Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is a first-person shooter computer game released on October 9, 1997, by LucasArts. This was the first game in the series to include multiplayer capabilities over the Internet or over a LAN. It was also the first computer game to allow players to take control of a Jedi character using both the Force and lightsabers in a multiplayer setting.
The similarly titled novella Dark Forces: Jedi Knight is somewhat a companion piece to the game.
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II takes place a year after the second Death Star has been destroyed. In their search for the map to the Valley of the Jedi, the Seven Dark Jedi led by Imperial Inquisitor Jerec capture and kill Jedi Master Qu Rahn. Meanwhile, the mercenary Kyle Katarn chases the informant droid 8t88 for a data holodisc that belonged to his late father, Morgan Katarn. After retrieving the holodisc, Katarn returns to his home on Sulon, where he is able to read the holodisc's contents with the help of his droid WeeGee. He receives a lightsaber and a quest to protect the Valley of the Jedi after watching a hologram of his father in the holodisc. Throughout his quest, Katarn receives help from his trusted partner and pilot Jan Ors, as well as guidance in the ways of the Force from Qu Rahn's spirit. He encounters the Dark Jedi and eventually locates the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan. At the Valley, Jerec plans to absorb the ancient Force power contained there. His plans are, however, stopped by Katarn, who arrives and defeats him in a lightsaber duel.
Kyle Katarn of Star Wars: Dark Forces returns as the protagonist in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. At the start of the game, he arranged to meet the droid informant 8t88 on Nar Shaddaa to collect a data holodisk belonging to his late father, Morgan Katarn. However, 8t88 double-crossed him and fled with the holodisk. Katarn eventually retrieved it and learnt that his father and Jedi Master Qu Rahn had given their lives to prevent the location of the Valley of the Jedi from falling into the hands of the Seven Dark Jedi led by Jerec. Guided by Rahn's Force ghost, Katarn learnt the ways of the Force and became a Jedi Knight in his quest to stop the Dark Jedi. He was accompanied by his partner Jan Ors, who piloted their ship, the Moldy Crow. At one point, Ors was captured by the Dark Jedi and taken to the Valley, where Jerec was trying to siphon the Valley's power for himself. Katarn tracked them down to the Valley and eventually defeated all the Dark Jedi and saved Ors, freeing all the spirits of the Jedi who had been trapped in the Valley.
Jerec is the main antagonist in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. A fallen Jedi Master and former Imperial Inquisitor, Jerec led the Seven Dark Jedi who sought the power of the Valley of the Jedi. At the start of the game, he killed Qu Rahn, whom he had captured and tried to obtain the Valley's location from. He was eventually defeated and slain by Kyle Katarn in a climatic lightsaber duel in the Valley.
Jan Ors was Kyle Katarn's trusted partner and the pilot of their ship, the Moldy Crow. She flew him to wherever his missions took him and bailed him out of trouble when he needed an escape. During the quest for the Valley of the Jedi, she was taken hostage on Ruusan by Jerec, who tried to use her to turn Katarn to the dark side of the Force, but Katarn rejected the dark side. Ors was then taken to the Valley of the Jedi and held captive until Katarn showed up and saved her.
Qu Rahn was a Jedi Master trying to prevent the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan from falling into the Dark Jedi's hands. At the start of the game, he was captured by the Seven Dark Jedi and interrogated by Jerec, who used the Force to probe his mind and find information on the Valley. Attempting to make a last stand, Rahn used telekinesis to seize Yun's lightsaber and attacked the Dark Jedi, but was ultimately immobilized and slain by Jerec. After his death, he continued to live on as a Force ghost and appeared in visions to guide Kyle Katarn on his quest to find the Valley and train him to become a Jedi Knight.
Sariss was one of the Seven Dark Jedi and Jerec's second-in-command. Along with Yun and Boc, she retrieved the map to the Valley of the Jedi from the Katarn family compound on Sulon. She then accompanied Jerec to the Valley on Ruusan, where she stood by her master in the confrontation with Kyle Katarn. After Katarn barely escaped alive from the crashing Sulon Star, Sariss attempted to strike him down but Yun intervened and Sariss accidentally killed Yun in a reflex move. Katarn managed to get up and used Yun's lightsaber to defeat and kill Sariss in a duel.
