic Arts
Price: £19.95

Battle Chess 1 C hess has always been considered an ideal game for a computer. It has the logic to make all the right moves, is completely unbiased, does not mind waiting while you think for hours on end and is always willing to tell you what your best move is.
There have been a lot of them, but for some strange reason, none of them have been remarkably successful, except maybe PSI Chess on the Spectrum, but that was mainly due to its large, hi-res representation of a chess board in 3D. Battlechess takes that 3D element, and takes it one stage further.

Battlechess is so called because the game you play is not so much the relaxing pastime originally though up by those incredibly clever Chinese people, but a war between the two sanctions of Blue and Brown sets of pieces in the familiar Isle of Lewis set.
The obvious attraction to this game is the fabulous graphics. Large, sharp and very colourful, every piece is both distinct and recognisable. The one thing that a still shot cannot portray is the action. It changes the standard chess terminology of ‘Pawn takes Knight’ to ‘Pawn takes Knight by kicking him hard in the groin’. You see, every time you make a move, the piece currently under control comes to life and walks to the chosen destination square. The knights, with their ‘jump to square’ moves, simply barge everyone out of the way in an effort to get to where they want to go. The queen glides, bottom waggling sumptuously, and the rooks (my favourite) transform from small castles into large rock giants reminiscent of Ben Grimm, stomp to their square, and transform back, all in three loads. Yes, unfortunately, rather than store the graphics sequences in memory, they are all held on disk, each loaded in when necessary. This does slow the game down quite a lot, but as this is a chess program, it does not really detract all that much.

The combat sequences are the best thing about this game. There are at least three sequences for every different kind of capture in the game (Pawn-Pawn, Pawn-Queen, Queen-Pawn etc.) and each one is guaranteed to bring at least a smile to your face. If not a little chuckle or two. The Pawn kicks the Knight in the family jewels to stop him galloping. The Knight freezes, drops his shield, turns to face out of the screen with his hands on the afflicted area, moans, and collapses stiffly (very much like our own Editor when he had an accident while putting his expensive leather jacket. I won’t go into details, but it involved the jacket swinging and a large amount of change in the pocket).

The King’s attacks are the best, however. For example, he pulls a gun on the bishops, gives a bomb to the knights, and hits the pawns with a set of nunchukas. All accompanied by some great sound effects.

Sooner or later, of course, you are going to get tired with all these nice graphics. What are you left with then? Fortunately, an excellent chess game, full of options (which are accessed by a drop-down menu in the shape of gilt scrolls, complete with accompanying cherubims, wings flapping like crazy!), Ten skill levels – enough to challenge any Grandmaster, complete configure board options, load/save game, 1 player, 2 player, 0 player or even Modem play as well as a full hint facility and the option to take back any number of moves, right back to the start of the game.
Maybe as a chess program it is not the best ever on the Amiga, but it is definitely the most interesting and certainly the most fun.

Tony Dillon

CU Amiga, November 1988, p.53


Battle Chess 1 logo

Electronic Arts, £24.95
Battle Chess 1 Nose Many years ago in a land far away, a great battle raged. Two great kingdoms clashed on their borders, trying to expand their own lands. Many losses were incurred by both sides. One day, one of the magicians of the land came up with a solution - one last battle to decide the ultimate ruler.

Representatives of both kingdoms were summoned to the final battleground. Both armies consisted of the king and queen themselves, two bishops, two knights, two guardian rooks and eight pawns. As the two sides faced each other across the misty plain, a crack of thunder sounded, followed by the mysterious appearance of a great chequered board.
The sound of the magician's voice echoed about the warriors: 'The final battle will be in the form of a chess game. All battles are to death using any powers at your command. The death of a king decides the outcome.'
The Red King decided the first move. With a clank of armour his warrior stepped forward…

Interplay's version of chess plays according to the standard rules of the game (forcing moves, en passant and castling) plus a wide range of additional options. These allow you to choose between a 'traditional' 2D or a 3D board (with cartoon animations), set up boards to play historic games, choose from a range of opening positions, and play against the computer at one of ten levels, against a human opponent or even via a modem.

Zzap! Issue 45, January 1989, p.98

Kati Hamza You might not think that watching Maff's rook take Gordo's pawn would be one of the funniest things to happen in ZZAP! Towers over the last few weeks - but, as usual, you'd be absolutely wrong. Not that I can blame you - I mean, the last thing you expect a chess program to be is funny. You can't really see very well in a still screenshot but this one definitely is - in fact, I had to tape my sides up with sellotape to hide the split (ho,ho). Let's face it, the main reason most people buy a computerised version of chess is because they can't always find someone to play with them when they want. Which means that the computer has to take over all those entertaining little things that your sister or your mate tends to do. It can't scratch its head or try to put you off by laughing at you, but it can do other things to cheer you up and Electronic Arts have made the most of that. This way you don't just get a really strong challenge (ten difficulty levels must be enough!) - you have a really good time as well!

Maff Evans Rockford: That boy is ill! Until I loaded this program, I hadn't played chess for years and I must say that this is a hell of a way to get back into the game! I reckon that even non-chess players will manage to get involved due to the incredible entertainment factor involved. The 3D graphics have to be seen to be believed! Static screens don't do the game any justice at all, since the graphics really come into their own in the animated battle sequences. Some of them are really funny (if a little gory). Even hardened chess players will find a great deal of challenge, as there are a lot of progressively harder levels to battle through (I can't even beat level one!). If you like chess, or even just like being entertained, then Battle Chess is definitely for you!

Gordon Houghton I think the best way to start this comment is to get right to the point: Battle Chess is dead good. There, I've said it. Now, what makes it dead good? Well, the obvious thing is the graphics. They're incredible! The definition on all the characters is outstanding and is only matched by the wonderful animation. Some of the battle sequences are very Python-esque (especially the dismemberment scene from The Holy Grail) and caused a great deal of merriment when the ZZAP! team first saw them. But, you might think, won't they get a bit boring after a while? Well, maybe - but if you don't want to watch the full-length animated version, you can always switch to the faster 2D option, which is still a good chess game in its own right. I think it's the best chess game available at the moment. Try it and see for yourself.

Loads of options and brilliant sequences make it a marvel to see.
Incredible use of colour, brilliant definition and amazing animation. What else can we say?
Not a great deal, but what there is, is sampled and of a very high quality.
Easier to get into than standard chess games due to the great entertainment value.
May become boring (as chess programs sometimes do) but if you're a chess fan you won't look back.
An astounding piece of entertainment software and a cracking good chess game to boot.

Battle Chess 1 CDTV logo  CDTV

INTERPLAY * £39.99

Battle Chess 1 CDTV This is a classic computer game and an obvious choice for the CD format. It's essentially a very simple chess game and, unlike some other chess games, it has very few options for changing the way you play: no ancient, historical versions of chess and no expert tutorials to add 'great master' expertise. Its gimmick, as the name suggests, is nice animation in which the pieces do battle and the taking piece defeats the other. It plays a very good game of chess, but it's a very aged game. A CD title might be expected to give more.

Verdict: 50%

Amiga Format, Issue 39, October 1992, p.36

Battle Chess 1 CDTV logo  CDTV

Battle Chess 1 CDTV Zurück in die Vergangenheit, zählt Interplays Urfassung des blutrünstigen Ritter-Schachs doch bereits stolze vier Lenze. Für die CD-Version dieses mittlerweile nicht mehr indizierten Spiels haben die Jungs tolle Soundtracks dazugestrickt, und die Einstellung der Preferences wird nunmehr über eine Pop Up-Box vorgenommen. Im übrigen kommt man mit der Bedienung problemlos zurecht, wobei sich die Spielstärke nach wie vor in Grenzen hält.

Aber die Würze des Programms liegt ja ohnehin in den animierten Kampfszenen, und hier kommen alte und neue Kriegsstrategen bei unveränderter Optik auf ihre Kosten: Der Turn stampft wie gehabt als wüster Golem übers Feld, während der King seine Widersacher mit den sattsam bekannten Tricks beharkt (z.B. Laserkanonen!). Damals wie heute ist die Luft raus, sobald man sämtliche Animationen gesehen hat, zudem überleben die Savestände den Zug am Netzstecker hier nicht. Battlechess ist somit alles in allem nix Besonderes .
(Interplay. ca 119,- DM).

Amiga Joker, October 1992, p.76

Battle Chess 1 CD32 logo  CD32

Hey, das erste Schach fürs CD32! Im Vergleich zu uralten Urversion hat Interplay dem Oldie hier ein paar Farben mehr spendiert, die witzig animierten Kampfsequenzen beim Schlagen wurden jedoch nicht überarbeitet. Dafür sind Sprachausgabe, Musik und sogar ein kleiner Schachlehrgang auf der Scheibe enthalten. Nur spielt das Programm halt immer noch recht schwach, zudem reagiert die Steuerung eher lahm. Schachmatt in 68 Prozent. (rl)

Amiga Joker, September 1994, p.77