Intense 3D Fighting in That Galaxy Far, Far Away
Star Wars games have a long history of being “hit or miss.” When they hit, we’ve gotten some instant classics as a result; like Super Star Wars on the SNES, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader on the Gamecube, or the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade cabinet. My personal favorite might actually be the simply titled Star Wars released for the NES in 1991 — the one that played like an open world game where you could choose to steal the Millennium Falcon without ever even meeting Obi Wan or Han Solo, if you so pleased.
But for every hit, there is a miss: Flight of the Falcon, Rebel Assault, Kinect Star Wars — the list goes on. But perhaps none are quite as infamous as 1997’s Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi. In concept, a Star Wars fighting game seemed like it would be hard to go wrong. In fact, a quote from a preview featured in issue 12 of Star Wars Galaxy magazine went so far as to claim that it would “be hard to go wrong.” Clearly, the interviewee responsible for that quote was not gifted with Force Vision.™ Masters of Teräs Käsi would be almost universally panned on release, stacked up against such tough competition as Tekken 3 and Street Fighter III. But with that in mind, was it simply a matter of unfair comparison? Is Masters of Teräs Käsi actually an alright game, overshadowed by some of its stand-out peers?
In this article, we’ll be travelling back a not-so long time ago, and not particularly far away either; to examine the rise and fall of the first Star Wars fighting game.** We’ll attempt to make sense of its development, battle our way through the game itself, and measure the impact the release had on both the games industry and the Star Wars franchise itself. Are there any other Star Wars references I should get out of the way up front? Oh! I’ll try “I have a bad feeling about this.” That’s a good quote.