Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
List Price: $49.99 (March 2002)

Review by Ė Steve Uribe

Platform:    Windows 95 / 98 / NT / 2000 / Me
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Versus Books Official Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Perfect Guide by Richard Dal Porto
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Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is the third game in the Jedi Knight series, and as itís always been said, third timeís the charm.

You are cast in the role of Kyle Katarn, a New Republic mercenary and one time Jedi Knight. While investigating a distress signal from a planet thought to be uninhabited, an evil Sith Jedi named Dessan strikes down Jan Ors, Kyleís co-pilot and friend. Filled with rage, Kyle returns to his old Jedi ways and searches the galaxy for Dessan to avenge Janís death. Within that rage lays a plan that will bring about the destruction of the New Republic.

At the start of the game you donít have access to many weapons, and the game play falls into the category of a standard First-Person Shooter, like Quake or Doom, mindlessly shooting Stormtroopers with blaster rifles and Wookie bowcasters. As you progress through the twenty-four single player missions, you eventually come across the famed lightsaber and Jedi force powers. Force push, pull, and jump are just a few that youíll initially have access to.

As Kyle becomes stronger with the Force, heíll be able use some of the more interesting Force powers, such as Force Grip, complete with deep bass rumble and a bone-cracking sound.

Thereís nothing quite like lifting a Stormtrooper into the air with the Force and then striking him down with your lightsaber. The game does increase in difficulty and youíll find yourself relying more on a combination of Force powers and lightsaber than in your meager range weapons, but they are quite handy from time to time.

Jedi Outcast utilizes a modified Quake 3 Graphics Engine. The textures are quite sharp and give a great overall feel to each environment. You will travel to several familiar locales like the Jedi Temple on Yavin and the cloud city of Bespin. Most levels donít feel repetitive and there is a nice variation to each board. The attention to detail paid to the lightsaber is particularly nice. Its glow is reflected off the surrounding environment and leaves scorch marks on any surface it touches. On one board where rain was falling, I was pleasantly surprised to see as each drop hit the blade it would evaporate into a small puff of smoke. Itís the little things like that, that really make the graphics stand out. Low-end systems may not be able to see some of the tight textures in game, such as the nice glossy armor of the Stormtroopers, but midrange and high-end systems should have no problem being able to see Jedi Outcast in all its graphical splendor.

All the sound effects are very well put together, naturally. From the sound of the blaster fire, to the gentle hum of a lit lightsaber, all of it sounds like it was pulled directly out of the movies. Voice acting is also very good, as is always the case with Lucasartsí games. It doesnít feel forced or muddled through as it can with some games. As an added bonus, Lando Calrissian is voiced by the actor that portrayed him in the movie, Billy Dee ďColt45Ē Williams.

The old John Williams movie score is liberally used throughout the game. Somber and melodic in times of inactivity, but kicking in dramatically when enemies appear on screen. No matter how many times Lucasarts uses the same music it just never gets tired.

Where Jedi Outcast really shines is in its seven different multiplayer games and fifteen different multiplayer maps. The standard Capture-The-Flag, Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch are here, but itís the more novel games like Capture-the-Ysalimiri and Duel that take the cake. Holochron is perhaps the most interesting of the seven, where by you must pick up different Force holochrons (lightning, grip, speed, etc.) and kill your opponents with them. Seeing eight different people chasing after each other with lightsabers really is quite a sight. Fake computer opponents, or bots, are included in the game as well. So, if you feel the need to practice your saber techniques before jumping into a game filled with experts, youíll always have a good sparring partner.

I canít even begin to praise this game enough so, as the wise Master Yoda might say,  ďSimply one of the best Star Wars games to date, this is. Wise would you be to purchase a copy.Ē

© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu