Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Battle Chess for NES (1990)

Original ad published in the September 1990 issue 

of Electronic Gaming Monthly (no. 14).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.
Great artistic concept but slow gameplay

Animated battle chess is possibly the only subgenera of games that originated from the Star Wars scene were the heroes are playing the space version of the game. Ironically enough, the Star Wars version of the game, released in 1993, is still considered the best realization of the concept. 

The game you see here was originally made my Interplay for the Amiga, back in 1988. It was a huge hit and was ported to a bunch on computers and consoles and it was even re-imagined in 2014 for Steam users. The Ones version was launched in 1990 by Data East.

The main attraction to each and everyone of these battle chess games were the cool animations your pieces would perform when engaged in battle. They were varied and fun, at least for a while. But the problem with Battle Chess in particular was the huge amount of time it took the pieces to move on the actual game board. It can become exasperating very quickly, as you see in the video below.

But the real star of the show is the actual printed advert. I generally do not like editorial designs were the page is evenly divided. But in this case, everything just falls into place. The leathery color of the page, the red of the chess board and of course the awesome animation of the knight destroying the rook, something that would feel at ease in today’s Dark Soul’s world. The lower and right and lower left of the page are well taken of: you get real game screens and the actual game box. Nice. The copy is not bad. It clearly conveys the central message to the potential buyer: this is chess with cool animations. Good effort!

Battle Chess for NES print ad 

Battle Chess
Ye Olde Game is not the Same

Circa 1989
Circa 1990

Knight takes rook
Knight obliterates rook!

For your old man’s game! This is chess like you’ve never played it. Because Battle Chess isn’t a game – it’s war!

Now when you capture an enemy’s soldier, the struggle unfolds en 3-D animation. Knight versus knight has never been so exciting!

Six levels of play make Battle Chess a challenge for veteran chess players as well as the novice. Want to concentrate on strategy – then use the 2-D overview. And when you’re ready for action, switch to the colorful 3-D graphics and digitized sound effects!

The battle strategy into the 21st century with Battle Chess! And leave the chess board behind!

TM 1988 Interplay
1990 Data East USA

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