Review - Battle Chess

Have you recently played a 3DO Multiplayer game? Want to write a review? Post it here!

Moderators: Devin, Bas, 3DOKid

Post Reply
User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Review - Battle Chess

Post by Trev » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:49 pm

Image

Most everyone knows what chess is, so what exactly puts the “battle” in this 3DO port of an old pc game? Well, the pieces in this game are represented by humans (with the exception of the rook who is some kind of strange rock monster :? ) And when a piece is captured from the board the game zooms in as the characters get into a short, but very amusing, fight for survival.

Of course the rules of chess still apply, so the captured piece will always lose. It is certainly worth seeing all the various combinations of fights though, as each piece reacts differently depending on the piece they confront. Again these are really quite funny, especially when the losing piece knows that they are done for (ex - check out the knight vs. knight for some classic Monty Python type humor :P ) After you have seen all the battle combos though, they do start to grow a bit stale. At that point you might think about switching to the 2d view which makes for a much quicker game. It also makes mistakes less likely thanks to the far less awkward viewing angle.

ImageImage

This game, though enhanced, is far from an example of 3DO power graphically, but the improved music and sound effects are noticeable. Fans of classical music will likely appreciate the pleasant background track (although the repetition has the potential to annoy during long games) Each piece has their own individual tune also which is a nice touch. The grunts of the combatants and the clashing of their weapons are quite clear too.

Along with a thorough instruction booklet, the game also includes a helpful tutorial which is great for newbies. A save option is available for lengthy game as well, and is a feature that will surely be made use of. All the usual chess options that have becomes standard over the years are present too, and I really could not think of anything in particular that was missing. One note ... even on the novice setting the cpu is quite challenging, so chess rookies may have a tough go at it.

The engine in Battle Chess is strong enough for the serious player, and the gimmicky but entertaining fights are enough to draw in the more casual ones. What more can I say … its chess. A pretty solid game for what it is. I suggest grabbing it in the Maniac Pak ... it's worth owning. :)

Image

-Trev

User avatar
zook1981
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:22 pm

Post by zook1981 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:03 pm

Dude I love this game. Been playing it since the PC days back in the very early 90s! 8)

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:31 pm

zook1981 wrote:Dude I love this game. Been playing it since the PC days back in the very early 90s! 8)
Same here. In my computer class in middle school we had one day each week where we could play games. I would usually rush for Battle Chess.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
zook1981
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:22 pm

Post by zook1981 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:58 pm

Trev wrote:
zook1981 wrote:Dude I love this game. Been playing it since the PC days back in the very early 90s! 8)
Same here. In my computer class in middle school we had one day each week where we could play games. I would usually rush for Battle Chess.
Yea I can't stand Chess, and suck at it, but I can always play Battle Chess. To make it more enjoyable, I either play the computer or I play against another human but I control both player 1 and player 2 LOL. I just like the death moves. :twisted:

User avatar
JohnnyDude
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 261
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:56 am

Post by JohnnyDude » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:58 am

zook1981 wrote:
Trev wrote:
zook1981 wrote:Dude I love this game. Been playing it since the PC days back in the very early 90s! 8)
Same here. In my computer class in middle school we had one day each week where we could play games. I would usually rush for Battle Chess.
Yea I can't stand Chess, and suck at it, but I can always play Battle Chess. To make it more enjoyable, I either play the computer or I play against another human but I control both player 1 and player 2 LOL. I just like the death moves. :twisted:
Heck, I thought it was boring. I like regular chess "enough". Pawns die too frequently for this to hold interest! And the computer sometimes took forever to move!

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:03 am

JohnnyDude wrote: Heck, I thought it was boring. I like regular chess "enough". Pawns die too frequently for this to hold interest! And the computer sometimes took forever to move!
It's true that the cpu in Battle Chess isn't always the quickest. That said, having played several video game versions of chess, I didn't find it too bad. It allows you extra time to think ahead and plan your moves, and really chess is a slow paced game anyway.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
JohnnyDude
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 261
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:56 am

Post by JohnnyDude » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:13 am

Trev wrote:
JohnnyDude wrote: Heck, I thought it was boring. I like regular chess "enough". Pawns die too frequently for this to hold interest! And the computer sometimes took forever to move!
It's true that the cpu in Battle Chess isn't always the quickest. That said, having played several video game versions of chess, I didn't find it too bad. It allows you extra time to think ahead and plan your moves, and really chess is a slow paced game anyway.
Hmm. Well, come to think of it, I'm probably thinking of the Intellivision version I played. I remember that one even came with a printed warning about how the computer may take hours if set to the highest difficulty!

