Khantun is traditionally a peaceful land, with no army or wars. Former leader Kaimen has turned to using his powers for evil, and the land has not withstood his aggression. The Holy Ones have been kidnapped, the land instead ruled by an evil group of monks. It is down to the player to vanquish Kaimen and restore the path of righteousness.
The game combines top-viewed role playing elements with combat action. The player explores the lands, but when encountering unfriendly people the player must fight, using swords or martial arts moves, as well as long-range missiles and magical powers.
Moebius is a game that can easily be described as being ahead of its time. Strangely enough I haven't really heard of this game before recently, when I wanted to review one of my favorite C64 games called Windwalker and realized that it is a sequel to this game. Naturally I wanted to try it and I was very pleased with the game.
The story behind the game is fairly simple and not much unlike many other RPG stories. A once peaceful kingdom (somewhere in the far east) is now under the rule of evil forces that have overtaken it and you, the player, become a disciple of Moebius and try to bring peace and harmony back to land.
As I said, a straight forward plot. However the game-play is the real gem of this game.
You start off by creating your character. Unlike most RPGs you don't have points to distribute. Instead you have to practice the skills you will need. There are three things you require to practice: bare hand combat, sword combat and divination. The last one is not a form of combat, but a test of reflexes. You need to keep the spinning yin-yang symbol within the rectangle. You will need this skill every time you advance to a higher level.
After training you enter the world of Khantun. You walk around and memorize what you see, creating your own memory map you can call up any time. You have your sword and with it you can chop down vegetation that's standing in your way. Some is tougher and requires several chops and your sword will with time get duller, so don't forget to sharpen it. To break down boulders that are in your way use the hammer (you need to get your hands on one first). And if you encounter any baddies you need to fight them (you've practiced your fighting skills, so there shouldn't be a problem there).
Pressing 'escape' will call up a menu, which among other things shows you the abbreviations of the commands you can use (for instance: G means GET, U means USE). It's useful to know the commands, since you can run into a treasure chest, but you need the right command to open it (same with doors). Also remember to poke around dead corpses in order to see what they were carrying. Sometimes you can get very useful items from them. The rest you'll discover by playing for yourself.
All in all this is a very pleasant combination of top down exploring and face-to-face combat, with an interesting (although not too original) story behind it. Definitely an overlooked gem you should try. Chances are, you'll enjoy it!
One of the first games produced in the Western hemisphere that are based on Oriental motif, Moebius is an ambitious design that didn't quite pull it off.
Your job, as disciple of the Headmaster, is to recover the Orb of Celestial Harmony from disciple-turned-badguy Kaimen. To do that, you must train your body and soul in the best tradition of Chinese warriors: to "walk the path of Moebius the Windwalker." Although gameplay is similar to standard RPGs, there are some neat differences: in addition to familiar character statistics such as dexterity, you also have karma, a crucial attribute that goes up or down constantly depending on your deeds. Frighten a citizen with your sword, and your karma will drop; defeat monsters in battle, and it will rise. Combat is also played in a neat 2D side-scrolling view similar to fighting games, and you have a wide range of attacks to use, including even shurikens and fireballs if you are experienced enough.
Despite original Chinese folklore setting and cool arcade-style combat, however, repetitive quests and "canned" dialogues drag down the game's potential. Even the fun combat sequence will wear off after you have tried all the moves and weapons. The bottom line: play this for nostalgia, then go play its much-improved sequel Windwalker instead :)
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