Boc was a Twi'lek and the maddest and most sadistic among the Seven Dark Jedi. He was also the only one to wield a pair of lightsabers in combat. Along with Sariss and Yun, he retrieved the map to the Valley of the Jedi from the Katarn family compound on Sulon. On Ruusan, when Kyle Katarn escaped from the exploding Sulon Star and was temporarily incapacitated after crash-landing during the escape, Boc found Katarn's lightsaber and crushed it with a rock, all the while taunting and laughing at him. He then left to join Jerec in the Valley. Katarn eventually made his way to the Valley and used Yun's lightsaber to defeat and kill Boc.
Maw was a Boltrunian and one of the Seven Dark Jedi. After his legs were cut off by Qu Rahn, he started using a repulsorlift carriage and Force flight to move about. On Ruusan, he attacked Kyle Katarn on a landing pad near the Sulon Star but was defeated by the Jedi Knight. Immobilized and defenseless, he taunted Katarn with remarks of his father's death in an attempt to goad Katarn into the dark side. Although Katarn succumbed to his anger and killed Maw, he was ultimately able to resist the lure of the dark side and remain in the light.
Gorc and Pic
Collectively known as the "Brothers of the Sith", Gorc was a Gamorrean and Pic was a Kowakian monkey-lizard who had both been mutated into Sithspawn through an experiment. As a result, they shared a symbiotic connection through the Force and eventually became part of the Seven Dark Jedi. Jerec sent them to meet and destroy 8t88 on the Sulon Star, where the droid expected to collect his payment for helping Jerec find the map to the Valley of the Jedi. Kyle Katarn, who had been tracking 8t88, encountered the two Dark Jedi shortly after they had decapitated the droid, and eventually defeated and slew both of them in a duel.
Yun was the newest member of the Seven Dark Jedi. After accompanying Sariss and Boc to retrieve the map to the Valley of the Jedi from the Katarn family compound, he remained in the Dark Palace on Sulon and encountered Kyle Katarn when the latter showed up while tracking down 8t88. Katarn defeated Yun in a duel but spared Yun's life, much to Yun's surprise. Later on Ruusan, while Sariss was about to kill Katarn when he was down, Yun intervened by blocking Sariss's lightsaber blow, but lost his life in the process when Sariss struck him with a reflex blow. Before dying, Yun told Sariss that Katarn was a Jedi and deserved a fight. Katarn managed to get up and eventually used Yun's lightsaber to defeat and slay Sariss, Boc and Jerec.
Chase on Nar Shaddaa
Kyle Katarn arranged to meet the droid informant 8t88 in the Smuggler's Bar on Nar Shaddaa, where he learnt that his father, Morgan Katarn, had been murdered by Jerec, a Dark Jedi. When 8t88 tried to force Katarn to decipher a data holodisc, Katarn refused and fought against 8t88's hired thugs. 8t88 then escaped with the holodisc, forcing Katarn to chase him over the Nar Shaddaa cargo docks and take down several hired thugs. Katarn caught up with 8t88 just as the droid was boarding a shuttle, and managed to shoot off the droid's arm holding the holodisc. Shortly after 8t88's shuttle took off, a TIE bomber appeared and started firing at Katarn, but Katarn's partner Jan Ors showed up in their ship, the Moldy Crow, and shot down the TIE bomber.
Katarn then went below the landing pad and retrieved the holodisc after arranging with Ors to pick him up at the top of the building. He made his way across cargo storages, conveyor belts, and other areas, all the while fending off attacks by 8t88's hired thugs. By the time he reached the top and Ors picked him up, he was so badly injured that he had to spend the night recuperating in a medical frigate. While resting, he had a Force vision of Jedi Master Qu Rahn, who told him about the Valley of the Jedi and how he was destined to become a Jedi Knight.
Returning Home to Sulon
Upon returning to the old Katarn family compound on Sulon, Katarn noticed three Dark Jedi - Sariss, Boc and Yun - loading pieces of the stone ceiling into an Imperial shuttle. Once the shuttle had left, Katarn sneaked into his old home and found it overrun by Grave Tuskens. He fought them as he made his way through the compound and entered his father's workshop, where he found his family's old droid, WeeGee.
Switching on WeeGee, Katarn inserted the holodisk and watched a recording of his father telling him that he had left behind two items for him. The first was a green-bladed lightsaber which previously belonged to Qu Rahn. The second was a map to the Valley of the Jedi embedded in the stone ceiling. The ceiling had been taken away by the Dark Jedi so Katarn needed to find an alternative means to locate the Valley. Since the exit was blocked, Katarn had to find a way out of the house via the irrigation channels. Along the way, he defeated several Grave Tuskens and other creatures such as Drugons and Mailocs until he reached the rendezvous point, where Ors picked him up in the Moldy Crow.
- "The Empire sure knows how to ruin a perfectly good city."
