By Al Giovetti
Dark Forces was released by LucasArts, and rather than being labelled as a Doom or Quake clone, it was immediately hailed as one of the most fun and innovative titles in the first person perspective action adventure category. You took the role of Kyle Katarn, a young mercinary sent to infiltrate the empire and stop a buildup of forces that could be strong enough to derail the revolution's push for freedom. The public responded by making the title one of the best selling computer games of 1995. (The game can also be played in third person, behind the protagonist, view. - Ed.) The soon to be released Outlaws is another Lucas Arts title based upon the current upgrade of the original Dark Forces game engine. Outlaws also promisses to be an unusually innovative game, mixing equal parts of action with adventure and a strong plot.
New features were espoused by co-Project Leader Justin Chin, "we've incorporated cinematic live-action cut-scenes and the ability for players to use lightsabers and the Force, making this a truly exceptional Star Wars experience."
Weapons you weild include the Bryar pistol, fist, stormtrooper rifle, thermal detonators, repeater gun, Tusken Prod, Rail Gun, Sequencer Charge, and concussion rifle. Your enemies weild the same weapons but also have the turret gun, and Imperial Machine mines. The newest, most exciting weapon is the light saber. Also new is the ability to weild the Force. The rail gun fires an explosive charge that sticks to the target. The light saber can be used to block energy attacks and will be controlled with keyboard of mouse.
The enemies include the seven Dark Jedi, described below in the plot, and storm troopers, imperial walkers, and other monsters, including a large dog like beast.
Character development, character customization, a fully scripted and linked campaign game with detailed plot elements, and character skills increased optionally with experience points makes Jedi Knight the role playing adventure game of the Doom clones. The only missing element appears to be conversations with non-player characters, places to explore, shops to frequent and buy and sell merchandise, different types of puzzles to solve, including treasure hunt puzzles, and quests that are not linked to murder and mayhem, like find the artifact. To call Jedi Knight a role playing game would be a streatch. Character customization is expected to include different colored and designed light sabers, outfits, and others, so that the character you play with is uniquely your own.
Players will earn experience and force points from each mission which will qualify them to use the very different powers of the light or dark side, depending upon their alignment. Force points are awarded for achievement, practice and awareness. Force points will be allocated to force powers similar to how points are allocated to skills in third generation role playing games that do not have character levels.
Force powers achieved will stay with the character and carry over from mission to mission. You will unfortunately not be able to accumulate full power in all of the force powers, even if you find all the hidden areas in the game and uncover all the secrets. (We consider this a terrible mistake, but perhaps cheats will enable you to have full powers. - Ed.) Force powers are divided into light, dark, and both types and include enhanced jumping, x-ray vision, choke power (dark), healing, lightning bolt (dark), repel (light shield), speed (light), and psycho-kinetic powers over weapons seen at a distance.
There are 26 single player missions. You can play only 21 of these missions in any one game, since there are five missions for the light side and five for the dark side, after you make the choice on level 16 which side you want to play with. Saving the game on mission 15 sounds like a good idea.
You can drive (or fly - Ed.) a speeder bike and fly your ship named the Mouldy Crow.
You take the role of Kyle Kataryn, the youn mercenary who has now learned the powers of the Force. Kyle must stop seven Dark Jedi (read as evil Jedi - Ed.) from unlocking the powers of a hidden Jedi burial ground, recently unearthed. Before Kyle can stop the Jedi, he must confront his own dark past, which gives him the power to choose the dark side or light side of the force. The dark side will bring immense power and he will forever separate himself from good. The light side also has its benefits, but places him at odds with seven powerful enemies.
Jerek is the Dark Jedi leader of the band of seven in a search for power and wealth. Boc wields two light sabers and while cunning his brash side weakens him. Saris has immense mental powers in addition to his physical ones. Maw is bitter and merciless, with no loyalties or value for human life. Gorc and Pic are twisted twins who fight as a team, one half the size of the others 8 feet of hulking power. Yun is unpredictable but young and cocky.
Graphic effects will include translucent water, multiple levels within the same areas of the game. Bridges can be walked on, under and over. Girders span multiple levels. The game environment needs to look like the environments from the movies, such as the ships and the bases.
The characters were hand animated. Early pictures of the animated characters appear that they have pasted texture maps of the face, sides and top of the head together to make the head. All body parts seem to be pasted together from hand drawn elements.
Thirty five minutes of full motion video cut scenes are played before and after missions to flesh out the plot.
The multiplayer and multisystem features will allow you to play real-time with up to eight human players in three modes: Team Combat, Total Combat, and Territory Combat. These modes resemble the team combat, free-for-all, and capture the flag modes seen in other multiplayer games. Team combat will have two teams, the red and the gold teams.
The multiplayer features were created by Rob Huebner, the creator of the Descent multiplayer features. Internet play is expected to have Internet features by the time it is published. Also, planned are scripted multi-player missions to rival the 26 single player ones. Characters should import directly from the single to the multiplayer game. Powerups are planned that may only appear in the multiplayer scenarios.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
Rob "quite simply" feels this is "the most anticipated game of the year." Rob is bucking for a quote in the LucasArts' website, advertisements or on the game box. And while I have no doubt it is one of the most anticipated titles of the year it is not "the" most anticipated title. Sensationalism sells. Who am I to quibble with success at any price?
ReferencesLucasArts Jedi Knight Press Release Rob Smith, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 48 - 54.