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Battle Chess Reviewed by Tom Lenting on . Rating: 10%
Battle Chess
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  • Review Score:

  • D-
In 1988, Interplay released Battle Chess for the Amiga. It's a game that helped emancipate chess as a video game. In Battle Chess the pieces are actually animated characters and when one piece takes another, a nice animation of them battling is shown. The game found its way to nearly every other platform, and in 1991 the original game was finally released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

Battle Chess (NES)

Unfortunately, porting Battle Chess to the NES was not a very good idea. This is easily one of the most horrible versions of Battle Chess I have experienced. The worst part is that this may actually be the slowest game I have ever played. All pieces move like they're stuck in clay and the unskippable fighting animations are even slower!

Beyond the lack of speed, Battle Chess's graphics also lack detail. The game is based on the original EGA editions, and the animations are tiny, blurry and not very clear. This is especially jarring if you've played the 'Enhanced' editions (as seen on PC and 3DO). Furthermore, there's no music besides on the title screen and the stamping sound of a moving piece will drive you insane.

Battle Chess (NES)

Another strange aspect about this NES edition is the hidden option screen. Instead of being selectable at the start menu, the options can only activated by pressing the select-button while starting a game. In this hidden screen (that has very annoying sound of two hovering angels that hold the option screen -- they sound like a badly scratched record) you can pick the difficulty setting (six levels), whether you want to play in 2D (without animations) or 3D and if you want to play against the computer or a human opponent. It's also possible to set up a board, take a move back or even let the computer suggest a move. So there are enough options to speak of, but it's not very likely you will have the patience to try them all in this extremely slow-paced game of chess.

Overall, this 8-bit port of Battle Chess is horrible. It's the slowest video game of all time -- probably even slower than a real professional chess game. Try to avoid it, especially if you have fond memories of the original on DOS or Amiga.
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