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Video Game: Battle Chess

Battle Chess is a series of chess programs for various PC and console platforms, made back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In most respects, it is an ordinary chess program, not even as smart as most PC chess programs of the time. But it is different in one way: the chess pieces are all animated, and every time a piece was moved, you can see an animation. Every time there is a capture, the capturing piece fights a little battle with the captured piece on the board. Since the rules of chess are still in effect, the result of these battles is always a Foregone Conclusion, but the battles are fun to watch, especially on early plays (watching the same animation for the millionth time, however…).

In other words, it's basically a chess game that plays like Holochess or Wizard's Chess. American versions of the game did include gorier battles.

It had sequels: Battle Chess 4000, which is normal chess but with sci-fi characters used as chess pieces, and Battle Chess II: Chinese Chess, based on the Chinese Chess board game. A remake has been released on Steam.

Tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass: The Rook, in the original board game, is a watchtower of some kind. In Battle Chess, it is a rock monster.
  • Agony of the Feet: In Pawn vs Pawn
  • Amusing Injuries
  • Aside Glance: When a Queen attacks a Pawn, she uses her magic to make his spear vanish. The Pawn briefly looks at the player in response, as if to say "what the hell?!".
  • Ax-Crazy: In the tutorial, the Rook loves talking about smashing things. And while talking about castling, "I'm only going to go through it ONCE. If you don't understand, I'll smash YOU!"
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Queen has powers to do this. For instance, her checkmate involves turning the King into both a donkey and a frog.
    • Hoist by His Own Petard: The animation of a Knight capturing a Queen. When the Queen tries to zap the Knight with a spell, he deflects the spell with his shield, so that the Queen is hit instead, turning her into a dragon that the Knight then slays.
  • Berserk Button: Don't try to seduce the King if you don't mean it. And never taunt or insult the Pawn.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Bishop's main weapon is a retractable blade built into his cross staff.
    • Pawns carry spears as well.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The American version
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • The King. While every other piece has a general technique they'll use (the Pawn's spear and Bishop's crozier, the Rook's sheer brute force (he turns into a rock monster to move and attack), the Knight's sword and shield and the Queen's magic), the King has a unique weapon for each piece he attacks: a hidden flail in his sceptre to take down Pawns, magic shrinking powder to remove Rooks, seduction of the Queen before clubbing her out, bombs to dispatch Knights, and freakin' guns to take out Bishops.
    • To an extent, the Pawn is this too, who uses dirty tactics against his opponents. Against other Pawns, he stamps the butt of his spear on the opponent's foot; against Knights, simply knees him between the legs; against Bishops, he positions him over a hidden trapdoor; against Rooks, he uses a Groin Attack and then grinds him to pieces with the butt of his spear; against the Queen, he chucks a dagger into her back when she tries to walk away; when checkmating the King, he simply hoists the King's crown and takes it for his own. Finally, when captured by a Queen, he tries to escape by... jumping to the next square!
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Queen attacks any piece other than the King.
  • Cut Scene: The point of this game over other chess games of the era.
  • Defeat by Modesty: When a Knight checkmates a King, a sword slash causes his robe to fall off, leaving him completely naked and sheepishly covering himself. The Knight just laughs.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Pawn attacks Queen.
    Pawn: Whoo! I'll show YOU a royal good time.
  • Enhanced Remake: Battle Chess Enhanced (which used the CD-ROM technology for better graphics and sound). Interplay has released a remake on Steam.
  • The Fatalist: The pawn in the tutorial. The way he sees it, we all come to the same fate in the end...we're all doomed.
  • Flynning: The Bishop does this quite a bit. Its practicality is averted when he's jumped by a King.
  • Follow the Leader: Apart from Licensed Games (Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Chess Wars, Star Wars Chess), many years later there was Battle Vs. Chess, a copy so blatant Interplay sued and prevented an US release.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Every cutscene.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Rook in its tutorial, not too dissimilar to The Incredible Hulk, right down to a pechant for smashing.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A really funny variation by the artist who drew the Queen. He knew he was working with meddlesome executives, and he also knew exactly what he wanted the queen to look like, how she should move, etc. So he drew her animations exactly like he wanted... and then added a pet duck that made no sense in the context. The executive told him it looked great except the duck had to go, and he ended up with exactly the original design.
  • Groin Attack: When a Pawn attacks a Knight.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The King's fate if checkmated by a Bishop, who uses his bladed crosier to slice him into three pieces.
  • Henpecked Husband: In the 3DO tutorial, the King makes a joke about the Queen nagging him and never letting him get any peace. The joke is he says that during his explanation of a chess strategy: while the King can capture a Queen, in practical terms he can never get close enough to threaten her. But the Queen can constantly harass him around the board.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: When one Pawn attacks another.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: The Queen when attacked by a Knight or a Pawn.
  • Homage: When a Knight takes another Knight, they re-enact the famous scene with the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • I'm a Humanitarian \ Swallowed Whole: When a Rook attacks a Queen.
  • Klingon Promotion: When a Pawn checkmates a King.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Given Rook is made of stone, a few of his deaths involve this.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Queen, especially in the later CD-ROM version of the game, has a rather voluptuous figure and does a Sexy Walk.
  • No One Could Survive That: When a Pawn attacks a Bishop.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of a Bishop when captured by a Knight.
  • Oh Crap: Any piece that, when attacked, has time to realize things are going pear-shaped.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Either on the package, or in the game, the queen's dress is pimped out.
  • Plotline Death: Well, insofar as chess has plotlines.
  • Rock Monster: The rooks. At rest they're just a stone tower, but they transform into a rock monster to move and attack.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Queen, certainly. The King, not so much (until the end game).
  • Sexy Packaging: The queen's ermine-trimmed robe is a lot skimpier in the packaging than in the game.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Squashed Flat: The fate of the King when checkmated by a Rook. It even picks him up to show the player before dropping him, where he floats to the ground like a piece of paper.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Pawn, when attacked by a Rook, drops his spear and tries to surrender. The Rook promptly pummels him into the ground.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: If the King attacks a Bishop, the King eventually does just that after growing bored with the Bishop's unsuccessful staff-twirling atacks.

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alternative title(s): Battle Chess
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