- ―Kyle Katarn
Katarn and Ors set off to find the map, which led them to the city of Barons Hed on Sulon. The city had been occupied by the Imperial Remnant, which had constructed a fortress known as the Dark Palace in the middle of the city. Believing that he could find 8t88 in the Dark Palace, Katarn infiltrated the city via the irrigation channels and eventually made his way into the heavily guarded fortress.
Katarn managed to track down 8t88 just as the droid had finished sending the deciphered map to Jerec. When he confronted 8t88 and demanded the map, Yun suddenly appeared and used a Force blast to knock him back. Katarn defeated Yun in a lightsaber duel but spared his life, much to Yun's surprise and confusion.
After Yun escaped through the roof, Katarn continued his pursuit of 8t88 and made his way across the top levels of the fortress, fighting off a Kell dragon and several Imperial forces along the way. He reached his destination too late, however, as 8t88 had just flown away in his shuttle. Shortly after that, Ors showed up in the Moldy Crow and picked him up.
The Sulon Star
Katarn and Ors followed 8t88's shuttle to a fuel station where the Sulon Star, a freighter owned by Jerec, was docked. To avoid alerting the Imperial Remnant to their presence, Katarn sneaked on board the freighter by going through the station's giant fuel lines. He emptied the fuel lines so that he could pass through them, and defeated Imperial forces and Trandoshan mercenaries along the way.
Once he had boarded the Sulon Star, he traversed down to the docking bays on the lower deck and cleared out Imperial forces. Eventually, he came to 8t88's shuttle and found the droid standing in front of him. When he pointed his Bryar pistol at 8t88, the droid's head fell off. Gorc and Pic, the two Dark Jedi known as the "Brothers of the Sith", appeared and attacked him. Katarn managed to defeat them and claimed 8t88's head. Then, he returned to the upper deck of the Sulon Star, where Ors picked him up in the Moldy Crow. Using 8t88's head, they found out that the Valley of the Jedi was on Ruusan and made their way there.
Upon arriving at Ruusan, the Moldy Crow landed in a mountainous area to avoid detection by the Imperial Remnant. Katarn then made his way across the mountainous terrain, clearing out Imperial forces and other hostile creatures such as Mailocs and Drugons until he reached an elevator that would take him to the landing platform where the Sulon Star was.
As soon as he stepped out of the elevator, he was attacked by Maw, a Dark Jedi who had to use the Force and a repulsorlift carriage to move about after losing his legs. Katarn dueled Maw and eventually defeated him. Maw then tried to provoke and goad Katarn to the dark side by telling him how Morgan Katarn died. Shortly after Katarn gave in to his anger and killed Maw, Jerec and the Dark Jedi showed up with a captured Ors. Jerec made Katarn an offer to join him and kill Ors to prove his loyalty, but Katarn managed to calm himself and rejected the dark side.
Disappointed, Jerec used a Force blast to knock back Katarn. However, the Force blast was strong that it damaged the Sulon Star too and caused it to start collapsing. Katarn got on board the falling freighter and, in a desperate race against time, managed to reach the docking bay where the Moldy Crow was held, and flew out of the Sulon Star before it crashed and exploded.
The impact of the explosion caused the Moldy Crow to crash too. Shortly after that, Sariss, Boc and Yun came to the wreckage and pulled out an incapacitated Katarn. Boc taunted Katarn and destroyed his lightsaber with a rock before leaving to join Jerec in the Valley. Sariss then drew her lightsaber and prepared to finish off Katarn, but Yun intervened and was accidentally killed by Sariss with a reflex blow. Before dying, Yun said that Katarn was a Jedi and deserved a battle. By then, Katarn had regained his strength and he claimed Yun's orange-bladed lightsaber as his, using it to defeat and slay Sariss.
The Valley of the Jedi
Katarn then used a cargo conveying system to reach the Valley's outer perimeter before navigating his way through the airflows of the mining exhaust ports until he reached the Imperial excavation site leading into the Valley. He made his way through underground tunnels until he reached the ancient ruins of the Valley, clearing out all the Imperial forces along the way and taking out two Kell dragons in the tunnels. In the Valley, he found Ors tied to a pole and saved her. Just then, Boc, who had been disguising himself as a statue, revealed himself and attacked Katarn with his two lightsabers.
