of Endor, the Imperial Remnant
continues to be driven back by
the New Republic, forcing the
Imperials to adopt increasingly
desperate tactics in the
Meanwhile, Jedi Master Luke
Skywalker moves to restore the
Jedi to their formal place
as peacekeepers of the galaxy
at his Jedi Academy on Yavin 4.
Jaden Korr, a promising
student from Coruscant, is en
route to the Academy after
achieving the impossible:
creating a lightsaber without
any formal Jedi training...
Star Wars: Jedi Knight Jedi Academy (2003) is the fourth and final game in the Dark Forces Saga — released for the PC and Xbox in 2003 — essentially an Expansion Pack in the body of a true sequel to Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, featuring a brand new character, Jaden Korr. Jaden has somehow constructed a lightsaber without any prior Jedi training, and news of this remarkable feat results in being transported to Luke's Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4, where you become the apprentice of Kyle Katarn. The story involves a group of Sith Cultists seeking to resurrect an ancient Sith Lord, Marka Ragnos. Like in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, there are two endings, one for each side of the Force, though unlike that game which ending you get is entirely your choice when it is presented, rather than it being determined by your power set - as usual with LucasArts, the light side one was eventually determined to be canonical.
In a change from previous entries, Jaden Korr is entirely customizable, with male and female options, several species, as well as multiple hair and clothing variations. You can also choose from a selection of lightsaber hilts and colors, and later in the game can upgrade to Dual Wielding or double-bladed. Canonically, Jaden was a human male who initially used a purple lightsaber before switching to a single-bladed green one.
The game consists of progressing through missions assigned by Luke Skywalker or Kyle Katarn 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. 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 game was re-released by Lucasfilms Games digitally for the Nintendo Switch in 2020 and the original Xbox version was added to the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, where it can be played through backwards compatibility.
The game contains examples of following tropes:
- Action Girl: Your own character if you choose to make Jaden female.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Both Rancors: the one on Nar'Kreeta is a variation in that you have to prevent it from pursuing and eating the prisoners by attracting his attention and keeping it busy while they escape and can even be killed with some persistance (though a second one will spawn). The mutant one on Taaneba is completely invincible and capable of killing Jaden in a few swipes (though at least he also attacks and eats the cultists). The only way out is to reach the end of the level, activate the two switches required and crush the beast.
- Alignment-Based Endings: You explicitly choose your side of the Force in the penultimate story mission.
- Always Over the Shoulder: Academy doesn'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. Without making use of cheats to enable full dismemberment, the game also occasionally allows you to take off a hand or an arm.
- Artifact Title: The game's title is "Jedi Academy", but aside from cutscenes, the only levels that take place at the titular location are the tutorial levels. After that, the plot takes the player to planets all over the galaxy except the Jedi Academy.
- Artificial Stupidity: Enemies end up pretty stupid, to the point that 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.
- Stormtroopers are some of the worst offenders, as they seem to have zero knowledge as to what dodging and taking cover mean. Then again, though, what do you expect? They're stormtroopers.
- At one point in the Vjun level, 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.
- On occasion, when dueling a Cultist, he might perform a jump over a high chasm and promptly fall to his death.
- If a Force-sensitive enemy gets caught in your Force Choke, they will sometimes throw your grip off with a well-timed Force Push. This in itself is a sensible move, of course... but not so much when you're holding them over a several-storey drop into a lake of lava.
- Attack Reflector: Though not mentioned in the tutorial, you can use Force Push (especially at higher levels) to send detonators, missiles and even shots from concussion rifles back, sometimes back at the shooter.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Many of the more flashy acrobatic moves, despite looking rather cool, aren't actually all that useful. Seeing as they take a relatively long time to pull off and then miss anyway. The enemy is fond of using them as well, which you can exploit to get a few good hits off.
- Bad Powers, Good People:
- Jaden can learn dark side powers if you so choose but still fight for good. This is established in later novels to be a source of worry for Jaden (Force Lightning in particular seems to naturally come to him when he's stressed), though he eventually comes to believe Kyle's teachings from this game, that the powers themselves aren't inherently good or evil - it's how they're used that matters.
- Kyle himself is rather trigger-happy with Force Lightning on Vjun. He's also the only NPC in the entire series programmed to use Force Grip to drop enemies down elevator shafts - much like most players tend to do. When fought as the Final Boss of the dark side route, he also uses Force Grip to fling you around the room, an ability otherwise exclusive to the player (even other NPCs who use Force Grip will use it to simply immobilize you).
- Bag of Spilling: At the beginning of every mission, though multi-part levels that directly lead into one another let you keep what you have on you. Downplayed, in that you still start with a healthy selection of weapons (your lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and your choice of two heavier weapons and one kind of explosive), and justified in that the missions are implied to take place several days or even weeks apart, and other than your lightsaber you requisition the weapons rather than owning them anyway. That said, it's also played straight in that your selection is tied to story progress, rather than what you bring home at the end of a mission.
