Battle vs. Chess Impressions

If you've been yearning for a combo system and a health bar in your games of chess, you're in luck here.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about the game of chess that you might not be aware of. One: It has been around for well over 1,000 years. Two: If you do a search for it on this very Web site, you'll find nearly 400 results. Those are imposing numbers for any game developer looking to do something new in the world of little wooden horses doing battle with tiny clergy hats, but that hasn't stopped TopWare Interactive. Together with publisher SouthPeak, TopWare will soon release Battle vs. Chess, a game that takes the familiar rules of this classic game and throws in more than a few modern trappings.

Perhaps the biggest change is the titular Battle mode. This mode--purely an optional way to experience the game--replaces the method for knocking out opposing pieces with something much more gamey. This mode turns your attempt to eliminate an opponent's piece into a quick little beat-'em-up in which your fully animated piece has to attack your opponent's similarly lively piece. Think of it as a brief little fight scene complete with a combo system and the ability to move around a temporarily unrestricted chess board. A queen can easily kill a handful of pawns, which makes chess sense, but that queen also has a finite amount of health that carries over from one battle to another, which presents a new strategy element in determining which pieces you use as a game draws to a close.

Other modes in the game seek to appeal to chess tenderfoots and veterans alike. There's a Tutorial mode that teaches you the basics of the game and offers advice on a turn-by-turn basis, as well as a Placement mode that lets you create a custom game scenario if you want to see how well you can do when backed into a corner. Interestingly enough, there's also a mode that lets you relive famous chess matches throughout history, if you're the type of person who yearns to put that smug Deep Blue supercomputer in its place once and for all.

You're given multiple options in how you want to see the game presented, ranging from a traditional top-down view of a plain-Jane chess board to the aforementioned animated chess pieces set against a colorful fantasy backdrop. There's a bit of a story campaign in there as well, which tells of the light side against the evil dark side (where pawns are naturally represented as vile gremlins). Each "level" is a pre-fixed scenario that gives a quick story for why the pieces are set up the way they are.

All this runs on the Fritz11 chess engine, which sounds more than a little bit like Greek to us, but it's nevertheless something the developer says is among the top chess systems in the tech world. Either way, it looks like there's quite a bit of content in Battle vs. Chess. It's available next month as a $39.99 retail purchase.

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52 comments
KPKeeley
KPKeeley

Good luck finding a copy. Almost impossible.

xaviermf
xaviermf

@nikoalitis: thanks for the reply. Oh, btw... just ignore the jerks, it's easier.

nikoalitis
nikoalitis

the game has been released over 3 weeks ago,and dont call me a liar.

Ovakil_Kang
Ovakil_Kang

@nikoalitis @xaviermf ummm, are you both blind? Release: TBA It says it in the top left >.

nikoalitis
nikoalitis

multirama ,i live in greece.... sorry!

xaviermf
xaviermf

@nikoalitis: Where did you buy it from?

nikoalitis
nikoalitis

i just played it,the game is nice and the music is fenomenal!!!

joegt123
joegt123

I. Cannot. Find. This game... ANYWHERE. I've checked every online retail source I can think of and this, it's ps3 and PC equivalents and even a different game with a similar concept on Wii are either sold out or the places have never of these games.... What I wanna know is, what the hell old grandparents just got their grandkids 360 and ps3 so they could play this game?

donchucks
donchucks

this seems genuinely interesting, looking forward to more previews

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Looking forward to this game only hope that it is not a dud. So many times I get excited about these types of games and they rarely seem to pan out. Don't let me down Southpeak.

Klipschh
Klipschh

Look and look, could not find a place to buy this. But today is a good day. Best Buy has it coming 8/31 http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Battle+vs.+Chess+-+Mac/Windows/1244618.p?id=1218240958569&skuId=1244618&st=battle vs chess&lp=1&cp=1

Gater29
Gater29

hmm. im not usually a fan of chess, but this is intriguing

BigGreenFruit
BigGreenFruit

my dad is going to love this, can't wait to get it and surprise him :D

jonboy202
jonboy202

Reminds me of archon from the commodore 64 (seriously look it up)

somekool
somekool

I wish to see the same idea for the game of Go (baduk, weiqi)

nagenatakid
nagenatakid

Brilliant, mixing the ingenious strategy of chess with turbulence and savagery of combat! (I was trying to sound smart how did I do?)

