I'm no Jedi; I'm just a guy with a lightsaber and a few questions.
— Kyle Katarn
A series of Star Wars-based First-Person ShooterVideo Games, with accompanying novellas. They take place during and after the original trilogy, and revolve around Kyle Katarn, a Stormtrooper-turned-mercenary-turned-Jedi who roams around the seedy side of the galaxy.Dark Forces (1995), the first game, is a standard first person shooter. The beginning levels introduces Kyle as the one to steal the plans for the first Death Star and transmit them to the Rebel Alliance, thus leading into A New Hope. After that, it jumps after the Death Star's destruction and goes into its own story involving The Empire's secret "Dark Trooper Project". The game was a dramatic leap for graphics and level design, being one of the first to feature multiple floors. It was also one of the first successful uses of looking up and down, as well as jumping.Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight (1997) was the first game 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).
Dark Forces: Mysteries of the Sith (1998) was an expansion game, 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).
Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (2002) is a continuation of the series, though notice the lack of "Dark Forces" in the title. Here, Kyle is persuaded to reclaim his lightsaber to battle against Desann, a former student at Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy. He also discovers that the Imperial Remnant is gathering forces to strike against the fragile New Republic as well as the Jedi Academy. In the end, Kyle decides he can't abandon his responsiblities and becomes a dedicated Jedi.Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003), essentially an Expansion Packin the body of a true sequel, featured a brand new character, Jaden Korr. This character is customizable, with male/female voices for several species as well as hair and clothing variations (though later novels pin down canonical species and gender as human/male, respectively). You can also choose from a selection of lightsaber hilts and colors, and later in the game can upgrade to dual wielding or use the double-bladed version. Jaden has somehow constructed a lightsaber without any prior Jedi training, and news of this remarkable feat results in being transported to the Jedi Academy, where you become the apprentice of Kyle Katarn. The game consists of progressing through missions assigned by Luke or Kyle until you become a Jedi Knight. Unusually, the game takes a free-form yet tiered approach—as an initiate, you can pick any of five missions to take in any order; at apprentice level, you gain a set of five new missions; and at Jedi Knight level, you get five more. Also noteworthy is that you need finish only four missions to progress to the next level, though as you get more powers with each of these missions it's in your best interest to do them all. In between each level of difficulty is a compulsory mission, linked directly to the main story. The story involves a group of Sith Cultists seeking to resurrect an ancient Sith Lord, Marka Ragnos. Like Dark Forces 2, there are two endings, one for each side of the Force (as usual with LucasArts, the light side one was eventually determined to be canonical).The entire series is now available on Steam.For more information see another wiki. Not The Other Wiki, but another wiki.
The Dark Forces series provides examples of:
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Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Available in several shapes, sizes and colors throughout the series, although the sequential sluice gates in the third level of Jedi Knight will probably haunt your nightmares the longest.
Action Girl: Jan Ors, Mara Jade in Mysteries of the Sith, and finally your own character in Jedi Academy if you choose.
Alas, Poor Villain: Stormtroopers have a pretty poor reputation to begin with (terrible aim, being defeated by walking teddy bears, etc.) but it's surprisingly easy to feel sorry for them in Outcast. It's not uncommon, when sneaking around, to hear them chatting with one another about various things, such as how hard it is to see out of their helmets, griping about higher ranking officers berating them, or even chatting about their new T-16's. In other words, ordinary guys just passing the time. And then you come in with your fancy lightsaber, and it's pretty easy to feel sorry for them as they get cut down left and right (Their screams of complete and utter terror as they get cut down, or hurled off a high ledge certainly doesn't help). If you're feeling merciful (or a little guilty), you can disarm the troopers by force choking them, grabbing their weapons, and leaving them to run around harmlessly (they may even raise their hands in surrender if you get close enough).
Alignment-Based Endings: In Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, the ending is determined by a hidden Karma Meter. In Jedi Academy, you instead explicitly choose your side in the penultimate story mission.
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. Jedi Outcast singleplayer defaulted to this, while its multiplayer and Jedi Academy don't even allow the player in first-person mode while using the lightsaber.
An Arm and a Leg: Rosh loses an arm in the light side ending of Jedi Academy. Without making use of cheats to enable full dismemberment, Outcast and Academy also occasionally allow you to take off a hand or an arm.
Anti-Frustration Features: Officers who carry keycards cannot be pushed around by force powers, concussive weapons or any other form of knocking them away and potentially into a pit to prevent an Unwinnable scenario.
Anti-Hero: Kyle is fully aware of how tempting the dark side is, to the point he rejected the force to avoid eventually falling. Even then, he is a prime example that Good Is Not Nice.
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.
The stormtroopers in Outcast are pretty stupid in general. More enemies end up like this in Academy, which leads to a Good Bad Bug where you can kill multiple bosses by simply standing where you start the battle at and firing a Sense-enhanced E-11 into their faces until they die.
Dark Jedi will occasionally gleefully jump into a Bottomless Pit to dodge lightsaber attacks.
One specific application of this comes in the Vjun level of Jedi Academy, where you have a duel with a New Reborn under a high-up walkway that has another Cultist on it. He's supposed to be another obstacle for you once you get that high up, but almost every time he hears your earlier duel, tries to jump down to join in, and promptly breaks his legs.
Force Drain. While it's satisfying to use and has an awesome animation when used up close, it leaves you very vulnerable to fire since you can't move while using it, and it quickly burns through your force pool. Compare to Force Heal, which can be used both in and out of combat, and at higher levels allows you to freely move around.
Many of the more flashy acrobatic moves in Outcast and Academy, despite looking rather cool, aren't actually all that useful.
Awesome Yet Practical: Level 3 Force Grip and Force Lightning in Outcast and Academy. Not only do they look cool, but you can blast your way through swarms of enemies, slam them into the ground for an instant kill, and have fun abusing the Malevolent Architecture.
His most notable accomplishment is beating at least one Kell dragon to death. With his fists. Note that each Kell dragon is as tall as a human, at least three times as long, and normally eats humans for breakfast (at least the one Kyle fought did). And he did this beforelearning to use the Force.
He's so badass that if you take the Dark Side route in Academy and fight him as the final boss, you aren't fighting to kill him. "Winning" involves you crashing the ceiling on him for a distraction and running away.
And in said final boss fight, he can do something that cannot be done by you or any other character in the game. He can actually pull away your lightsaber! For any other character, The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard would apply. Kyle is simply just that badass.
Don't forget that he also will sometimes not even bother with the lightsaber, but will instead grab you and start punching you!
Kyle can snark at Luke Skywalker and get away with it.
Jaden hacks his/her way though an entire Sith cult in Academy. Then again, you shouldn't really be surprised that given that this is Kyle's student.
Bad Powers, Good People: Kyle uses Force Grip and Force Lightning in Outcast and Academy. Jaden can also learn dark side powers if you so choose.
Bag of Spilling: Jedi Academy's missions are implied to take place several days or even weeks apart, and you requisition weapons rather than owning them anyway, so it makes a kind of sense. In any case, starting with your first real mission you always keep your lightsaber, a sidearm, two heavier weapons, and one explosive with you (not that it ever matters; nothing beats your trusty lightsaber).
Barrier Warrior: Luke and Kyle both learn Force Protection by the time of Academy. Jaden has the option of choosing this as well.
Batman Gambit: Desann manipulates Kyle quite handily near the beginning of Jedi Outcast. He lets him try to beat him without Jedi abilities to show how impossible it is, and apparently kills his girlfriend, all just to make him return to the Valley of the Jedi to regain his powers for purposes of revenge so that Desann can follow him there.
Black and White Magic: In Jedi Knight, Kyle can use the light side (healing and support skills) or the dark side (only does damage and instant death). In Mysteries of the Sith, 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. Jaden can take his or her pick over what light or dark skills they want.
Blown Across the Room: The Flechette when fired at point blank range will do this, as will the primary and secondary fire of the Concussion Rifle, and rockets. High level Force Push and Force Lightning will also hurl enemies across the room.
Bonus Boss: Kyle replaces the final boss in Academy if the player takes the dark path.
Mysteries of the Sith: 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).
Jedi Outcast: The Pit, used as the demo to Jedi Outcast, featuring a non-canonical battle to the death against Tavion in an inescapable pit arena.
Boom, Headshot: in Outcast and Academy, headshots do extra damage and will often result in an instant kill. Force Speed and Force Sense make it much easier to score them, even with the notoriously inaccurate Imperial blaster.
Force Push/Pull, at least at lower levels. Not as impressive as Lightning, but very useful for crowd control. At higher levels it evolves into Awesome Yet Practical, allowing you to hurl squads of enemies over ledges, or pull them into the air en masse.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Despite appearing as a common enemy, we have the Kell Dragons and the Vornskr: both are quite fast and can kill you in two or three bites. If you're underwater there's the large Drugon, who's quite fast and deals a lot of damage.
Bounty Hunter: Boba Fett shows up twice in the series, first in Dark Forces to confront Kyle on Coruscant, and the second time in Jedi Academy running into Jaden.
Can't Stay Normal: After his brushes with the Dark Side in Jedi Knight and Mysteries of the Sith, Kyle gave up his lightsaber and the Force, resuming life as a Private Military Contractor (who only works with the New Republic). Only to come back to it in Jedi Outcast after certain plot developments.
Catch and Return: Timely use of Force Push allows you to send rockets, Concussion Rifle blasts, and Thermal Detonators right back at whoever fired them. For bonus points, time your push for just as they fire.
Charge Meter: Certain Force powers in Jedi Knight; the scout pistol in Mysteries of the Sith; the Bryar pistol in Jedi Outcast and DL-44 in Jedi Academy
Chewing the Scenery: Jaden's performance in Jedi Academy if you choose to turn to the Dark Side consists of this, with every single word fairly bursting with emphasis, passion, and perpetual rage at everything.
Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Inverted. Despite Desann's difficulty as a boss, the fight can be ended instantaneously by hacking through one of the three stone pillars around the arena. If the collapsing pillar falls on Desann, he dies instantly.
Kyle in spades, whether he's using both guns and his lightsaber, or light and dark sides of the force. The epitome of this is perhaps in Outcast, where he interrupts Galak's gloating speech to hurl his lightsaber into the shield generator.
Jaden similarly shows many qualities of this in Academy. There's a good chance that a lot of your saber kills will be gained by knocking enemies over and then skewering them while they lie helplessly on the ground. And let's not even get started on the ways you can use Push/Pull/Grip.
Composite Character / Expy: Kyle is basically the personality of Han with the character arc of Luke. Even as a Jedi his relationship with Luke mirrors that of Luke and Han.
Most notably, enemy Force users' perfect reflexes and control with their powers: they always push-deflect missiles and concussion blasts, straight back at you and with perfect accuracy. - which leads to some interesting results◊ when two AI force-users face off against each other in the middle of a battlefield.
As a boss in Academy, Kyle can Force pull your saber clean out of your hand, something that's impossible for anyone else.
Desann takes this to a whole new level in the final duel of Outcast. Not only does he have his own unique saber style that does as much damage as the Strong style (killing you in just 2 or 3 hits on medium difficulty) and is as fast as the Medium style, but his Force powers are insanely stronger than any other NPC in the series, most notably his nearly unbreakable Force Choke.
If you use console cheats and set your Jedi Mind Trick to level 4 you can mind control Desann to see how broken he really is. He'll block blaster fire and Force push stuff like rockets back at opponents automatically, and some times he'll Force choke or push/pull enemies on his own without you even inputting any commands. Hell, try mind controlling him and spawning five or ten high-level Jedi enemies and see how easily you turn them all into Jedi sandwich spread.
Rodians carrying disruptor rifles can often fire multiple shots with less than half a second between each, depriving you of your only real defense against them (that is, the random chance that you'll automatically Force-dodge shots from them).
In Academy, each type of saber and style comes with its own energy-expensive sequence of unblockable swings, some more useful than others. Reborn can use any of these with any style, including a two-bladed version of ones that are only available to you when you have one sword.
Some enemy Force users have limitless Force energy, allowing them to break free from drain and grip at any moment. They can actually abort their special swings to avoid attacks and tend to aim at your model—sometimes killing you by hitting something that seems empty space for the player (oh yeah, they also invisibly "evade" your attacks - slashing their face will occasionally leave them unharmed except for a visible burned mark in the middle). Their Saber Throw also seems to be at the maximum level - it will stop right where you stand and keep swinging until it kills you or is parried. Yours, on the other hand, will pass further and stop at its maximum range before rank 3.
It is almost impossible to attack a force-using enemy with a weapon other than a light saber in Jedi Academy. On the Korriban level, it's possible for a stormtrooper to fire a rocket at a jedi dueling a cultist with a light saber; the rocket will continuously be reflected back and forth with the computer's infinite force power reserve.
Jedi Academy features not only Vader's fortress from the Dark Empire II comic, but the toppled Darth Vader statue. Kyle also mentions a rumor that Luke had been to Vjun at some point in the past in the intro cutscene for the levels set there.
In Outcast, Kyle comes across prototypes for black cortosis armor (capable of resisting lightsabers and used by Elite Mooks). He replies, "Black armor...not again." referring to the Dark Troopers of the first Dark Forces.
In Academy Kyle mentions he has seen chutes like the one he just jumped into before; the same type of chute was also present at Cloud City in Outcast. The same level also features energy-shooting pillars from the Cairn Installation levels and the sentry droids from throughout the previous game.
Luke's office/training chamber/whatever is the throne room from the original movie where the heroes get a medal at the end.
Several of the Jedi Masters mentioned in Academy are actual characters from the Expanded Universe.
In Jedi Knight, 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.
Kyle makes reference to his battle with Boba Fett in Dark Forces after Jaden goes against him in Academy.
During Mara Jade's mission to locate the Holocron in Mysteries of the Sith, you can stumble upon 8t88's head as well as the head for a phase II dark trooper.
Mara: This looks familiar.
Convection Schmonvection: Mostly played straight. A notable aversion late on in Academy however, is where you have to enable the heat shield to cross a bridge to some controls on Taspir III. Rather bizarrely it only applies to that one section of lava, and much of the remainder of the level has you merrily jumping around while only inches away from the stuff with no ill effects.
Covert Group With Mundane Front: Reelo Baruk in Outcast pretends to be a "respected waste disposal manager", and uses it as a front for his criminal activities.
Cranium Ride: A ridable Rancor can be summoned via cheat code in the PC version of Jedi Academy.
While Kyle is searching for Doomgiver in Outcast, he'll somehow be captured if someone hits the alarm despite having slaughtered his way through half the station just to get there. To make this worse, the cinematic of Kyle in his cell shows him being held hostage by a handful of troops, which he could easily take on bare-handed at this point in the game.
Slightly more justified in Academy, where Jaden gets captured while in the sights of about 10 snipers. Later on in the game you could easily kill them, but you're not quite that badass yet.
Decapitation Presentation: Maw mentions doing this to Kyle's father in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, but the actual decapitation and subsequent public display of the head on a spike occurs offscreen. Unless you have the book...
Deflector Shields: The series' protagonists all use personal shields. Force Protection also allows you to summon one on demand.
Lannik Racto in Academy. The moment he is in harm's way he begs Jaden not to hurt him and gives him/her the information about his droid factories without a moment's notice.
Disc One Nuke: The "pick whatever you want" method of leveling non-core Force powers in Jedi Academy allows any power to become this near-instantly - zap an entire room full of Stormtroopers to death instantly with level 3 Lightning, throw about anyone with level 3 Grip, or become basically invincible with level 3 Heal, among others.
Disintegrator Ray: The disruptor rifle in Outcast and Academy does this when fully powered up.
Dodge the Bullet: This can be done even without force powers, but is much easier with Force Speed. The only exception is the Hit Scan Disruptor Rifle, unless you get lucky and your character automatically dodges the shot. NPC Force users will also dodge it perfectly, unless they're in midair when you fire.
Using cheats in Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy allows to get some powers or weapons unavailable through normal play.
There's the level 4 Mind Trick, which lets you directly mind control enemies. It's incredibly glitchy, but still has its moments of hilarity (such as jumping Reborn off cliffs, or shooting stormtroopers in the back with rocket launchers).
Your fists in Dark Forces and in Jedi Knight prior to receiving your lightsaber (though you still have the option of using your fists). Jedi Outcast has a stun baton that's straight-up replaced with the lightsaber once you get it back.
The DL-44 blaster pistol in Academy gets this treatment in multiplayer mode - its fire rate is halved in exchange for unlimited ammo. Its alt-fire can still potentially kill unshielded enemies in one shot, though.
Mostly averted, in relation to your Imperial foes, save for some hints that stormtroopers were fed to or accidentally happened upon some kell dragons in Jedi Knight. Also, in one case in Jedi Outcast's second level, some turrets in one room appear to be programmed to kill stormtroopers, as well as the player, this might have been because it was probably a training area for reasons unknown. 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 in Jedi Knight. In Mysteries of the Sith, the palace of Ka'Pa the Hutt also has a few sequences in which Mooks attack one another.
A side effect of the Mind Trick power (at least in Jedi Academy) is that enemies will continue to shoot at one another even after the effect wears off. It's particularly amusing to watch a pair of jetpack-equipped stormtroopers spiral off into the sky, locked in their own private duel.
In the first mission, Jan either manages to hold her own (although she can die, especially if you hide behind her instead of taking the lead), or the enemies are all too busy focusing on you, though at one point, you leave her behind and have to rush back to rescue her.
The second of these is somewhat novel, in that you get the commander of an Imperial prison from Point A to Point B by pointing your gun at him. You have to save him once from the level-specific crab-things, and after he's done what you want at Point B, he summons some stormtroopers and starts shooting at you.
In Nar Shaddaa, you are accompanied by Lando, but resistance towards him after you split up is minimal. However, at a later point, he ends up getting pinned down by a Weak Turret Gun and you have to save him. Later in the mission, you have to fight off a couple waves of attackers coming for Lando's Lady Luck, and even that is easy with application of the Force Speed power.
The last scenario involves escorting what has to be the dumbest droid in the quadrant through the streets of Cloud City. Killing the snipers who want to destroy the droid, destroying laser mines before the droid barrels through them, and otherwise moving heaven and earth to prevent the destruction of said droid is a rather grueling task. Hint: Force Push and Pull work on the droid, and will make your job a lot easier.
In Jedi Academy, Kyle Katarn accompanies you for most of the second of the game's three main story missions. Subverted in that he's capable of almost effortlessly obliterating the small army of Imperials and Sith that appear throughout the level, without needing any help from you. If you want, you can just lead him from point A to point B and watch him kick ass. One of the few (and welcome) times in a video game where it's practically the player who's being escorted. However, also played straight in that, when there isn't anything to kill, he pretty much refuses to actually move with the player unless there is a straight, flat line between them. One spot in the level in particular confuses him - some TIE Bombers are blocking the path to the level's exit, causing him to attempt to run under them and juggle their bombs when you first arrive and then refuse to follow you to the exit after you shoot them down.
Evil Gloating: In Jedi Outcast, Fyyar goes off on a monologue lacking only maniacal laughter. Kyle interrupts in a Genre Savvy manner to provoke the boss battle and finish the mission.
Evil Laugh: Galak was interrupted before he could in Outcast, but Desann more than makes up for it.
Fisticuffs Boss: In one level of Dark Forces, Kyle is captured and stripped of his weapons by Jabba the Hutt, then forced to fight a kell dragon unarmed (two in hard mode). After he is done punching it to death with his bare hands, another kell dragon-infested part of the level opens up, but the odds can end up a little more balanced in his favor if he chooses to force some grenade-carrying Mooks to part with their weapons.
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).
Kyle tells you that powers are not necessarily good or evil in the training level of Academy, and you can choose between a light- or dark-side ending regardless of your power set. However, Luke and (to a lesser extent) Kyle still worry about you if you focus on dark-side powers or even have close to an even number of light and dark powers. In actual gameplay, nobody else (except Kyle, Rosh, and Reborn Masters) will use powers outside of their own alignment - in fairness, having every dark-side opponent able to use Heal, especially combined with their infinite Force pool, would probably make the game too difficult. Taken a step further in multiplayer, where, without mods, you're only allowed to pick one side's powers.
The disruptor rifle in Outcast/Academy is mentioned to be illegal throughout the galaxy. This is fine, given that you only tend to encounter it when dealing with mercenaries and criminals, but in Academy, the good and presumably law-abiding Jedi will happily hand one over to you for use on missions, and don't seem to care when Jaden brings one back at the end of a mission.
Genre Savvy: Kyle has become very well versed in FPS tropes by the time of Academy.
Get Back Here Boss: Maw in Jedi Knight flies to different parts of the arena that you fight him in the more he gets damaged.
Good Old Fisticuffs: In Academy, Kyle Katarn gets a lot of unique moves if you fight him after going Dark Side. One is to grab your sword arm with one hand and punch you in the gut with the other; it's unblockable and delivers a knockdown. The player can do this as well if you use the console to 'give' yourself your fists, and use the g_debugmelee 1 command.
Several Dark Jedi use light side powers in Jedi Knight.
A handful of Reborn in Academy will also use light side powers. Rosh will also use light and dark powers after turning to the dark side.
Potentially you, if you go the dark side route in Academy while having light side powers.
Gory Discretion Shot: In Jedi Outcast, when Desaan seemingly kills Jan Ors. Tavion later reveals the truth, lampshading Kyle's insistence that he "saw her die" with "What did you really see? What did you really hear?"
Several levels and puzzles in Outcast are quite difficult to figure out without prior knowledge, or reading a guide.
While you're free to choose what order you do missions in Academy, prior knowledge of the missions greatly helps you to best decide what force powers to improve and when. In particular, the early missions to Blenjeel and Zonju V don't involve conventional combat and can be considered a free Force power point, and Force Protection is insanely useful for the first level on Vjun. A maxed out offensive power like Lightning will make the Dosuun mission far easier.
Half the Man He Used to Be: Maw is cut in half at the waist by Rahn during the opening cutscene of Jedi Knight. 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".
Hammer Space: Where exactly does Jaden keep all of those large bombs when blowing up the weapon caches? For context, the bombs are about half his/her height and wider than him/her.
Harder Than Hard: Jedi Master difficulty. In Outcast and Academy, you have 50% health and 50% shields, and enemy Force users are much smarter. Also, in Academy, major bosses like Alora, Tavion, and Marka Ragnos can take 4 times as much damage as they normally can.
Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Rax Joris lets you escape from capture in Academy, just to see if Jedi hunting is any more interesting than letting the other less fortunate prisoners try. You can probably guess how it ends.
Hyperspace Arsenal: The amount of weapons you can carry around at once borders on ridiculous.
I Can Rule Alone: Kyle to Jerec in the bad ending for Dark Forces 2. Likewise, Jaden to Tavion and Marka Ragnos in the Dark Side path of Jedi Academy.
Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Discounting Dark Forces, Jedi Knight has Apprentice (easy), Jedi Knight (medium), Jedi Master (hard), and Outcast and Academy had Padawan (easy), Jedi (normal), Jedi Knight (hard), Jedi Master (very hard).
Idle Animation: Further establishing that he is unquestionably badass, one of Kyle Katarn's idle animations is to shave his beard... with his lightsaber!
I'll Kill You!: Thrawn, in his pre-Grand Admiral days, briefly features in an audio drama of this series, when he sends out a commander who hates nonhumans. Thrawn's not human.
Thrawn: Your xenocentric chauvinism is no concern of mine. I care about performance and results, and your record is exemplary. I do not care about your petty bigotry. Understood?
Commander: Understood, Captain.
Thrawn: Oh, and Commander, if I ever find out that your bigotry is affecting your performance, I'll have your carcass ejected with the next garbage load. Understood?
An offshoot of the Trope Namer. Averted in Outcast, though, in which stormtroopers are much smarter and deadlier than typical (not helped by the engine's fuzzy blaster hit detection). The levels taking place before you get Force powers will leave you in tears.
Interestingly, in the level where you take an AT-ST through a canyon the stormtroopers firing rockets at you have horrible accuracy, almost never hitting you in your 20 meter tall vehicle. However if you exited the AT-ST every rocket would fire straight at your character.
A less subtle piece of Lampshade Hanging is a sample of Enemy Chatter in Outcast where a stormtrooper will express his frustration over the armor's helmet, claiming that it obstructs his sight.
And again in Academy: in the mission in which you infiltrate some catacombs, you can overhear two mercenaries talking (providing that you don't kill them as soon as you see them), with one of them complaining about how his helmet obstructs his sight, much like back when he was a stormtrooper.
Another variation in Jedi Academy, where a snowtrooper in the first main story mission mentions that he was a champion racer on speeder bikes, selected to be a scout trooper, but couldn't see out of the helmet, caused a pile-up that destroyed about a dozen speeder bikes, and was immediately kicked back out.
All of which can be considered a call-back to Luke's (invokedpossibly ad-libbed) complaint in A New Hope: "I can't see a thing in this helmet!"
If it comes to it, the Stormtrooper blaster rifle is generally not a very accurate weapon in the games even for the player. Only some weapons in Outcast and Academy are accurate enough that a shot flies exactly where you were aiming even at a distance; the blaster rifle is certainly not one of these, though with Force Sense at rank 2 or above you can force it to be perfectly accurate (somehownote The idea may be about "using your feelings" or whatever to aim better, but that doesn't really work when you can one-hand a blaster pistol with perfect accuracy no matter what, not to mention the millions of contradictory explanations in the series for why exactly the stormtrooper's rifle is so inaccurate in the first place, a lot of which have nothing to do with the user).
Improbable Aiming Skills: When using at least Level 2 Force Sight in Academy, even the infamous Imperial blaster is somehow able to be fired with pinpoint accuracy.
Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Since half of Dark Forces is spent slogging through the various construction facilities of the Dark Trooper project, these are available in all shapes and colours, culminating in a horrific sequence made up entirely of these and long falls in the final two levels.
Also, in Outcast, retrieving your lightsaber involves a combination of depressing a switch, using Force speed, and Force-pulling it to you, even though the gaps in the bars are huge and Kyle could realistically just reach in and grab it—or use the Force to pull it out between them, if not switch it on and cut the bars away.
Levels in the games are generally built in such a way that they're either a challenge to or insurmountable by your current power set but would be a breeze for what you'll have later - take for example the low amount of platforming early in Outcast and Academy that could be bypassed in an instant with level 3 Force Jump, compared to extremely long jumps you have to make when you do get that power later. Incidentally, since non-core powers are unlocked at a rate that the player decides rather than at a set rate in Academy, its levels aren't built with those powers in mind - allowing you to, say, totally break the Rancor encounter on Nar Kreeta just by using Mind Trick on it, or instantly kill the assassin droids on Coruscant with Lightning.
Jedi Mind Trick: A usable power in Jedi Knight, Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.
Just Toying with Them: When Desann challenges a de-powered Kyle to a fight in Outcast. He mostly just stands there and lets him try to hurt him. If you're aggressive enough most of the damage he does will probably be from your own reflected blaster shots.
Karma Meter: A major element in DF2. 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.
Kick Them While They Are Down: One of the most effective ways of dealing with enemies in Outcast is to push them over and hit them while they get up. Academy makes it even easier by adding a stabbing attack that locks onto a downed target, before attempting to impale them for an instant kill. And if you choose to build a saberstaff later on in the game, the ability to kick makes it very easy to knock even Force users down.
Kill Him Already: After their respective defeats, Yun, Maw and Jerec each try this on Kyle. Maw succeeds.
Kyle: They always lock the door. You'd think they'd have learned by now. Doesn't look like there's a key. That would be too easy. The console to unlock the door is probably hidden in some room twelve floors up or something... how does that make sense?
Last Disc Magic: Level 3 Force Grip and Force Lightning are gained quite late on in Outcast. Level 3 Saber Throw takes the cake, giving you only a single level to get any real use out of it, and even then, most of the enemies wield lightsabers. Academy is far more generous on that front, and the choose-your-powers approach turns Grip and Lightning into Disc One Nukes.
Last Villain Stand: Desann in Jedi Outcast still chooses to duke it out with Katarn, even after he loses his entire fleet and most of his strike troops are wiped out by the Jedi.
Most of the Force Powers in Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy are like this, but Force Lightning is the most notable. At level 1, it fires a single weak bolt that can barely even hit, let alone kill a single stormtrooper using your entire Force bar. At level 3, it fires a massive arc of lightning that can wipe out an entire roomful of stormtroopers in a second or two. It also sends them flying. You can even pin them against walls by maintaining the attack.
Similarly, Force Choke's first level is mostly useless, since it can only stun an enemy and not even harm them. Its second level can damage someone, but leaves you vulnerable. Max-level Force Choke allows you to slam every non-Force user enemy in the game off of the ceiling and floor, and makes even Force users ludicrously easy to kill if there's a bottomless pit or lava pool nearby.
The Jedi tomb in Academy is composed primarily of bridges, platforms and ledges over a Bottomless Pit.
The absolute standout is the gas mining platform in Academy. Apart from the hangar and inside of the command tower, there is no part of the level where you and/or your enemies are not near a lethal drop. If you have Level 3 Force Grip (which is very doable) or are prone to using the Level 2 Push you're guaranteed to have, this will be your favorite level in the game.
Not to mention the conveyor belt ride in the penultimate level of the same game, where you have to follow a block of iron as it's being reshaped by various very large crushing devices, one of which even has spikes that come together above it for what appears to be the sole purpose of deliberately maiming anyone who gets trapped there.
Mana Drain: Force Drain on the player drains the player's force pool first, and moves onto health when fully depleted. The player's Force Drain instead only targets health.
Mêlée à Trois: In the Dark Side finale of Jedi Academy, both the Sith and the Jedi will be gunning for you while fighting each other. There are also a lot more Jedi around than on the light side path, where they are your allies.
Necessary Drawback: Rage allows you to move quicker and deal more damage, but at the expense of draining health while active. Force Absorb & Protection allow you to block force powers and damage respectively, but you won't naturally regenerate any force energy until the effect ends.
Nerf: The progression of the concussion rifle from game to game is a study in gradual nerfing. It doesn't even make it into Outcast, although it returns (much improved) in Academy.
Never Forgotten Skill: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast has a lot of years go by and Kyle Katarn seems to have lost his Force abilities. However, judging from the way he uses his lightsaber and the speed of regaining his Force abilities, he clearly didn't forget how to use them. It helps that he regains his connection to the Force by tapping into the power of the Valley of the Jedi.
Force Rage temporarily grants immunity to death, though your health can still be reduced to 1.
Maxed out Force Protection allows you to shrug off a staggering 75% of all damage while it's active. Combine it with shields and/or Force Heal, and nothing will stand a chance against you. And with Force Absorb, you will be the bane of any force-wielder stupid enough to fight you.
Dark Forces had a level where Kyle had all the weapons he'd been acquiring throughout the game taken away, and had to fight with what he could scrounge off killed enemies until he could locate his weapon stash.
Jedi Academy features a mission where Jaden's lightsaber is stolen by an Imperial officer at the very beginning, forcing him/her to fight through the level with nothing except Force Powers and any weapons he/she could get off killed stormtroopers.
Happens twice in Mysteries of the Sith. 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.
The entire series, other than the first game, counts to one degree or another. Once you get your lightsaber, most players will spend the rest of the game using little else, other than the occasional sniper weapon or a grenade.
No OSHA Compliance: In addition to having some of the most Malevolent Architecture you'll ever see, architects throughout the galaxy were apparently very fond of leaving Exploding Barrels around, allowing open drops with no safety rails, leaving electrified conduits with no shielding, or failing to take the most basic steps to prevent you from hurling enemies into that vat of molten metal. Frankly, it's a wonder that the Imperials haven't lost their entire force to workplace accidents, given how difficult a powerful Jedi finds it to navigate at times.
Kyle Katarn. Notably, in the first game, before he gets any Force powers, he sneaks aboard the Executor (Darth Vader's personal flagship!) just so that he can take a shuttle from there to the Arc Hammer, where the Dark Troopers are being created. He then shoots his way through the entire ship (which is about half the size of the Executor, but still larger than a Star Destroyer), kills a dozen Dark Troopers (six of which were enough to take out an entire colony's defenses), destroys the most powerful Dark Trooper yet made, then destroys the Arc Hammer. While Vader, apparently unaware until now, watches from the bridge of the Executor. Then he got force powers!
His apprentice, Jaden Korr, hacks his/her way through an entire Sith cult in Jedi Academy.
The final boss of the original Dark Forces, the Dark Trooper Phase III, is General Mohc wearing a specially designed Dark Trooper exosuit.
Admiral Fyaar fights Kyle wearing a large suit of powered armor as a boss battle about 3/4ths of the way through Jedi Outcast.
A couple classes of Powered Armor wearing stormtroopers appear as giant mooks in Jedi Academy. Namely, the 7-foot tall Rocket Troopers, who had jetpacks and heavy armor, and the 9-foot tall Hazard Troopers, who wear extremely heavy powered armor and are armed with BFGs.
Precision F-Strike: Luke, of all people, drops a quiet "Damn" in one of the latter levels of Outcast after learning that the villains are stockpiling a rare mineral that can deflect lightsabers.
Recovery Attack: In Academy you can perform a lunging kick as you return to your feet after being knocked down, as can other Force users. Potentially this can result in a loop of you constantly knocking the other to the ground, unless you break it by using Force Push instead.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In Jedi Outcast, after Jan is "killed" by Desann, about half the entire portion of the game where you have a lightsaber was fueled by a need for revenge... and about half of the remaining game is still simmering anger, as you're not certain.
Sand Worm: The Sand Burrowers on the Blenjeel level in Jedi Academy.
Second Hour Superpower: Jedi Knight and Outcast initially start out like a shooter, but a few levels in, and you're a Jedi. Academy thankfully averted this: you get your lightsaber from the get-go, apparently because your character was smart enough to build one unaided.
Sequel Hook: Tavion was supposed to die in Jedi Outcast, but was kept alive to continue on to the next game.
She-Fu: Alora's acrobatic fighting style the second time she faces Jaden Korr.
The boss battle with Rosh in Jedi Academy uses this. He sucks compared to you, so two Force healers will follow him around and heal him every time you damage him enough. You have to kill them to win. Made even worse by the fact that they have fully-decked out Force powers and thus are nigh-impossible to kill unless they're in the process of healing the boss.
Or unless you have maxed Force Lightning or Absorb.
Max from Sam & Max Hit the Road makes an appearance in the Dark Forces game. A demented, pint-sized lagomorph received official mention in one of the online RPG supplements.
Some Enemy Chatter from the Academy level on the hovertrain copies a cutscene from Raven Software's earlier Soldier of Fortune series. That particular character is the only one of his type in the game to carry the Heavy Repeater (i.e. machine gun, as opposed to energy weapon).
The hovertrain and swoop missions are both shout-outs to almost identical levels from Shadows of the Empire.
Simultaneous Warning And Action: Played hilariously straight. Often, after an Imperial officer commands his troops to attack you, a stormtrooper will say something like "Let's see some ID!" and then open up on full-auto.
Skyscraper City: Nar Shaddaa, which is visited several times throughout the series. Coruscant also makes an appearance in Academy.
Soft Water: Mostly played straight in Jedi Knight 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. This is played straight in Jedi Outcast's "Bespin Streets" level, in which a fall from a height that would normally hurt Kyle is made harmless by a shallow pool of water.
Squishy Wizard: Unarmed cultists in Academy can spam force powers like crazy, but can barely take a hit before dying.
Stance System: Jedi Outcast features three styles of lightsaber combat for Kyle Katarn to master: Fast, Medium, and Strong, which are pretty much what their names suggest (e.g. the "Strong" style features the Darth Vader-esque slow but extremely powerful strikes). Jedi Academy additionally supplements them with Dual Wielding and the saberstaff styles.
The Chiss bartender Baldarek on Nar Shaddaa in Jedi Outcast has problems speaking Basic and constantly confuses singular and plural nouns.
Baldarek:(with Kyle holding a lightsaber to his face) Please! Noble Jedis! Not in the faces!
This is a nod to the Expanded Universe, in that Chiss don't speak Basic. The native Chiss language is called Cheunh, which is all but impossible for humans to speak because Chiss have mutated vocal chords. Also, living on Nar Shaddaa, it's entirely likely Baldarek is more fluent in Huttese than he is in Basic.
Take That, Us: The Lampshade Hanging quote about the door mocks how similar situations would pop up in older Dark Forces games. Notably, Academy itself is a lot more linearly designed.
Taken For Carbonite: Mysteries introduces a special carbonite rifle that freezes enemies in, well, carbonite.
Tempting Fate: A stormtrooper Mook on Cairn in Outcast is told off for this by his comrade when he states that they won't see any combat on their current posting. Cue the part where you slice through the grate with your saber.
Traintop Battle: One level in Jedi Academy takes place on a cargo tram. A cargo tram that's moving really, really fast. It's actually very cool.
Two-Keyed Lock: Doomgiver's brig has a set of doors that require two people to get through in Outcast. Of course, why the Imperials would design their ships with such a system is anyone's guess. Then again, these are the same ship designers who brought you that ridiculous comm system...
There is literally only a single Human Merc Key Carrier in the entire game. His uniform differs from the regular Human mercenaries, and his voice is that of a generic Stormtrooper, rather than a Mercenary.
Unskilled, but Strong: Reborn and Shadowtroopers. Despite a complete lack of training with the Force, they're capable of holding their own against your average Jedi. Unfortunately for them, Kyle is notyour average Jedi.
Useless Useful Spell: Mind Trick in Outcast and Academy. While it has some scripted uses in Outcast, in Academy that's up to 3 points to allow you just to distract enemies that could be sunk into Grip/Lightning, or Heal/Absorb/Protection. In the time you've used it, you could have run up to them and hacked them to pieces, or blasted them across the room with Lightning. And unlike other powers, it doesn't even work on Force users.
From Jedi Knight II and onward, whenever you get into combat in a level, the music changes to more action based music, straight from the Star Wars OST. There was also a special tid bit whenever your character ever died.
Dark Forces did this with MIDI using the iMuse system, previously used in LucasArts adventure titles and the X-Wing/Tie Fighter series.
In an apparent nod to this, an AI-controlled Kyle Katarn in Jedi Academy will have a field day dropping stormtroopers down elevator shafts, bottomless pits, and what have you during the missions in which he escortsyou. Made even more awesome by the fact that he is the only non-player character in the entire game capable of doing this.