Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is a Star Wars first-person shooter/third-person action computer game released in September 2003. It was developed by Raven Software and published, distributed and marketed by LucasArts in North America and by Activision in the rest of the world.
The game is powered by the same version of the id Tech 3 used in its predecessor, Jedi Outcast, containing modifications to the Quake code to give a third-person view and new lightsaber effects (Jedi Knight II had these 3rd person effects as well). Players have the ability to construct their own lightsaber by choosing the hilt style and blade color. After completing certain objectives, new saber styles become available including the ability to wield two independent sabers in a style known as Jar'Kai, or the double-bladed lightsaber.
Players take the role of Jaden Korr, a new student recently arriving at Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy on Yavin IV. Jaden, along with fellow initiate Rosh Penin, becomes an apprentice to Kyle Katarn (the protagonist of Jedi Knight) at the beginning of the game. As a Jedi Apprentice, the player is dispatched to accompany Kyle on various peace-keeping missions across the galaxy, many of which involve battling an emerging Sith cult known as the Disciples of Ragnos who are stealing Force energy from Force-rich locations across the galaxy.
Eventually the player learns that the Sith Cult is lead by Tavion, the former apprentice of Kyle's old arch-nemesis Desann from Jedi Outcast. Seeking revenge against Kyle, Tavion has recovered a Sith artifact known as the Scepter of Ragnos, which has the power to drain and release Force energy. Seeking to restore the Sith and destroy the Jedi, Tavion plans to resurrect the ancient Sith Lord Marka Ragnos by fueling his long dead body with a massive concentration of stolen Force energy.
The story has two different endings, depending on which side of the Force the player chooses. After learning that Rosh has betrayed the Jedi and joined Tavion, the player can choose between killing him (and thus turning to the dark side) or letting him live (and staying on the light side).
- If the player chooses the light path, Rosh is rescued by Kyle and Jaden returned to the light side. Jaden heads to the Tomb of Ragnos to prevent the resurrection, while Kyle takes Rosh back to safety. Jaden confronts Tavion, then engages in a final duel with the resurrected Marka Ragnos (whose Force ghost possesses Tavion's body). After defeating Ragnos, Jaden destroys the Scepter, banishing Ragnos' spirit back into its tomb. The game ends with Jaden leaving the temple, and bringing down the entrance so that no one will enter again. He meets up with Kyle and Luke and explains what happened.
- If the player decides to follow the dark side of the Force, Jaden kills Rosh, but refuses to join the Sith or help resurrect Marka Ragnos (as they are too "weak" to be worthy of his/her loyalty). Jaden kills Tavion to steal the power of the Scepter of Ragnos for himself/herself, but is intercepted by Kyle. Master and Apprentice have one final duel. Jaden knocks out Kyle with a blast of Force energy from the Scepter, and takes over an Imperial Star Destroyer to embark upon a campaign of conquest. Kyle, who is recovered from Korriban by Luke, takes a break from the academy to search for Jaden and try to turn him/her back to the light.
Originally, it was unclear which ending was canonical, but later, a Wizards of the Coast article describing Jan Ors' backstory for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, stated that Jan Ors teamed with Jaden Korr to locate Master Katarn's whereabouts, implying that Jaden remained a servant of the light.
Changes from Jedi Outcast to Jedi Academy
- The main character, Jaden, can be male or female and is customizable. For example, one can choose from several lightsaber colors and hilt types as well as from several species:
- Twi'lek (female)
- Kel Dor (male)
- Human (male or female)
- Zabrak (female)
- Rodian (male)
- New Force powers in single player: Force Absorb, Force Sense, Force Protect, Force Drain, and Force Rage (these powers were available in Jedi Outcast's multiplayer game, but not in the single player game.)
- New lightsaber combat moves including katas, wall gripping, and acrobatics.
- Four new weapons: DL-44 Blaster Pistol and Stouker Concussion Rifle, Saberstaff (double bladed lightsaber) and dual sabers. A variety of saber hilts are also available.
- New vehicles and vehicle-based levels, including Tauntauns and speeder bikes.
- Power Duel mode: Players join as an individual or as a team of two. The individual has more health and Force power in exchange for being at a disadvantage in numbers.
- Siege Mode: Players work to complete goals and stop the other team from completing their goals.
- AI NPCs (not just bots, as before) in Multiplayer.
- Decreased limitations on world objects in Multiplayer, enhancing modding possibilities (and making coop play theoretically possible).
- Various bugfixes, gameplay tweaks and subtle changes (especially to the Multiplayer component).
- Enhanced rendering of the Quake III: Team Arena engine, including dynamic glow features.
- Removal of the First Person Lightsaber view that can be found in both Jedi Knight and Jedi Outcast. This can however be accessed by using the command cg_fpls 1.
- The single-player game has switched from a continuous adventure format, to a modular mission-based format. Instead of moving linearly from one level to the next, players are able to choose from a selection of different missions. After the completion of each mission, the player's weapons and health are reset back to default levels. Additionally, the game no longer features an inventory system.
- In single-player, lightsaber combat is somewhat easier than it was in Jedi Outcast. Enemy lightsaber attacks do much less damage, the player has access to very high-powered moves, and on the default difficulty setting enemies are somewhat worse at blocking and attacking than they were in Jedi Outcast.
- Alternatively, combat against non-Jedi enemies has become somewhat more challenging. The player's ability to automatically block enemy fire with their lightsaber has been reduced significantly, making enemy blaster attacks more of a credible threat, although now enemy blaster shots can be defended against by swinging the lightsaber, unlike the last game where the player automatically deflected blaster fire at all of the force ranks (rank 3 being the highest rate of deflection which reflects blaster bolts directly back at the enemy every time) of that ability as long as Katarn is facing the enemies that are shooting . The game also features a variety of new opponents, including assassin droids and power-armored stormtroopers, who seem specifically designed for combat against Jedi.
- In multi-player mode, one can play online with thousands of others. Hundreds of mods are available, and new maps are constantly created to make the game more entertaining. Servers range from mp, sp, and base damages that can be manipulated to create imbalance. Saber block, hit sensitivity, and a variety of other features can change so one will not ever experience uniformity among multiplayer servers.
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