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Sounds interesting and looking forward to the review to see how well it plays. It would be a welcome break from the first person shooters and hack and slash games.

thesovvolf
thesovvolf

@shadowvc92 I'm guessing it's a troll wanting to stir up some trouble... I'd suggest ignoring it. This game looks interesting though being a Brit I'm not really sure what the value of $39.99 for a game is... Over here £39.99 is full retail price for most video games. Though with the currency difference it's hard to tell if that's the same for America. As cool as the game sounds... I don't really think it's worth the full price of a video game. I'd put it at £20/£25 as it's worth.

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

Cool! It has the one feature that I always wanted in Battle Chess: to actually control the fight of the pieces! Throw all conventional chess strategies right out the window!

shadowvc92
shadowvc92

@djsweete3 why? this game is also available in all consoles

lazybear79
lazybear79

@Ragno_Saki Battle chess was an awesome game back in the day. The good old days when it didn't matter how big your processor was. :)

golgo28
golgo28

i'll probaly get it worse case if i dont like battle mode,i can always play it in a normal mode.

sporccoitaliano
sporccoitaliano

not sure how this will work because with a battle system chess's time tested strategy will be changed but this almost like gaming going back to its roots. chess is like analog starcraft.

thebruceshow
thebruceshow

I think stratigo would be a fun battle game concept

Inconnux
Inconnux

Should have used Rybka instead of a past generation of Fritz... The battle mode might make it worth picking up though...

praitch
praitch

Hey horse_crazy217, yeh are not the only one.

steverams
steverams

no mention of online multiplayer.. hmm.. now that would be real competition.

JKMadu619
JKMadu619

I was thinking about this very concept last night. A must own.

Mariocake
Mariocake

I need (Even though I'm terrible at chess)

Ragno_Saki
Ragno_Saki

This brings back memories of Battle Chess years ago

CrimsonMaher
CrimsonMaher

looks very interesting! I remember an amazing chess game years ago on DOS that did the whole animated pieces and it really got me into the game! Also very nice to see someone improve on the already excellent chess system! As if the game needed more strategy! definitely looking out for this one!

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

****!!!! The end of August is expensive!! Mafia, Valkyria Chronicles, and now this??

The-Longshot
The-Longshot

Put it out at $29.99 and I'm highly interested.

mission76
mission76

Yeah Archon was exactly what I thought of too! Good game, I remember that scorpion thing that shot lazers out of its tail was my favorite piece.

cjgone
cjgone

Lol, I think i'll just stick with standard chess. And why Fritz 11 over deep Rybka v4.0 ?

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

Nice, sounds like a modern version of Archon.

gpyott
gpyott

Excellent! Been chomping at the bit to get a good chess game. Miss the days of Archon and Battle Chess.

Musashi9
Musashi9

I can't believe the author of this article is writing about a chess related game and they never heard of Fritz.

Morderkaine
Morderkaine

Archon was a great game - if you liked that I recommend Wrath Unleashed for the xbox. And it runs on the 360 as well. Its basically a new Archon - it doesnt use a chess board and it has 4 sides you can play (earth air fire water) plus better fighting and more attacks per unit type. Its essentially the same game with upgrades. And its currently cheap at EB games or similar stores.

lindallison
lindallison

Ok so it's like battle chess except there's a mode where your piece's power is partially determined by the player?

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

Love chess and hope the animations and play are smooth and eye catching. Something different and a must follow for me.

Purplekjw
Purplekjw

Looks like a nice, different way to enjoy chess. Ideal for me, since I don't actually know anybody else who's interested in playing on a regular chess board, so the only opponent I have is my electric chess board. I really like the fantasy style board... It's gorgeous.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

Archon was awesome. It was the reason I became interested in Chess games...though sadly none I've played to date are as great, except for maybe Battle Chess.