Laser Chess

Copyright: © 1994 Peter Venable
Genre: Strategy games

Strategy games

Laser Chess
Laser Chess is an excellent Java fanmade version of a fun chess variant
of the same name that first appeared on the Atari ST in the April 1987
issue of Compute! magazine as winner of a programming contest. Originally
written by Mike Duppong, the game was later translated to a number of
platforms by enthusiastic fans, including Commodore 64, Amiga (where it
was most popular), PC DOS, and many other platforms. From the game's
rules: "Laser Chess is like chess in that the game is played on a grid
(though 9x9 instead of 8x8), each side controls two rows of pieces, and
that the object is to capture the opponent's king. But there's an
exciting new piece: the LASER! Each side has one laser, which can fire a
beam which has one of four interactions with pieces it hits, depending on
the type and orientation of the piece. It can be deflected to another
direction, it can destroy the piece, it can pass straight through with no
effect, or it can be absorbed completely. You can tell by looking at the
shading on the edge exposed to the beam what effect will occur: BRIGHT
edges deflect laser beams. If a beam hits the edge it will bounce off at
the appropriate angle as dictated by physical laws. DIM edges are
vulnerable to laser beams. If a beam hits the edge the piece will be
destroyed (and the beam will go no further). DOTTED edges are indifferent
to laser beams. If a beam hits the edge it will go straight through as if
the piece were not there. Beams are absorbed if they hit the edge of the
board. Unlike in chess, only certain pieces can capture other pieces by
moving onto them. Also unlike in chess, all pieces have the same rules
governing their movement. Aside from whether they can capture other
pieces, the main way pieces are differentiated is in how they react to
laser beams." This Java version not only runs on a wide set of platforms
(anything that can run Java, naturally - but be sure to download and
install Sun's Java 2 Runtime Environment first if you don't have it), but
also is very faithful to the original, offers a tough AI, and even adds
nice new features including limits and multiplayer support (via TCP/IP).
If you like chess or unique board games in general, Laser Chess will keep
you glued to the screen with challenging gameplay and very interesting
rules. The rules take some getting used to, but the game is well worth
the learning curve. Highly recommended!

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