Truly, a game of Kings...and Queens, bishops, knights, pawns, etc.
Chess is one of the most subtley complicated games that humankind has ever created.
Its history lost to the sands of time, rumor has it that chess originated in India
sometime between 1000 B.C. and 500 A.D. Buddhist monks are believed to have created
the game as a substitute for war, allowing men of reason to use their brains instead
of their brawn to solve conflicts. The pieces were slightly different and the
rules have changed in the thousands of years since, but the basic gameplay stayed
the same. It's hard to believe that one of the most mathematically complex games
ever conceived, one that we still use to test the power of the human
mind versus that of a computer
, was created over 3000 years ago.
time, chess has taken on many forms, the latest being Majestic Chess
published by Vivendi under the Hoyle brand. With a stylistic Adventure mode
that teaches the basics of chess and presents you with classic chess conundrums,
it tries to inject more action into this ancient game of strategy. However,
chess by any other name is still chess, and while it's obvious much time was
spent animating the adventure, in the end it is still just a chess simulator.
Then again, it's a pretty cool one.
Believe it or not, there are about 170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
different ways to play the first ten moves in chess. No, I didn't just sneeze
while holding down zero - there are seriously that many different combinations.
Chess simulators are usually judged by their difficulty, since in the end the
human brain is more capable of handling all the possibilities. In the aforementioned
battle of wits between man and machine, they use a computer that can ONLY play
chess. It can't do anything else. That's how much computing power the game requires
in order for a computer to truly be a grandmaster.
For the rest of us, though, the computer opponent in Majestic Chess
proves more than a match for even seasoned players. Majestic Chess
you to tweak your opponent in numerous different ways, from basic difficulty
to how much the computer values each piece. It can be played on either a two
dimensional board viewed from above or a three dimensional board viewed isometrically.
The two dimensional board, while less visually appealing, is better for your
chess game. Without the physical interaction and adjustable perspective of a
real chess board, seeing all the move possibilities from a 3/4 perspective is
I'll assume that by reading this review, you are familiar with how the game
of chess is played. If not, then I highly recommend taking a look at this
and learning how to play. Chess is an excellent mental exercise and good fun
to boot. I mean, not all those guys sitting
in the park
playing are crazy...
feature that separates Majestic Chess
from its competitors is the Adventure
mode. Using some animated 3D images, the Adventure mode is a decent way to get
younger gamers into chess.
But no matter how hard you try to think of this mode as an "adventure," it
is really nothing more than a series of chess challenges with some nifty animated
pictures. You move your character from place to place, you see a quick animation,
then a text box pops up telling you something like, "A cackling witch sits in
a grove of menacing trees. She says 'Who dares enter my domain? I challenge
you to a game, if you win, I'll give you the Rook of Infinite Sadness.'"
Lady, the rook could be named Steve for all I care. It's still just a rook.
You then play a chess scenario using the pieces you've already won to beat the
computer. If you win, you get a new rook. If you lose, you try again. That's
it. Not much of an adventure.
That being said, you can learn a lot about the chess notation and complex
strategies from the Adventure mode, and this will undoubtedly turn you into
a better chess player. The problem with Majestic Chess
is that in order
to appeal to a wider audience, it sells this Adventure mode as an amazing new
way to play chess. It is neither amazing nor new. Still, it makes for a decent
teacher of some of the finer points of the game and might be perfect for holding
the interest of a younger gamer.
Full Internet multiplayer is also supported, allowing you to challenge anyone
around the world to a game. You can even set the rules to the game, allowing
for the handicapping of better players. Of course, you can always go do this
at Yahoo or something for free.
might just be chess game, but it's a good one. The Adventure
mode, while not what it is billed to be, does give a good challenge to both
beginners and skilled players alike. If you're a fan of chess and need a new
game or have a child you wish to teach, Majestic Chess
may just fit the
bill. But don't expect anything amazing...just a game that has withstood thousands
of years of human history.