BATTLE CHESS / Interplay / PC
The main selling point of Battle Chess is that it was the first chess game (at least as far as I can remember) that had both animated pieces that walk about the board, and also unique battle animation sequences for when each piece captures another. For example, a knight taking another knight initiates a sequence much like the Black Knight battle from Monty Python, the slinky Queen uses various magic spells to dispose of captured foes, and the King pulls something amusing out of his robe when called on to defend himself. There are also digitized grunts, groans, and clashes of metal and wood to accompany the action.
The downside is that the game is incredibly slow. Even playing the Windows version on a modern PC with no emulation, an average time for computer moves takes 20 to 30 seconds at the low levels of play. There are ten possible difficulty levels to choose from, and when you crank it up to the maximum, the computer can sit there for minutes at a time pondering a move!
Options are a bit on the basic side, but decent. You can save matches in progress, take the last move back, or have the CPU recommend a next move for you. I recall the old DOS version I used to have on my Tandy having a bunch of famous historical matches loaded in that you could replay, but the stripped-down Windows version I picked up for this review seems to not have those. On the plus side, even though it was seemingly designed for Win 3.1 it still runs fine on XP with no DOSBox or other fooling around needed.
While the animations are cute, and it was fun to watch them back in the day, the novelty has kind of worn off on that and the ponderous CPU move times make it a bit of a pain to play. Still not a bad chess game, but there are plenty of other options with more robust features and a quicker pace.