Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony

aka: Moebius 1, Moebius: The Orb of Celestial Harmony - Master The Orient
Moby ID: 1623
Apple II Specs

Description official descriptions

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.

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Credits (Apple II version)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 58% (based on 8 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 2 reviews)

Full of original ideas but ruined by flawed gameplay.

The Good
This game contained a lot of original and creative elements. It plays as a one character RPG using an overhead map, but all combat occurs as side on kung-fu fighting. The storyline is that one of Moebius' disciples has stolen the orb of celestial harmony. You must travel through the four elemental realms to recover it.

Each of the four realms has two shrines which are guarded by evil monks. You have to kill the evil monks, rescue two priests and guide each of them to the shrine to liberate it. Finally you have to kill the realms overlord - rather than being a tough fight this is easier than attacking the evil monks.

The graphics were a cut above anything Origin had produced before and better than the likes of Ultima 4. Each tile overlaps the one behind it creating a minor isometric 3D effect. To spoil this effect somewhat, all characters are depicted using their top halves. This does give the advantage of having recognisable characters rather than little stick men.

There are a lot of unusual touches to the gameplay. For instance, the water on the map all has currents, meaning you have to pick and choose your routes carefully.

The 4 worlds the game takes place in are quite large and the game takes around 7-8 hours to complete even if you know exactly what to do.

The Bad
There are a limited number of different enemies to fight (only 4 in total). This makes combat very, very repetitive. The same strategies have to be adopted for each type of opponent every time (usually low kicks) and by the time you have gone through a few hundred fights the novelty has long worn off.

Movement around the map is slow and painful, yet it is still easy to miss your turn and waste your very limited water and food supplies. This is added to by having to cut through foliage all the time. Further still you often can't see what you are cutting at. Due to the overlapping tiles a rock in the middle of a forest will just look like another square with a tree on it. I was forever blunting my sword this way when trying to chop through rocks.

The storyline in the manual isn't expanded on at all throughout the game. The game is more a collection of tasks. Each realm doesn't add enough new to keep your interest going and apart from a couple of tasks on the third realm it boils down to doing the exactly the same thing as on the previous map.

The Bottom Line
This has all the elements to make a good game, yet fails miserably due to tedious, slow and repetitive gameplay. I'm very surprised that this game got a sequel.

Apple II · by Pix (1172) · 2008

Surprisingly ahead of its time...

The Good
Compelling storyline, solid but not overly complex RPG elements, interesting (dated by today's standards but not then) fighter-game aspects.

The Bad
That cheesy ying-yang-in-a-box thingy you have to do every time you advance in level.

The Bottom Line
Believe it or not, this is one of my favorite games of all time. In all aspects, this game pales in comparison to any RPG today, but it has something that even RPGs of today lack (IMHO), which is it's ability to create a compelling, cohesive game environment. It's not necessarily believable, nor is it expansive (you can probably finish the game in a week tops), but it managed to capture that elusive fun factor that's missing from a lot of games. The sequel, WindWalker, was technically a more interesting game, but oddly not as fun for me.

DOS · by Daniel Yu (111) · 2002

Trivia

Origin always added interesting little knicknacks with their games in the 80's and early 90's. This game came with a headband!

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  • MobyGames ID: 1623
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Old man gamer.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Apple II, Atari ST, Amiga added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: jean-louis, Garcia.

Game added June 15, 2000. Last modified January 17, 2024.