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Virtual Kasparov
Platform:  GB Advance
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Titus
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
Before video games the best you could do was play D&D or a game of chess with a friend. This is what I did with my youth until pong was released. Gradually I was able to mix into my videogame life D&D style games which are now known as RPG’s. Not long after that chess programs were released that could actually beat me. Having bought one of those chess computers at Radio Shack really improved my game. When the internet took over my life chess was there for me again. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing at and yahoo games. My current rating is still very high but I actually have to work at work now not like in 98 when gaming was part of work somehow.
Along comes the GBA and Titus sends me a copy of the new Virtual Kasparov they just released and again the old draw of knights, queens, and pawns. Being a better than average player who has tried every chess engine I was skeptical about how much good the GBA version could be. The other portable chess games I have played always seem too slow to be any fun. This version however packs a wallop of perfect balance between fun, difficulty, and speed.
To start the game you have a couple modes quick and story. With quick you set your parameters and launch into a game. With the story mode you are given a world map and bios of opponents for you to beat. This adds to the game since you get a feeling of playing an adversary instead of a computer. After easily beating the first ten fools I was stopped cold by some Russian chick. Luckily I can easily select another person to take on. I came back to her after I cooled off and beat some dude in India.
The interface is simple enough pick a piece and move it, duh. What I found great about the game was the speed. Normally the more complex your enemy is slower the computer is to move. Not in this case though, as it is fast and quick to move you along, yet tough enough to actually beat me.
I was also very shocked to see the little extras like board and piece changes. I did not have to use the tutorial but I checked it out for this review. It was fascinating to see some great openers and strategies laid out for anyone to use. It did teach me at least two new things that help me destroy that Russian chick. I guess you are never too old to learn.
In my final analysis I conclude that the game was great with little negatives given that chess is chess and you know what to expect and if it is well done then that is all it takes. If you like chess then you need look no farther. Forget the crappy computer sim from Radio Shack and check out this GBA gem.

Jesse Labrocca

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