Sunday, January 16, 2011

Remembering and revisiting "Battle Chess"

Battle Chess for the NES was the only cool way to play the game back in the early 90's. I remember  a friend getting this for his birthday and at first he wasn't too excited. After a few friends and I convinced him it would be fun, he then had a bit of curiosity about it. It was kind of slow and clunky but it had a special appeal. The coolest part was the battle sequences when you'd capture a piece.

 The box art is great and when I first saw it I was instantly excited to play the the game. As a young kid Chess was always intriguing and I desperately wanted to learn how to play the game well. After reading the manual we played for hours and mastered how to haphazardly play a game.
      The characters were well drawn for an 8-bit game and once we got into it the fun would last hours on end. I really liked the movement of the characters and how they would interact during a capture/battle. Each capture was different depending on the piece in power and the captured piece. For instance, if the Queen captured a Pawn, it would be different than if the Queen captured a Bishop, etc.
Revisiting the game now it's still a little slow, but if I have the patience for it, it's always a fun way to play a round of Chess.

The battle sequences always take place outside or inside a castle and they never ceased to impress. Going through it now it reminds me a bit of Mortal Kombat. Capture sequences include dismembering and morphing into a dragon right before a kill.

 I think the Queen was the most ruthless because when she would knock the Knight down after battling she would turn into a dragon and torch him to a burnt up pile of dust.

A very useful option built into the game was to just make the game run like the traditional board game with nicely drawn pieces. This is much faster and adds to the replay value. This part reminds me of The Chessmaster for NES.
If you ever find Battle Chess for for a fair price I would say it's a worthy add to any NES collection. Even when complete in box, this favorite of nerds and chess geeks alike goes for under twenty dollars. Loose you're only looking at about three to five bucks.
If anything it's a worthy chess trainer if you want to hone your skills (or lose 6 times out of 10 like I do).

This one hasn't made it to Virtual Console  on Wii yet so you have to have an NES hooked up to enjoy this one in all it's glory.  Not as nice as The Chessmaster for SNES, but still a great addition into any classic game collection. There's also tons of versions for other computers and consoles. Anything from the Commodore 64 to the 3DO. As a last point for any serious Chess players out there, this cart can handle Castling just fine, but doesn't like the classic "En Passant" Pawn move.

1 comment:

  1. hi Lucas. I know this is off topic. but you may know something that will help me.

    in about 1958 I had a plastic mechanical robot that you manipulated with a hand inside it.

    I'll keep searching with various terms on eBay and cannot find one.

    do you recognize this and if you do do you know the name and maker of the toy?

    I'm not a collector its just there are a few things from my past I'd like to replace.

    wade ryan

    thanks Lucas