MobyGames Classic: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

MobyGames.com Classic returns with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, the 1997 PC game by LucasArts that let players wield a lightsaber and Force powers for the first time.

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Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II finally gave Star Wars fans the power that they've always wanted: the ability to use a lightsaber. Released as a follow-up to LucasArts' first shooter, Dark Forces, it continued the story of the mercenary Kyle Katarn as he raced against Sith Lord Jarec to find the legendary Valley of the Jedi, and realize his true Force potential.

Today we add 1997's classic shooter, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, to our growing list of video game classics, presented by MobyGames.com.

MobyGames reviewer Chris Martin highlights two of his favorite aspects of Jedi Knight: the high-quality soundtrack and effects. "John Williams," he states. "The name alone means that LucasArts was smart enough to put REAL soundtracks from the movies into the game, and not just MIDI recreations of them. The weapon fire, the whine of Tie Bombers, and Crunching sound of AT-ST's walking around give the game that much more 'authentic' atmosphere than most 3D-shooters."

While fans were excited to try out the lightsaber, LucasArts certainly left some room for improvement. "The game's biggest selling point is, of course, is the chance to brandish a lightsaber, and it is precisely here that the game blows it," notes MobyGames reviewer Zovni. "When it comes to lightsaber fights the game really comes apart," he explains, "since the collision detection between the swords is poorly realized and you simply go at it smashing all the buttons you can and praying that you hit and don't get hit."

Tell Us Your Stories! We want to hear about your experiences with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Tell us your stories. Why did you love it? What drove you crazy? Remember it fondly with us in the comments below. We'll select some of your thoughts and memories and add it to a Weekend Update to this feature.

Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II on MobyGames.com

Kyle Katarn, a former mercenary and now an ally of the rebels, discovers that he is in fact a Jedi, and is on a quest to find his lightsaber and learn the techniques of the Force. The evil Sith lord Jerec, who was responsible for the death of Kyle's father, is on a quest of his own, searching a mythical place called Valley of the Jedi, where his dark powers could be unleashed. Will Kyle be able to stop Jerec and become a true Jedi without falling to the dark side?

Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is a sequel to Dark Forces. The game is set in Star Wars universe and its events occur after those depicted in the movie Return of the Jedi (Episode VI). Primarily a first-person, 3D shooter, the game also allows the player to switch to third-person perspective. Kyle can use blasters and rifles to take care of his enemies, and later in the game is also able to fight enemies with a lightsaber.


    MobyGames Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site MobyGames.com. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.

    From The Chatty

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      December 30, 2011 9:37 AM

      Shack Staff posted a new article, Moby Games Classic: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.

      MobyGames.com Classic returns with Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, the 1997 PC game by LucasArts that let players wield a lightsaber and Force powers for the first time.

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        December 30, 2011 10:20 AM

        Much preferred Dark Forces over Dark Forces 2

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          December 30, 2011 10:48 AM

          loved them both, but the sprite stormtroopers in DF looked better to me than the crude 3d ones in JK. Overall though the 3d was welcome, and of course it was only going ot get better from there

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            December 31, 2011 1:59 AM

            The scale of the maps in that game were awesome. The one map where you have to walk along some girders of a bridge freaked me the fuck out when I was a kid. It felt like I was 10 miles up in the air :D

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          December 30, 2011 10:49 AM

          the Mysteries of the Sith addon game was f'n badass though.
          Had the best multiplayer out of any of those games.

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          December 31, 2011 1:35 AM

          agreed! and i hated the move to fmv

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        December 30, 2011 10:54 AM

        Loved the multiplayer in this game. 3 stars each of Force Jump + Force Speed was enough to run insane over the map without dying from falling damage. Add a concussion rifle and it was just awesome. I wish we had a game with that kind of flexibility in MP.

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        December 30, 2011 3:08 PM

        JK was the game that lured me into editing. The user community developed a custom level editor (JED), documented JK's scripting language (COG), and shared dozens of tutorials and hundreds of levels and mods. The homegrown nature of the editing community inspired creativity and openness long before any gamers got their hands on engines like Epic's UDK.

        Content creation was still relatively simple and this was the era of Total Conversions -- everyone and their brother tried to take the game and turn it into something else. I was guilty of starting more than one TC, including HL4JK, JKTFC, and JKMatrix. Hilariously unoriginal, but at the time we all just wanted to make awesome stuff and share it with everyone who played the game.

        It's weird to see how much the landscape has changed... aspiring game artists still create content for engines like UDK and CryEngine and Unity, and modders still churn out tweaks for games like Skyrim, but content creation has become so advanced and roles so specialized that it's hard to imagine a small group of people creating entire level series or mods like they did for JK and other late-90s games. The rapid growth in mobile devs and a resurgence of indie gaming (mostly on the PC) reminds me of old-school game modding and the results are just as fun and inspiring.

        I can't believe the game came out when I was 11 years old; looking back 14 years later, it's hard not to smile as I prepare to start a gig at an awesome game studio. Bigger team, faster computers, but it's still a community of dedicated folks working to inspire and entertain. Thanks for starting me on this journey, Kyle Katarn. Even if you did find a lightsaber in your dad's garage and call yourself a Jedi.

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          January 1, 2012 5:51 AM

          I remember that. There were just so many mods and levels to download that you could imagine. I still have memories of the MSN gaming zone and how shitty it was but that it was the only thing keeping the community together. I bought JK as a double pack of JK + MotS in which case by then MotS had worn down to where nobody really played it anymore. The atmosphere of the game was so amazing. It was so fun to get a game of people to RPG on Drazen isle or Baron's Head. My favorite mods were SS3, TDIR (the pants) and SBX. I used to hang out on massassi.net, and I remember how you could get banned for the littlest thing. It was just so easy to create content in that game that there were so many different and diverse mods like the Rolling mod or free fallin'parachutes. My favorite thing of the vanilla game was the actual acting in the cutscenes. What were they thinking when they got rid of them? It was the best part! Anyways, it was a big part of my life back in the day and I'll never forget it.

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        December 30, 2011 3:20 PM

        my first PC game! remember playing on the zone, joining clans (IRN, GS, DH, KoAC, SaGE) if anyone remembers those names :P

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        December 30, 2011 6:58 PM

        My friends and I would LAN the living crap out of this game. It was a BLAST. I'd go totally Light side, use Persuasion (invisibility) and Protection to become the Rolling Green Globe of Death. Good times.

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        December 30, 2011 6:58 PM

        The level you had to escape out of a ship falling to a planet surface was brilliantly done. One of the most creative levels ever made in a FPS at that time. My how have LucasArts changed since then.

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        December 31, 2011 12:49 AM

        One of the best FPS of all time. The vertical scale in most levels was insane. I actually felt the sensation of being afraid of heights.

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        December 31, 2011 1:27 AM

        Whoa live action cutscenes?

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        December 31, 2011 6:30 PM

        I did a lot of level editing for this game. Had a 3 level mini campaign involving flying speeders through a forest (and hollow logs), stomping around in a walker supporting infantry, and xwings that flew overhead setting off fireworks. It's all been long since lost (I think, time to go hard drive diving), but it's what got me into modding things, though Dark Forces provided a small taste (I made a map of my house).

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        January 2, 2012 2:18 PM

        It is sad tha it takes a big Star Wars release in 2011 for JK, a top game, to be recognized. However, JK is and was a great game. More people should play it than do.

        Oh, just to let you know, Saber Battles were not "where the game blows it". There was a whole ladder system that went strong for at least 3 years with thousands of people that would Saber fight each other for ladder points for years.

        If you're going to review it... please get it right.