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Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 (normally displayed as "Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II"; commonly abbreviated JK or JKDF2) is a video game developed by LucasArts in 1997. It was rated as the "Best Game Ever" of 1997 in PC Gamer Magazine's 50 greatest games for the PC list. It was later replaced by Half Life in 1998. It takes place in the Star Wars franchise and is a critical piece of canon in many of the storylines.

Plot Summary

Kyle Katarn , Rebel mercenary, is on Nar Shadda watching an old hologram of him and his father, Morgan Katarn, discussing his going to the academy and his deceased mother. Just then the droid 8t88 comes in and tells him that Morgan was killed by Jerec, a leader of a group of Dark Jedi. He then presents to him a data disk he found in Morgan's home on Sulon. He can't decode it and threatens Kyle to tell him what it is. After Kyle refuses, 8t88 leaves his cronies to deal with him. Kyle kills them while making his way after 8t88. He manages to shoot him in the arm, knocking it off along with the data disk. Just then, Jan Ors comes in with the Moldy Crow to save him from a TIE Bomber. Kyle goes after the data disk and escapes Nar Shadda.

While being revived on a Rebel starship, Kyle has a vision where Qu Rahn, a Jedi killed by Jerec, warns him of Jerec's plan to get to the Valley of the Jedi, an ancient Jedi tomb containing the Force energy of many, long dead, jedi. Kyle then travels to Sulon and goes through his father's home to find Weegee, the old family droid. Kyle inserts the data disk into Weegee, activating a message from his father. Morgan gives him two things in his message; the map to the Valley of the Jedi embedded in the workshop's stone ceiling (which Kyle does not recieve due to it being stolen by the Dark Jedi before he arrived), and Qu Rahn's lightsaber , which Weegee gives to Kyle.

Kyle escapes a hoard of grave tuskens scattered in the house's aqueducts and irrigation channels, and heads to Barons Hed, a Sulon city overtaken by 8t88's goons and the Imperial Remnant. Kyle heads to the Remnant palace in the center of the city and catches up to 8t88. Just then the Dark Jedi apprentice Yun, destroys the Valley map sitting on a table. Kyle and Yun duel, with Kyle eventually winning. He spares Yun, who then escapes by a tractor beam. Kyle heads to the top of the palace where Jan picks him up to go after 8t88.

Kyle travels through the fuel station outside Barons Hed, and catches a ride on 8t88's ship, the Sulon Star. He find that 8t88, has in fact been decapitated by Dark Jedis Gorc and Pic, as a setup. Kyle defeats them both and makes his way back to where he started on the Sulon Star. Jan rescues him and they make their way to the planet Ruusan; location of the Valley of the Jedi.

Kyle navigates the rocky terrain to get to the Sulon Star's docking station, only to be battled by Dark Jedi Maw . Kyle defeats him, but before he can kill him, Maw tries draw out his hatred by retelling the story of his father's death. Kyle gives in, and slays Maw. Jerec and the rest of his surviving Dark Jedi show up, with Jan Captured. Jerec tells Kyle that he is on the path to the Dark Side, and the only way to truly get there, is to kill Jan.

Kyle deactivates his lightsaber and refuses. Jerec then uses the force to destroy the docking station and force Kyle back on to the Sulon Star. Kyle navigates the falling ship and makes it to the docked Moldy Crow. However he manages to accidentily break one of the wings off on a stalagmite and crashes. He is captured by the Dark Jedi while Jerec makes his way to the Valley. Boc destroys Kyles lightsaber and Sariss prepares to kill him. Just then Yun jumps in and sacrifices himself for Kyle, claiming that he deserves a fair fight. Kyle takes the dead Yun's saber and defeats Sariss.

After making his way through the Imperial-infested canyons to the Valley dig site, and navigating the tomb's catacombs, Kyle makes it to the Valley of the Jedi where he finds Jan tied up. He free her, but then Boc comes out of hiding and fights Kyle. Kyle wins, and proceeds to the Valley core, where Jerec has been absorbing the Force energy. Jerec then bursts out and begins to fight Kyle.