- Barrier Warrior: Luke and Kyle both learn Force Protection by the time of Academy. Jaden has the option of choosing this as well.
- Black and White Magic: Much like in Dark Forces II, you have your choice of what Force powers to gain at the start of each level, with both the Light Side (healing and protective powers) and Dark Side (offensive powers) available to you.
- Book-Ends: The first encounter between Tavion and Jaden ends with the former using the latter's own lightsaber to demolish the ceiling of Vjun's castle to make it crumble on him and Kyle. In the Light Side ending, Jaden repays the favour by destroying the Scepter of Ragnos, while in the Dark Side he actually uses the scepter to drop rocks on Kyle before making his escape.
- Boring, but Practical:
- While many would choose dual lightsabers or a saberstaff, the traditional three stances of the single saber from Outcast have their moments.
- The strong style is not very flashy or cool looking, but it crushes enemies' guards and can one-shot the toughest Cultist warriors in the game. It basically looks like your lightsaber has turned into a huge, heavy wooden beam that Jaden has difficulty moving but that knocks down everything in its path.
- The fast style is this to an extent. While it lacks the kinetic energy the strong style possess, it's the best stance against blaster wielding enemies, since you can quickly slip in attacks on an enemy without letting down your guard against his buddies for more than an instant, and you can infinitely chain attacks with it.
- Force Heal is far less flashy than its Dark side counterpart Force Drain, but doesn't require you to be in combat against humanoid opponents, and at higher levels leaves you free to move about while still healing. Even rank 1 is useful on every level of the game and means you can walk into every battle with full health.
- Force Protection doesn't do anything particularly special, it simply reduces the damage you take. However, like Force Heal this is useful in every single level of the game.
- Force Speed, especially at high levels, can give an edge in dueling cultists, allowing you to run around them and cut them down where they're vulnerable.
- While many would choose dual lightsabers or a saberstaff, the traditional three stances of the single saber from Outcast have their moments.
- Boom, Headshot!: Headshots with guns 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.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: Reborn Masters are the toughest non-boss Force users in the game, extremely skilled in lightsaber combat and with a variety of high-end Force powers. They also have enhanced health on the highest difficulty setting, something which only otherwise applies to the last few bosses in the game.
- Bounty Hunter: Boba Fett shows up for the second time in the series, running into Jaden in one of the side missions.
- Branch-and-Bottleneck Plot Structure: The game combines complementary branches with a Fractional Winning Condition: after the prologue and after every story mission, you are given a choice of five side missions and have to complete any four of them to unlock the next story missions (though you still have the option to complete the fifth side mission for an extra Skill Point).
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Level 3 Force Grip allows you to use enemies as shields.
- But Thou Must!: A minor example: if you want to adhere to a particular Force alignment while completing every mission, you're out of luck. As this will net you 15 points which must be spent on Force powers, and both Light and Dark sides have 12 points maximum each, this means that, say, a purely Light side character will be forced to pick up at least one Dark side power. Of course, you're not forced to actually use a given Force power, most players will want to select a mixture anyway, and Luke and Kyle will still react as if you've only picked Light-side powers, assuming you used your extra points to fully level a single Dark-side one rather than putting one level into three different powers.
- Canon Discontinuity: Due to Disney's say so, this, among many other pre-Disney Expanded Universe materials, is officially non-canon.
- Cast from Hit Points: Dark Side power Rage makes you unkillable for a short time, while increasing your attack, speed and defense. The compensation is that you lose life points during the duration of the power. Works surprisingly well in tandem with Heal.
- Charged Attack: The DL-44, like the Bryar pistol in Outcast, and the disruptor rifle can fire charged blasts.
- Chewing the Scenery: Jaden's performance 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.
- Color-Coded Wizardry: Tavion's cult members adhere to this trope.
- Combat Pragmatist: Jaden (similarly to Kyle) shows many qualities of this. 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, which is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that the secondary attack for a saberstaff is a simple kick, which knocks enemies over if it connects. And let's not even get started on the ways you can use Push/Pull/Grip.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- As a boss, Kyle can Force pull your saber clean out of your hand, something that's impossible for anyone else. No, not even Rank 3 Absorb can stop this from happening.
- 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 two-bladed and staff versions of ones that are only available to you when you have one sword (the second sword or the 'back' side of the staff sometimes passing right through the wielder with no ill effect).
- It is almost impossible to attack a Force-using enemy with a weapon other than a lightsaber. You think maybe that instant-hit, unblockable disruptor sniper rifle? They will duck out of the way in a split second, as many times as they need to. On the Korriban level, it's possible for a stormtrooper to fire a rocket at a Jedi dueling a cultist with a lightsaber; the rocket will continuously be reflected back and forth with the computer's infinite force power reserve.
- Continuity Nod:
- The game features not only Vader's fortress from the Dark Empire II comic, but the toppled Darth Vader statue. In the intro cutscene to the levels set there, Kyle mentions a rumor that Luke had been to Vjun at some point in the past.
- Partway through those levels, Kyle and Jaden come across a large chute with a constant airflow through it, and Kyle mentions he has seen chutes like it 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.
- Several of the Jedi Masters mentioned are actual characters from the Expanded Universe.
- Kyle makes reference to his battle with Boba Fett in Dark Forces after Jaden goes against him on Ord Mantell.
- The game makes mention of and even sends you to various locations from the old movies, EU, and from previous games, including the remains of Byss from Empire's End, the Valley of the Jedi on Ruusan from previous Dark Forces games, Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, and Bakura from The Truce at Bakura.
- Contractual Boss Immunity:
- Since most of the bosses are Force users with lightsabers, conventional weapons are pretty much useless against them as with any other Force user in the game. The sole exceptions are the Kothos brothers, since they don't have lightsabers, but even then it's difficult.
- Rax Joris is immune to Force Push and Force Pull, likely for no other reason than being able to shove him off the multiple high places in his arena would break the scripting in his boss fight.
- Convection Schmonvection: A notable aversion is where you have to enable the heat shield to cross a bridge to some controls on Taspir III, and Jaden will actually comment on the heat while crossing that bridge. 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 and even grabbing weapons that were previously held by guys directly wading in it (if not being dunked directly in the lava when their owners perished at your hand) with no ill effects.
- Cranium Ride: A ridable Rancor can be summoned via cheat code in the PC version.
- Cutting the Knot: Sure, on the Nar Kreeta mission you could risk life and limb fighting the nigh-unkillable rancor while the prisoners escape... or you could use one of the less commonly chosen Force powers and completely remove her desire to chew on your innards until you deliberately antagonize her. It's unclear if this is a bug or not, since animal friendship is an established Jedi power.
- Dark Action Girl: Tavion and Alora. You yourself can be this if you take the dark side route.
- Deadly Environment Prison: Jaden is put into one of these prisons when he is captured by the Empire. The doors of his cell are open, but the prison complex is swarming with stormtroopers and their commander is fond of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. Oh, and they took Jaden's lightsaber, so s/he has to settle for whatever weapons they have around the base.
- Difficult, but Awesome: A few of the acrobatic moves stray into this area.
- The "Fast" and "Medium" single-blade katas are quick and highly damaging.
- The double-bladed and dual-blade style blade spins are fairly quick, and while they leave you open, in a well-timed use they can annihilate even a tough enemy.
- The flip-overhead-and-strike is hard to pull off but essentially a free hit if you can pull it off.
- The enemy AI isn't great at hitting you in the air. So running up to a wall and then flipping off can get you out of a sticky situation.
- Dirty Coward: Lannik Racto. 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 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.
- Discontinuity Nod: The dark side path has a lot of parallels to the non-canon dark side route of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Jaden's FaceHeel Turn is cemented by him murdering his closest friend in cold blood, his next act involves "correcting a previous mistake" by killing an enemy he spared previously, he decides I Can Rule Alone instead of working with the Big Bad, and the ending sees him forge a new empire with himself at its head.
- Disintegrator Ray: The disruptor rifle does this when fully powered up.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Further cementing his Badass Teacher status, Kyle prefers to be on first-name terms with his students.Kyle: First off, just call me Kyle - titles make my skin crawl. Secondly, you're not 'serving under me.' I'm gonna teach you, and you're gonna learn. That's it.
- Down the Drain: Kyle and Jaden have to resort to this to get into Vader's castle on Vjun.Kyle: Well, let's go; no one ever said being a Jedi was glamorous.
- Dragon Ascendant: Tavion, The Dragon in Jedi Outcast, becomes the Big Bad of Jedi Academy.
- Dual Boss: The "duel" against Rosh and the Reborn Master twins. Sadly, the twins are unarmed, save for Force Push. With Force Absorb, you could kill them much quicker since you don't have to wait for Rosh to heal, turning this whole duel rather anticlimatic.
- Dueling Player Characters: The Dark Side ending has you face former Player Character Kyle Katarn in single combat at the end of the game.
- Dual Wielding: One of the three saber fighting styles available to you after progressing a certain amount through the game is two sabers at once (the others being single sabre with Fast/Medium/Strong stances and a Darth Maul/Bastila Shan-style double-bladed lightsaber).
- Easter Egg:
- Using cheats allows to get some powers or weapons unavailable through normal play.
- Academy lets you beat people up with kung fu, including some stylish grapples. Should you take the dark side path, Kyle has an upgraded version of this that lets him do grapples you can't. Then again, he's Kyle.
- Enemy Chatter: Done to a considerable degree. Some of it's pretty amusing so worth listening to if you get the chance.
- Emergency Weapon: The DL-44 blaster pistol gets this treatment in multiplayer mode — its fire rate is halved in exchange for unlimited ammo.
- Enemy Civil War: A side effect of the Mind Trick power 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.
- Epic Tracking Shot: Kril'dor's introduction does one of these, to give a brief glimpse of every location you need to bomb.
- Escort Mission:
- 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.
- A more traditional version is in the Nar Kreeta level, where you have to escort groups of prisoners through a rancor pit by keeping the rancor in said pit away from them until they can escape.
- The second Tatooine level in the first third of the game has a more downplayed example, tasking you with acquiring and escorting an R5 unit that has information you need. One might think this would end up as infuriating as escorting the R5 unit back on Cloud City in Jedi Outcast, but it turns out there's only about five enemies left by the time you get to it, and they all focus on you instead.
- Evil vs. Evil: On the Dark Side route, Jaden still opposes the Disciples of Ragnos, but only so he can conquer the galaxy himself. The Final Boss is the heroic Kyle Katarn, though.
- Executive Suite Fight: There is a mission where you need to arrest a businessman manufacturing illegal combat droids. You finally confront him in his office... big enough to have four hidden rooms with these droids.
- Face Death with Dignity: Tavion refuses to beg for her life, unlike in Outcast. This is particularly seen in the dark side ending, with the Light Side ending being more Defiant to the End.Tavion: I will... not cower as I did before Katarn.
- Fat Bastard: Rax Joris. At the start of the mission he's in, he captures you, takes your lightsaber, then releases you so he can hunt you and tells you that if you can get to your ship you're free to go. However, he loses his patience and attempts to kill you himself at the end.
- Feed It a Bomb: The only way to kill the sandcrawlers of Blenjeel is to throw thermal detonators on the sand and hope that they swallow them before they go boom. It takes two detonators to kill a worm, though since they continuously respawn, it's more like a way to give you some slack in certain areas or to check how close the beasts are.
- Fighting Your Friend: Jaden's battles with Rosh after his fall to the dark side. In the dark side ending, fighting Kyle.
- First-Name Basis: Kyle prefers his students to use his name, rather than the title of Master.
- Fractional Winning Condition: After every story mission, you are presented with five side missions to complete in any order. Completing four allows you to proceed to the next story mission, but you can still do the fifth for the additional Skill Point it gives (which is otherwise Permanently Missable).
- Game Mod: While Outcast had a relatively minor modding scene, Academy had a much bigger mod community, in part helped by the game being more mod friendly than its predecessor. Though a popular mod ported Outcast into Academy, providing not only feature enhancements from the sequel, but which also allowed many Academy-only mods to work with Outcast in a manner of speaking. Among the most popular mods are:
- Movie Battles II, a multiplayer mod that completely changes the lightsaber combat system and adds new weapons and maps.
- Movie Duels, a single-player mod that recreates key moments in the prequel trilogy (primarily the lightsaber duels), as well as The Force Unleashed and miscellaneous Legends comics. Almost all missions give you the option of playing as the other duelist (IE Darth Maul, Jango Fett, or General Grievous), in which The Bad Guy Wins. There is also a challenge mode that puts you through fifteen levels of dueling with the most powerful Jedi and Sith, and an extra mode with several For Want of a Nail scenarios such as Mace Windu dueling Count Dooku on Geonosis instead of Yoda, Anakin going to Utapau instead of Obi-Wan, Anakin attacking and killing Palpatine after the latter reveals himself as Darth Sidious, and Palpatine randomly attacking Anakin after he cuts off Dooku's hands on Grievous' ship, only to underestimate himself and get killed by Anakin, who also manages to kill Grievous (killing Dooku is optional).
- Knights of the Force, perhaps the most popular mod for the game, has a very long and complex history. It was originally started in 2008 by TimFX, with the goal of presenting the ultimate Star Wars experience. Unfortunately, though, much of the mod consisted of models and maps used without permission, numerous bugs, files with coding that was so dirty they were mistaken by antivirus software such as Norton as malware, and a clunky NPC spawn system. Despite these flaws, though, it was very popular among machinima makers. Sadly, though, the 3.0 release was delayed constantly, until Disney released the source code for Jedi Academy, at which point TimFX announced the mod was cancelled, and he refused to let anyone else complete it or release it as-is, instead deleting every file related to 3.0 from his computer. The mod's website remained up until 2016. But it wasn't the end. In November 2016, shortly before or after the site was closed, JA modder Linken assembled a team to update and improve Knights of the Force, aided by the source code. The new version, 2.1, was released on Feburary 8, 2018 to much anticipation and fanfare. By far, 2.1 is much more stable than 2.0, and features the same features as 2.0 (such as the NPC spawning system, mission select screen, and character select screen), but vastly improved, and expanding its scope to feature characters from Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, The Old Republic, The Clone Wars, Rebels, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker, Rogue One, Solo, The Mandalorian, Republic Commando, The Force Unleashed, and various comics and novels. The mod hit a bump in the road in April 2020 when disagreements within the development team caused it to split into two distinct mods; Knights of the Force is now multiplayer-only, while the single-player component is now a separate mod called Galactic Legacy.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- Kyle tells you that powers are not necessarily good or evil in the training level, and unlike Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II you can still get the light side ending while having mostly dark powers. 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 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 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 (although in this case it's possible they simply impound the weapon).
- Gimmick Level: Several. About half of the non-plot critical missions have some kind of unique feature.
- Blenjeel: Navigate a desert area where staying on the sand for more than a few seconds will cause a sandworm to burst out and eat you.
- Corellia: The entire level is a speeding train, with plenty of open edges to fall off. Or push enemies over.
- Zonju V: Cover several long stretches on a swoop bike.
- Dosuun: You have to complete the mission without a lightsaber, and at one point, you hijack an AT-ST walker.
- Taanab: You are chased around the level by a giant beast that is invincible against all your normal attacks and Force powers.
- Ord Mantell: Boba Fett flies around on his jetpack and takes pot shots at you in outdoors areas.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: 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.
- Good Powers, Bad People:
- A handful of Reborn will 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 while having light side powers.
- Goomba Stomp: It's actually a useful tactic to Force Jump onto most humanoid enemies, including Reborn, as this will knock them down and leave them open to your lightsaber (though Force users usually roll out of the way too fast to get stabbed). Reborn Masters are about the only ones smart enough to slash you if you try to stomp them.
- Guide Dang It!:
- While you're free to choose what order you do missions, 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 Force Lightning will make the Dosuun mission far easier.
- Knowing what to expect in terms of enemies and layout for a given level can make certain weapons highly preferable when choosing your mission loadout. In particular, taking the EMP gun along if you know you'll be facing droids can mean the difference between an enemy dispatched in a couple of shots and a frustratingly long and challenging fight against a shielded opponent. And if you know you can pick up a particular weapon within 30 seconds of starting the level, you can safely choose other weapons without losing out.
- In the final battle (light side path), Marka Ragnos has a special unique ability that almost completely heals him while also making him temporarily invincible. It seems like you're supposed to kill him before he can use this move (which is really difficult to do), but he is actually limited to only being able to use it four times, after which you can kill him normally. As it happens, there are also 4 health stockpiles in the room that you can run off and heal with while Marka is healing himself.
- Some late-game levels require extremely long jumps to proceed, longer than anything Jaden can perform with his normal Force Jump even at level 3. The tutorial on how to facilitate this special jump is buried deep in the Moves menu without any indication that the ability is of particular importance, the game never tells you about its mere existence, and the required combination of skills is unlikely to be discovered by accident. Not knowing this can make progressing through these levels virtually impossible.
- Guns Are Useless: Depending on the enemy. Against regular Imperials or common thugs, especially the No-Gear Level where you lose your lightsaber, they're as effective as ever, and especially with the help of Force powers you can play most of the game just blasting people in the head. Against Reborn, who have lightsabers themselves, this is played as straight as you'd expect, as short of explosives that land close but not close enough that they just Force Push them back at you, your only option to actually hurt them is your own lightsaber.
- Hammerspace: 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. Gets more amusing since half the players chose the Twilek Female and gave her a bikini.
- Harder Than Hard: The Jedi Master difficulty, in which your health and shields max out at 50 (instead of the usual 100), and enemies are a lot more accurate. Plus, the endgame boss enemies (Alora, Tavion, and Marka Ragnos or Kyle Katarn) have 4 times as much health as they do on any other difficultynote .
- Hate Sink: Rosh Penin, for his annoying voice, transparently telegraphed fall to the Dark Side, whiny nature, and Dirty Coward tendencies. The fact the game makes you spare him in order to stay on the light side is considered by many to be a test worthy of a true Jedi Knight.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Aside from standard stormtroopers, there are also troopers with bigger armor and jetpacks, armored soldiers with missile launchers and Hazard Troopers, wearing powered armor and equipped with concussion rifles.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Rax Joris lets you escape from capture, 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.
- I Can Rule Alone: Jaden pretty quickly decides this in the dark side path.Alora: Well done, Jedi. You have become one of us.
Alora: Join us. With Marka Ragnos as our Master, we will defeat the Jedi and rule the galaxy.
Jaden: Join you? Why should I trade one master for another? The scepter of Ragnos is too powerful to left in the hands as someone as weak as Tavion! If anything it should belong to me.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Padawan (easy), Jedi (normal), Jedi Knight (hard), Jedi Master (very hard).
- Implacable Man: Boba Fett, who you face in one of the late-game missions—no matter how many times you deflect his blaster shots back into his face, Force Push his missiles at him, or cut him down with your lightsaber, the infamous Bounty Hunter will simple withdraw and fly away to recuperate, then come after you again. Even when you face him for the last time at the end of the stage, he ends up deciding that there's no point in continuing the battle (as you already destroyed the weapons caches) and jets off into the sky.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: When using at least Level 2 Force Sense, even the infamous Imperial blaster is somehow able to be fired with pinpoint accuracy.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Half of the first part of the final level is spent getting around an old rusty gate by breaking the chains holding it in place from the other side. Did we mention that you have a lightsaber and Force powers?
- Possibly justified in that you're exploring an ancient Jedi mausoleum at this point, and it stands to reason that the ancient masters might have used some Force-related means to safeguard the major gates from lightsaber-wielding grave-robbers.
- Not to mention that the "old rusty gate" is a massive stone door, possibly too thick for a lightsaber to cut through.
- I Shall Taunt You: Force users like doing this.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: As in Outcast, doing this is one of the more effective tactics. Academy makes it even easier by adding a stabbing attack that locks onto a downed target 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.
- Kubrick Stare: Jaden in the dark side ending.
- Lethal Lava Land: Taspir III.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Higher levels of the Mind Trick Force power can make enemies attack each other.
- Magikarp Power:
- Most of the Force Powers 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, especially if you turn off your lightsaber, which widens the effect and deals double the damage in half the time (although doing so by draining Force power twice as fast). 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 and if you're lucky enough to throw them in before they Push back. Provided the latter condition, you can also just throw them up into the air really fast.
- Malevolent Architecture:
- The Jedi tomb is composed primarily of bridges, platforms and ledges over a Bottomless Pit. Sometimes if you aren't quick with Force Push/Pull the Reborn can pull off the Force Grip-ledge drop on you.
- The absolute standout is the gas mining platform. 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, 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.
- Mêlée à Trois:
- In the dark side finale, both the Disciples of Ragnos 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.
- The Yalara level features Noghri defending a planetary-scale cloaking device which is under siege by the Empire. Unfortunately, the Noghri are just as hostile to Jaden as they are to the Imperials.
- Mission-Pack Sequel: Alongside Mysteries of the Sith, which was an actual expansion, this is the only game in the Dark Forces saga to be based on the same engine as its predecessor. Save for the new levels, the customization of the protagonist and their lightsaber and Force powers, and a few new enemies and weapons, it looks and plays identically to Jedi Outcast.
- MookFace Turn: The temporary effect of a third level Jedi Mind Trick. Essentially Set a Mook to Kill a Mook in the end.
- Multiple Endings: Light and Dark, natch. They feature the same final levels and the same penultimate boss, but a different Final Boss apiece.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: To the point of being lampshaded by Kyle.Luke: I sense a disturbance in the force.
Kyle: You always sense a disturbance in the Force... but yeah, I sense it too.
- Mythology Gag:
- While searching for a droid, Jaden comes across another droid and says "This is not the droid we're looking for".
- If grabbed by a Wampa, you can retaliate with your lightsaber, resulting in a fatal arm loss for the monster. Also, you can enter the abandoned Echo Base through an underground passage dug from under the carcass of an AT-AT.
- Nerf: Lightsaber deflection has been noticeably de-powered compared to Jedi Outcast. In Outcast you were essentially impervious to blaster bolts from the front as soon as you got your lightsaber, while in Academy even when your lightsaber skills are maxed out, blaster bolts can still slip past your guard and hit you if you just stand there and try to tank them. This encourages the player to dodge gunfire instead of standing in place trying to kill everyone with their own weapons, especially early on when your lightsaber skill is at level 1.
- No Cure for Evil: Just as in Jedi Outcast, the player is free to mix-and-match, but all enemy NPC dark side users are unable to use Force Heal. The game adds the dark side power Force Drain, which higher-level dark side enemies do use, but it's entirely dependent on landing a hit on your with it and easily blocked with Force Absorb. The sole exception is the final boss, Marka Ragnos, who has a unique special move that heals his health to full and makes him invulnerable for a couple dozen seconds. Fortunately, he can only use it 4 times, and not coincidentally there are 4 health/shield caches in the arena for you to resupply yourself.
- No-Gear Level: There is 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.
- Noodle Incident:
- How Jaden built his/her first lightsaber unaided is never explained in-game. During the intro, Rosh asks him/her how s/he achieved it, and Jaden happily starts relating the tale, but he/she is cut off by the shuttle being shut down before he/she can finish the first sentence.
- In the opening cutscene for the Corellia mission, Kyle is telling Jaden a story. We don't hear the whole thing, only that it involved Jan Ors punching a Weequay presumably in the privates.
- Oh, Crap!: Jaden reaction on Nar Kreeta, when one of the rescued elders mentions the Rancor dwelling in the prison area.
- One-Man Army: Kyle's apprentice, Jaden Korr, hacks his/her way through an entire Sith cult.
- Plot Hole: Kyle mentions that he served on an Imperial Dreadnought during his Imperial days. Unless this service happened during his training as officer, the time between his graduation and defection was very short. It's possible that the writers mistook his time aboard the Alliance-manned Dreadnought New Hope as part of his Imperial days.
- Possession Burnout: How Tavion dies in the light side ending.
- Powered Armor: A couple classes of stormtroopers wear these as giant mooks. Namely, the 7-foot tall Rocket Troopers, who have jetpacks and heavy armor, and the 9-foot tall Hazard Troopers, who wear extremely heavy powered armor and are armed with Concussion Rifles.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: The most Jaden's gender will affect is pronouns. And on one occasion, presumably due to an oversight in the scripts, not even that.
- Puzzle Boss: The Mutant Rancor.
- Reality Ensues: Following off from the ending of Outcast: in an issue nicely mirroring similar ones with the Imperial Remnant itself, the Reborn didn't just go away and stop being a problem after their leaders were killed or scattered. There's still a lot of them, and they still have someone to rally around - namely, Tavion, who slipped away on Bespin - who herself has a reason to hold a grudge and continue the work Desann and Fyyar started. Just two years later, more problems are being caused by a "new" cult, and while the rank and file have the same problem of no time or training to adjust to their new powers, the Reborn that survived the initial assault on the Jedi Academy have had two years to grow stronger and become the elite among the new cult.
- Recovery Attack: 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.
- Required Secondary Powers: Force Protection on Vjuun. It's raining acid, and apparently Academy couldn't provide you with any sort of protection gear. It's either this or losing bit of health every second (and listening to your character going *ouch* all the time)
- Sand Worm: The Sand Burrowers on the Blenjeel level. The entire level is essentially one large Shout-Out to Dune.
- Schrödinger's Player Character: Eventually averted in the Expanded Universe with Jaden. Human male.
- Second Hour Superpower: Academy thankfully averts this: you get your lightsaber from the get-go, apparently because your character was smart enough to build one unaided.
- Self-Deprecation: 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.
- Simple, yet Awesome: Academy totally dispenses with the "gradual weapon upgrades" that all the previous games followed from typical FPS's (and was particularly pointless in Outcast), and just gives you the lightsaber right from the start, which is all you wanted to use in the first place. And it's still the most powerful and useful weapon in the game, though others like grenades for crowd control, and the disruptor for sniping, will still have uses and are available.
- She-Fu: Alora's acrobatic fighting style the second time she faces Jaden Korr.
- Possibly Jaden as well, depending on the player's character choices.
- Shoot the Medic First: The boss battle with Rosh 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.
- Some Enemy Chatter from the 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 with grenade launcher, much like the usual recommended M4 with grenade launcher in SoF II) as opposed to an energy weapon.
- The hovertrain and swoop missions are both shout-outs to almost identical levels from Shadows of the Empire.
- The entire mission on Blenjeel during the first act is basically one massive shout-out to Tremors, down to the player being able to kill the ubiquitous sand worm by feeding them thermal detonators. The mission's main objective to scour for four replacement parts for Jaden's ship is the same as the main objective for the first episode of Commander Keen.
- Squishy Wizard: Unarmed cultists can spam Force powers like crazy, but can barely take a hit before dying. Also, Force Absorb render them useless
- Stance System: Jedi Academy supplements the three styles from Outcast with Dual Wielding and the saberstaff styles.
- Standard FPS Guns: The arsenal for Jedi Academy—between the primary and secondary modes of fire for each weapon—hits a lot of the marks:
- Knife: The lightsaber, arguably, as it's a melee weapon and the first thing you start out with. But still... it's a lightsaber, and you're a Jedi. Eight times out of ten, that's all you'll need.
- Handguns/Energy Gun: The DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol—its shots are low-damage, but holding down the secondary fire button warms up a harder-hitting blast.
- Assault Rifle/Marksman Gun: The E-11 Blaster Rifle—you can squeeze off single relatively-accurate shots, hold down the trigger for rapid fire, or hold down the secondary fire button to cut loose with a wild spray of bolts.
- Crossbow: The Wookiee Bowcaster—in addition to its single, hard-hitting shots, its Charged Attack fire also allows the player to charge and fire a Spread Shot with the primartly trigger while Secondary Fire rapidly shoots Pinball Projectiles.
- Sniper Rifle: The Tenloss DXR-6 Disruptor Rifle—the scope brought up by its secondary fire really drives it home.
- Gimmicky Weapon: The Destructive Electro-Magnetic Pulse (DEMP) 2 Gun—while all it does is stun living targets, both its regular and secondary fire are lethal against hostile assault droids—including those with electro-shields which inhibit close-range combat.
- Chaingun: The Imperial Heavy Repeater—while not in minigun form, its rapid-fire spray of hot metal, inaccurate at long range but unstoppable at short-to-mid-range, makes this trope apply.
- Shotgun: The Goban Arms FC-1 Flechette Weapon—though its boxy, rectangular design isn't the usual form of a shotgun, its cone-spray of flechettes reveals this weapon as the Star Wars equivalent of a boomstick.
- Grenade Launcher: The alt-fire for the Heavy Repeater and Flechette Weapon both launch explosives in an arc. The Repeater's grenade is more of a concussive energy blast while the Flechette launcher fires a pair of bouncy grenades that have more killing power.
- Rocket Launcher: The Merr-Sonn PLX-2M Portable Missile System—primary fire dumb-fires a rocket, while holding down secondary fire lets you lock onto a target so you can fire and forget.
- BFG: The Concussion Rifle—whether you use the primary fire's railgun-like electromagnetic blast, or secondary fire's hard beam, anything that you point this at—unless it's the Reborn cultists—will not be standing for long.
- Grenades: In three delicious flavors...
- Thermal Detonators (basic pull-the-pin grenades)
- Laser Trip Mines (self-explanatory)
- Det Packs (remote-detonated demolition packs)
- Stripperific: Some of the possible outfits for a Twi'lek or Zabrek female player character are quite revealing. All of the human female player character's clothing selection are entirely practical, though, except perhaps the midriff-baring one. And no matter what you chose during character creation, Jaden will always don insulated winter gear for her mission on Hoth.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The Mutant Rancor on Taaneba seems to be relentless in his pursuit of Jaden, and able to follow him across and entire spaceport accurately. Lampshade when Jaden lets out an exasperated "What did I ever do to him?" after the second time the Rancor breaks through a wall to follow him.
- Sword and Fist:
- Most lightsaber forms, but particularly the saber-staff (a possible shout-out to Darth Maul), include an array of acrobatic kicks that have a chance of knocking the enemy down before slicing them dead.
- Kyle, when he appears as the final boss of the dark side ending, fights with a lightsaber most of the time, but sometimes, decides to skip the pleasantries and just punch his opponent silly. While awesome in its own right, this is also likely a callback to the original Dark Forces, where he punched a freaking man-eating Kell dragon to death—without any Force powers.
- Traintop Battle: One level takes place on a cargo tram. A cargo tram that's moving really, really fast. It's actually very cool.
- Unique Enemy:
- Howlers are only fought on Yavin.
- 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.
- Sand creatures are only seen on Blenjeel.
- Interrogator droids are only seen in a single room in Vjun.
- Tusken raiders are only fought in a single Tatooine mission.
- Of the two Rancors you can fight, one of them is an invincible mutant with a corrosive breath weapon. The other is a Damage-Sponge Boss that you don't technically have to fight, is practically impossible to kill without using Artificial Stupidity, and just respawns if you do. In either case, both are restricted to a single mission.
- Noghri (and their unique gas weapons that can poison even if blocked by a lightsaber) are only seen in the Yalara mission. They do fight the stormtroopers as well as the player, so they aren't exclusively an enemy, though.
- One of the more unique Cultist types is a Gun Fu fighter that wields dual blaster pistols instead of a lightsaber, and uses their enhanced Force mobility to leap around and perform shoot-dodges. There are only a couple of them in the entire game.
- Wampas are only encountered on Hoth, and the two of them you see there are skippable. Hoth also has Viper Drones.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: The only two weapons that Jaden cannot pick up from non-Force users are the Tusken Raider's Cycler Rifle, and the Noghri's Poison Gas Rifle.
- Useless Useful Spell: While it has had some scripted uses in Outcast, Mind Trick in Academy is 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.
- Somewhat subverted in that it does have situational-yet-effective uses—for example, if engaging the Hazard Troopers at long range, where their BFGs could blow you to pieces before you get close enough for lightsaber combat, the Mind Trick will turn them passive long enough for you to get in close and cut them to ribbons. Not to mention the hell the mind-controlled enemy will unleash on its allies in the meantime...
- The Usual Adversaries: Even though most of the missions aren't a proper part of the main plot, the Disciples of Ragnos who are the main antagonists are often behind the trouble caused in the side missions as well.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: An AI-controlled Kyle Katarn will have a field day dropping stormtroopers down elevator shafts, bottomless pits, and what have you during the missions in which he escorts you. Made even more awesome by the fact that he is the only non-player character in the entire game capable of doing this.
- Never mind all the things that you can do—Force-Pushing minions off ledges into bottomless pits or lava pools, Force-Choking them to death (and using their levitating corpses as human shields), frying them en-masse with level 3 Force Lightning, or just slashing them to pieces with your lightsaber...
- Want to avoid a tough fight with a force user? Are you near a Bottomless Pit? Simply use force choke to lift the individual up and drop him or her over the pit.
- Vocal Dissonance: Jaden keeps the same male voice actor even when playing the Rodian (who tend to have distinctive, higher voices) and the Kel'dor (who wear breath masks).
- Wasn't That Fun?: Kyle Katarn says this word for word, often after having escaped some incredibly hazardous situation.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: One of the Act 3 missions had Jaden go to Ord Mantell to destroy some weapon caches to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Kyle told Jaden that this mission should be easy for him: "Just plant some charges, watch the fireworks, and leave. What can go wrong?". Cue Jaden running into Boba Fett.
- Win Your Freedom: Rax Joris allows Jaden to try and escape to win their freedom, but had no intention of honouring the deal. It doesn't stop Jaden from killing him and escaping anyway.
- With My Dying Breath I Summon You: If following the light side, Jaden has to fight against Tavion, the leader of the Disciples of Ragnos who are trying to resurrect the old Sith Lord. When she loses to Jaden, she leaps on top of the statue of Ragnos, thrusts in his reviving scepter, and then gives up her body so he can possess it and get revenge.
- Younger Than They Look: Later works which feature Jaden establish that he is, at most, thirteen years old during the events of the game.
- Your Size May Vary: Noghri commandos are bigger than most humanoids in this game, but in most media they are short enough that pretending to be children or Jawas is a standard tactic.