The Game: The Emperor, tiring of the constant Rebel threat to his plans for conquest, plays his hidden ace – Arden Lyn, a deceptively young-looking woman who is the last known master of the ancient martial art of teras kasi. Her mission is to hunt down Luke, Han, Leia and the other Rebels…and eliminate them. Little does she know that the Rebels are aware of the new threat to their cause, and are preparing for her arrival as well. (LucasArts, 1997)
Memories: How best to describe Teras Kasi? Think of MTV’s Celebrity Death Match set in the Star Wars universe, and you’ll have a pretty good idea, sans claymation. Teras Kasi could have been more easily titled Star Wars Ultimate Fighting and gotten the point across more succinctly (and probably would’ve sold better as well).
I don’t object entirely in principle to the idea of a Star Wars fighting game. After all, who wouldn’t like to take on some stormtroopers, or engage a Sith Lord in some swordplay? But it should be a decent game, not a combination of a kung fu game and a WWF game with Star Wars characters and settings. The thin plotline about Arden Lyn isn’t even sustained by the game – if Teras Kasi was actually a relevant addition to the Star Wars universe, there would be something in the game to prevent such ridiculous matches as Han vs. Chewie (which is, believe it or not, a combination that can be played). Make no mistake – there’s no story, just flying fists. And there’s something incredibly incongruous about seeing Luke, Han and Boba Fett engaging in suspiciously kung fu-esque martial arts in the first place.
The death blow (so to speak) in my mind for Teras Kasi is the impossible-to-remember control scheme. Each character has a “special move” whose trigger sequence is incredibly complex. By the time you’ve opened the instruction manual to see how to send Chewbacca into a Wookiee rage, he’s already being pummeled by a Gammorrean Guard.
Do I have anything good to say about Teras Kasi? Well, the character animations are rather well done, and if you can stop for breath long enough to glance at the background scenery, do so – AT-ATs stroll past in the background on Endor, while Imperial Probe Droids waft through the air in other locales. There are also decent background renderings of such Star Wars settings as Dagobah, Cloud City and Hoth. Why these fights happen in such unlikely places, I can’t answer you, but…oops. Sorry. I was trying to stick to saying something nice here.
And finally, I’ll admit that this review comes with a built-in bias: I’m not a big fan of martial arts fighting games. I’d rather catch a real live martial arts competition on ESPN2 than try to fake it on the Playstation. So I have a predisposition against Masters of Teras Kasi, but it’s just possible that others may like it.