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.
- 1 Plot summary
- 2 Opening crawl
- 3 Main characters
- 4 Synopsis
- 5 Media
- 6 Gameplay
- 7 Credits
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Behind the scenes
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Notes and references
- 12 External links
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II takes place a year after the second Death Star has been destroyed. The Dark Jedi Jerec and his six Dark Jedi seek the map to the Valley of the Jedi and captures the Jedi Qu Rahn for it. Meanwhile, the mercenary Kyle Katarn chases the informant droid 8t88 for a data disc that belonged to his father, Morgan Katarn. After retrieving the disc, Kyle returns home to the planet Sulon where he is able to read the disc with his droid WeeGee. He is granted a lightsaber and a quest to protect the Valley of the Jedi by a hologram of his father contained in the disc. Katarn receives help from his trusted partner and pilot, Jan Ors. During the game Katarn encounters the Dark Jedi and finds the map to the Valley of the Jedi on the planet Ruusan. At the valley, Jerec plans to absorb the ancient power that lies in the valley. His plans are, however, stopped by Kyle Katarn, who arrives and kills him in a lightsaber duel.
Kyle Katarn returns from Star Wars: Dark Forces as the protagonist. Having helped with the retrieval of the first Death Star plans, Katarn is now several years later contemplating his dead father. Katarn is contacted by the droid informant 8t88 who reveals that he has a disc that comes from Katarn's home. 8t88 runs off with the disc when Katarn refuses to decipher it, resulting in a chase. Kyle retrieves the disc but is then caught up in his father's, and the old Jedi Qu Rahn's, wishes of him becoming a Jedi and to prevent any harm to befall the Valley of the Jedi. During his quest he faces off against the Seven Dark Jedi whose leader, Jerec, is the man who killed Katarn's father. He is accompanied by his partner Jan Ors, who pilots his ship, the Moldy Crow. Ors is eventually captured by the Dark Jedi. Katarn travels to The Valley of the Jedi where Jerec is using the valley's power to become even more powerful. Katarn defeats all seven Dark Jedi and saves the captured Jan Ors. He also frees the spirits that had been trapped in the valley since the Seventh Battle of Ruusan fought in the New Sith Wars. In honor of Qu Rahn and Katarn's father, he erects statues of them in the valley.
Jerec is the main antagonist in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. He is the leader of the seven Dark Jedi who seek the power of the Valley of the Jedi. Prior to the game's start Jerec leads an assault on Morgan Katarn's home in search of the map to the Valley of the Jedi, and kills Morgan Katarn when he doesn't reveal anything. Years later his flagship chases down the old Jedi Qu Rahn from who he gains the information that the map is at the Katarn's home. Jerec retrieves the map and heads for the Valley of the Jedi. At the landing site he gives an offer to Kyle Katarn to embrace the Dark side of the Force and join him, the latter refuses and Jerec keeps Jan Ors as a hostage. The Dark Jedi then descends to the Valley and bathes in its power. Kyle Katarn reaches him and in a climactic lightsaber duel, Jerec is defeated and the power of the valley slips from his fingers.
Jan Ors is the trusted partner of Kyle Katarn and the pilot of his ship, the Moldy Crow. Ors piloted Katarn to wherever his missions led 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 the Dark Jedi. Jerec, the leader of the Dark Jedi, tried to use her to turn Katarn to the dark side, but failed. Ors was then taken to the Valley of the Jedi and was soon rescued by Katarn.
Jerec's right hand and one of the antagonists in the game, Sariss accompanied her master and the other Dark Jedi to capture Qu Rahn. The Jedi, however, attempted an escape in which Sariss dueled against him for a short while before he was struck down by Jerec. Later, Sariss, along with Yun and Boc Aseca, retrieved the map to the Valley of the Jedi. She followed her master to Ruusan, where she stood by her master in the confrontation with Kyle Katarn. Katarn made his escape but crashed with his ship. Sariss along with Boc and Yun ventured after Katarn, whom they found semiconscious. As Sariss attempted to strike Katarn down, she was hindered by Yun, whom she accidentally killed in reflex. This bought Katarn the time to regain himself, take Yun's lightsaber, and defeat Sariss in a duel.