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:16 am

JohnnyDude wrote:
Trev wrote:
JohnnyDude wrote: Heck, I thought it was boring. I like regular chess "enough". Pawns die too frequently for this to hold interest! And the computer sometimes took forever to move!
It's true that the cpu in Battle Chess isn't always the quickest. That said, having played several video game versions of chess, I didn't find it too bad. It allows you extra time to think ahead and plan your moves, and really chess is a slow paced game anyway.
Hmm. Well, come to think of it, I'm probably thinking of the Intellivision version I played. I remember that one even came with a printed warning about how the computer may take hours if set to the highest difficulty!
Ha ha, it's not often that I hear the 3DO being compared to the Intellivision. :P

But yeah, the game had so many ports who can keep track.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
Martin III
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 1003
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am
Location: United States of America

Post by Martin III » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:34 pm

Trev wrote:Ha ha, it's not often that I hear the 3DO being compared to the Intellivision. :P
I dunno, I find it easy to imagine Mr. Intellivision going on to become a spokesman for the 3DO. Can't you just see him comparing Total Eclipse to Star Fox and Cybermorph? :)

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:47 pm

Martin III wrote:
Trev wrote:Ha ha, it's not often that I hear the 3DO being compared to the Intellivision. :P
I dunno, I find it easy to imagine Mr. Intellivision going on to become a spokesman for the 3DO. Can't you just see him comparing Total Eclipse to Star Fox and Cybermorph? :)

Image
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
goldenband
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 305
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:57 am

Post by goldenband » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:32 am

I spent some time over the past week playing Battle Chess, though strictly with an eye towards its chessplaying abilities -- I used the 2D board, with animations off. I played three games against it, first with the White pieces on Level 1 (which I didn't record), then with White on Level 5, and finally with Black on Level 9. I won all three games, though the game on Level 9 took a long time -- over 20 hours! -- which made me grateful for the savegame option.

If anyone's interested, I've included the game scores below, as well as animated GIFs that replay the game. The Level 5 game was a tactical knockout, featuring a piece sacrifice that led to a mating attack and checkmate -- something that doesn't happen against computers very often -- while the Level 9 game was a slow positional crush, at the end of which the computer resigned because I would promote my pawn to a Queen and deliver checkmate within ~10 moves.

Overall I must say I'm not too impressed with the strength of the program. Compared to NES Chessmaster, it seems decidedly weaker to me, and it's not much better than Intellivision's USCF Chess program. I'd expect quite a bit more from the 3DO!

And other than the welcome ability to save one's game, it's also very short on options; for example, I wasn't able to spot a way to flip the board around. It doesn't offer any way to set up a timed game, or even have a clock for elapsed time, which the Intellivision game has. And its time usage is very simplistic -- it takes 20-25 minutes for every move on the highest difficulty, no matter how routine. That gets old fast, believe me.

I think all this is pretty typical of the Battle Chess series, though; it coasts by on gimmicks, but doesn't really have much under the hood. I'm a reasonably strong chessplayer, but I shouldn't be able to beat it this easily. Still, at least there's the option to allow the computer to resign, which was very much appreciated in the last game since it allowed me to finish the game tonight.

Anyway, here are the games! They're in PGN format, which is the standard format for computer-based chess. Sorry about the large diagrams, not sure how to shrink them on this board.

[Date "2012.12.09"]
[White "goldenband"]
[Black "3DO Battle Chess, Level 5"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B30"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. b3 Nf6 4. e5 Ng4 5. Bb2 f6 6. Qe2 fxe5 7. Nxe5 Ngxe5 8. Bxe5 d6 9. Bb2 Nd4 10. Bxd4 cxd4 11. Qe4 e5 12. Bb5+ Kf7 13. Qd5+ Kg6 14. O-O Bf5 15. Qxb7 Bxc2 16. Na3 Qb8 17. Qf3 d5 18. Qxd5 Bxa3 19. Qe6+ Kg5 20. h4+ Kxh4 21. g3+ Kg5 22. f4+ exf4 23. gxf4+ Kh4 24. Kh2 Qc8 25. Bd7 Bf5 26. Qxf5 Qd8 27. Qh3# 1-0

Image

[Date "2012.12.15"]
[White "3DO Battle Chess, Level 9"]
[Black "goldenband"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. dxc5 Na6 4. Qd4 Qa5+ 5. Bd2 Qxc5 6. Nf3 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 e5 8. Nb5 d5 9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. e4 Ndb4 11. N1a3 Be6 12. Bc3 f6 13. b3 Bc5 14. Bxb4 Bxb4+ 15. Ke2 O-O 16. Nc2 Bc5 17. Rd1 Rfd8 18. f3 Rxd1 19. Kxd1 Rd8+ 20. Ke2 Rd7 21. Nc3 Nb8 22. Na4 Be7 23. Nc3 Nc6 24. Nb5 a6 25. Nc3 b5 26. Ne3 Nd4+ 27. Kf2 Bc5 28. Bd3 f5 29. exf5 Nxf5 30. Bxf5 Bxf5 31. Re1 Rd3 32. Ne4 Bb6 33. Ng5 h6 34. Ne4 Kf7 35. Re2 Ke6 36. Re1 Kd7 37. Re2 Bd4 38. Re1 Kc6 39. Re2 Kb6 40. Ng3 Bg6 41. Ne4 Bxe4 42. fxe4 Ka5 43. g4 Kb4 44. a4 Rxb3 45. axb5 axb5 46. h3 Rxe3 47. Rxe3 g5 48. Kf3 Bxe3 49. Kxe3 Kc3 50. Ke2 Kc2 51. h4 b4 0-1

Image

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:21 pm

goldenband wrote: Overall I must say I'm not too impressed with the strength of the program. Compared to NES Chessmaster, it seems decidedly weaker to me, and it's not much better than Intellivision's USCF Chess program. I'd expect quite a bit more from the 3DO!
Keep in mind though that the 3DO version is essentially a port of a game from 1988. Outside of tweaks to improve the graphics & audio, it's still (for better or worse) the 88 engine .

