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If Moebius was to be judged on its scenario and packaging it would pass with flying colours. The storyline sounds pretty thrilling, with the promise of 'arcade' style action sequences, and to cap it all, there's a free 'oriental' headband to wear while playing. However, the game itself has many shortcomings. The incredibly long-winded disk accessing tried my patience to its very limit from the very beginning, and ruins any potential suspense. The arcade sequences are basically unnecessary. They're incredibly poor, and opponents are beaten with ease -- something a little trickier, or even something which required thought would have been much better received. It's a shame that Moebius is so flawed, because there are some potentially good ideas involved. As it stands, the gameplay is just far too slow and unrewarding to be worth persevering with.


Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Moebius --
The Orb of Celestial Harmony
1987 Origin Systems Inc.
Programmed by David Shapiro (Dr.Cat) & Greg Malone
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the thirty first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: October 8th, 1987).
As yet another service to you, the devoted ZZAP! reader, Nik 'newcomer' Wild and Julian Rignall will take a look at the newer RPGs available for the Commodore in a semi-regular series of features. Nik is a seasoned role player and offers an opinion relevant to those familiar with RPGs -- Julian however is a mere novice, and will therefore cater for those of you who aren't too familiar with the genre.

If you've ever tired of blasting alien after alien, or have worn your fingers to the bone typing in endless adventure commands, there's always another type of computer game to try -- the relatively obscure Role Playing Game! This is a genre of computer program derived from RPG board games such as the highly popular Dungeons and Dragons.

The usual scenario sees the player create his own character to sally forth into a -- simulated environment to increase (or decrease) his alter-ego's vital statistics. These basic 'stats' normally consist of strength, charisma, wisdom, dexterity, 'hit points' (proneness to injury) and luck. Depending on how situations and characters are dealt with during a game, those stats are altered -- for better or worse.



Microprose/Origin, 19.95 disk

The land of Khantun is devastated and lies in ruins. Since that dark day when Kaimen stole the Orb of Celestial Harmony, the forces of dissolution inherent to the land have reigned supreme. Unseasonable rain and drought plague the land, perhaps a natural reaction to the presence of the Orb in the material planes of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

However, there is a champion who could possibly end these dark days and restore the peace and tranquillity . . . you! Under the guidance of Moebius the Monk, the player's character journeys to the Fire plane to seek out and finally destroy Kaimen.

Before the quest is undertaken there's an option to create, destroy or examine a character. Up to seven adventurous persons are stored at one time, and any of these can be chosen to go forth.

The combat screen in Moebius -- Barbarian it ain't

There is also the option to select training mode, which allows a newly created character to increase his energy and abilities. The first part of training is a sparring session with a palace guard or an assassin, using either bare hands or swordplay. There are 12 actions, controlled via the keyboard, which include a series of kicks and punches, as well as walking and avoiding moves. The contest's rules are simple: the first combatant to lose all his body energy loses.

The next part of training is divination. This involves keeping an excited spirit inside the confines of a square for an allotted time by controlling it with predefined keys. The result of this spiritual exercise defines your initial mental energy. Training is crucial, as only through its successful completion may the quest for the Orb proceed.

The digitised countenance of Moebius

The material planes in which the character travels are (in order): Earth. Water, Air and Fire. The character is depicted as a rectangular Ninja-style head and shoulders whose movements across the terrain are again controlled by pre-defined keys. Objects, including water, trees, rocks and vegetation hinder progress, although some may be overcome if the correct weapon is held. For example, the sword cuts a path through vegetation and the hammer smashes through rocks. Animal life, be it good or evil, are other obstacles to overcome.

At any time during the wanderings, pressing the F1 key pauses the action and allows entry to the options menu. This allows the character to complete a specific action, including view, communicate, magic, get and quit/restart. Communicating with the locals is only successful if the character is empty handed, as they become fearful and call for a guard. Any weapons carried by the adversaries become the characters' when he has defeated them. Other objects are also dropped when an attacker dies, and the character is given the option to take or leave them.

Magic is an essential weapon to master if the enemies are to be found and defeated, and much magical experience is to be found along the route to the Orb. When the character completes a successful task, Moebius appears and utters words of encouragement which increase the character's mind and body power -- and this is essential if Karmen is to be defeated.


The first thing I noticed about Moebius was the extraordinary amount of waiting involved while different chunks of the game loaded from disk. This would not be too bad if the result was worth the delay . . . it isn't. The combat scenes are jerky, slow and very easy to master, with most opponents easily defeated using one repeated move. The Ninja's graphic representation is basic to say the least, with the surrounding terrain doing very little to inspire. The sound effects and music are quite good, but they certainly didn't make up for the visual disappointment. As far as I'm concerned Kaimen can keep the Orb -- retrieving it is just too much of a chore.


Presentation 61%

Reasonable packaging, and comprehensive options -- but the disk accessing time is amazingly slow.

Graphics 44%
Very poor and unimaginative representative graphics.

Atmosphere 52%
The booklet gives a wonderful atmosphere, but the gameplay falls far short of the promises.

Lastability 46%
The little enjoyment on offer is soon ruined by the slow disk accessing time.

Overall 48%
An expensive package which sadly doesn't live up to its potential.



Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (11 Oct 2005)

Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

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