System Requirements CPU: 450mhz OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP RAM: 128 MB VIDEO: 32 MB Open GL compatible SOUND: 16-bit Direct X 9 compatible faster required
In this latest chapter of the classic Dark Forces series (this should be number 4, I think), you no longer play as Kyle Katarn. You start out as an initiate at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4. As part of your extracurricular activities, you\'ll get to go on field trips to exotic locales such as Tatooine, Hoth, and Coruscant, and get shot at, force-pushed, and sliced into pepperoni by the local denizens.
For once, you get to customize your look, much like the system found in many RPGs. You\'ll get to choose your own head, torso, and legs, as well as your race. Races available are humans, Twi\'lek, Rodian, Zabrak (Darth Maul\'s race), and as Kel Dor (Plo Koon\'s race). What\'s more, you also get to choose your saber hilt and color. And, here\'s the best part. They have finally implemented dual-sabers (a la Anakin\'s fight-scene with Dooku), and double-blade sabers (for all you Darth Maul fans). The moves and combos are very well done, and are easy to control. Those who have played Jedi Outcast will pick up the new moves within minutes. That doesn\'t mean it gets boring after the first 1/2 hour, however. There is enough variety in the moves possible to keep you busy for some time. Hey, Jedi Outcast has been out for some time now, and I am still playing it. I\'ve gone through the single-player campaign about 25 times or so.
There are two levels included in the demo. The first is on Tatooine, where you help Chewbacca, the walking carpet, to clear an area of troops and disable a tractor-beam so the Millennium Falcon can take off (can\'t they think of something more original?). The 2nd level is set in a Jedi burial chamber (remember the Valley of the Jedi from JK1? Can\'t they have any original ideas?), and is much more difficult. There will be times when you face multiple dark-Jedi, and some of them carry duals or doubles too.
Having tried out both the new saber types, I personally prefer the dual saber setup, as it really slices and dices things up fast. You can even throw both sabers away from you and get them to rotate around you, either as a shield to block incoming blaster shots, or to clear an area around you when you get mobbed. The double-blade saber is slower, but is devastating against groups of enemies. Another advantage of the double-saber is that you can use kicks. It\'s quite satisfying to attack someone so that he has to retreat to the edge of a bottomless chasm, and then kick him off. If you like Starwars, dream of being a Jedi, or simply like slicing things up, then check out Jedi Academy. After playing the 2-level demo about 40 times in the last 4 days, I have come to realize that the double-bladed saber is fantastic, so all you Darth Maul wannabes are gonna love that. The dual-saber is more flashy, but attack options are more limited. Defense is pretty good, though.
Unfortunately, the Jedi-tomb demo level shows one of the flaws in the AI of your opponents. They have an annoying habit of falling of cliffs. It wasn\'t so obvious in Jedi Outcast, because there weren\'t that many cliffs to fall off from. There is a place in the demo where I was walking across a bridge over a bottomless chasm (there seem to be a lot of bottomless chasms in games). One Dark-Jedi jumps down from a ledge and yells, \'My master has trained me well\', before promptly cartwheeling to his death over the side of the bridge. His buddy, displaying the same level of enthusiasm, leaps at me screaming, \'The Sith shall rise again\'. Unfortunately, he misses and joins his friend on his way to the center of the planet. In the next area, another Dark-Jedi jumps up from a crack in the ground and shouts \'You are weak!\', then falls right back into the crack he jumped out of. Ouch. After that, two Dark-Jedi actually manage to engage me, but one of them accidentally stabs the other through the head. Then the last Dark-Jedi jumps on me, and knocks me down. Unfortunately, he bounces off me and, yep, you guessed it, fell to his death down yet another bottomless chasm.
Since Jedi Academy is a first/third-person shooter, it does contain violence. Fortunately, they have implemented it at a bare minimum level. There is no blood, and you won\'t see gapping gunshot wounds on your victims. There is a option to turn dismemberment with your saber on or off, so that is up to personal preference. Some of the female character models in the game are a little scantily clad., especially the Twi\'leks. However, it\'s similar to what was in the films. Since one can customize one\'s character, clothing choice is up to the individual as well.
Overall, the game is much better than Jedi Outcast, and for the first time in the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series, has a non-linear single-player campaign. You get to choose from up to 5 missions after each mission, and you do not need to complete all the missions to finish the game, though why anyone would not want to do this is beyond me.