Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

The Chessmaster (SNES) artwork

The Chessmaster (SNES) review


"I really suck at chess. I just don’t seem to have the right sort of brain for it, and when I think of playing chess I am bitterly reminded of childhood games where spectators would all suck in their collective breaths and loudly declare “awww, you shouldn’t have done that” after each move I made. "



I really suck at chess. I just don’t seem to have the right sort of brain for it, and when I think of playing chess I am bitterly reminded of childhood games where spectators would all suck in their collective breaths and loudly declare “awww, you shouldn’t have done that” after each move I made.

But I like this game, because of all the features that make the game friendly for right-brained idiots like myself. The teaching mode, adjustable difficulty level and in-game advice from the friendly neighborhood Chessmaster are all great, but most important is the UNDO button which lets you go back to the moment right before you foolishly maneuvered your queen right into the path of an enemy bishop.

I don’t want to give the impression that Chessmaster is some sort of dumbed-down lite version of Chess for beginners only, because that isn’t the case either. There are 16 modes of difficulty and the computer is actually smart. It plans ahead, goes on the offensive, forces you into tricky corners. Fiendish. It decimated me in the Beginner 2 level, but I’d imagine more accomplished (and intelligent) players will find some challenge in the other 14 levels as well.

The display is a green (or light blue) and white checked board with the standard white and black game pieces. While not exactly ugly, it is a little lacklustre all the same and I would have enjoyed having more options to customize my display. As it is, there is a choice of only two sets of playing pieces: the default Staunton pieces and a Fantasy set where the pieces looked like little medieval people. I avoided the Fantasy set, which I found to be a little bit tacky (I objected to the choices of orange and mauve as the main colors) and had more than a passing resemblance to certain characters in early 80s DOS games.

As for the board, it can be viewed in either 2-D or 3-D perspective, both of which are good except for some minor blocking issues in the 3-D mode where certain pieces can get obscured by other ones. There is also a War mode, which is an interesting-looking stylized view reminiscent of the kind they show in newspapers.

The sound in Chessmaster is mediocre, not that one should care overly much about sound in a chess game. There is one musical theme, a totally out of place funky number that really destroys your concentration. Thankfully you can turn it off, and I did. The handful of sound effects are, again, rather boring but get the job done well enough. There is a little fanfare when you take an opponent’s piece, and a dramatic “dun-dun-DAH” when one of your pieces gets taken. Check and checkmate also have their own sounds.

That pretty much sums up the game. The only other thing I can say is it would have been nice if something more spectacular happens when you defeat your opponent (since I do it so infrequently…). There’s also a two-player mode if you get tired of challenging the Chessmaster all the time. The tutorial and advice options make this a friendly game for newcomers to chess, and the high AI of the computer makes it a challenge for competent players as well. I recommend it whole-heartedly.

Rating: 8/10

alecto's avatar
Community review by alecto (January 19, 2003)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by alecto
Dynasty Warriors 2 (PlayStation 2) artwork
Dynasty Warriors 2 (PlayStation 2)

Yes it’s flawed, but there’s something satisfying about this chaotic 3-D beat ‘em up all the same.
Ice Hockey (NES) artwork
Ice Hockey (NES)

Back in the day, sports games were different. Most of them were realistic to a point, but also took a lot of liberties with the game to make it, well, fun. There were no marathon season-long campaigns, name-brand players or realistic physics, just arcade-style action sometimes only very loosely based on the sport it wa...
Silent Hill 2 (PlayStation 2) artwork
Silent Hill 2 (PlayStation 2)

There are different types of horror. There’s the kind that goes for the obvious and cheap shock-scare, like Jason in a mask with a chainsaw, or the leering zombie who jumps out from behind the table accompanied by a scream and a stab of high-pitched violins. Then there’s horror of a more subtle nature -- the kind that ...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this The Chessmaster review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. The Chessmaster is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to The Chessmaster, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.