Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
Follow PS One
1997 Lucas Arts
3D Fighting

Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi

Good: Good graphics & sound
Bad: Pretty much everything else
User Score
7.4
(5 votes)
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Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)

There was a time, prior to 1999’s dismal release of Star Wars:Episode I, when it was a good time to be a Star Wars fan. There was a great body of material and characters, constant speculation and rumors of the upcoming prequel trilogy, nobody knew who Jar Jar Binks was, and everything in the world was okay. When you mentioned Star Wars, there was no rolling of the eyes accompanied by a groan. Most of the time, anyways. Up to this point in time, we had seen many Star Wars games, including Super Star Wars, Shadows of the Empire and Dark Forces. All of these games were met with critical acclaim and widespread fanboy approval. Then, in 1997, talk began about an upcoming 3D Star Wars fighting game. The screenshots and rumors trickled forth, and the world was chomping at the bit to get a hold of this game. What we got, unfortunately fell short of everyone’s expectations, and Lucas Art’s 1997 release, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi ultimately fell flat on its face. I remember the first time I actually played the game, at my high school friend Paul’s house. It was part of my first exposure to the Playstation, and on that day I got to play a bunch of great games for the first time, including Driver, Medal of Honor, Resident Evil, and this game. I remember being disappointed after playing it for a few minutes, and moved on to the other games. This week, I decided to give this unique title another run in the old PS One, just to make sure if it really was that bad.

chewie vs lukeWhen you look at it on paper, the game’s concept is almost overwhelming. The potential for awesomeness was there. Just look at the possibilities. You can pit Han Solo vs Chewbacca. Luke vs Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper vs a Tusken Raider, and if intergalactic domestic violence is your thing, Princess Leia vs Han Solo. That was just an example of the matchups we were all waiting for while the game was awaiting its release. So what happened? Before we discuss that, let’s take a look at how the game was presented first.

han boba select screenLike previously stated, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi was released for the Playstation One by Lucas Arts in 1997. It is a 3D fighting game that takes place between A New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back. Teras Kasi refers to the martial arts fighting style utilized in the Star Wars universe, although there was no mention or usage of the technique in any of the films or books. The storyline goes that after the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin, the Emperor is out for blood, and employs an assassin named Arden Lynn to hunt down and kill all of the Rebel Alliance’s key members. The Rebels, in the meantime, uncover this plot and get together to openly confront Arden Lynn. Upon its release, the game took a lot of heat from the press and players alike, criticizing its lack of balance, inferior game engine and especially the fact that the lightsaber attacks did not dismember people during combat. The last thing was the first thing I noticed when I played the game, but if that had been the case, this would have made for an even more unbalanced game, and an admittedly short one, at that. True, the game doesn’t measure up against some of its contemporary fighters like Tekken or Virtua Fighter, but you have to look at this game as a Star Wars fan, rather than a strict fighting game fan. I know this sounds like a cop out; but I’ve been considered a Star Wars apologist for years now and that isn’t about to change.

Luke Vs Arden LynTeras Kasi was an ambitious project, that’s for sure. The character selection included Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Darth Vader (unlockable), Boba Fett, a stormtrooper, Arden Lynn, a Gamorrean Guard named Thok, Mara Jade (from the novels), a Tusken Raider named Hoar (insert joke here) and a few others. On paper, everyone knew that Darth Vader would smoke a Tusken Raider and a stormtrooper, but Lucas Arts did at least attempt to balance the characters, but even today its a glaring problem with the game. The characters offer a great deal of variety, however there were some omissions that were glaring at the time, as well as today. Obi Wan Kenobi with his lightsaber was sorely missed, as well as Lando Calrissian and the Emperor were also key characters that should have had a spot in the game. That being said, there were some cool alternate costumes, such as Leia’s slave girl outfit, the Stormtrooper’s Forest Trooper gear, as well as Luke’s black Jedi outfit. There is also an obscure character named Jodo Kast, whose back story is that he is a bounty hunter who utilized Mandalorian Battle Armor and is sometimes mistaken for Boba Fett. On the surface, he appears to be a precursor to Jango Fett from the prequel, but I chalk it up to something that got muddled prior to the prequel trilogy’s release.

boba vs leiaGraphically speaking, the game is on par with other 3D fighters at its time of release. the characters’ joints are clearly visible, but the animations are well executed. The backgrounds are also very detailed and attractive, and go a long way to making this game feel like its taking place in the Star Wars Universe. The sound effects are very well done, and the music, always a key element to the series, makes its presence known as well. I found the voice-over work to be spot-on, but after a while get repetitive. For the most part, the game did well to capture the likenesses of each character. The biggest gripe I had personally was that Darth Vader appeared a little lanky, and this went a long way to annoy me. The lighting is very well done, especially where lightsabers are concerned. So more or less the game looks attractive and everything audio-related is superb.

vader vs thokWhen you look at the overall execution, however, is where this title begins to stumble, and ultimately ends up flat on the floor. Now I realize that at the time of it’s release, 3D fighting was still in its infancy, but this game runs SLOW. There is what seems to be a delay in the controls, making you feel as if you’re fighting underwater. There is a prominent lack of depth, with the game only offering a loose story mode and a simple 1 on 1 versus mode. The game is a weapons based fighter, each character has either a light saber, blaster or melee weapon of some type, and this is where the lack of balance I mentioned earlier comes into play. If you’re fighting a fully charged Luke Skywalker, you’re pretty much screwed if he has his lightsaber out. The same can be said with Boba Fett’s rocket attack. This gets really old, really quick. Another annoyance is the constant sidestepping of your attacks that the computer is wan to perform. In addition to each player’s weapons, everyone has a basic set of generic unarmed attacks, which are run of the mill. The special moves are difficult to pull off, despite the extensive moveset. This is all a shame, because this game held so much promise.

Luke Vs LeiaSo where does this title lie in the videogame history of the Star Wars franchise? Unfortunately, nearly at the bottom. Offhand, I have a hard time finding a Star Wars game worse than this one. Seriously, it escapes me. This game could have been so much better, possibly if placed in the hands of another development team. There could have been a better storyline, bonus rounds involving seeing how many Ewoks you could kill in under a minute. Instead, you get Han Solo clumsily hitting people in the head with his blaster. I am so glad that I wasn’t one of the ones who paid full retail price for this game at its time of release. That afternoon at Paul’s house was all I needed, but that doesn’t say you collection doesn’t have room for this game. I would only recommend it to Star Wars fans as an oddity; this game would only serve to make fighting game fans angry. Just how bad is this game?

droidworksLet’s just say that I had more fun playing Star Wars:DroidWorks on the old Macintosh than I ever had playing Masters of Teras Kasi. And that was pretty much an educational game, which will tell you everything you need to know about this one.

Insert derogatory Star Wars movie quote here.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.4/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, 7.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
fflando
fflando


I am a full time Firefighter/EMT living in the United States. In my spare time, I split my time between modern games on my Xbox and the rich universe of the systems we all grew up with.

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