Many thanks to Nightgaunt for our first game, Imperialism 2, which is one of my two or three favorite strategy games of all time. For the second installment in our Game Club, I thought we’d mix things up with a bit more action! We will be playing STAR WARS: JEDI KNIGHT (Dark Forces II) (released in 1997). This is my favorite of the Dark Forces series, and one of my favorite first-person shooters of all time. The game can be downloaded on Steam (only) for $4.99 here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/32380/
There are, unfortunately, at least three technical issues with the Steam version of the game. The first two aren’t a big deal; the third is more annoying, but I was able to patch it for myself.
First, the iconic Star Wars crawl and full-motion video will play only in a small window, not full-screen. I don’t know any way around this currently. Just suck it up and watch the first 2-3 minutes in a small window. After the opening FMV scene is over, the game will automatically switch you to full screen.
At this point, you will probably see lots of pixels. You need to go into options and check “Enable 3D acceleration” on the setup screen to fix this. (Back then, not every PC had a 3Dfx video card!) You may also want to fuss with mouse sensitivity and inverted-axis controls.
Finally, the Steam installation does not include the music. (You’ll hear the cantina song when you first get control of your character, but that’s the only music on the Steam version unpatched.) Fortunately, someone has posted a patch that fixes this, without requiring you to mount a virtual CD. This patch worked perfectly for me, but the patch installation process did say something about changing my registry, which made me a little nervous. The music-patch thread is here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/32380/discussions/0/540740501398048712/#p6 If you’d rather not use this patch, you could always just play a Star Wars soundtrack in the background. Of course, if you have the original disc, you’re good, and the original disc is also on sale at Amazon.com, albeit for $15.)
I hope you’ll play along with me! I haven’t fought my way through Nar Shadaa in years, and I’m looking forward to trying again. :)
Why not Mysteries of the Sith? Still: I am IN. DF2:JK was one of my favourite games ever – I’m sure it still is. I’ve always liked the angular 3d of this period, and DF2:JK is no except. I think the meshes have enough polygons to look like the thing it’s meant to look like, but are still safely outside the uncanny valley and in the ‘computer game’ territory. The textures, however, are a bit of a blur fest.
I lost my DF2:JK disc2 after I lent it to a friend so we could play Multiplayer, so I’ve never been able to reinstall it since. (Or maybe I lost MOTS disc 2?) :’( So I’m happy to re-buy it from Steam. (It’s taken this thread for me to realise that they’re aren’t any Star Wars games on gog…)
I want to give you all a pro-tip re: which weapons to use to increase your fun-per-minute, but is that against the spirit of these things? Should I let you figure it out for yourselves?
This game was a complete surprise to me. As someone who didn’t like Star Wars as much as all the people around me, I was used to people gushing about all things Star Wars that I found perplexing. Yeah, it was a series of decent action movies, but what was with the almost cult-like devotion? That was my main impression of Star Wars during college in the 90s. So when this game came out in 96 (or was it 95?), I ignored it.
However, when The Phantom Menace was about to come out in the summer of '99, I remembered that this game got good reviews from my favorite magazine (CGS+), so I purchased it. By that point I was able to play it at 1600x1200 with 3D acceleration with no problems. The Full Motion Video cutscenes were kind of goofy, but I actually enjoyed them, but most importantly, I really loved two things about the game:
The sense of scale.
Lightsaber and force powers.
I’m not sure what it is about Jedi Knight that makes it so unique with its sense of scale. It’s the only game I’ve played to this day that still gives me vertigo and makes my fear of heights come out. I think the Field of View (FOV) they use in the game is unique, and has never been used in any other FPS, but I could be wrong about that. Maybe it’s how they made the models within the game to a different scale than what one would expect? I still think the FOV is the biggest suspect, because even when I’m in the sewers, cycling one pressurized door after another, that sense of scale that’s unique to the game makes everything feel just a little off.
I’ll talk about the second point (force powers and lightsaber combat) in a different post some other day, but I did want to add that I replayed the game again in 2000, but whenever I tried replaying it again after that, I only got as far as the third level or so where there’s a lot of water. Say what you will about the graphics in these early 3D games being tolerable, one that still makes my eyes bleed is how water was depicted back then. Arrrrrrgh! My eyes! The goggles! They do nothing!
I recently replayed this. I definitely enjoyed it. I am not sure I finished it though. I think on the last level there was an out-door sandy area and a giant pit I could not figure out how to cross. I know in the past I did finish it, but not on this latest replay.
D00d! I love this pick! Can’t wait to play it again after all these years. When everyone else was playing Quake 2 deathmatch, I was playing JK with my friends in college. And I have some fond memories of the bosses in this game (we’ll see if they hold up–these things tend not to). And one special level that I’m sure we’ll talk about.
I like this choice, I’ve still got the disks around somewhere plus I also seem to have bought this on Steam at some point in the past, I think in one of those Star Wars bundle sales. This is probably my favorite of the Jedi Knight games, though it’s a close call with Jedi Academy. One thing I really strongly remember about Jedi Knight was its verticality, if that’s a word. There were levels that absolutely tweak my vertigo - I remember the level that I believe was the demo, with Kyle going through the sewers to hitch a ride on a massive starship, and having to ride an insanely tall elevator to get to it. It was almost hard to play - can’t wait to try it again.
I dug out my discs, but it turns out to be incompatible with 64-bit Windows 7. I’m trying the link posted by JoshL, but, in the meantime, here are some choice quotes from the README.txt on the CD:
“Please make sure you have enough free space on your hard drive in order to play Jedi Knight. For example, we’ve found that if you have less than 20 MB of space left on your hard drive, you may not be able to start the game.”
“We did not test Jedi Knight with laptop systems and therefore we cannot guarantee compatibility. Due to the wide variety of hardware configurations that ship with today’s laptop systems, it would be impossible to configure a game that would work with all of them. Many laptops are limited in their ability to be used as a gaming machine because of memory configurations, their microchannel architecture, port configurations (i.e. no place for a joystick) and sound systems that are primarily designed to be used with productivity software.”
“Resolutions above 512x384 will not perform well full screen unless you have a very fast Pentium or one with a good 3D accelerator.”
“CH Flightstick Pro optimized w/keyboard: This control setup uses the stick for turning and pitch up/down and works well in combination with the W,A,S, and D keys for movement.”
Anyone else going to pull out their flight stick for this?