After defeating Jerec, he stands ready to slay him. Jerec begins to taunt him, reminding him about him murdering Morgan. Kyle does not give in, and throws Jerecs saber back to him. Jerec goes in for one final blow, and stops. Kyle had just slayed him. Jerec dies, and dematerializes, releasing the Valley's power. Kyle then uses his saber to carve two stone statues among the other jedi statues. They are of Qu Rahn, and his father. He then thanks him, realizing that he has now become a true jedi.

Gameplay

A screenshot of Jedi Knight gameplay.

The singleplayer gameplay revolves around the player navigating 21 missions along the storyline. The game is the first Star Wars game to allow use of Force Powers and the ability to weild a lightsaber on a PC. Items and weapons can be collected to help the player advance and defeat enemies. The player also earns Force Powers that help kill enemies and solve puzzles as well as get to hard-to-reach areas. The game is mainly a first person shooter, but can be played with third person. The game also features an ethical system called the Force Standing, where the ending of the game differs based on the player's actions, such as killing more civilians and less enemies. This is one of the game's high marks.

The multiplayer gameplay is very simple, involving up to 32 player roaming around a map collecting weapons and items while killing each other to score points. This mode is referred to by the game as "Jedi Training" but is essentially just deathmatch. There is also a Capture the Flag mode featured in multyplayer. There are not many maps in the game, but many maps have been made for Jedi Knight by both professional and non-professional level editors alike. Players connected on multiplayer through a TCP/IP connection. Because this method of matchmaking is obsolete, port-forwarding is now required to connect on newer computers.

Mods

Jedi Knight runs on the Sith Engine, which is fairly easy to code for. This has brought up a wide editing community for Jedi Knight, creating gameplay mods, and new levels for both singleplayer and multiplayer. When the game runs a singleplayer level, it shows up in an "Episode" list. This may mean that at some point LucasArts planned to release expansion packs for the game (excluding Mysteries of the Sith), but never got to it.

Non-Canon Ending

There are actually two endings to the game, based on how the player acts throughout. The real ending involves Kyle staying on the Light Side and sparing Jan. However, if the player has killed many civilians throughout the game, an alternate ending is activated. It is when Kyle has to chose whether to kill Jan or not that the path is revealed.

If the player has done things that would consequent the Dark Side, Kyle would kill Jan and refuse Jerec's offer to join him, planning to claim the Valley's power for himself.

Not much changes in gameplay from this, however, instead of crashing the Moldy Crow and fighting Sariss, Kyle lands safely and fights Yun a second time. Plus, the boss introductions done by the disembodied spirit of Qu Rahn do not occur, as he realizes that Kyle has chosen the wrong path. This is told by his quote: "For you the choice is the Dark Side. Forever will it dominate your destiny."

Reception

Jedi Knight has been praised well for its mixed style of gameplay and great storyline, almost being like a Star Wars movie itself. It is also credited for its ethical system, the way the game ends based on the player's desicions. However it has been criticised for its poor, somewhat "boxxy" graphics. The lightsaber gameplay has also been criticised for not being the way lightsaber fighting should feel like. The game was given an 8.9 by GameSpot.

Community

The games have made a community of players came up. A community that given the name of JK community. They were basically people who gathered in servers and websites to play, discuss and have fun editing. It has been strong from 1997 to 2002. From this period, people were forgetting and leaving out the game. The lack of interest from in trying to reduce the LucasArts game's bugs also contributed (the difficulty of playing multiplayer after the Zone is an example) Nevertheless, the community, although small, is still strong, especially in JK Hub and Massassi Temple, besides the rooms on IRC by #JK Gamesurge and the Facebook community.

External Links

Steam Purchase Page

GOG Purchase Page

GameSpot Review

MobyGames Page

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