|Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II|
ESRB: Teen (T)
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (often abbreviated JK by fans) is a first person shooter computer game released on October 9, 1997, by LucasArts. This was the first game in the series to include multiplayer capabilities over the Internet or over a LAN. It was also the first computer game to allow players to take control of a Jedi character using both the Force and lightsabers in a multiplayer setting.
The game can be considered a companion piece to the similarly-titled novella Dark Forces: Jedi Knight.
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II takes place a year after the second Death Star has been destroyed. The Dark Jedi Jerec and his six Dark Jedi seek the map to the Valley of the Jedi and captures the Jedi Qu Rahn for it. Meanwhile, the mercenary Kyle Katarn chases the informant droid 8t88 for a data disc that belonged to his father, Morgan Katarn. After retrieving the disc, Kyle returns home to the planet Sulon where he is able to read the disc with his droid WeeGee. He is granted a lightsaber and a quest to protect the Valley of the Jedi by a hologram of his father contained in the disc. Katarn receives help from his trusted partner and pilot, Jan Ors. During the game Katarn encounters the Dark Jedi and finds the map to the Valley of the Jedi on the planet Ruusan. At the valley, Jerec plans to absorb the ancient power that lies in the valley. His plans are however stopped by Kyle Katarn who arrives and kills him after a lightsaber duel.
Kyle Katarn returns from Star Wars: Dark Forces as the protagonist. Having helped with the retrieval of the first Death Star plans, Katarn is now several years later contemplating his dead father. Katarn is contacted by the droid informant 8t88 who reveals that he has a disc that comes from Katarn's home. 8t88 runs off with the disc when Katarn refuses to decipher it, resulting in a chase. Kyle retrieves the disc but is then caught up in his father's, and the old Jedi Qu Rahn's, wishes of him becoming a Jedi and to prevent any harm to befall the Valley of the Jedi. During his quest he faces off against the Seven Dark Jedi whose leader, Jerec, is the man who killed Katarn's father. He is accompanied by his partner Jan Ors who pilots his ship the Moldy Crow. Ors is eventually captured by the Dark Jedi. Katarn travels to The Valley of the Jedi where Jerec is using the valley's power to become even more powerful. Katarn defeats all seven Dark Jedi and saves the captured Jan Ors. He also frees the spirits that had been trapped in the valley since the Seventh Battle of Ruusan fought in the New Sith Wars. In honor of Qu Rahn and Katarn's father, he erects statues of them in the valley.
Jerec is the main antagonist in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. He is the leader of the seven Dark Jedi who seek the power of the Valley of the Jedi. Prior to the game's start Jerec leads an assault on Morgan Katarn's home in search of the map to the Valley of the Jedi, and kills Morgan Katarn when he doesn't reveal anything. Years later his flagship chases down the old Jedi Qu Rahn from who he gains the information that the map is at the Katarn's home. Jerec retrieves the map and heads for the Valley of the Jedi. At the landing site he gives an offer to Kyle Katarn to embrace the Dark side of the Force and join him, the latter refuses and Jerec keeps Jan Ors as a hostage. The Dark Jedi then descends to the Valley and bathes in its power. Kyle Katarn reaches him and in a climactic lightsaber duel, Jerec is defeated and the power of the valley slips from his fingers.
Jan Ors is the trusted partner of Kyle Katarn and the pilot of his ship the Moldy Crow. Ors piloted Katarn to wherever his missions led him and bailed him out of trouble when he needed an escape. During the quest for the Valley of the Jedi she was taken hostage on Ruusan by the Dark Jedi. Jerec, the leader of the Dark Jedi tried to use her to turn Katarn to the dark side, but failed. Ors was then taken to the Valley of the Jedi and was soon rescued by Katarn.
Jerec's right hand and one of the antagonists in the game, Sariss accompanied her master and the other Dark Jedi to capture Qu Rahn. The Jedi however attempted an escape in which Sariss dueled against him for a short while before he was struck down by Jerec. Later, Sariss, along with Yun and Boc Aseca, retrieved the map to the Valley of the Jedi. She followed her master to Ruusan where she stood by her master in the confrontation with Kyle Katarn. Katarn made his escape but crashed with his ship. Sariss along with Boc and Yun ventured after Katarn, who they found semi-conscious. As Sariss attempted to strike Katarn down she was hindered by Yun, whom she accidentally killed in reflex. This bought Katarn the time to regain himself and take Yun's lightsaber and defeated Sariss in a duel.
The youngest of the Dark Jedi, Yun looked forward to his first battle with the Light side of the Force. As the game starts, Yun is following his master and the other Dark Jedi to hunt down Qu Rahn. In the interrogation, the old Jedi managed to steal Yun's lightsaber and attack the Dark Jedi. Rahn was however struck down quickly by Jerec. After these events, Yun followed Boc and Sariss to retrieve the map to the Valley of the Jedi from the Katarn homestead. Yun stayed with the map at Barons Hed where 8t88 was deciphering it. There he faced off with Kyle Katarn, but was defeated. Yun was surprised, however, that Katarn spared his life, and made his escape shortly after. He ventured with his master to Ruusan and watched the confrontation between Jerec and Katarn. And when the latter made his escape, he ventured with Boc and Sariss to kill him. But as Sariss was about to strike the semi-conscious Katarn down, Yun interfered and was killed by Sariss, explaining that Katarn deserved a battle.
Chase on Nar ShaddaaEdit
In a bar on the moon Nar Shaddaa, Kyle Katarn met with the droid informant 8t88 in the hopes of finding information about his deceased father. 8t88 informed Katarn that his father was killed by a Dark Jedi called Jerec. The droid then threatened Katarn so he would decipher the information on a disc he found in Morgan Katarn's home. Katarn retaliated but 8t88 had already escaped forcing Katarn to hunt down the disc and 8t88. Katarn chased 8t88 over the Nar Shaddaa cargo docks and caught up to the droid when he was about to leave in his shuttle. Before 8t88 could escape into his shuttle, Katarn fired his blaster at the droid's right shoulder which severed the arm that held the disc. A TIE bomber appeared after 8t88's shuttle left and fired at Katarn but was shot down by Jan Ors in the Moldy Crow. Katarn informed his partner that he'd meet her at the top after he got the disc. He found the disc under the landing pad and proceeded through cargo storages, conveyor belts and other areas all the way to the top of the building. As Ors picked him up, he was severely injured and had to spend the night in a medical frigate.
Returning Home to SulonEdit
Upon returning to his home on the planet Sulon, Katarn noticed an Imperial shuttle parked outside his old family house. He hid out of sight as Yun, Aseca, and Sariss were loading the pieces of map leading to the Valley of the Jedi into the shuttle. He continued to watch the Dark Jedi as they set off into the sky with the shuttle, and proceeded to his house when they were out of sight. To Katarn's disbelief, his house was crawling with Grave Tuskens. Despite the uninvited guests, Katarn made his way through his old home, but the path to his father's workshop had caved in. But, he did not despair for there was another way into the workshop beyond their water supply. As he entered the workshop, he saw that it was in disarray, but he immediately spotted the family droid WeeGee. After he turned the droid on, Katarn inserted the disc he got from 8t88 and was shown a recording of his dead father Morgan Katarn. Morgan Katarn told his son that he had left two very important items for him. The first was a Lightsaber which had belonged to the Jedi Qu Rahn, and the second was the map to the Valley of the Jedi which was embedded in the stone ceiling. The ceiling was however what the Dark Jedi had loaded onto their ship, so Katarn made it his next mission to locate the map. He was however unable to go the same way back since he had entered the room from the ceiling and the exit was blocked. Katarn simply made his way through the irrigation channels and was eventually picked up by Ors in the Moldy Crow.
Barons Hed Edit
Katarn and Ors set off to find the map which led them to the city of Barons Hed. The city had forcefully been taken over by the Empire and had now a giant fortress stationed in the middle of the city. Assuming 8t88 was in the top of that tower, Kyle made his way through the city. After a difficult time getting into the fortress tower, Katarn used the elevator to reach 8t88's chambers. The droid had just finished sending the deciphered map to Jerec and was told his payment awaited him on the starship Sulon Star. Katarn demanded the map back when he entered the room, and 8t88 replied that it was all his for the taking. However, an elevator descended from the roof with one of the Dark Jedi. Yun, the newest of the Dark Jedi, proceeded to make short work of the map by destroying it. He blasted Katarn with his Force powers and exclaimed that he had expected more from the Light side. Kyle defeated the young Dark Jedi who then told him to finish him off. Katarn spared his life, however, which made the young man confused. Yun made his escape through the roof, and Katarn set off after 8t88. But, Katarn was too late. As he reached the top of the tower, 8t88 flew away in his shuttle. Shortly after, Ors arrived to pick him up.
The Sulon Star Edit
The pair followed 8t88's shuttle in the Moldy Crow to a fuel station where the Sulon Star was waiting. To avoid alerting the Imperials of their presence, Katarn sneaked aboard the ship through the giant fuel lines of the station. Once aboard, he had to traverse down to the docking bays which lay on the lower deck. As Katarn came upon 8t88's shuttle, he opened the door behind it, and to his joy 8t88 was standing right there. But when Kyle touched the droid, its head fell off alarming the Jedi. From behind him emerged the so-called twins of the Dark Jedi, the small Pic and the much larger Gorc. Boodle informed Katarn that he would not be lucky to experience the Valley of the Jedi and attacked Katarn. Despite having to face two foes at once, Katarn defeated them and claimed 8t88's head. He then traveled to the upper deck where Ors picked him up, and they set off for the Valley of the Jedi on the planet Ruusan.
The Sulon Star came to a halt above the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan. The Moldy Crow landed in the mountainous area nearby in order to conceal its presence. Katarn made his way through the rocky surroundings to an elevator that would take him up to the Sulon Star's landing platform. He was however attacked by Maw as soon as he stepped out of the elevator. Katarn battled the levitating half that was Maw to the Sulon Star and defeated him there. In his final moments Maw provoked the Jedi by telling him how he thrust Morgan Katarn's head on a spike. Katarn slashed Maw to death in anger with his lightsaber. Behind him Jerec approached and commended Katarn for going down the Dark Side, which he claimed was his true path. The Dark Jedi had also managed to capture Ors and as a final test he demanded Katarn to strike her down. The Jedi refused and was sent flying by the Jerec's Force push to a catwalk connected to the Sulon Star. The force of Jerec's attack caused enough damage for the cargo ship to lose its hover capabilities and started to descend, pulling some of the landing platform with it. Katarn jumped on board the Sulon Star and in a desperate fight with time he made it to a lower docking bay where the Moldy Crow was being held. With Katarn in the Moldy Crow, he managed to narrowly escape the crashing cargo ship, but he was unable to straighten the ship properly and crashed a stabilizer into a rock formation. Without its proper flight capabilities, the ship crash landed. The three Dark Jedi—Boc, Yun, and Sariss—pulled the incapacitated Katarn out of the wreckage and waited until he started to regain consciousness. Boc smashed Katarn's lightsaber with a rock while making fun of it. Sariss took out her lightsaber and was just about to strike Katarn down when Yun intervened. By instinct Sariss lashed out at the young Dark Jedi, inflicting a deadly wound. As she asked why, Yun replied that Katarn was a Jedi and deserved a battle. As Yun passed away, Katarn regained complete consciousness and took the dead man's lightsaber. Sariss was soon defeated by Katarn near the wreckage of the Sulon Star.
