Kyle Katarn returns

Can Kyle Katarn avoid the
siren call of the dark side?

Preview by Jody Reeves

Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight
from LucasArts Entertainment

     Dark Forces, LucasArts' combat game with the Star Wars twist, was one of the hottest sellers around. Not only did its appeal reach legions of Star Wars fans who were eager for more than SW Doom patches, the game attracted people across the board with its puzzle-solving, 3-D rendered graphics and quality sound. Now comes the sequel that even Jedi Meditation couldn't keep everyone from getting excited over: Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight.

     Right off the bat, Jedi Knight offers gamers several improvements over its venerated predecessor:

     First, Jedi Knight supports multi player games via modems or a Local Area Network. (Finally, something to do in the office when Congress is out of town! ) Included are options for one-on-one combat, team and "capture the flag" play.

     Second, Kyle Katarn, our hero from the first game, is not just looking for clues. In Jedi Knight,
Shades of SOTE! Kyle squares off against a Scout Walker
Kyle Katarn faces an AT-ST
Katarn is developing skills in the Force and finds himself battling seven Dark Jedi to see who gets to the mystical "Valley of the Jedi" first. In addition, Katarn will find himself confronting the dark side of the Force, and it is up to the player to choose whether or not to give in. As each level in the game is completed, Katarn earns points that add to his Force skills, from jumping higher to doing the "Darth Vader" choke.

     Third, a "mid-level save" feature has been added to allow the player to save the game at any point in a level.

     Finally, the Jedi's weapon of choice, the lightsaber, has been added to the lineup of familiar tools such as the blaster and thermal detonator.

     The player's main enemy here is Jerec, a Dark Jedi who is heading the search for powerful Jedi artifacts that would help him and his associates to rule the galaxy. Fighting with Jerec are six other Dark Jedi, each with a unique personality and weapons expertise. For example, there's Boc, a Twi'lek who wields two lightsabers in battle, which will make him a formidable opponent for Katarn.

     But Katarn is not alone, he receives counsel from Rahn, who acts as Katarn's mentor along the way. And making a return appearance is Jan Ors, who was Katarn's drop pilot in the first game, and the Moldy Crow,
Kyle hunts Jerec in one of DF2's live action cut scenes
Kyle Katarn goes hunting for Dark Jedi
Katarn's ship from the first game.

     The graphics in Jedi Knight show how quickly advances are made in computer gaming. Dark Forces is barely two years old, but Jedi Knight's 3-D rendering and animation promise to be spectacular and superior to those in the original. Like Rebel Assault 2, shots fired into walls will leave carbon-scoring marks and speeder bikes will be an available mode of transportation.

     Also taking a page from the RA2 play book is the ability to create your own difficulty settings for each level. If Level 1 is too easy and Level 14 too difficult (At press time, word has it that there will be approximately 20 levels in Jedi Knight), no problem! Create your own personal settings and adjust the game to your liking.

     With so many enemies, the necessity of choosing between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, and the chance to finally wield a lightsaber, Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight promises to give Star Wars gamers hours of intense action and exhilaration.

Jedi Knight will first be available on PC-CD Rom, requiring a Pentium 60 and Windows 95, which will finally negate the need for a DOS boot disk (Yippee!) The version for Macintosh will ship sometime thereafter.
End of Article
(When not serving her boss in the (Imperial) Senate, Jody Reeves discusses Star Wars and jealously guards her Harrison Ford collection.)

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