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Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi

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Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi
Bad Star Wars Fighting Game.jpg
This is the game that Qi'ra's fighting style originated from.
Genre(s): Fighting
Platform(s): PlayStation
Release: October 1997
Developer(s): LucasArts
Publisher(s): LucasArts
Country: United States
Series: Star Wars


"I can see why Star Wars doesn't bother with fighting games. Their first outing was an embarrassment. I still think the idea of a Star Wars fighting game could've been great, but too bad they were just jerkin' off! Masters of Teräs Käsi... more like Masturbators of Teräs Käsi."
Angry Video Game Nerd

Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi is a fighting game developed in 1997 for the original PlayStation by LucasArts, greatly inspired by Namco's Tekken. The plot revolves around Arden Lyn, an assassin hired by the Galactic Empire to destroy the Rebel Alliance. It has been seen among the worst Star Wars games, alongside Attack of the Clones on the Game Boy Advance.

Development

The staff at LucasArts had no experience on making a fighting game, which proved to be a challenge for them in the slightest, with lead artist Craig Rundels quoting "No one had programmed a game on the PlayStation. We were learning the hardware, how to make art on it, how to program on it while we were developing Teräs Käsi". The motion capture was handled by longtime LucasFilm partner Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to animate the characters, which gave the team problems due to their varying heights of the fighters. The character of Ardyn Lyn was created specifically for this game. In her concept phase, she started out with a more androgynous look than how she appeared in the final game. When the game was first announced in E3 1996, the hype was massive, as Tekken became a commercial success on the PlayStation a year prior, plus, Star Wars itself was seeing a resurgance in the late 90s with the soon to be released Phantom Menace two years later, but when the game was first released, fans where dissapointed with the final results to say the least. Teräs Käsi was actually the main reason Capcom rebranded their rejected pitch into a new IP called Star Gladiator according to Seth Killian.

Plot

The game's plot takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. After the destruction of the Death Star handed to the Galactic Empire, Emperor Palpatine demands drastic measures for a swift retribution against Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance. So, he calls upon the services of a mysterious young woman named Arden Lyn, who is a master of an ancient and almost forgotten fighting art called "teräs käsi", to assassinate the key members of the Alliance.

Why It's Not A Master of Teras Kasi

  1. Odd cast of characters, with iconic characters such as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader being featured alongside a Stormtrooper, a Gamorrean guard and a Tusken Raider named Hoar.
  2. The opening crawl says the title incorrectly as "A Master of Teräs Käsi" rather than "Masters of Teräs Käsi".
  3. Slow and stiff gameplay, with characters taking a lot of time to do even the most basic attacks.
  4. Awful controls, with special moves being very hard to pull off.
  5. Frustrating AI, which has no problem pulling off moves and will use the most devastating one whenever it feels like it.
  6. Despite all other characters using voice clips from the movies, Darth Vader is voiced by another person for whatever reason, rather than using James Earl Jones'.

Reception and Legacy

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

The game received mixed to negative reviews from critics and fans alike for being a stiff, almost unplayable version of Tekken, with a questionable roster choice that made fans scratching their heads. Jeff Gerstmann felt that the game played like it was "stuck in slow motion". He cited sluggish movement, uninteresting combos and overpowered force moves as weak points of the game. In the book Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts, author Rob Smith said the game served as a reminder that "simply attaching the 'Star Wars name to a game wasn't enough.", but noted that Teräs Käsi had successful sales during the 1997 holiday season, leaving it ambiguous what it wasn't enough for. Which isn't far off as, despite the reviews, it indeed sold very well upon its release, but is unlikely to have a sequel, given its troubled development and reception mentioned earlier.

Videos

Trivia

  • Teräs Käsi is Finnish for steel hands, much like how Tekken is Japanese for iron fist.
  • Teräs Käsi was introduced into the Disney Canon in Solo: A Star Wars Story, where Han Solo's first fiancée Qi'ra is a practicer of Teräs Käsi.

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