Video Game / Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
aka: Jedi Knight
Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Dark Forces II (1997) was the first game of the Dark Forces Saga to feature first-person lightsaber battles. This story takes place after the events of the original trilogy. Here, Kyle learns of his Force potential and receives his own lightsaber, once owned by a Jedi Master named Rahn, whose spirit occasionally guides him in dreams and visions. He follows a lead to the Dark Jedi Jerec, with the intent to avenge his father's murder. Jerec seeks for a mysterious Valley of the Jedi that legend tells has monumental power, providing additional incentive to stop him. Part of the feature is a light side/dark side progression, where your actions (kill innocents or protect them) and choices and uses of Force power dictate which side you will lean to. There are two endings, light side and dark side. Word of God (and future games) say that the light side ending is canon. Live action cut scenes moved the plot along, elevating the game to an almost movie-like experience (albeit with daytime-soap-opera-level acting).

The game received an Expansion Pack in 1998, Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, telling some of Kyle's story after he has become a full Jedi Knight. The player soon takes control of Kyle's "reciprocal apprentice" (as in, they're teaching each other), Mara Jade (who becomes Luke Skywalker's wife in canon some years later), as Kyle goes off to find what may be the remnants of a Sith temple. He disappears from all contact, however, and you have to track him down, only to discover him skirting dangerously close to the dark side. After the events of this game, Kyle swears off the life of a Jedi and returns to being a hired mercenary (for the New Republic, at least).

The main game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sequential sluice gates in the third level will probably haunt your nightmares the longest time.
  • Alignment-Based Endings: The ending is determined by a Karma Meter shown on the Jedi Powers page.
  • Always Over the Shoulder: Dark Forces 2, the first game in the series with a third-person camera, has a setting to automatically change to third-person when switching to the lightsaber.
  • Artifact Title: "Dark Forces" refers to the Dark Trooper project, which would make its presence in Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, about a guy become a Jedi and fighting a group of Dark Side users along the way rather irrelevant... were it not for the implications of the term "Dark Force" in the Star Wars universe.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Force Protection light side power, which you get late in the game, practically makes any encounter with stormtroopers, no matter how numerous or well armed, a joke.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The third person perspective is totally useless when it comes to shooting as you have no way of knowing where it is aimed at. It does come in handy during lightsaber duels since you are able to see the enemy approaching you from the back and side though.
    • The carbonite gun in the expansion pack turns enemies into blocks of, well, carbonite, which you can destroy with your lightsaber. Sounds cool? Maybe but you'll soon find out than carbonite supplies are scarce to come by and practically any other weapon deals with bad guys faster and safer.
    • The Bowcaster has a Charged Attack as its primary fire, making it difficult to fire rapidly. Its secondary fire allows for faster firing, but its blasts bounce off everything, making it potentially as lethal to the player as it is to the enemy.
  • BFG: The concussion rifle returns from the original game, now with a secondary attack more suitable for close range combat. Additionally, the mortar gun has been replaced with a rail detonator, essentially a three shot revolving rocket launcher, although this isn't really implemented since the game has no reloading mechanic.
  • Black and White Magic: Kyle can use the light side (healing and support skills) or the dark side (only does damage and instant death). Choosing powers from either side pushes Kyle's alignment to light or dark and, after defeating Maw, Kyle loses all his light or dark powers depending on which side he's on and, by extension, which cutscene is triggered at the end of the boss battle.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Not exactly a classic example as the kell dragons look anything but your regular enemies and there's as few as three of them in total but they still can't be considered bosses (as every boss in the game has their own separate level to fight them in). They are immune to your laser weapons (except your lightsaber, which is ironically the most efficient tool against them, although one that requires you to get close to the beast) and taking them out with explosives takes ages (it's not exactly smooth with the lightsaber either). Granted, you don't actually have to fight any of them as there's always a way to just speed past them and move over to a location they have no access to, but still.
