The Chessmaster 4000 Turbo
Windows - 1995
Also available on: Windows 3.x
Description of The Chessmaster 4000 Turbo
The classic game of chess is revived again in this latest addition to Software Toolworks' famous Chessmaster series. Chessmaster 4000 MPC sports a new Windows design and full multimedia support. With gorgeous SVGA graphics and a huge speech library, this game has all of the bells and whistles of games which seem to dominate the industry today. However, above all, Chessmaster 4000 is still a great chess game, utilizing an all new 32-bit chess engine to give it one of the best AI's of chess games on the market.
Choosing the Setting
Starting a game of chess is simple enough in this game, however, there is a multitude of options and settings which you want to play with to customize the game for yourself. First of all, you should decide on which chess board you want to use. There are four 2D chessboards to choose from, giving you a bird's-eye view of the game, and seven 3D boards for a more realistic effect. These boards are all beautifully rendered to imitate various ivory, marble, teak, and metallic designs. Once you have decided on the boards, you can move on to the chess sets. The 10 sets available are incredibly done in SVGA detail and range from a classic Staunton design to an eye- watering dinosaur set. The other sets are all beautifully drawn and include Chinese, Deco, Mechanic, Napoleon, Oceanic, Alphabet, Modern and Fantasy. After this you should pick and choose between the various window layouts featured. Different windows include pieces captured, game annotation, chess clocks and many more. You may have them open or closed during the game depending on your own tastes. For those who are not willing to spend the ten minutes or so configuring the game for the first time and want to jump into a game right away, there are eight pre-made layouts available which have all of the above setting chosen already.
Finding the Right Opponent
Sometimes in chess, you can have a difficult time finding the right opponent. With Chessmaster 4000, this is no longer the case. Its detailed computer AI settings allow you to fully customize and develop a opponent suited to your ability level and style. For example, not only can you adjust the degree of difficulty, you can control the computer's aggressiveness, defensive style, its favourite pieces, etc. You can even set the computer to play in the style of many of history's greatest chess masters. For two players, the same computer can be used, or the game can be played through a modem or network. In this situation, both ends must have seperate copies of the game. I have not experienced any problems with modem play, however, I have yet to use the network option.
Learning the Game --> Mastering the Game
Chess has always been a game which takes only a few hours to learn, but a lifetime to master. Chessmaster 4000 is for people of all ability levels, able to challenge even the best of players. It is also perfect for people who do not play chess, but want to learn. The game comes with a complete tutorial which covers piece movement, piece development, and stategy. This comes in a series of easy to understand audio and visual lessons with animated chess pieces. For the intermediate to advanced players, there is a Rate My Play option, which puts you in the middle of some of history's greatest games. Depending on your move selection and the actual moves played, you are assigned an estimated USCF rating. Although this is not a very accurate rating, even an approximate one is fun to carry around. Another function which allows a player to advance in skill, is the Practice Openings funtion. There are well over 100 classic openings for players to learn and practice. This, along with the audio hint function, allow you to develop in skill and experience while enjoying a challenging game.
The game runs at a resolution of 640x480 with 256 colours, meaning that you must have a video card with at least 512K of video memory. As I said before, the boards and pieces look absolutely magnificent; obviously, a lot of time was spent on detail.
Music and Sound
Chessmaster 4000 lacks somewhat in the area of music. The onyl music is found in the option to loop playback a number of midi files that come with the game. These midi's are not poorly done, but I find this option pretty much useless as I can play my own music with a program running in the background. The sound however is very well done. Sound effects play after every moves, with special sounds after castling, checking, capturing, etc. In addition to the sound effects, there is a ton of speech in the game. I was very impressed by the function called Natural Language Advice. This makes the computer analyze your current situation, form a multi-move plan and present it in plain English by forming sentences from words found in its speech library. This cut and paste method is not seamless, however, it's still amazing and especially useful for younger or beginning chess players.
Do not be fool by the relatively low minimum system requirements. To run this game smoothly you need more than just a 386SX and 4 megs of RAM. Even on my 486DX2-66 with 8 megs of RAM and a 20 meg+ permanent swapfile, I have to wait constantly for the game to load and screen to refresh after new graphics have been requested. I can attribute this problem to my slow video card which is a 1MB VLB with a Trident chipset and the use of windows as the platform for the game. I my opinion, Chessmaster 4000 could run much better as a DOS program with a dos-extender. People with faster computers do not have to worry, however, for those of you with slower 386's, this might come into consideration. I also find that on a 3D board, pieces are frequently blocked and hidden by one another. For example, often when I go move a pawn which has a taller piece in front of it, I pick up the taller piece instead. This makes a game of chess in 3D, also a test of hand-eye coordination. This can be helped somewhat, but not solved, by adjusting the angle of the board. Basically, I prefer sticking the the less extravagant, but easy to use two dimensional boards.
Chessmaster 4000 is a great game for chess players of all ages and skill level. The game is beautifully crafted and the user interface was designed with players in mind. The many options are easy to control and change to fit individual needs. It is a good way for a chess player to progress in skill and experience, and also for people to learn the game. Younger children might be lured by the beautiful graphics into this game which develops math and analyzing skills. Most importantly however, long after the pretty colours wear off, Chessmaster 4000 will still be a great chess game.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
ShaQ AttaQ 2018-09-25 -3 points
Thanks a lot MyAbandonWare for sharing this software to us and also for your website. It gives us information on who developed the softwares. If we want to do business with them, like buying the software code, or anything, we can simply contact these companies. I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your response is welcome.
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Windows 3.x Version
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