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The most successful chess franchise of its time gets a full update on the handheld system. Previously released in Game Boy and Game Boy Color formats in 1990 and 1999 respectively, this 21st century iteration provides numerous enhancements, a wider range of options, and more gameplay. Chessmaster offers standard, handicap, and board setup modes, 18 computer opponents ranging from easy to expert, and ten chess sets.
Scalable difficulty settings invite customization to personal preferences and offer experts, casual players, and novices alike the chance to match skills against the computer AI. Computer response time can be set to seconds per move, minutes per game, or infinite time. In addition to playing against the computer, players can go head-to-head on the same machine, use the Game Boy Advance link cable, or watch the computer play for both sides. Three sets of ten chess problems allow users to initially test their skill rating and then follow up with later assessments.
Chessmaster also features a multi-part tutorial that focuses on basic rules, special moves, notation, and strategy. Over 150 famous chess matches spanning four centuries are presented chronologically, from a 1790 match featuring chess master Francois-Andre Danican Philidor, a pioneer known for playing blindfolded, to a 1991 game featuring former U.S. Champion Larry Christensen and John Nunn. The collection caps off with a reconstruction of the 2001: A Space Odyssey match between astronaut Frank Poole and the HAL 9000 computer. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide