Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (1997, PlayStation) by LucasArts
In 1997, I got a Sony PlayStation for Christmas, which was super exciting! All my friends had amazing games like Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy VII, Tekken, and so much more! And bless my Dad’s soul, he tried to get games for us he knew we’d like. We’re both into baseball, so he got us a baseball game: Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball (it’s bad. really bad.), and we’re both into Star Wars, so he got us… this game. Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi. And to be honest? I absolutely adore and love this game.
Although a bit repetitive, the different areas you can fight in are very faithfully reproduced to match the movie sets. The graphics are quite good for the PS1, with detailed 3D models and tons of fun effects. This game looks great, and is combined with the actual music, composed by the great John Williams, in full CD-quality, with sound effects straight from the movies, and sound-alike voice actors whom are spot on with the cast of the original Star Wars trilogy.
The controls are the one place this game really does feel bad. Not that they’re unresponsive or bad, but they feel heavy. Combos are hard to string together; you have to press all the buttons well before your fighter actually uses that attack. Each character has a weapon, and they’re much easier to fight with, which makes the fact you can fight without one rather silly in my opinion. There’s tons of special moves, but they’re kind of difficult to pull off. Tekken, Virtua Fighter, or DoA this is not.
The speedrun is more fun than it deserves to be (for a fighting game), but it’s still not great. The best way I could find to quickly beat your opponents is the previously-known strat: use a character that can throw enemies behind you and stand on the edge and wait. It really is that simple. There’s a tiny bit of nuance with it; some stages are shaped differently and some characters tend to not behave with their A.I., but for the most part, it’s pretty much jump backwards, wait, throw, win, and rince & repeat. In other words, not very good.
This game is not terrible at all. A gem it is not, but a fun and nice Star Wars fighting game experience. It’s a shame they never tried again, because I see so much potential here. Unfortunately, it didn’t score high then, and it hasn’t aged that well today. Like Jar Jar Binks, you almost want to think that there’s more to this than meets the eye; perhaps some hidden Star Wars lore, or maybe this game is secretly in charge of the Sith… but sadly, at the end of the day, it’s just a mediocre fighting game from the late 90’s that you shouldn’t play unless you are a DIE-HARD Star Wars fan and want to see and play it all. Fighting game fans should go play Tekken instead.
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