Pages: 1 2 3
Review by: Nick Stewart
Published: April 18, 2002
Little could George Lucas have suspected that when filming a little movie called Star Wars, he was in fact laying the foundations for what would later become a full-blown cultural phenomenon of staggering proportions. Attribute it to the epic story, to the special effects, to the interesting characters; whatever the reason, the legendary reach possessed by this cinematic giant has been enough to carry the film’s popularity across generations and through the decades, leaving a nearly endless trail of books, spin-offs, and merchandising mania in its prodigious wake. Even during the 16-year lull between the original series and Episode I, countless products have emerged in an attempt to satiate fans’ eternal longing to catch even a faint glimpse of the Star Wars universe. One such product was the PC title Star Wars: Dark Forces, which introduced the gaming community to Kyle Katarn, a grizzled, pessimistic mercenary who reluctantly found himself a hero to the Rebel Alliance. Meeting with great success, it was soon followed by the award-winning Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, which found Katarn fighting a much more personal mission to avenge his father, while becoming a Jedi Knight and defeating a group of Dark Jedi along the way. With the ongoing series now in the able hands of Raven Software, creators of Soldier of Fortune and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Kyle Katarn returns to action once more in the anxiously anticipated Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast.
Eight years have passed since the end of Jedi Knight, in which the gruff mercenary turned Jedi Kyle Katarn avenged his father’s murder and defeated the evil Jerec in the very heart of the mystical Valley of the Jedi. Hoping to keep himself from succumbing to the all-too-alluring power of the Dark Side assuming of course that you hadn’t already chosen to do so in the open-ended game — Katarn then set aside his lightsaber and deliberately allowed his awe-inspiring grasp of the Jedi arts to wane and fade into virtual nothingness. With his powers gone and his anger forgotten, Kyle once again found himself alongside his former partner, Jan Ors, as a well-paid mercenary in the services of Mon Mothma and the Alliance — often seeking out and destroying Imperial Remnants who still cling to overblown, maniacal dreams of power and intergalactic dominance. However, one seemingly simple “blue milk run” involving the inspection of an apparently abandoned Imperial listening outpost suddenly and violently upturns Katarn’s ignorance of his heritage as he stumbles upon an insidious Remnant plot to generate and employ an army of tireless Rogue Jedi, called Reborn for reasons that gradually become obvious, to enslave the galaxy and eliminate all other wielders of the Force. As Kyle struggles to reclaim his past, Jedi Outcast hurtles forward in a gripping tale tinged with the classic Star Wars precepts of conquest, power, and revenge.
Countless foes both old and new make the mistake of crossing paths with our hero as he cuts a wide and violent swath across the universe. Stormtroopers, without which no first-person Star Wars game may truly be complete, often run afoul of Katarn’s renewed wrath, as do any number of disruptor-wielding Rodians, detonator-happy Grans as well a handful of other familiar foes. The hell-bent Reborn, however, pose a new and daunting series of challenges to our hero. Whereas Kyle only had to face off against a handful of Dark Jedi in his previous encounter with the Force, he now must contend with a small army of saber-wielding evil-doers, nearly all of whom seem to be focused on reducing him to a smoking mass of midichlorians. Fortunately, he’s not completely without allies, as his far-flung travels will find him encountering a number of friendly faces. In the unlikeliest of places and at the most surprising of times, Katarn stumbles across Cloud City’s very own Lando Calrissian, whose run-in with Vader seems to have left him none the worse for wear. The famous “farmboy” Jedi Master himself even makes a number of appearances, as Luke Skywalker eventually finds his destiny intermingled with that of Katarn.
Even one as powerful as a Jedi can occasionally make use of mundane weaponry, and as a mercenary, it’s something that the embattled Katarn knows all too well; featuring 12 different and distinct weapons, Kyle’s lethal arsenal is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Beginning with nothing but your trusty, scarred old Bryar Blaster pistol, it’s not long before you take down a few hostile Remnant troops and lay claim to their specialized E-11 Blaster Rifle, paving the way for your eventual discovery of higher caliber firepower. For instance, the familiar Wookie Bowcaster makes a return appearance, and while it can often prove inferior to the Imperial Heavy Repeater in terms of widespread damage, it can be a lifesaver in the early going. Although rather slow to action, the Tenloss DXR-6 Disruptor Rifle is irreplaceable as a long-distance weapon, capable of zooming in and sniping far-away foes before they even get the chance to turn their eyestalks in your direction. Factor in such lethal implements as the Electro-Magnetic Pulse Gun, the Flechette, the Portable Missile System as well as a grab bag of detonators and mines, and you’ve got one of the most expansive collections of weapons this side of Nar Shadaa.
Pages: 1 2 3