The Valley of the JediEdit
Having killed Sariss, Katarn followed Boc to the Imperial excavation facility and had to traverse a long way down underground until he reached the place where the Imperials had stopped digging. Katarn found himself inside ancient ruins and stumbled upon traps and Kell dragons. Eventually, the Jedi reached the center of the valley where he found Ors tied to a pole. After rescuing her, Boc surprised them from behind, having hid as a statue. Brandishing two lightsabers, Boc attacked Katarn. But, the former was defeated by the latter. At that time, Jerec awoke from his meditation inside the center of the valley. Having mastered a great amount of power from the valley, he attacked Katarn. As they fought, Jerec set in motion ancient machinery that would eventually grant him the full power of the valley. The Dark Jedi was however stopped every time and soon lay at the mercy of Katarn. Jerec remarked that he was defenseless and implored Katarn to finish him off. To further entice Katarn to the dark side, he reminded him that he was the one who killed his father. Katarn used the Force to grab Jerec's deactivated lightsaber off the ground, he told Jerec that he had not forgotten, and he threw the saber back at Jerec's feet. The Dark Jedi charged for one final attack but was cut down by Katarn. The spirits that had been trapped in the valley for a long time were finally released and flew around in the chamber in a spectacle of light. As a tribute to his father and Qu Rahn, Katarn erected two statues in the valley. Ors and Weegee stood beside him as Katarn finished his work.
Jedi Knight is noted for the ethical decisions integrated into the gameplay. Katarn is a neutral character for most of the game, neither fully light nor dark. Actions against unarmed civilians throughout the game, as well as what Force powers a player chooses throughout the game, will sway Katarn towards the light or the dark sides. Eventually, the character Katarn must choose between light and dark; how he chooses depends on the player's actions throughout the game. This feature would later be greatly expanded upon in games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
Katarn starts the game with no knowledge of the Force. As the player progresses through the game, Katarn gains Jedi abilities, known as "Force Powers." These powers fall in three general categories: Neutral, Light, and Dark. The game awards one "Force point" upon the completion of each level, and an additional point if the player finds all of the secret areas. These skill points can be allocated towards any Force power, boosting that power's effects.
Another part of Jedi Knight's gameplay was explored in online, multiplayer arenas. Plot and Force alignment became irrelevant as players were able to forego the game's Artificial intelligence and instead engage in multiplayer combat. It was also online that the unique aspects of Jedi Knight distanced it from other, otherwise apparently similar first-person shooters. Single player mode did not significantly benefit from Force powers, agility, and large weapons, whereas online play demanded attention to these attributes.
The game lacked a dedicated server and was hosted by the MSN Gaming Zone, although several "IP boards" were hosted on fan sites such as JediKnight.net and Ron Mercer's Qtracker (formerly hosted at stomped.com). Most games were confined to the Nar Shaddaa (Nar) game room which became a refuge for clan wars, recruitment, and challenge. Five game types were used almost exclusively: Full Force (FF) Battle Ground Jedi (BGJ), Canyon Oasis (CO), No Force (NF) Battle Ground Jedi, and JI Oasis (an add-on level created by the Jedi Infantry clan). Games varied from two-player to four-player, allowing free-for-all, teams, and head-to-head combat. Another popular game type was Capture the Flag (CTF).
The lack of dedicated servers created difficulties in lag time for online play. Messages sent were never centrally processed, and so a "hit" in one person's frame nearly never guaranteed an actual event. Players compensated for lag by shooting ahead of the opponent so as to register a hit on their computer.
Canyon Oasis was a commonly-played map due to its variety of weapons/pickups and varied terrain (including water tunnels and ramps). It was also brightly lit, meaning stealth was a less viable tactic as it was in many of the darker maps favored by the development team and mod makers (such as Blades of Death). Despite its huge popularity, there was a movement against its overuse as well, to the point where a player group was formed with the slogan "Because we're sick of Canyon Oasis." 
At times the game suffered from extensive cheating, until the third party program known as "Kicker Helper" was released to combat the cheating. JK's permissive checksum system was what allowed most of the "hacks" or "cogs" (as the cheats were commonly called) to work. The physics engine and Force system of the game, however, were so permissive that some normal actions were construed as cheating. "Hypergrip," or "Supergrip," referred to using Force grip on an opponent at a faster than normal rate as to kill the opponent in seconds. This is performed simply by targeting an opponent with Force grip and then repeatedly pressing the assigned Use Force Power key. Each iteration sends another pulse of grip, eventually killing the opponent. The same procedure can be used with Force pull to repeatedly draw a weapon, often creating multiple copies within the level due to lag.