The youngest of the Dark Jedi, Yun looked forward to his first battle with the Light side of the Force. As the game starts, Yun is following his master and the other Dark Jedi to hunt down Qu Rahn. In the interrogation, the old Jedi managed to steal Yun's lightsaber and attack the Dark Jedi. Rahn was, however, struck down quickly by Jerec. After these events, Yun followed Boc and Sariss to retrieve the map to the Valley of the Jedi from the Katarn homestead. Yun stayed with the map at Barons Hed where 8t88 was deciphering it. There he faced off with Kyle Katarn, but was defeated. Yun was surprised, however, that Katarn spared his life, and made his escape shortly after. He ventured with his master to Ruusan and watched the confrontation between Jerec and Katarn. And when the latter made his escape, he ventured with Boc and Sariss to kill him. But as Sariss was about to strike the semiconscious Katarn down, Yun interfered and was killed by Sariss, explaining that Katarn deserved a battle.
Chase on Nar Shaddaa
In the Smuggler's Bar on the moon Nar Shaddaa, Kyle Katarn was meeting with the droid informant 8t88 in the hopes of finding information about his deceased father. 8t88 informed Katarn that his father had been killed by a Dark Jedi called Jerec. The droid then threatened Katarn and tried to have him decipher the information on a disc he found in Morgan Katarn's home. Katarn retaliated, but 8t88 had already escaped, forcing Katarn to hunt down 8t88 and the disc. Katarn chased 8t88 over the Nar Shaddaa cargo docks and caught up to the droid when he was about to leave in his shuttle. Before 8t88 could escape into his shuttle, Katarn fired his blaster at the droid's right shoulder, which severed the arm that held the disc. After 8t88's shuttle left, a TIE bomber appeared and started firing at Katarn, but immediately after that Jan Ors in the Moldy Crow shot down the bomber. Katarn informed Jan that he plans to meet her at the top after he retrieves the disc. Kyle found the disc under the landing pad and proceeded through cargo storages, conveyor belts and other areas all the way to the top of the building. As Ors picked Kyle up, he was severely injured and had to spend the night in a medical frigate.
Returning Home to Sulon
Upon returning to his home on the planet Sulon, Katarn noticed an Imperial shuttle parked outside his old family house. He hid out of sight as Yun, Aseca, and Sariss were loading the pieces of the map leading to the Valley of the Jedi into the shuttle. Kyle continued to watch the Dark Jedi as they set off into the sky with the shuttle, and proceeded to his house when they flew out of sight. To Katarn's disbelief, he found house crawling with Grave Tuskens. Despite the uninvited guests, Katarn made his way through his old home, but found the path to his father's workshop caved in. Kyle did not despair, for there was another way into the workshop, located beyond their water supply. As Kyle entered the workshop, he saw it in disarray, but immediately spotted the family droid WeeGee. After Kyle turned the droid on, he inserted the disc he got from 8t88, and was shown a recording of his dead father, Morgan Katarn. In the recording, Morgan told his son that he had left two very important items for him. The first is a lightsaber that had belonged to the Jedi Qu Rahn, and the second is the map to the Valley of the Jedi, which had been embedded in the stone ceiling. The ceiling was, however, what the Dark Jedi had loaded onto their ship, so Katarn made it his next mission to locate the map. He was, however, unable to take the same way back since he had entered the room from the ceiling, and the exit was blocked. Katarn made his way through the irrigation channels and was eventually picked up by Ors on 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. The city had been forcefully taken over by the Empire and had a giant fortress constructed in the middle of the city. Kyle assumed 8t88 was in the top of the fortress tower and started making his way through the city. After a difficult time getting into the fortress tower, Katarn used the elevator to reach 8t88's chambers. The droid has just finished sending the deciphered map to Jerec, and was told his payment awaited him on the starship Sulon Star. Katarn entered the room and demanded the map back, to which 8t88 replied that it is all his for the taking. However, immediately after that an elevator descended from the roof with one of the Dark Jedi. Yun, the newest of the Dark Jedi, proceeded to make short work of the map by destroying it. He blasted Katarn with his Force powers and exclaimed that he had expected more from the light side. Kyle defeated the young Dark Jedi who then told him to finish him off. Katarn spared Yun's life, however, which confused the young man. Yun escaped through the roof, and Katarn set off after 8t88. But Katarn is too late. As he reached the top of the tower, he saw 8t88 flying away in his shuttle. Shortly thereafter, Ors arrived to pick him up.
The Sulon Star
The pair followed 8t88's shuttle in the Moldy Crow to a fuel station where the Sulon Star was waiting. To avoid alerting the Imperials of their presence, Katarn sneaked aboard the ship through the giant fuel lines of the station. Once aboard, he traversed down to the docking bays on the lower deck. As Katarn came upon 8t88's shuttle, he opened the door behind it, and to his joy, found 8t88 standing right there. But when Kyle touched the droid, its head fell off, alarming the Jedi in-training. From behind him emerged the so-called twins of the Dark Jedi, the small Pic and the much larger Gorc. Boodle informed Katarn that he would not be lucky to experience the Valley of the Jedi, and attacked Kyle. Despite having to face two foes at once, Katarn defeated them and claimed 8t88's head. He then traveled to the upper deck where Ors picked him up, and they set off for the Valley of the Jedi on the planet Ruusan.
