The most challenging game on earth comes to life in Battle Chess. An entire medieval world at war is reflected on the checkered field.
Everyone who’s ever had a knight take a pawn has seen that capture as more than one piece replacing another on the board. In players’ minds, the bold knight, resplendent in his armor of silver or ebon, sallies forth and slays the foul footsoldier. Combat, mortal combat, is the heart and soul of chess, but this aspect of it can only live in the mind’s eye … until now!
Battle Chess is a video game version of chess in which the chess pieces come to life and battle one another when capturing. It was originally developed and released by Interplay Entertainment for the Amiga in 1988 and subsequently on many other systems, including 3DO, Acorn Archimedes, Amiga CD32, Amiga CDTV, Apple IIGS, Apple IIe, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, FM Towns, NES, Mac OS, PC-98, Sharp X68000 and Windows 3.x. In 1991, Battle Chess Enhanced was released by Interplay for the PC, featuring improved VGA graphics and a symphonic musical score that played off of the CD-ROM.
Battle Chess was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, resulting in two official follow-ups as well as several inspired games. Its remake, Battle Chess: Game of Kings, is currently under development by Subdued Software for Interplay.
Since there are six types of pieces for each color, and a king cannot capture a king, there are 35 battle animations. The rook, for example, turns into a rock monster and kills a pawn by smashing his head. Some battle sequences like knight versus knight, or king versus bishop, are direct references to the black knight fight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the short battle between Indiana Jones and a swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark, respectively.
The game can be also played in a 2D version with no animations, and the Amiga CDTV version features a fully voiced introduction describing the movements of the pieces for the benefit of beginners. Digitized sound is utilized in the DOS version for all battle sound effects and is played through the PC speaker, without the need for a sound card, using a technique akin to RealSound.
Battle Chess could be played against a human opponent (by hotseat, or by null modem or over a local area network in some ports) or against the computer’s artificial intelligence (AI). The game has an opening library from over 30,000 moves (which were not available for the Commodore 64 and Apple II versions).