As soon as Katarn had defeated Boc, Jerec, who had been basking in the Valley's power, awoke from his meditation and engaged Katarn in a lightsaber duel. As they dueled, Jerec set in motion the ancient machinery that would grant him the Valley's full power, but Katarn stopped him at every turn and ultimately defeated him. Disarmed and at Katarn's mercy, Jerec tried to tempt Katarn to the dark side by reminding him that he was the one who killed Morgan Katarn. However, Katarn replied that he had not forgotten, and then picked up Jerec's lightsaber and threw it back to him. Jerec then activated his lightsaber and charged at Katarn, but was cut down and his physical form faded away.
With Jerec's defeat, Katarn fulfilled an old prophecy and freed the spirits of the Jedi who had been trapped in the Valley since the Seventh Battle of Ruusan. To honor his father and Qu Rahn for their sacrifices, Katarn carved statues of them in the Valley while Ors and WeeGee watched him as he finished his work.
- UPC 023272952426; April 30, 2001; LucasArts Entertainment Company; LucasArts Archive Series edition
Jedi Knight is noted for the ethical decisions integrated into the gameplay. Katarn is a neutral character for most of the game, neither fully light nor dark. Actions against unarmed civilians throughout the game, as well as what Force powers a player chooses throughout the game, will sway Katarn towards the light or the dark sides. Eventually, the character Katarn must choose between light and dark; how he chooses depends on the player's actions throughout the game. This feature would later be greatly expanded upon in games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
Katarn starts the game with no knowledge of the Force. As the player progresses through the game, Katarn gains Jedi abilities, known as "Force Powers." These powers fall in three general categories: Neutral, Light, and Dark. The game awards one "Force point" upon the completion of each level, and an additional point if the player finds all of the secret areas. These skill points can be allocated towards any Force power, boosting that power's effects.
Another part of Jedi Knight's gameplay was explored in online, multiplayer arenas. Plot and Force alignment became irrelevant as players were able to forego the game's Artificial intelligence and instead engage in multiplayer combat. It was also online that the unique aspects of Jedi Knight distanced it from other, otherwise apparently similar first-person shooters. Single player mode did not significantly benefit from Force powers, agility, and large weapons, whereas online play demanded attention to these attributes.
The game lacked a dedicated server and was hosted by the MSN Gaming Zone, although several "IP boards" were hosted on fan sites such as JediKnight.net and Ron Mercer's Qtracker (formerly hosted at stomped.com). Most games were confined to the Nar Shaddaa (Nar) game room which became a refuge for clan wars, recruitment, and challenge. Four game types were used almost exclusively: Full Force (FF) Battle Ground Jedi (BGJ), Canyon Oasis (CO), No Force (NF) Battle Ground Jedi, and JI Oasis (an add-on level created by the Jedi Infantry clan). Games varied from two-player to four-player, allowing free-for-all, teams, and head-to-head combat. Another popular game type was Capture the Flag (CTF).
The lack of dedicated servers created difficulties in lag time for online play. Messages sent were never centrally processed, and so a "hit" in one person's frame nearly never guaranteed an actual event. Players compensated for lag by shooting ahead of the opponent so as to register a hit on their computer.
Canyon Oasis was a commonly played map due to its variety of weapons/pickups and varied terrain (including water tunnels and ramps). It was also brightly lit, meaning stealth was a less viable tactic as it was in many of the darker maps favored by the development team and mod makers (such as Blades of Death). Despite its huge popularity, there was a movement against its overuse as well, to the point where a player group was formed with the slogan "Because we're sick of Canyon Oasis." 
At times the game suffered from extensive cheating, until the third-party program known as "Kicker Helper" was released to combat the cheating. Jedi Knight's permissive checksum system allowed most of the "hacks" or "cogs" (as the cheats were commonly called) to work. The physics engine and Force system of the game, however, were so permissive that some normal actions were construed as cheating. "Hypergrip," or "Supergrip," referred to using Force grip on an opponent at a faster-than-normal rate to kill the opponent in seconds. This is performed simply by targeting an opponent with Force grip and then repeatedly pressing the assigned Use Force Power key. Each iteration sends another pulse of grip, eventually killing the opponent. The same procedure can be used with Force pull to repeatedly draw a weapon, often creating multiple copies within the level due to lag.
To this day, GameSpy Arcade and QTracker support Jedi Knight and Mysteries of the Sith online play. However, a more populated place to play is at IG Zone, which is a spiritual successor to MSN Gaming Zone's CD game section. A few groups also meet up for games on IRC. One dedicated server is at NarShaddaa.net for its remaining devoted fans, and many mod projects keep interest alive.
3D Level Design
Sound and Audio
Testing & Quality Assurance
Video Production Crew
Lucasarts Entertainment Company
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Behind the scenes
Although the game was marketed as Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II on the game box, the jewel case, the instruction manual, the official strategy guide, and the official web page at LucasArts.com, the game's opening crawl displays the title as Star Wars: Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight.
