Hello friends and gamers, let’s kick off day 2 of Star Wars week with an oldie but a goodie, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy!
I’ll be gushing about a different Star Wars video game up until the end of May the 4th Be with You! To celebrate the Star Wars universe, I created some fan polls that you can access by clicking here or by clicking on the image below.
I remember having Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on disc for our Windows desktop computer, and it was the third game in the Jedi Knight series (4th game in the overall Star Wars game series). The Jedi Knight series focused primarily on Kyle Katarn, a former Imperial officer who becomes a mercenary working for the Rebel Alliance, and later a Jedi and instructor at Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy. By the time of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the events that occur are ten years after the Return of the Jedi movie.
A little fun fact: Raven Software developed the game! And chances are you have heard of Raven Software because it’s the same team that has worked on Marvel Ultimate Alliance, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and a huge majority of the Call of Duty franchise! After learning that, it’s no wonder Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was so well-received.
The single-player campaign was superb because it brought back Kyle Katarn as a Jedi instructor while we got to play as a new main character, fully customizable by gender, race, and several head/torso/pants options. The lightsaber combat system from Jedi Academy is still revered as the best one out of any Star Wars game, and I am also aboard this train. It wasn’t just striking and defending like a sword fight. At first, you could switch between fast, medium, and strong saber styles. Later in the game, you select your next combat form which was a choice between dual sabers or the saber staff (double-bladed lightsaber). In addition to the varying saber styles, you could upgrade between Neutral, Light, and Dark Force powers too. Neutral included push, pull, jump, and saber throw. Light included heal, mind trick, and protection. Dark included life drain, lightning, and grip (choke).
At 10/11 years old, I wasn’t used to video games giving a choice between good or evil yet. The plot is usually outlined with the main character’s viewpoint in mind, so I was conflicted when I got really close to the end of the game and two choices popped up for me. The ending of the game unfolds differently based on whether I selected the Light or the Dark side.
1. Light Side
Bring balance back to the Force! Save your friend-turned-traitor-turned-friend, defeat the main antagonist, Tavion, and then destroy the Scepter of Ragnos. The Scepter of Ragnos is a powerful weapon that once belonged to Marka Ragnos, a Dark Lord of the Sith. Basically, the sword could store Force energy and then release it into powerful energy beams or turn ordinary beings into Force-sensitive users… AKA… Great for blowing things up and creating an army!
2. Dark Side
Become the ultimate Dark-side Force user! Slay your friend-turned-traitor-turned-friend, defeat the main antagonist, Tavion, duel and defeat (but not kill) your former instructor and fan favorite, Kyle Katarn, and then take the Scepter of Ragnos for yourself.
What Did I Do?
By habit, I always do the good side first, and if I enjoy the game enough, I’ll swing back through another playthrough on the evil side. You’ll see me say this on a lot of blog posts, but I seriously love storylines and writing in video games. Jedi Academy’s story wasn’t just good enough, it was so good that I played through both sides probably five times each! When I reflect on my experience, it could be nostalgia that has me so passionate about Jedi Academy, but I watched the story on Youtube again, and it brought back even more memories when I played it as a kid.
Single-player is great and all, but I dropped a ton of time into multiplayer too! There were a few different multiplayer modes, but everyone chose Free-For-All because it was by far the best mode that let you do whatever you wanted. Similar to how you can spend hours doing different things on Minecraft or Super Mario Maker, people created Free-For-All lobbies with a ruleset, so sometimes you would end up in a super fun and addicting game that lasted for hours. One that I remember the most is a lobby that would promote/demote Jedi ranks (each rank unlocked more powerful Jedi abilities) based on how many Sith Lords that I defeated. I imagine that it sounds strange, but those lobbies made me really happy as a kid who grew up watching Star Wars because Jedi Academy gave me a chance to sort of live in that universe. After a few years, my disc got scratched up so much by my dear parents and irresponsible friends, so it eventually wouldn’t load the game anymore. I had moved on to other great video games by that time, so it wasn’t a huge loss.
Jedi Academy Remastered
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was remastered for the Switch and PS4 last year in March 2020 which sparked a regrowth into the game servers. Activision and Raven Software are neck-deep in Warzone and COD right now, but I would like to see a complete remake of the Jedi Knight series utilizing their favorable saber-dueling mechanics from the Star Wars gaming franchise. Jedi: Fallen Order (click here to read Game Gush: Jedi: Fallen Order) has good saber combat because of strike flow and movement, but it doesn’t have the intricate saber styles which were unique and never seen before until Jedi Academy!