To this day, GameSpy Arcade and QTracker support JK and MotS online play. However, a more populated place to play is at IG Zone, which is a spiritual successor to MSN Gaming Zone's CD game section. A few groups also exist that meet up for games on IRC, plus one dedicated server at NarShaddaa.net, to its remaining devoted fans, and many mod projects keep interest alive.
3D Level Design
Sound and Audio
Testing & Quality Assurance
Video Production Crew
Lucasarts Entertainment Company
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Behind the scenesEdit
Alternatives in gameplayEdit
In case the player chooses the dark side, the alternate ending is triggered: Kyle Katarn kills Jan Ors and then becomes Jerec's rival, this time for dominion over the Valley. Katarn again retreats to the falling ship and escapes in the Moldy Crow, but this time doesn't crash-land. Instead of fighting Sariss by the ship's wreckage, he faces Yun again, now in a match that could only end in death. He then makes his way to the core and defeats Boc. Katarn defeats Jerec, and becomes the new Emperor of the Imperial Remnant, with Sariss at his side.
The accompanying game manual is notable for providing the first name "Qu" for the Jedi Master Rahn. It also had descriptions of various enemies and Force powers, presented as quotes from Qu Rahn's journal.
Pathways to the ForceEdit
The demo disc for Jedi Knight :Dark Forces II is notable for having a subtitle, Pathways to the Force. It contains three levels from the full game and was sold as an OEM. The disc's image is the same as Disc 1 for the full game, but there is also a version that has a yellow layer over the image.
Mysteries of the SithEdit
Just four months after Jedi Knight's initial release, LucasArts released Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, an official expansion pack, created by the LucasArts team that worked on Outlaws (a spaghetti western themed first person shooter) which features the opportunity to play as Mara Jade for a significant portion of the game. This expansion significantly improved the original Jedi Knight engine by adding aesthetic features such as colored lighting, new enemies and Force powers (and more controversially, doing away with the Dark/Light side duality). There were several under-the-hood changes as well, the most significant being that COG, the programming language that Jedi Knight uses to create scripted in-game events and interactivity (doors, elevators, weapons, in-game cutscenes, enemy behavior, and many other things in Jedi Knight are controlled by COG scripts) was expanded with new functions and capabilities, which the Sith Engine took full advantage of. In addition, while enemies in Jedi Knight would run away if stripped of their weapons, in Mysteries of the Sith they would attempt to fight with their fists. Mysteries of the Sith also featured new types of multiplayer action such as the gamemode KFY ("Kill the Fool with the Ysalamiri") based on KFC, and included several new weapons. A few Force powers such as Throw and Lightning were replaced as well.
- In March 2004, GMR Magazine rated Jedi Knight the fourth best Star Wars game of all time.
- PC Gamer Magazine rated Jedi Knight the "Best Game Ever" of 1997 on its list of their 50 greatest games for the PC. In 1998, Jedi Knight was still on the list, but it was dethroned by Half-Life.
- The gaming website gamespot.com gives Dark Forces II a rating of 8.9 out of 10 and a user rating of 8.7, while the IGN community has given it a rating of 8.6.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II instruction manual
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 Internet Movie Database
- ↑ Credited as Bennett Gilory
- ↑ "Building a Better Jedi"—Star Wars Insider 31
- ↑ Gamespot
- ↑ IGN
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II on Wikipedia
- Star Wars: Dark Forces RPG The role-playing game.
- Gamespot review - 8.9 out of 10
- The Massassi Temple
- The Jedi Knight Editing Hub
- Jedi Knight Multiplayer Addon Group (JKMAG) - includes link to Kicker Helper
- Qtracker online server browser/launcher (supports Jedi Knight/MotS)
- MagicForce.com home of JKEdit, a level editor (now free)
- Saber-Scorpion's Lair the Jedi Knight story illustrated in LEGO