Many Botham have died to bring you this information...
Let me first start off this review by stating that we can blame every single fault of this game on writer/programmer Mark Cooke ...it's all his fault.
Lucas Arts' previous attempt to get a piece of the first-person-shooter market, Dark Forces I, was a good effort but there were several major flaws inhibiting the game from reaching its full potential. These included the lack of an in game save feature and, most importantly, the lack of any form of multiplayer support. However, with new innovative ideas, solid graphics and sound, and superb multiplayer support, its sequel, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, has quickly jumped to the top of its genre.
The story of Jedi Knight continues with our hero, Kyle Katarn, as he embarks on a mission to understand the past and save the future. As Kyle, the player must fight his way through various levels, in an attempt to stop Jerec, an evil dark Jedi who murdered your father, from reaching the Valley of the Jedi. If Jerec reaches the Jedi burial grounds he will unlock the Force energy of the thousands of Jedi Knights held there. Along the way, you will face seven Dark Jedi, which act as bosses who you must battle after ever seven or so levels. As Kyle, you must choose between the dark or light side. Scattered throughout the levels are many non-aggressive personnel; by killing them you will move towards the dark side while sparing them will move you towards the light side. This choice will affect the outcome of the game and also your force powers.
Along with an original story, Jedi Knight also has innovative game play. Most of the weapons are similar to that of its predecessor, Dark Forces I. A player can get basic laser weapons like a stormtrooper rifle and bryar pistol, powerful guns like the rail detonator and concussion rifle, and grenede-like weapons like the thermal detonator and sequencer charge. Most importantly, a player will pick up a lightsaber, the most valuable weapon of the Jedi. The use of the lightsaber is just awesome. Not only is it the most powerful weapon, it can be used as a light source, to deflect blasts and to reveal secrets.
The basic controls and movement are the standard for action/3D games but another innovative aspect was also thrown into the mix: force powers. As the game progresses, you can allocate different force abilities. These abilities include force speed (run fast), force jump (jump high), force pull (pulls weapons and items out of enemies hands), and force seeing. Those who choose the light side can also obtain healing, persuasion (turn invisible), blinding (blinds enemy), and absorb (can absorb dark force powers). On the other hand, if the path of the dark side is chosen, one can obtain force throw (throws objects), the grip (grips/chokes enemy), lightning bolts, and force destruction.
The graphics turn away from the underground, enclosed, dungeon-like feel established by most first-person shooters. Instead, levels range from crawling around in underground fuel tunnels, to outside an Imperial fortress. Overall, most levels are huge (at least when compared to many games today...i.e. quake) and in the open. On the flip side of large levels, many characters and objects are noticeably polygonal. This, however, is necessary in order to maintain a good frame count. Those fortunate to have a 3D accelerator and a reasonably fast system should have no complaints about speed or looks. Those not-so-fortunate people running in low resolution will sacrifice A LOT of detail to keep this high frame-rate. Therefore a 3D accelerator is HIGHLY recommended.
Jedi Knight also makes good use of sounds to maintain a realistic gaming environment. Along with the basic firing and explosions, characters will yell things like, "There he is," "blasters on full" and "leave me alone" giving them a more life-like appearance.
Jedi Knight combines all the good aspects that a game should have: good graphics, interesting story, innovative game-play and superb multiplayer support. Anyone who has a good system (fast w/ a 3D accelerator) will definitely be pleased with Jedi Knight.