Battle Chess

Moby ID: 1950
Amiga Specs

Description official descriptions

Battle Chess is a quite typical chess game, but it comes with a twist: all pieces are represented by small, realistic figures that walk around on the chessboard, and when one piece takes another, they both take part in an animated battle. There is a different animation for each permutation, depending on which pieces are capturing or being captured. You can also play in 2D without animation.

The game's opening library includes 30,000 different moves, ensuring a variety of games will unfold across the 10 skill levels.

Multi-player support can be extended to modem and/or serial port play.


  • バトル チェス - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Amiga version)

7 People



Average score: 65% (based on 33 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 147 ratings with 4 reviews)

Chess for people who don't like chess

The Good
The graphics are superb, and the animations are well thought-out, inventive and entertaining. The game as a whole succeeds in bringing chess to a wider audience.

The variety of colour schemes and board views are a nice touch, with something for everyone.

The Bad
The AI is hopeless. Not only can a mediocre player like me beat it 90% of the time, there's never any surprise in the moves. Almost every time it makes an obvious, flair-free move which is easy to respond to. Programming 'human-ness' into a computer AI isn't easy, but this was a poor attempt.

After a few games the animations lose their appeal and you just want to get on with the game. This is when you find no meat beneath the sauce.

The Bottom Line
The whole thing smacks of mutton dressed up as lamb. Compared to other chess games of the era, it's lacking much, and it's not as much throwaway fun as the much older Archon games. In truth, the remark on the packaging that the 2-dimensional board provides clarity and ease of play slightly gives the game away - the main hype subject of the game is at the expense of those elements which should be key to a chess game.

DOS · by Martin Smith (81428) · 2006

A classic!

The Good
Battle Chess is an incredible game, an incredible experience. Even on a miserable XT with CGA display, this game rocked. It took the experience of playing a chess game (any chess game) on a computer to new heights, and it is still valid today.

The graphics are spectacular, starting with the intro screen and the board layout. The pseudo-3D approach was innovative at the time and very effective as well; the controls are excellent and even the AI is reasonable. The character animations are sometimes spectacular and sometimes hillarious (especially when a rook attacks the king), and are always fun to watch.

The game rocks!

The Bad
Unfortunately, something which was possibly a bug caused the game to run slower and slower on my XT, which means that after 20 or so moves the game would become literally unplayable and animations took forever to complete. This was unfortunate, because it meant I very rarely managed to complete a game.

The AI is not brainiac nor is it Chessmaster-level, but it is to be expected: this game was meant to be fun, not brain-melting.

The Bottom Line
An incredible classic. Play it, if only to watch the animations - they're beautiful!

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

A lot of flash but no fire.

The Good
This was one of the standout games for the Amiga and was a popular title on all the platforms it appeared on. It gave a new reason to try a chess game. A lot of people avoid anything to do with the game but this brought new people to it. The thought of some fighting pieces, like the "chess" game in Star Wars, made people go ape just to see the fighting between the pieces. The graphics and animation were great for their day. The fact it jazzes up a classic strategy board game that works wonderfully on the computer makes this a great game to try.

The Bad
The game's A.I. and training options just can't compare with other chess games, most notably the Chessmaster series. For this reason most hardcore chess nuts will find the game little more than a novelty as the animations repeat and become tiresome. I'm not a serious player and pretty much any computer chess opponent will suit me, but I found that once I'd seen all the animations the game started to loose my interest. I knew what the fighting was going to look like so I wanted to get on with the actual "game" and the animations just got in the way.

The Bottom Line
While these Battlechess games are worth trying, especially the groundbreaking original, the combat animations will eventually repeat and lose their appeal. And once you lose interest in the animations then you might as well be playing a better computer chess program.

DOS · by woods01 (129) · 2001

[ View all 4 player reviews ]



The game actually features full frontal nudity! In some circumstances where Rook gets the King in checkmate, as the King trembles his robe falls off, leaving him standing starkers, before he runs off in embarrassment (of course, being low-res EGA, there’s not a lot to see even if you *did* want to look!)


  • The scene of a Knight attacking a Knight depicts a classic scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: One by one, all limbs are severed, each time provoking the victim into the same kind of responsive actions the Black Knight made in the aforementioned movie.
  • If a bishop attacks the king, the bishop will make a big show and swing his staff around, and then the king will simply pull out a gun and shoot him, ending the fight. This is a spoof of a famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy takes out a sword wielding Arab by pulling out a gun and simply shooting him.

References to the game

There is a movie called Knight Moves (1992) with Christopher Lambert in a main role. He plays some chessmaster, and the plot is around catching some chess-style killer. In one of the opening scenes (maybe 20 mins from the start), while detectives are trying to solve the crime, Christopher Lambert shouts out loud as he was playing Battle Chess. It probably was the animation peon against knight he was watching.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 1994 (Issue #117) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #106 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list

Information also contributed by Andrew Grasmeder, Jayson Firestorm, MAT and Ricky Derocher.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Luiz Pacheco.

Sharp X68000 added by Rola. Amiga added by Famine3h. Apple II added by KnockStump. Commodore 64 added by Dietmar Uschkoreit. CDTV, Amiga CD32, Acorn 32-bit added by Kabushi. Linux added by Iggi. NES added by totalgridlock. Atari ST added by ZZip. Antstream added by lights out party. PC-98, Apple IIgs added by Terok Nor. Macintosh added by Игги Друге. Windows added by Koterminus. Windows 3.x added by Garcia.

Additional contributors: shifter, Patrick Bregger, Infernos.

Game added July 14th, 2000. Last modified November 29th, 2023.