X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
This Page Updated:
Sat Jan 24, 1998
Title: Jedi Knight
Genre: 3D Shooter
Release Date: Finished
Page 1: Battling in a Star Wars World
By: Evan Jones
Dark Forces was LucasArts' answer to Doom, and now Jedi Knight, the sequel, is their answer to Quake. Jedi Knight will be more than Quake with Star Wars graphics, Lucasarts has added many new features like force powers and even light sabers. The biggest new feature since Dark Forces is multiplayer support. With Dark Forces' variety of weapons, traps and items combined with the fast paced action of a DeathMatch and the graphical splendor of Quake we are in for quite a treat.
Jedi Knight is one of the first Quake clones, just like Dark Forces was to Doom. It has a brand new true 3D engine, code named "Sith", which will allow architectural features like sloped ceilings, floors, walls and arches. All the objects are created from texture mapped polygons which allows each model to be manipulated anyway the designer wishes, and provides a more realistic image. In Doom as well as Dark Forces, objects were composed of at most 8 angles, making an approximate image of what the real object would resemble. With a polygon objects the image is rendered from the appropriate viewpoint. The result is far more realistic.
As in Dark Forces, the single player levels are well planned out and tied together with a storyline which guides your character throughout the game. In Jedi Knight the player has more choice over their character's development. Similar to a role playing game, character's abilities improve over time and the player gets to decide if their character turns to the Dark side or walks in the Light. The cut scenes that carry this storyline are video composed of actors on computer art backgrounds, either rendered or drawn. The video will end up looking similar to Wing Commander 4 and Rebel Assault 2. It seems that the industry is moving to digital video.
There is an in game save feature, a hotly demanded Dark Forces issue. The behavior of objects is controlled by a programming language similar to C, called the COG language, which is completely customizable. Various force powers are at your disposal, which ones depends on your character's experience and which side of the force you have chosen. There are more levels then there was in Dark Forces, 21 single player missions and 8 multiplayer missions. Perhaps most importantly, we can now wield the weapon of the true Jedi, the Light Saber. The control of the light saber is complex and is easy to pick up, but hard to master.
As usual with LucasArts games, the single player game has been the priority. They continue to uphold their standard of creating enjoyable games to play by yourself. This is Jedi Knight's strong point. This game's single player experience is the best that I have ever played in a 3D Shooter. The storyline gives you a reason to continue playing the game, and the levels are huge, complex and at times puzzling. The enemies look great, the music is terrific and the sounds are high quality. It certainly helps to be next door to LucasFilm.
Multiplayer features have been incorporated from the start, with Internet play in mind. Even with this attention to detail, Jedi Knight's multiplayer experience is not up to the single player game. It is still great fun to play, and is a nice change, but I feel that Quake's fast and furious experience is more engrossing. Jedi Knight deathmatch tends to be more of the long, drawn out light saber duels, since any weapon you use can be ripped out of your hands with the force pull power. There are three multiplayer modes, Total Combat (DeathMatch), Team Combat and Territory Combat (essentially Capture the Flag). Jedi Knight also supports any video resolution your computer can pump out, with support for 3D accelerators.
I have the same complaint for Jedi Knight's internet support as I do for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter's: you must have Internet Explorer to use it. I find this very disappointing from a great company like Lucasarts. I would prefer if they had created their own system, like Blizzard's Battle.Net
Jedi Knight has been released for Win95 with a free demo available for download. It has not yet been decided if there will be a Macintosh version or not but the future looks grim.
There is an expansion, entitled Mysteries of the Sith, that is slated to be released winter of 1997/1998. The add on plans to add a new playable character, 14 story driven single player levels, 15 new multiplayer levels, one new multiplayer mode, 7 new weapons, 3 new multiplayer personalities, a slight engine upgrade as well as new monsters and objects. The expansion plans to alter the Jedi Knight experience into a brand new game.
LucasArts has delivered a solid sequel to Dark Forces. Jedi Knight has everything a player can want. It may not be as technologically advanced as other 3D Shooters like Quake 2, but there is one thing that it does really well. If you enjoyed Dark Forces or want an interesting 3D shooter to play by yourself, buy this game, you will not be disappointed. LucasArts continues to deliver outstanding single player gaming, and I am sure that their multiplayer experience will continue to improve. This is, after all, only their second multiplayer game.
The Jedi Outpost