Battle Vs. Chess Preview

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 9th Oct 2011

Battle vs Chess

If you are a veteran gamer you will remember a game called Battle Chess that was originally released on the Commodore Amiga, with release quickly following on 3DO, Acorn Archimedes, Apple IIgs, Apple Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Windows 3.x -- basically every viable gaming system in existence at the time. The reason for that very wide platform release has more to do with the fun-factor of the game than it does the fact that it was computer chess. After all there were plenty of free chess games you could download from BBS's in that pre-Internet age...

No, what it was -- and this is quickly obvious once you hear it -- was the fact that the pieces executed animated attack moves (hence the name Battle Chess) like slicing and dicing the opponents piece, or the Rook turning into a Rock Monster to kill a Pawn. And then there was the pop-culture references that they built into the game, like the Knight versus Knight or King versus Bishop battle sequences that were direct references to the black knight fight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), or the short battle between Indiana Jones and a swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

The truly unique thing about the game is that it could be played against a human opponent either by shifting controls, but also by null modem from machine to machine or even by local area network in some ports, as well as against the computer's artificial intelligence. It was a fair bit ahead of its time and that is one more reason why it was so well received.

It should be understood that Battle Vs. Chess is neither the actual or spiritual successor to Battle Chess -- in fact Interplay plans to release an updated version for iOS and PC some time in 2011 -- and entered litigation to prevent the release of Battle Vs. Chess, which did indeed delay its release, which was originally scheduled for May of 2011. Now it is scheduled for a Fall release, tentatively planned for October 2011 but TBA. We mention this because litigation does not mean done, and to be fair, since we had the opportunity to preview Battle Vs. Chess at this year's E3, and we are very familiar with the original Battle Chess, we do not believe that the litigation will prevent its eventual release.