    • The vornskrs in the expansion pack are ridiculously fast, agile and deadly, as well as immune to practically any Force power you have at your disposal, save for Destruction. To make things worse, they're pretty much the only enemy in the game that you take damage from by just touching them. Sounds like the kind of enemy you might want to take down from distance, right? Well, you have Force Destruction, Saber throw and all the other weapons you've collected during your journey... except they just don't happen to work in the last three levels where you meet the vornskrs. Ouch!
  • Book Ends: One of the first sights of the game shows Kyle Katarn viewing a recording from his deceased father. In the darkside ending, Kyle replays the recording one last time, before apparently growing disgusted with it and crushing the recorder beneath his boot.
  • Boss Battle:
  • Charge Meter: Certain Force powers have it.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Throughout the whole game you are able to save your progress anytime you like. As helpful as it is, it also means you are left with little to no checkpoints that would really come in handy in some stages. A good example of this being a problem is levels 14, 15 and 16, the first and third of which are boss battles and the second is a mission with a time limit. Whenever you die, you are reset to the start of the particular level. That is unless you turn the game off, in which case you will need to start the game from the last savestate you made. So, for instance, if you didn't save the game immediately before finishing off the first boss, then you'll fail the timed mission that comes right afterwards (provided that you didn't save the game right after the beginning of the new level) and turn the game off, you're going to have to repeat the whole fight all over again (or even more if you didn't save before entering the elevator leading up to said boss, which, by the way, you have no way of knowing marks the end of the level). The same thing goes for the next boss fight: if she kills you, then it's off to the last savestate, which in the worst scenario might be as far as three levels back!
  • Continuity Nod: Kyle says to 8t88, "The dark side? I've been there. Do your worst." This is referring to dialogue in Dark Forces where Kyle says "I'll see you on the dark side." just before launching to the Executor. It may also be reference to his previous occupation as a stormtrooper prior to the series.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • Force Lightning. Shooting electricity our of your hands like The Emperor might sound fun, but it consumes your force energy very rapidly, which you could use for other powers. You're better off just using a gun.
    • Force Deadly Sight falls under this as well. While it burns everything in sight, literally, it cannot be switched off until your mana completely runs out, making it a waste on anything smaller than very large groups of enemies. And it doesn't work on bosses.
  • Dark Action Girl: Sariss.
  • Deadly Gaze: Force Deadly Sight.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Maw mentions doing this to Kyle's father, but the actual decapitation and subsequent public display of the head on a spike occurs offscreen. Unless you have the book...
  • Emergency Weapon: Your fists prior to receiving your lightsaber (though you still have the option of using your fists).
  • Enemy Civil War: Mostly averted, in relation to your Imperial foes, save for some hints that stormtroopers were fed to or accidentally happened upon some kell dragons. Mooks working in the underworld seem much more prone to this sort of behavior, however. One notable example is a Bar Brawl between a number of Grans in Baron's Hed.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A particularly good one appears in the introduction to Nar Shaddaa.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Christopher Neame is clearly having a lot of fun as Jerec.
  • Eye Beams: The Dark Side power "Deadly Sight" could be considered this.
  • Excuse Plot: Not really the game as a whole, which had a rather complex story, especially for the FPS standards of the era, but the main objective of Level 2 "The Lost Disk" definitely counts. So 8t88's arm holding the disk you need fell over the edge of the landing platform? It's actually just a few dozen feet below, next to the entrance to a shaft, and you can recover it within less than a minute from starting the stage. The logical thing for Kyle to do would be to tell Jan to come back for him to the exact same spot and both of them would be ready to leave Nar Shaddaa in a matter of minutes, rather than taking a dangerous walk through yet another few layers of the goon-crawling building in order to meet her on the roof.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Force Destruction in the capable hands of Jerec is shown to be powerful enough to fatally cripple a docked capital ship, but in actual gameplay it doesn't do much more than hit really hard.
    • Speaking of Jerec, he is shown to be without eyes (originally, he was intended to be a human whose dark side nature caused his eyes to rot away; eventually he was retconned into an eyeless humanoid species called the Miraluka), yet Force Blinding works on him perfectly fine in-game (although I guess you can argue that Force Blinding would cut off his ability to see through the Force as well).
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: There's a Drugon in Barons Hed's main pool for some reason. Two levels later, you can (optionally) stumble in a room of Jerec's Palace.... which, for some reasons hosts a Kell Dragon.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Several Dark Jedi use light side powers.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Interestingly played with. Only two of the seven Dark Jedi use traditional Sith red lightsabers (Maw and Jerec). The rest use lightsaber colors typically associated with the Jedi: yellow (Yun), orange (Gorc and Pic), blue (Sariss), and purple (Boc). Kyle himself follows this trope after the alignment lock; if he stays true to the light side, Kyle switches to a yellow blade inherited from Yun, fresh off the Redemption Equals Death train, while if he falls to the dark, he sticks with his original green.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Maw is cut in half at the waist by Rahn during the opening cutscene. He spends the rest of the game without his legs, using telekinesis to get around. In the instruction booklet, he's described as "a levitating incarnation of rage".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Yun, over the course of the entire game, as detailed in the novellas that were based on it. Which leads to his Redemption Equals Death.
  • I Can Rule Alone: Kyle to Jerec in the Dark Side ending.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Apprentice (easy), Jedi Knight (medium), Jedi Master (hard).
  • Ironic Echo: In the darkside ending, Kyle, now the new Emperor, sits on his throne and views the recording from his father. When the recording reaches the point where Morgan comments on how very proud he is of Kyle, a twinge of emotion seems to cross Kyle's face and he subsequently crushes the recorder beneath his boot.
  • Karma Meter: A major element. You can fall to the Dark Side in two ways: allowing or causing the deaths of noncombatant individuals and droids, or investing too many ranks in Dark powers.
  • Kill Him Already!: After their respective defeats, Yun, Maw and Jerec each try this on Kyle. Maw succeeds.
  • Laughing Mad: Boc to ridiculous levels.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has two endings depending on their alignment at the end of the game. The light side ending is canon.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Yun has just enough time to complete his Heel–Face Turn before being cut down (intentionally or unintentionally, depending on the source) by his mentor.
  • Save Scumming: Just because you somehow survived a particularly hot shootout doesn't mean you should continue with the game as it is unless you feel like getting into an unwinnable situation around the corner.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The game initially starts out like a shooter, but a few levels in, and you're a Jedi.
  • Shout-Out: Gorc and Pic have been clearly inspired by the similar duo of "Master Blaster" from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
    • Max from Sam & Max Hit the Road makes an appearance as an Easter Egg. A demented, pint-sized lagomorph received official mention in one of the online RPG supplements.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Averted when compared to the sequels. Unlike in Outcast and Academy, where the lightsaber basically renders the rest of your arsenal utterly useless, you're going to be hard pressed to beat this game without resorting to your standard weaponry fairly often. Especially on Hard mode, taking down enemies from distance, while mundane, most of the time still proves much safer than hacking them down with your lightsaber.
  • Soft Water: Mostly played straight save for at least one occasion, such as when the player is required to navigate a metal grid suspended over a rather distant body of water on his way to an aqueduct. In this case, if Kyle falls, he exhibits an anomalous case of Super Drowning Skills.
  • So Proud of You: The opening lines to the recording made by Kyle's father:
    Morgan Katarn: I want you to remember, son, when you're at the Academy... how very proud I am of you. What a fine young man you've become. I only wish your mother were here to see it... but I know she watches over you, and is proud.
    • The recording shows up again in the darkside ending, where its words become an Ironic Echo.
  • Starter Villain: The main villain that Kyle pursues for the first part of the game is the droid 8t88, who is simply a hired information broker who presents far less of a threat than the real villains, the Dark Jedi, who simply dispose of him when he gives them the map to the Valley of the Jedi.
  • Take Up My Sword: Kyle is given Rahn's lightsaber.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kyle keeps a recording of his deceased father congratulating him on attending the Imperial Academy. He destroys it in his darkside ending.
  • Unholy Nuke: Jerec can use the "Destruction" Force Power. It's a Dark Side attack that consist in a fiery ball of flames and negative energy that destroys everything on its path.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: There seems to be as many as three male and two female civilian models in both the original game and the expansion pack.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After 8t88 tracks down the map to the Valley of the Jedi, Jerec tells him his payment is waiting for him in a cargo ship at a fuel station. But when 8t88 goes to collect it, he gets his head cut off by Jerec's minions, Pic and Gorc. Some thanks.

The Mysteries of the Sith expansion contains examples of following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Mara Jade.
  • Black and White Magic: Kyle becomes The Red Mage (although he can use all the available powers) because the plot requires him to do a quick Face–Heel Turn, only to be redeemed by Mara.
  • Bonus Stage: A downloadable extra level unrelated to the main story, featuring Luke Skywalker arriving at Cloud City during The Empire Strikes Back, for a final confrontation with a dark-side Kyle (standing in for Vader).
  • Brick Joke: Mara Jade saying to herself she's having a feeling she's going to regret working with Ka' Pa. Later in the game where she encounters a Rancor in a dark room unarmed...
    Mara: I knew I was gonna regret this!
  • Charge Meter: The scout pistol.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Force Lightning. It consumes energy ever second it's used, and doesn't do enough
  • Continuity Nod: During Mara Jade's mission to locate the Holocron, you can stumble upon 8t88's head as well as the head for a phase II dark trooper.
    Mara: This looks familiar.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: A few times throughout the game:
    • At the end of Level 2 Kyle is surprised by two rail troopers, the kind of whom he must have defeated a few dozen times by now. That's enough to make him run off like a whimp.
    • A bunch of Ka' Pa the Hutt's henchmen are no match for Mara Jade... as long as plot convenience doesn't require her to be forced into taking up Ka' Pa's job offer.
  • Dark Action Girl: Arguably Mara Jade, given her background.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kyle is the Player Character for the first four levels. After that, the game follows Mara's adventures.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Mara steals a Tusken Raider outfit in order to infiltrate Ka'Pa's palace.
  • Excuse Plot: The four main story arcs are so thinly tied together you might as well just cheat code your way to Level 12 and still wouldn't be any more lost in the narrative as any other player.
  • Enemy Civil War: The palace of Ka'Pa the Hutt also has a few sequences in which mooks attack one another.
  • Futureshadowing: The planet Dromund Kaas is first introduced in Mysteries of the Sith.
  • Guns Are Worthless: In the last couple of levels, Mara's guns all misfire, forcing the lightsabre to be used.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Kyle actually utters this very sentence at least once.
  • Nerf: The lightsabre's damage has been reduced from the base game. On the other hand, the sabre throw power gives it a ranged option.
  • No-Gear Level: First, if you don't grab your lightsaber back at one point in Takara's stronghold, Mara must fight her way through Gamorrean guards and must evade (and later kill) a rancor. Then, when you reach the final levels on Dromund Kaas most of her weaponry is useless, and she's forced to focus on her lightsaber.
  • No One Could Survive That!: At the end of Level 2 Kyle jumps into a seemingly bottomless pit, prompting one of the stormtroopers chasing after him to invoke this trope.
  • Puzzle Boss: Kyle himself. Study the hieroglyphics in the room where you fight him very carefully for a hint on how to win.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While most of the expansion pack is moderately challenging for someone who has beaten the original game, the difficulty rises sharply during the final three missions, which might very well be the toughest in the entire series. Aside from more demanding combat, the game features several puzzles, some of which appear to be taken right out of some of LucasArts' graphic adventure games, making it definitely harder in that regard than either of the two previous installments.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: You can't beat Kyle in combat. The only way to trigger the ending cutscene is to extinguish your lightsabre.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: One of the new powers is the ability to throw your lightsaber at enemies. It will perform a Boomerang Comeback once its maximum range has been reached.
  • Taken For Carbonite: Mysteries introduces a special carbonite rifle that freezes enemies in, well, carbonite.
  • Unique Enemy: The Rancor.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Forces 2, Jedi Knight, Jedi Knight Mysteries Of The Sith, Dark Forces II