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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 400 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 665 MB    4x CD-ROM

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
December 10, 2002 | Christopher Morin

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There is perhaps no wealthier movie franchise in the entertainment industry than the Star Wars franchise. Dozens of books have been written, role-playing games have been created, there are 5 movies to date, etc. Of course, our focus is on games, so let us not overlook that highly profitable segment of the market. There have been many computer and console games that take place within the Star Wars universe. Jedi Knight II is the latest to hit the Mac platform.

Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast follows in a series of titles started by Star Wars: Dark Forces. The next game again featured Kyle Katarn in the title Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Outcast takes Kyle on further adventures and reacquaints him with his Jedi powers.

Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast picks up several years after Kyle Katarn saved the Valley of the Jedi and avenged his father’s death. Kyle returned to his mercenary work with Jan Ors. A new, mysterious (is there any other kind?) threat has asserted itself against the new Republic, and Mon Mothma has recruited Kyle to investigate it. Of course, during the course of his investigation, one thing leads to another and Kyle realizes he cannot leave his Jedi past in the past. He must reawaken his Jedi powers in order to face, and ultimately, defeat this new foe – a Jedi named Desann.

“Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful” – Kelly LeBrock
Jedi Outcast uses the Quake III engine. The game’s designers created large levels, both indoors and outdoors. These expansive levels are full of secret areas, power-ups and plenty of bad guys. Turn on FSAA (full-screen anti-aliasing) and the game is even more visually appealing.

The large levels are full of narrow ledges that span bottomless pits, racing hover cars, rocky canyons and many other exotic locales. Much has already been written about the Quake III engine, so I will not go into all of that, but suffice it to say that Jedi Knight II is a beautiful game.

Just because the game is visually fantastic does not mean it is without flaw. The early levels of the game look strangely alike. Many things like finding control panels to open doors and force fields become repetitive.

A good point about all this eye candy and the famed Quake III engine is that it should run reasonably well on most Macs made within the last two years or so. The game looked great at 800x600 and 640x480 with medium detail on my G4 450 Cube running OS 10.2.2 with 512MB RAM and the OEM Radeon card. I tried running the game at a higher resolution, but the frame rates dropped through the basement, so I backed off. I also tested the game on a new DP 1.25Ghz G4 with the Radeon 9000 card on a 23” Cinema HD Display. The game ran like butter at 1600x1200.

Also, there are some multi-player maps that are on the cloud city of Bespin and other Star Wars locales. While beautiful, they still suffer from the same repetitiveness that is inherent in many large games.


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