I wanted to get a start on reviewing this Star Wars series and having just played Assassin's Creed 1 & 2 and Vampire Bloodlines, I thought what better time than when my sword wielding abilities are at their peak. Light saber - sword, what's the difference, LOL! Although I have the first game of this series, Dark Forces 1995, I will probably not feature it as there seems to be a lot of fiddling required in order to get it performing properly. Sometimes, I just get tired of that exercise.
As it turned out, there were several things that needed to be done to get this up and running, but none of them were very onerous. The onerous part is always in searching for solutions and then testing to see if they work on my system. However, I'm happy to say that the solutions had everything working fine for this game and also worked for its stand alone expansion, Mysteries of the Sith.
Jedi Knights Dark Forces 2 is part of the Star Wars series, but the first game to have Jedi Knight in the name, even though it is the first sequel to Dark Forces. Our character is Kyle Katarn, whose father has been murdered by a Dark Jedi named Jerec. Dark Jedis have no allegiance and have fallen to the dark side using the Force for their own ends. Jerec has plans to rebuild the Empire and Katarn follows him and his cohorts to the Valley of the Jedi to confront them.
There are three types of Force powers; light, dark and neutral. They are broken up into passive, such as speed and jump, violent dark powers such as throw and grip and light powers which are of a non-violent nature such as invisibility. There are fourteen powers in total, four of each type and a bonus power in each light and dark side if the Jedi stays true to that path. You earn stars to allocate toward Force powers by completing levels and finding secrets. If you find all the secrets in a level, you can also gain one bonus star to use. Between levels, the player can choose which Force powers to enhance by allocating stars to that power. Stars cannot be reclaimed from powers later on. Availability of dark powers or light powers is determined by whether or not you kill innocents along the way and at a certain point when asked to make a choice the powers of one side or the other will no longer be an option. Choosing the light or dark side will change the ending. I found the light side to be more difficult as you have no violent powers in the boss fights, whereas they do.
This game was released in 1997, so those of you who are graphics junkies will probably not be impressed. However, within the context of its age, they are quite acceptable. The graphics received mixed reviews at the time of its release, but in general the game had a fairly high rating. Gameplay style is similar to games such as Doom and Quake. Although primarily a first-person shooter, you can also switch to third person which makes the boss fights with the light saber easier to manage. In addition to Force powers, there is also the usual compliment of weapons at your disposal as well as various pick-ups such as health, ammo and power boosts.
The AIs are for the most part pretty dumb, which is not to say always easy when faced in numbers. The boss fights with the saber can be quite difficult. You will also face automated canons, turrets and droids. You have to keep your eyes peeled for secrets are they are usually hidden in places such as grates, hard to see ledges, breakable walls and dark environments.
The cut scenes between levels are viewed in small window mode. Why they did this is anybody's guess. They are played out by real people in full motion and are really quite hammy. The menu is also presented in this windowed mode, but once starting the actual game it plays in full screen.
This is one of those games that have too many controls, which make them hard to access handily on the keyboard. Practically every F button, number button and key is bound to something, so you will have to prioritize the controls you use the most. As light and dark powers become available and unavailable, you will not need some of these.
In conclusion, this game is quite fun. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. It's of good length and well balanced between combat, exploration and puzzles, as well as throwing into the mix some moral choices. It received a high score at its release.Mysteries of the Sith Stand Alone Expansion. (Mots)
The story is set five years after the events of Dark Forces 2 with the player controlling two characters. One is Kyle Katarn and later in the game, Mara Jade. There are some improvements including colored lighting, new textures and models, and improved AI.
There is no light side or dark side ending and the story primarily follows a morally positive course. You start out as Katarn and already have some Force powers. Basically, the style of gameplay remains the same. As Mara, you have to earn some of the powers that Katarn already has. Once again, this is done by finishing levels and finding secrets to gain stars.UPDATE Oct 2015: There seems to be a general consensus that the Gog version is more compatible with modern systems. It also includes the expansion Mysteries of the Sith.