Chessmaster, even at that time, had several games in the series already. Naturally they would keep tweaking it to make it better. By 1990 it was more advanced.

That said, I still think Battle Chess on 3DO compares favorably w/Chessmaster. I actually found the playstation version of chessmaster weaker challenge wise than Battle Chess on 3DO, especially on the lower levels.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
goldenband
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 305
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:57 am

Post by goldenband » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:37 am

Trev wrote:Keep in mind though that the 3DO version is essentially a port of a game from 1988. Outside of tweaks to improve the graphics & audio, it's still (for better or worse) the 88 engine .
Fair point, though I still shake my finger at the idea that they'd re-release a 1988 engine untweaked!
Trev wrote:That said, I still think Battle Chess on 3DO compares favorably w/Chessmaster. I actually found the playstation version of chessmaster weaker challenge wise than Battle Chess on 3DO, especially on the lower levels.
Huh, that doesn't match my experience, at least with the NES version which I thought played a fairly good game. Maybe it's time to pit the two games against each other? :twisted: People have done similar matches over at AtariAge, e.g. Atari 2600 chess vs. a 1980s electronic board.

User avatar
Trev
3DO ZONE MOD
Posts: 4033
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: States
Contact:

Post by Trev » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:27 am

I've done that also, playing chess games head to head. One of the games was CD-i's Sargon Chess, but I forgot the other.

I suppose it is possible that Battle Chess on 3DO is running a newer engine. I'm really just guessing it's not, based on the fact that (despite minor cosmetic changes) the game reaks of port.

As far as challenge goes, part of it may be that my memory is colored from playing Battle Chess when I was a kid. Obviously it seemed harder at that time as opposed to now when I am a solid player. I do think though, even at lower levels, it will challenge newbies.
Most wanted - Eye of Typhoon, 3DO Magazines issues #14 & #15, Pro Stadium, Defcon 5

User avatar
Martin III
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 1003
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am
Location: United States of America

Post by Martin III » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:30 pm

Trev wrote: Image
Ha, I love it. :lol:

User avatar
Martin III
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 1003
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am
Location: United States of America

Post by Martin III » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:32 pm

goldenband wrote:And other than the welcome ability to save one's game, it's also very short on options; for example, I wasn't able to spot a way to flip the board around. It doesn't offer any way to set up a timed game, or even have a clock for elapsed time, which the Intellivision game has. And its time usage is very simplistic -- it takes 20-25 minutes for every move on the highest difficulty, no matter how routine. That gets old fast, believe me.
25 minutes? :shock: Really? Heck, if a human player was taking 25 minutes on a move, I'd think something was wrong with them.

User avatar
goldenband
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 305
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:57 am

Post by goldenband » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:31 pm

Martin III wrote:25 minutes? :shock: Really? Heck, if a human player was taking 25 minutes on a move, I'd think something was wrong with them.
Well, I don't know if I've ever taken 25 minutes on a move, but I've definitely taken 15-20. But, that's always in the context of a timed game where I have between 1 hour and 3 hours (roughly speaking) to make all my moves. In other words, if I choose to spend 25 minutes on a single move, then it means I have that much less time for all my other moves -- so the opponent knows the torture will eventually end, one way or the other. :twisted:

But when a game is untimed, then it's generally considered rude to spend more than a few minutes on a move. Introducing clocks was one of the big changes that led to the professionalization of chess, and timed games became the standard around the end of the 19th century (I might be a couple decades off, but thereabouts). Before that, there were players notorious for spending hours on a single move!

The longest time spent on a single move in a timed game is probably around 2 hours, since you almost never get more than 3 hours to make your first 40 moves (and after move 40, super-lengthy calculation is seldom required). Even today, you'll see grandmasters using up to an hour on a single move if they need to calculate really deeply, but in general that's fading away as time controls get faster. Most of the games I play these days are on the Internet, and are usually blitz (5 minutes total per player for the whole game), accelerated blitz (3 minutes), or even lightning (1 minute).

Anyway, the main thing is that the 3DO is taking the same rough amount of time on every move, and is doing so on things like routine recaptures where there's no subtlety to be discerned. That's a sign of poor programming, but it also reflects the fact that there's no time limit. I assume that on Level 9, it simply searches until it reaches a certain number of moves, or hits a RAM limitation.

User avatar
mattyg
3DO ZERO USER
Posts: 890
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:23 am
Location: Australia

Post by mattyg » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:53 am

Wasn't this port done by the Doom idiots? Or am I mistaken?
"purge with fire Bretheren"

3DO is dead , long live 3DO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K2kuP_anAc

"The greatest games in the world take seconds to learn but months to master. The worst take months to learn and minutes to finish."...MattyG

Post Reply