The cover of the version that is packed with Mysteries of the Sith depicts Darth Vader fighting the Jedi protagonist. However, Darth Vader does not appear at all in Jedi Knight nor in Mysteries of the Sith (his role in the Bespin secret level in the latter is taken by Dark Mara and Dark Kyle).
If the player chooses the dark side, the alternate ending is triggered after Katarn defeats Maw. Katarn kills Ors and becomes Jerec's rival as he now wants the power of the Valley for himself. After Jerec knocks him back with a Force blast, Katarn races against time in the Sulon Star to reach the Moldy Crow and escapes the exploding freighter. However, the Moldy Crow does not crash-land. Katarn gets out and duels Yun again, this time to the death. After killing Yun, he makes his way to the Valley and eventually defeats Boc and Jerec, becoming the new Emperor of the Galactic Empire. In the ending cutscene, he takes the throne and tells Sariss, who now serves him, to deal with some rebels. Then, he watches the hologram of his father one last time before crushing it under his foot.
Similar to the previous game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire, it uses live-action videos, but with over twice the amount of scenes. The actors took six days to film the scenes in front of a blue screen, with several of them being added with computer graphics later.
Michael Burnett did the makeup for the creatures, while Justin Chin wrote the story.
The accompanying game manual is notable for providing the first name "Qu" for the Jedi Master Rahn. It also had descriptions of various enemies and Force powers, presented as quotes from Qu Rahn's journal.
Pathways to the Force
The demo disc for Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is notable for having a subtitle, Pathways to the Force. It contains three levels from the full game and was sold as an OEM. The disc's image is the same as Disc 1 for the full game, but there is also a version that has a yellow layer over the image.
Mysteries of the Sith
Just four months after Jedi Knight's initial release, LucasArts released Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, an official expansion pack, created by the LucasArts team that worked on Outlaws (a spaghetti-western-themed first-person shooter) which features the opportunity to play as Mara Jade for a significant portion of the game. This expansion significantly improved the original Jedi Knight engine by adding aesthetic features such as colored lighting, new enemies and Force powers (and more controversially, doing away with the Dark/Light side duality). There were several under-the-hood changes as well, the most significant being that COG, the programming language that Jedi Knight uses to create scripted in-game events and interactivity (doors, elevators, weapons, in-game cutscenes, enemy behavior, and many other things in Jedi Knight are controlled by COG scripts) was expanded with new functions and capabilities, which the Sith Engine took full advantage of. In addition, while enemies in Jedi Knight would run away if stripped of their weapons, in Mysteries of the Sith they would attempt to fight with their fists. Mysteries of the Sith also featured new types of multiplayer action such as the gamemode KFY ("Kill the Fool with the Ysalamiri") based on KFC, and included several new weapons. A few Force powers such as Throw and Lightning were replaced as well.
Since the release of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, all sequent games, comics and books have used the appearance of the characters first seen in this game.
Jan Ors' ship, the Moldy Crow, was the basis for the HWK-290 light freighter ship type, which appeared in the canon Kanan 12 comic. This version was painted black and lacked an underside blaster turret.
- In March 2004, GMR Magazine rated Jedi Knight the fourth-best Star Wars game of all time.[source?]
- PC Gamer Magazine rated Jedi Knight the "Best Game Ever" of 1997 on its list of their 50 greatest games for the PC. In 1998, Jedi Knight was still on the list, but it was dethroned by Half-Life.[source?]
- The gaming website gamespot.com gives Dark Forces II a rating of 8.9 out of 10 and a user rating of 8.7, while the IGN community has given it a rating of 8.6.
- "Building a Better Jedi: Justin Chin on Dark Forces II" – Star Wars Insider 31
- "Be the Jedi in Three New LucasArts Games" – Star Wars Insider 36
- "Playing with the Dark Side" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 8
- "Lord Vader's Plenty Game" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 11
- "Game Room: Game Knights" – Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 13
- "Around the Galaxy" – Star Wars Galaxy Collector 7
Notes and references
- The opening crawl of Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, set in 10 ABY, establishes that it takes place five years after this game.
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, LucasArts Archive Series edition
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II instruction manual
- Credited as Bennett Gilory
- "Building a Better Jedi: Justin Chin on Dark Forces II" – Star Wars Insider 31
- Kanan 12
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II on Wikipedia
- The Massassi Temple fan/mod website
- Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 Wiki | Fandom . The Fandom Wiki for the game