I recently set up a C64 emulator for other projects and decided to take the C64 version of Battle Chess for a spin. I grew up with this version (on an NTSC Commodore) long before I played the others and remembered not liking it as much, but from a speedrunning perspective it's actually pretty interesting. Got me wondering if any of the other versions are significantly different.
I figured I'd start a thread and detail some basic observations and speedruns of each version I play around with. Not really sure every version of this game merits tabs on the board, but please feel free to chime in and share observations and runs on obscure platforms! I might eventually try to run them all!
1. They fixed the "Novice and Level 1 difficulties are functionally swapped" bug. Makes sense as this came out a year later than DOS/Amiga.
2. There appears to be a much reduced opening move set for the CPU compared to DOS and Amiga, which occasionally leads to very bizarre behavior in the early game. Only 6 difficulty levels as well. Makes sense considering what they had to work with.
3. The delaying tactics to improve the CPU variability work in this one like DOS and Amiga. It seems like cursor location matters much more in this one though. Overshooting your cursor before selecting often leads to way more favorable CPU moves. They likely didn't have as much to work with for RNG on C64.
4. Pressing the fire button like in the NES version to try to interrupt the CPU seemingly does nothing. There is an explicitly designed "force move" button called out in the manual that changes the CPU behavior, but that feels like straight up cheating.
5. The NES graphics are slightly more clean, detailed, and colorful versions of the C64's it looks like. Pawns are just plain weird and different though. Definitely see why they did cut scenes on NES - the battle part of the game is underwhelming.
6. I remembered the game being slightly unstable on real hardware, and that seems to hold true for modern emulation as well. Guess my C64 wasn't a dud! VICE (C64SC) is your best bet to run it with default settings and "True Drive Emulation". Using a C128 in 64 mode might reduce load times a little but it's not as stable and seems to lag more between moves. Maybe I have some bad settings though, so your mileage may vary.