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Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2

 
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Whizzkid1982



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 156
Location: The Psychic Circus, Segonax

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:11 pm    Post subject: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 Reply with quote

I'm currently playing through this vintage first person shooter again. Hard as it is to believe in the current era where EVERY bloody Lucasarts game is a Star Wars one, there was once a time when Lucasarts Entertainment (the videogame corner of the Lucasfilm juggernaut) refused to "do" Star Wars.

First established in 1986 with the point and click adventure Maniac Mansion, despite obviously having their pick of the popular Lucasfilm licences (on merit of them actually owning the rights already) and increasing pressure from the games buying public, it can now be seen as somewhat commendable - indeed, amazing! - that Lucasarts Games resisted the temptation as long as they did. In fact, aside from a tie-in game to the third Indiana Jones movie (which only strengthened calls for a Star Wars adventure game), the company made no attempt to cash in on the impressive back catalogue at all.

This changed in 1991 when Lucasarts released the flight simulator X Wing. Followed quickly by a sequel, Tie Fighter, the games were a success as they finally allowed a generation who had grown up with the films to relieve such nail biting moments as the Death Star assault from the end of the first film. Indeed, the first thing my 30-something year old brother did when we got home from the cineplex after watching the original Star Wars film re-release in 1997 was put this game on. The most interesting thing about both these titles, though, was that they didn't really trade on their Star Wars connection at all. They were both first and foremost "flight sims in space". The fact that you were flying spacecraft from the popular films, while certainly a selling point, was used almost exclusively as atmosphere. Almost as background detail.

It was a small step, but nevertheless the floodgates has been opened. There followed Rebel Assault in 1992, a game much lauded at the time for its Full Motion Video sequences (just like watching one of the movies! A sequel in 1994 even went further by actually filming brand new material for these cut-scenes, with proper actors and everything), but the gameplay segments were basic and didn't stand up to the joys of the previous games.

Then in the wake of the first person shooter revolution with ID Software's Doom in 1993, Lucasarts released the original Dark Forces. In this you played a Han Solo like character, a "gun for hire" working for the Rebels because they happen to pay well. While this character fitted well with the first person shooter format, some in Star Wars fandom complained about the inability to wield a lightsabre.... something that Lucasarts countered by pointing out that only Jedi Knights get to play with their lightsabres (ooer!).

So on to Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2. You play the same character as in the first game (Kyle Katarn), but as the game story progresses the original "mercenary for hire" backstory is retconned, as it turns out Kyle's long lost uncle was a Jedi in the old republic and he's inherited his Jedi powers (or something). It's all a somewhat flimsy excuse to give the character a reason to go about chopping things up with a lightsabre. And the experience delivers.

By modern visual standards, Jedi Knight doesn't look very good. In fact, I'd argue that even by the standards of the time it was released (this time following on from Id Software's followup shooter, Quake) it looked dodgy. And the gameplay is weak compared to other shooters too. Everything is too dark and it's too easy to die (the "health" indicators are confusing and don't adequately convey how much damage you've taken). I, personally, find the first Dark Forces game more playable.

But compared with some of the Star Wars titles that have followed it.... Shadows of the Empire (a terrible adaptation of an excellent novel), Rogue Squadron, Episode 1: Racer, Jedi Outcast.... it holds up supremely well. This was from an era when Lucasarts only made occasional Star Wars titles, and the product itself shows a care and quality control that some of the subsequent "factory line" games have lacked. Only the various Lego Star Wars games can match it in the playability stakes.

I'm enjoying it overall.
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HandofFearpo



Joined: 12 Jul 2008
Posts: 91
Location: A flat with two male impersonators

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FPS make me weep, but the clickety click games from Lucasarts were as brilliant as a shiny gold coin!
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Bohannon
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Joined: 24 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 Reply with quote

Most of the room was dark except for a glowing corner ...to her and she stood up to the sound of my footsteps.
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Mike



Joined: 09 Nov 2008
Posts: 3442
Location: Behind The Wall

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 Reply with quote

Bohannon wrote:
Most of the room was dark except for a glowing corner ...to her and she stood up to the sound of my footsteps.

Care to elaborate, Bo? Sounds interesting...
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RobFilth



Joined: 08 May 2007
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Location: Rallying against Rani's Repetitive Rhubarb and Rubbish.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like FPS myself, but in my mind the only film franchise to successfully make the cross over in to this gaming territory is the Aliens vs Predator games.

I played a demo for Star Wars done on the Quake3 engine some years back and it was a bit shit because you switched to third person as soon as you drew your light sabre.

The guns were crap too.
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Professor



Joined: 15 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grim Fandango.

Cool

Must be well over ten years old now and still possibly the greatest game ever made.
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Chancellor Valium



Joined: 10 May 2007
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Location: Behind the First Mystery which is the Last Mystery which is the twenty-fourth mystery and Great Amen

PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Professor wrote:
Grim Fandango.

Cool

Must be well over ten years old now and still possibly the greatest game ever made.

You know, I'd be wary of handing out that accolade. The gaming media does it with inordinate regularity to latest-moron-feed-du-jour (Fallout 3, I'm looking at you), and adequate research for the task of applying it would be a mammoth task.
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Nuggan



Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 753

PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RobFilth wrote:
I like FPS myself, but in my mind the only film franchise to successfully make the cross over in to this gaming territory is the Aliens vs Predator games.

I played a demo for Star Wars done on the Quake3 engine some years back and it was a bit shit because you switched to third person as soon as you drew your light sabre.

The guns were crap too.


I liked that, it worked well you could control the character better for the lightsaber attacks and moves. Acrobatics and sword fighting in games doens't work in 1st Person.
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