Battle Chess (Electronic Arts) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Battle Chess
By Interplay
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #45

Battle Chess

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 the 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 chess 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.


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 "Pythonesque" (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.


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!


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!


Presentation 94%
Loads of options and brilliant battle sequences make it a marvel to see.

Graphics 96%
Incredible use of colour, brilliant definition and amazing animation. What else can we say?

Sound 70%
Not a great deal, but what there is is sampled and of a very high quality.

Hookability 91%
Easier to get into than standard chess games due to the great entertainment value.

Lastability 83%
May become boring (as chess programs sometimes do) but if you're a chess fan you won't look back.

Overall 85%
An astounding piece of entertainment software and a cracking good chess game to boot.