By: Jared Black
Chess. One of the oldest games in the world. Much
like Tetris, it's easy to learn but nigh-impossible to master. A well-done
chess videogame will feature sharp graphics and great AI--and will challenge
the intellect. Unfortunately, Chessmaster isn't a well-done chess
There are so many things wrong with this game I really don't know where to
start, so I'll just start with the standard graphics description. Since
this is chess, much isn't expected. Much isn't delivered. The
Title Screen is downright weird, and the five different board color schemes
are bland and dull. Bleh.
The sound effects are horrendous. The sound in this game consists of:
an options screen blip and an illegal move blop. That's it. No
music, and no other sound effects. Terrible.
However, there are a number of good options available. In addition to the
five different board color schemes, there are also a couple different
piece schemes (color and style). In addition to this, the game also
supports the Game Boy link cable, so if you have a friend with a Gameboy
you can play against each other.
Of course, the meat of a good chess game is always the AI, and the AI
here is actually pretty good. One thing the Chessmaster series has been known
for is good AI, and the Gameboy version features the same good idea.
Unfortunately, this is marred by one tiny (but significant) flaw--the
computer can play a whole game smartly, and then make one STUPID move. For
example, in one game I was playing the computer was tearing me up. I
only had my King left, and the computer had both Bishops, a few pawns,
their Queen, and some other pieces. However, instead of making one
obvious move and putting me in checkmate, the computer repeated a move three
times that wasn't even near my piece. Since I also made the same move
three times (I could only move to two different spaces), the game was
called a draw. What good is great computer AI if it's going to make
stupid moves like that?
Overall, this game lacks a lot of polish. I honestly can't recommend
this excuse for a game to anyone--even diehard chess fans. If you have
a chess-loving friend and a link cable, it may be worth purchasing.
Otherwise, run away!