What do you get if you combine over twenty attractive chess sets, a simple easy-to-use interface, and one hell of a chess engine? Chessmaster 5000. Mindscape's fantastic new adaptation of the classic can teach you how to play, how to improve your game, and how to gracefully get your butt kicked over and over by a computer.
There are numerous chess sets, ranging from standard staunton to dinosaur pieces for children. Some of the sets are 2-d, while others are 3-d or perspective. All of the sets are very strong visually, and show a great attention to detail often lacking in computer chess sims. Chessmaster's audio is also impressive. Setup options include thematic, digital, and simple sound effects, all of which have their own strengths. I found that the simple sounds worked best for me. They were unobtrusive, but helpful in letting me know when the computer had made its move. The theme sounds, like when the dinosaur pieces thump across the board, are sure to appeal to children.
Chessmaster 5000 offers up an impressive assortment of features designed to enhance your chess playing experience. You have complete control over the level and style of play, which eliminates the frustration of constantly playing against a computer opponent that always wins or loses. There are over sixty preconfigured chess personalities, ranging from Alekhine to Kasparov, that you can face off against, or you can take on a human opponent in a hotseat (taking turns on a single computer), modem, or LAN competition. Two extra goodies included on the Chessmaster 5000 CD are over twenty well written tutorials and a 27,000-game chess database. The game is an excellent trainer, with natural language advice- that lets you know in plain English where you should move and why, positional setup so that you can concentrate on your weak spots, and a practice opening move mode.
Sharp graphics, nifty sound effects, and a fierce 32 bit chess engine make Chessmaster 5000 the finest chess software I have ever used. Infinitely variable skill levels ensure that Chessmaster 5000 is an excellent personal chess trainer and opponent for almost any level of player. Any fan of chess is sure to find this a purchase well worth their time.