Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, by Aspyr Media
Posted: 18-Nov-2003

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Aspyr Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Lane Smith Class: GAMES

Overview
Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast is a first-person shooter/third-person lightsaber brandisher game with the classic Star Wars storyline. The game takes place after the Galactic Empire has been abolished by the Rebellion, who forms the New Republic after the defeat of the Empire. The lone-wolf mercenary Kyle Katarn, renown from the Dark Forces games, is back to slaughter more Stormtroopers and a new, stronger foe, the Shadowtrooper.

From Aspyr:

Several years have passed since Kyle avenged his father's death and saved the Valley of the Jedi from Jerec and his band of Dark Jedi. Allowing his Force powers to languish for fear of falling to the dark side, Kyle entrusted his lightsaber to Luke Skywalker, vowing never to use it again. But when a new and menacing threat to the galaxy emerges, Kyle knows he must reclaim his past in order to save his future. Players assume the role of Kyle as they employ a unique mix of weapons, Force powers and your lightsaber in both single- and multiplayer modes.


System Requirements

  • Mac OS 9.1 or later (with virtual memory on)
  • Mac OS X compatible, version 10.1 or later
  • G3 or G4 processor at 400MHz or faster
  • 128 MB of memory (256 MB recommended)
  • 4X CD-ROM (16X recommended)
  • Hard Drive, with 665 MB minimum free space
  • Hardware 3D Acceleration required (ATI Radeo/Nvidia GeForce graphics card)

Multiplayer Requirements

  • Internet and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported
  • Internet play requires a 28.8 Kbps or faster connection


Test System

  • G4 processor 800MHz iMac with Mac OS 10.2.6 installed with 512 MB of memory


Installation
Installation was extremely quick and easy. All that is necessary is to pop in the CD-ROM, click the installer, select your file you want the game to install into, and wait a few moments to copy the 650 MB program to your hard drive. Also, for OS X, administrator powers are unnecessary, as long as you install in your account only.

Game Controls
For those first-person shooter veterans, Jedi Outcast will hardly different in controls than Medal of Honor, Unreal Tournament, etc. However, for the inexperience, such as I was, the awkward controls will give some fits, and Kyle a tragic death. The usual "W", "A", "S", and "D" keys are used for movement of the character, along with mouse for direction and shooting. Unless you don't want to get pass the first mission, you also use the "F", "Z", "X'" "Q", "R", "Return", "Control", "[", "]", 1-0 keys, F1-F12, and several other keys. I've played for several months, and I still hit the wrong key and/or have to refer to the manual.

Game Play
After a successful installation, launch Jedi Outcast from your hard drive, with the CD-ROM in the CD drive, and may the Force be with you. The game starts out with the famous Star Wars flying script in the stars. After a short dialog between your partner, Jan Ors, and Kyle Katarn, the action begins. Unfortunately, you start out the game Force-less and without a lightsaber, and the only weapon being a weak pistol. After blasting a few Stormtroopers, you get to upgrade to a nice semi-automatic blaster. After arming yourself, you simply complete several pre-listed objectives. From now on until after the next few missions, the game continues as mentioned: kill a Stormtrooper; take his weapon; complete mission objectives.

Finally, after sending mounds of Stormtroopers to the morgue, you receive your lightsaber from Luke Skywalker. Now, the game's fun really begins, and the game's storyline develops. Not only do you get your unstoppable lightsaber and feared Force powers, but also the coolest weapons, and the hardest enemies, start appearing. Everything from sniper rifles to rocket launchers can be found in the hands of gangsters, Stormtroopers, and machines. Use must use the Force to repeal guided missiles, jump over Dark Jedi's lightsabers, and dodge blaster fire. Trudge through swamps, go head to head with Dark Jedi, and pilot an AT-ST walker without mercy. Only you can save the New Republic and the Jedi Academy from the Imperial Remnant's new weaponÍ

Multiplayer
In order to connect to the Jedi Outcast multiplayer servers, open "Jedi Knight II MP" inside the "Jedi Knight II" folder. Once opened, you can change your screen name, character, and lightsaber color in the "Setup" menu. Then select "Play" from the menus, choose either to "Join a Server" or "Create a Server". If you chose to "Join a Server", select a server to play from, and if you chose to create one, modify your preferred game preferences, and then select "Begin". Jedi Outcast offers numerous multiplayer game choices, which include: Free For All, Holocron Free For All, Jedi Master, Duel, Team Free For All, Capture the Flag, and Capture the Ysalamiri.

Graphics
When set to the highest quality, Jedi Outcast's graphics are rival to Quake and Unreal Tournament. However, for those who don't have enough RAM, processor speed, and/or a high-quality graphics card, the game skips frames, ignores controls, and delays reactions. With an 800 MHz processor with 512 MB of RAM, I still experienced these incidents when more than 3 Stormtroopers were charging at me. If set to the lowest graphics quality, the game runs completely smooth, without frame dropouts or delayed reactions, at the price of graphics quality. When at the lowest quality setting, the game is very gritty, but details are still easy to depict and noticeable. It's up to you, but when you have gangsters or Stormtroopers by the dozens rushing at you, it's easier to see where you're swinging your lightsaber when the frames aren't jumping everywhere.

Weapons
These are the various weapons with descriptions that can be used in Jedi Outcast.

  • Stun Baton- Cattle-prod Stormtroopers to death. Fun, but is replaced by the lightsaber after acquirement.
  • Byrar Blaster Pistol - This is a very accurate blaster, but doesn't do much damage.
  • E-11 Blaster Rifle - You can waste your ammo by holding down the trigger to this semi-automatic blaster. Just pick one up from the dead Stormtroopers who used it.
  • Tenloss Disruptor Rifle - If you charge this baby up, the laser can disintegrate your unfortunate target.
  • Wookie Bowcaster - With this, you can unleash the Chewbacca in you. Fires a powerful shot that is known to hit its mark.
  • Imperial Heavy Repeater - Fully automatic machine-gun that can also launch a volatile energy explosive.
  • Destructive Electromagnetic Pulse 2 - Fires a high-powered ion burst that unfortunately does little to humans, but shorts out electronics.
  • Golan Arms FC-1 Flechette - Take your anger out on Stormtroopers with this weapon, which fires shards of metal in a shotgun spread.
  • Merr-Sonn PLX-2M Portable Missile System - As the name implies, this weapon can launch a highly explosive missile guided missile, which will send Stormtroopers flying like rag dolls.
  • Lightsaber - Secretly, you've always wanted to brandish a lightsaber, removing arms and other limbs from your enemies. Now, you can. The lightsaber can deflect lasers, slice through any matter, and yes, even separate limbs.



Summary
The long-time reputation of LucasArtÝs brilliant games has been further enhanced with the release of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. This gem is well worth the price of admission. The exhilarating storyline will hook anyone, Star Wars fan or not, and refuse to let go until the credits come scrolling up the screen. As for the Star Wars fanatics, the desire to choke, push, and weld a lightsaber against adversaries is finally filled without disappointments. The missions throughout the game do not squander your money and time, as they are challenging, yet not impossible, as well as entertaining with the several thrills and surprises. Overall, this game is positive to please the most hardcore Star Wars fan, the dullest workaholic, and the most demanding gaming veterans.

Pros

  • Excellent story line
  • Get to choke, push, and mind trick enemies with the Force
  • Challenging (but not impossible) missions
  • Superb weapons, such as the lightsaber
  • Multiplayer options
  • Challenging Antagonists
  • Detailed graphics


Cons

  • Too many controls to remember quickly
  • High quality graphics are too demanding; skipped frames, delayed reactions, etc. if computer is not fast enough


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice