Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi (Playstation 1)

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Introduction

After the destruction of the Death Star Emperor Palpatine sends out the call to a hitherto-unknown character, Arden Lyn– Not Darth Vader, call someone we have no connection to and have never heard of. He orders her to go beat up Luke, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. Arden also teams up with Boba Fett and some alien guys. Lyn is an expert in the galactic martial art of Teras Kasi, which everyone else has picked up pretty quickly to face her. It’s time for all these characters to rumble across the Galaxy.

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This is Arden Lyn. How does she hold up that giant robot arm with her normal body?

 

History

This game was developed by Lucas Arts– A Star Wars game developed by Lucas Arts, what are the odds? The reviews for this game are really mixed, but mostly on the negative side. The most common complaints were that Lightsabers did not remove limbs on hit and that characters were grossly imbalanced– but I’ll get to that later.

It introduced three new characters to the canon, A Tusken Raider named Hoar– yes it’s pronounced how you think it’s pronounced, A Pig Man guard from Jabba’s Palace named Thok, and Arden Lyn herself. Although they didn’t receive much, if any, backstory in the game they were fleshed out in the expanded fiction later on down the line. Arden Lyn and Teras Kasi actually became things that were acknowledged and vital to the canon.

Fun Fact: Teras Kasi is Finnish for Steel Fist.

Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi was released on September 23, 1998. It’s competition was Fallout 2(PC), Caesar III (PC), and Crash Bandicoot Warped (PS1).

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Say what you will about choosing these races, I think they’re who the fans were dying to see guys brawl.

 

Nostalgia

Did you ever like a game that turned out to be totally bad? My father and I loved this game. It united our love of Star Wars and his desire to not play a game that took a long time to beat. I tried playing every character and he would only play Luke, he wanted to be the Jedi hero so that’s who he played. I’d try to sneak the difficulty higher when he went through the arcade mode to see him get frustrated or rise up against opposition.

But looking back on the game now I had no idea that the reviews for it were so bad. I thought this game was awesome, there were a lot of frustrating things but as a kid that didn’t play it competitively those problems didn’t come to light– Except for you Hoar, I’ll never forgive you.

Hoar

I’m looking at you, you sandy bastard.

 

Gameplay

Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi is a fighting game, so it’s all about learning combos and using moves that are effective against your opponent’s moves. This all being said the move lists are only in the manual.

Every time you deal or take damage it fills your character’s power gauge. This power is measured from one to four bars and certain moves use this power gauge. Finishing moves us it all and devastate your opponent with an incredibly impressive attack.

There’s also a stun meter under each character’s health bar and I have no idea how it works.

Some characters have weapons that they can use. Luke’s lightsaber and Hoars gaffi stick are really cool to use but Chewbacca, Han, and Fett only get blasters that aren’t incredibly useful. Their ranged attacks have such a long charge time that it’s easy for other characters to close the gap and deck them in the schnoz.

The Gush

Playing as Luke Skywalker and fighting Darth Vader in a fighting game lightsaber duel is fun no matter how bad the controls are.

For the playstation 1 this game looks pretty good actually. The fields and arenas are good depictions of their settings, except for maybe the Hoth map.

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Oh look… whiteness and snow.

The game has some fun and silly cheats like big head mode and tiny fighter mode.

The Kvetch

If you lose the manual you’ll lose the game. And when there are two players and only one manual, it turns the game into a pause-fest where each player is trying to remember or get the manual to figure out what to do. Most games have a move list available from the pause menu, this is not most games.

There are also certain moves that aren’t in the manual but are only in the strategy guide. Because gating moves behind a 20 dollar pay wall is fair, right?

The control input is kind of clunky. There are times where I SWEAR I’m pushing buttons, and the game recognizes it in practice mode, but I still don’t attack properly.

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Or maybe the game is just glitching out.

The game only has 8 characters but it does have four unlockable characters. Unfortunately all these unlockable characters are just pallet swaps of other characters, they look different but have the same moves. With the exception of the incredibly hard to unlock, Mara Jade. She’s actually worse than Luke in every way– her healing move heals the opponent too! Bug or feature? You decide!

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Oh… Stormtrooper… just what I wanted.

Some finishing moves can miss and other can’t, missing your finisher can be really disappointing especially when your opponent can’t miss theirs.

Animations are repeated a lot, especially with winning and losing taunts.

It’s ungodly hard to unlock Mara Jade in this game. You have to put in a cheat and then beat some enemies on the hardest difficulty level. A CHEAT is necessary to legit unlock a character, because fairness.

Some characters are unfairly good. HOAR RANT ENGAGE! Hoar has one special move, just one. It’s called the whirling dervish and it makes him spin around and hit the opponent 12 times or something. If he hits you with it, it’ll only stop when the move is over. It’s hard to dodge, deals a bunch of damage, and it’s just the same thing over and over again. It’s also his finisher, the only big difference being that the non-finisher version does less damage. Fighting this guy is a nightmare because two Whirling Dervishes will knock you out and using him feels like cheating because you knock out the opponent in two moves. But the only way to beat him is to play as him, you have to get on his level, stoop so low, to defeat the game.

Hoar

This is what the dark side really is. Winning at any cost, ignoring fun and choosing victory.

 

The Verdict

I know I’ve complained a lot about this one but I can’t bring myself to hate it. Maybe I’ve succumbed to the dark side of Hoar’s spinning assaults but I just love having this fight…

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Show me another game where I can face my father, playing as Darth Vader, as I play Luke Skywalker? Didn’t think so.

Next Week: Netstorm for the PC

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