Jedi Knight II: Jedi OutcastAlso known as Dark Forces 3: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast in my circle of friends. is probably my favorite non-MMO multiplayer PC game of all time. In the days of once upon a time when I attended or hosted LAN parties, everyone else was hot and heavy on Counter Strike or Day of DefeatIn the FPS wargame genre, I preferred Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. but I longed for four-on-four capture the flag on the streets of Nar Shaddaa. The combination of lightsabers, “conventional” weapons and Force powers was fantastic, and Nar Shaddaa’s perilous walkways suspended above bottomless pits made every mis-step a potential disaster. Whether you preferred to snipe your enemies from halfway across the map or get up close and personal so you could use Force Grip or Force Push to send your opponents plummeting to their death (or just cut them down with your lightsaber), the Nar Shaddaa maps could accomodate your play style.
As much as I enjoyed the multiplayer mode, I never finished the single player campaign. If memory serves me correctly, I stopped playing shortly after the hero, Kyle Katarn, gained the Jedi Mind Trick ability. When the sequel, Jedi AcademyAKA Dark Forces 4: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy. was released, I tore through the single-player campaign in about a week, but never played the multiplayer and never went back to Jedi Outcast. Well, never until now.
When I was recently reminded of my gentleman’s wager with Miscellaneous G™ I decided to reinstall Jedi Outcast and take up the lightsaber once more so that Kyle could take his revenge (of the Jedi) on the reptilian Dark Jedi, Desann, and his cohort, the deadly and hot-in-a-creepy-way Dark Jedi, Tavion Axmis.
There’s actually a good chunk of game to play before Kyle picks up that lightsaber. When the story begins, the hero wants nothing to do with the Jedi or the Force; he just wants to mack on his lady friend, Jan Ors, and shoot people for money. That all changes after Mon Mothma (George Lucas’ answer to Dame Judi Dench as “M”) sends Kyle and Jan to investigate an abandoned Imperial RemnantThe game takes place several years after the events in Return of the Jedi. The Empire isn’t the power it once was, but it still exists, probably to give the heroes of the New Republic someone to fight. base on the planet Kejim.
After investigating the not-quite-abandoned base, Kyle and Jan follow a lead to Artus Prime, a mining colony where the Remnant is up to some shady business. Kyle manages to sabotage the mining operations and liberate the colonists, but he is ambushed by Desann, who instructs Tavion to kill Jan. Angered by the death of his boo and lacking the mojo to take his revenge on the Dark Jedi, Kyle journeys to the secret Valley of the Jedi to regain his Force powers, then travels to the Jedi Academy to get his lightsaber from Luke Skywalker.
Alas, anger leads to hate and hate leads to falling into Desann’s evil trap. Kyle unwittingly leads the Dark Jedi directly to the Valley of the Jedi, and while Kyle is busy reacquainting himself with the Force, Desann is using the power of the Valley to his own nefarious ends.
At the moment, Kyle is unaware that he’s been duped. Following a lead provided by Skywalker, Katarn has gone to Nar Shaddaa in search of a notorious criminal, and it is on Nar Shaddaa that I left Kyle last night. Lightsaber in hand, the Jedi Outcast must now run through a gauntlet of Rodian snipersThis is somewhat reminiscent of what I call “sniper alley” in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, a level in which German snipers are hidden in nearly every nook and cranny of a ruined town, and the hero can scarcely move ten feet without being shot at by some unseen enemy. Ultimately, the level is a painstaking exercise in moving slowly and deliberately through the rubble, determining where the shots are coming from, and sniping the snipers themselves. It can be incredibly frustrating, as it seems that sometimes the only way to find the sniper is to allow your character to be killed to determine the direction from which the shot came, then revert to a save game and attempt to pick off the sniper before he spots you. in his search for the crime lord who will provide the next link to finding Desann.
Tonight: Running the Gauntlet.