Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Bob Guerra
The original Battle Chess added a new twist to the game of chess by adding movement, sound, and a sense of humor to the game's medieval characters. Instead of simply sliding from square to square as in other computer chess games, the knights, bishops, rooks, and other pieces on the Battle Chess board actually walk to their new squares. Best of all, when one piece captures another, the square isn't surrendered peacefully but is reluctantly vacated after a mini-battle that can include anything from a sword fight to histrionic spellcasting.
Battle Chess II brings this same excitement to Chinese chess-a not-too-distant cousin of conventional chess that developed independently of its Western counterpart. Because Chinese chess features more playing pieces than conventional chess, Battle Chess II offers even more battle animations than the original. For instance, a cannon in Chinese chess fires cannonballs in high arcs over the other pieces in order to blow up the piece being captured. A counselor can do away with a pesky pawn by simply drawing an oversized mallet from beneath his robe and flattening the pawn with one bold stroke. Throughout the game, the battles are punctuated with the grunts of the combatants and the realistic clang of weapons and armor.
You can play Battle Chess II head to head, via modem, or against the computer on any of nine different skill levels. In addition to the colorful three-dimensional board where the humorous battles occur, there's a two-dimensional board where you can play a conventional game of Chinese chess.