chess is one of those novelty ideas that never really panned out.
It reminds me of the Atari 2600 days, when designers experimented
with video versions of Checkers, Backgammon, Tic-Tac-Toe, hide-and-seek
(seriously), and chess. These games were needlessly awful, and functional
at best. Pretty much the only chess program worth playing has been
the Chessmaster series. There just isn't much point to
playing against a computer when you can play against, well, real
people. Maybe I'm still burned at how Atari's Video Chess
cheated (it stole your pieces between moves).
there's going to be a good video chess program, especially in this
day and age, there has to be some pizzazz. Chess may be the greatest
game ever invented, but, believe me, it does not have pizzazz. Watching
people play chess is slightly more exciting than watching people
goodness for Titus. I have to say, the Gameboy Advance has surprised
me a lot so far, and among those pleasant surprises is Virtual
Kasparov. Finally, here is a chess game that is actually geared
towards gamers, without insulting their intelligence or boring them
favorite feature is the tutorial mode, which offers a wealth of
knowledge about the game. Beginners start off by learning the rules,
the pieces, and their functions. Then you progress to the opening
game, various tactics and strategies, different mate schemes, and
endings. For more advanced lessons, you study several games, learn
about Queen Sacrifices, and even watch three famous grandmaster-level
title is, of course, a giveaway, as Garry Kasparov walks players
through each step; not only showing, but asking feedback as well.
This approach works wonderfully; you learn better when you're asked
to provide the answers, instead of just taking notes. It certainly
helps to gain the insights of the greatest living chess player.
meat and potatoes of Virtual Kasparov is Story Mode. Here,
you square off against a succession of opponents around the world.
Your first matches are embarrassingly easy, but as you travel across
the globe, unlocking more continents to visit, the computer challengers
become increasingly difficult. Unless you happen to be a master
of the game already, you won't be finishing Story Mode anytime soon.
Thank goodness chess isn't one of those games that need to be updated
every year; you could be coming back and playing matches for years.
The final challenger is, of course, Kasparov himself, and,
no, I am nowhere near him yet. Ask me in 2008.
Interactive Studio is the French software house responsible for
this game, ad it ranks among their best. There is always a certain
devotion to style in all the French gaming studios, and Virtual
Kasparov is no exception. I enjoyed the many portraits of your
different opponents, from housewives to school nerds to businessmen
to world-weary travelers. There are also a dozen different chessboards
to choose from: two boards in 3D, ten in 2D. The boards show a wide
range of colors and styles, from the conventional to the abstract;
a couple boards have an almost cubist feel to them. And yet, it
is still easy to make out the pieces. Even the game's default black-and-white
chessboard looks great, classical in its simplicity.
is the perfect game for a handheld like the Advance. I can also
see this as the perfect solution for anyone who wants to learn the
game, from your friends or your spouse or your kids. Anything to
get them off Fox News and start using their brain.