Artic have made claims in the past to being the producers of the best computer chess games for the Spectrum - it's obviously a matter for argument! Death Chess 5000 is a novel departure from the chess format and certainly no ordinary chess game as it incorporates arcade sequences within the framework of normal chess. For a start off the chess board, although traditional, has quite different looking pieces.
Pawns are represented by tanks, kings and queens resemble lethal looking missile combinations, bishops look like high powered science fiction wind surfers, only knights and rooks are instantly recognisable. In all respects the strategy and rules of chess apply. But what makes Death Chess 5000 really different is that when you challenge the computer's pieces or vice versa the screen cuts to an arcade sequence. Winner of the arcade game retains status quo on the board. So, if you move to take a computer operated piece, before you can you must fight it out. The computer may win, in which case you will loose your challenge piece instead.
There are six different games. Pawn takes pawn: you must drive your tank forward to save the city whilst avoiding the bombs raining down from an over-flying helicopter. Bishop takes bishop: escape from the vaults of the enemy avoiding the ghosts. Knight takes knight: hit the enemy horsemen before they reach your edge of the screen. Rook takes rook: scale a tower avoiding the falling barrels of oil. Queen takes queen: navigate the star trench and hit the enemy flagship. Piece takes different piece: shoot through the galactic barrier to hit the opposing ship.Additionally it is possible to select a normal game of chess without the arcade sequences. On either game there are seven levels of play from 0 to 6. The easiest level replies in 2 seconds, level 4 in five minutes and levels 5 and 6 play a strong game and take a long time. Input is with the traditional chess notation. In the straightforward chess mode Death Chess will recommend a move if desired. Castling is allowed with the King's move entered, and capturing en passant by pawns. Games may be saved or sent to hard copy if you have a printer.