Old Game Tuesday – Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
First person shooters were huge for me when I was younger, despite the fact I wasn’t very good at them. That meant FPS’s that still had a single player story were much loved and more likely to be bought. Jedi Outcast was the second ‘Jedi Knight’ game but the third game starring Kyle Katarn, one of my favorite ‘Expanded Universe’ Star Wars characters. In Dark Forces, we learn that Katarn was instrumental in the theft of the original Death Star plans delivered to Princess Leia. In Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, Katarn learns of his Force sensitivity and defeats a Dark Jedi who killed his father.
The Kyle Katarn we see in JK2 is an older man who has set aside his Jedi ways and is trying to just live his mercenary life, having been scarred by very nearly turning to the Dark Side. However, things go wrong when he encounters a Dark Jedi and is soundly defeated - and his partner presumed murdered – when investigating odd Imperial activity relating to Jedi history. He takes up his lightsaber once more find the culprits.
The game used a modified Quake III: Team Arena engine which looked plenty good for the time, and performed well. All of the typical Force powers are there, including lightning and grip (choke), and if there’s one problem, it’s that you don’t have the powers and your saber right off the bat due to the story. Which is a great story, by the way, with the expected cameos (including Billy Dee Williams as Lando).
The other side of this is the multiplayer. It was pretty popular for it’s time, I had a great time playing JK2 with friends and at LAN parties, and still install it for nostalgia’s sake every once in a while. I keep it unpatched so I can use the ridiculously fun if overpowered Force grip power to grab dudes and toss them off ledges. The bots are fun to play against and can have dynamic difficulty (so you don’t constantly pwn them). Very handy if you don’t have enough people looking to play. A nice touch with that is each bot plays differently – the Lando bot doesn’t use the Force, for example, but is deadly with the other weapons. Which are fun Star Wars-ized versions of your typical FPS weapons. Each has an alt-fire mode to add a little more depth.
But really, if you are playing this or any of the other Jedi Knight games (which will be covered too, all are awesome), you want to fight with a lightsaber. You will not be disappointed with JK2 for this, as it kicks ass. 3 different combat styles, each with different special moves, combined with the ability to throw your saber, saber clashes and more really make the lightsaber combat sing. Another nice touch is the ability to challenge another player to single combat, allowing you to duel your opponent without taking any damage from (or doing damage to) everyone else in the level.
Look, this is one game I could go on and on about (500 words and counting!) but I say, let’s play it. SO, I am going to get my JK2 server up and running, maybe tonight, and I challenge anyone who wants to
be destroyed beat the snot out of me to dig out their copy and have a go. I’ll update the post with the server IP when I get it going.