The Sulon Star came to a halt above the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan. The Moldy Crow landed in the mountainous area nearby in order to conceal its presence. Katarn made his way through the rocky surroundings to an elevator that would take him up to the Sulon Star's landing platform. He was, however, attacked by Maw as soon as he stepped out of the elevator. Katarn battled the levitating half that was Maw to the Sulon Star and defeated him there. In his final moments Maw provoked the Jedi by telling him how he gave Morgan Katarn a slow sweet death and thrust his head on a spike. Katarn slashed Maw to death in anger with his lightsaber. Behind him Jerec approached and commended Katarn for going down the path of the dark side, which he claimed was Kyle's true calling. The Dark Jedi had also managed to capture Ors, and as a final test he demanded Katarn to strike her down. The Jedi refused and was sent flying by Jerec's Force push to a catwalk connected to the Sulon Star. The force of Jerec's attack caused enough damage for the cargo ship to lose its hover capabilities and start to descend, pulling some of the landing platform with it. Katarn jumped on board the Sulon Star, and in a desperate fight with time made it to a lower docking bay where the Moldy Crow was being held. Katarn took control of the Moldy Crow and managed to narrowly escape the crashing cargo ship, but he was unable to straighten the ship properly and crashed a stabilizer into a rock formation. Without its proper flight capabilities, the Moldy Crow crash landed. The three Dark Jedi—Boc, Yun, and Sariss—pulled the incapacitated Katarn out of the wreckage and waited until he started to regain consciousness. Boc smashed Katarn's lightsaber with a rock while making fun of it and left to assist Jerec. Sariss took out her lightsaber and was just about to strike Katarn down when Yun intervened. By instinct Sariss lashed out at the young Dark Jedi, inflicting a deadly wound. As she asked why, Yun replied that Katarn was a Jedi and deserved a battle. As Yun passed away, Katarn regained complete consciousness and took the dead man's lightsaber. Kyle then defeated Sariss near the wreckage of the Sulon Star.
The Valley of the Jedi
Having killed Sariss, Katarn followed Boc to the Imperial excavation facility and traversed a long way down underground until he reached the place where the Imperials had stopped digging. Katarn found himself inside ancient ruins and stumbled upon traps and Kell dragons. Eventually, the Jedi reached the center of the valley where he found Ors tied to a pole. After Kyle rescued Jan, Boc surprised them from behind, having concealed himself as a statue. Brandishing two lightsabers, Boc attacked Katarn, but was defeated by the latter. At that time, Jerec awoke from his meditation inside the center of the valley. Having mastered a great amount of power from the valley, he attacked Katarn. As they fought, Jerec set in motion ancient machinery that would have eventually granted him the full power of the valley. The Dark Jedi was, however, stopped at every turn and soon lay at the mercy of Katarn. Jerec remarked that he was defenseless and implored Katarn to finish him off. To further entice Katarn to the dark side, he reminded him that he was the one who killed his father. Katarn used the Force to grab Jerec's deactivated lightsaber off the ground and told Jerec that he has not forgotten, then threw the saber back at Jerec's feet. The Dark Jedi charged for one final attack but was cut down by Katarn. The spirits that had been trapped in the valley for a long time were finally released and started flying around in the chamber in a spectacle of light. As a tribute to his father and Qu Rahn, Katarn erected two statues in the valley. Ors and Weegee were standing beside Katarn 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: Kyle Katarn kills Jan Ors and then becomes Jerec's rival, this time for dominion over the Valley. Katarn again retreats to the falling ship and escapes in the Moldy Crow, but this time doesn't crash-land. Instead of fighting Sariss by the ship's wreckage, he faces Yun again, now in a match that could only end in death. He then makes his way to the core and defeats Boc. Katarn defeats Jerec, and becomes the new Emperor of the Galactic Empire, with Sariss at his side.
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
- 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
- Star Wars: Dark Forces RPG The role-playing game
- Gamespot review - 8.9 out of 10
- The Massassi Temple
- The Jedi Knight Editing Hub
- Jedi Knight Multiplayer Addon Group (JKMAG) - includes link to Kicker Helper
- Qtracker online server browser/launcher (supports Jedi Knight/Mysteries of the Sith)