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The Story and The Levels
Instead of taking on the role of a classic characters - even Kyle Katarn who you may remember from other games in the Jedi Knight series - today you are a new student Jaden, who is just arriving at the academy. Your arrival will not be uneventful however, as your transport will be attacked. The rest of the game is centered around figuring out the events that took place during that attack. As the game progresses it becomes more and more obvious that your attack was just a diversion for something much larger and more sinister. Near the end you have to choose between the light side and the dark side, but this only effects your final mission.
Missions vary in length which gives the games a nice variety. Some levels will be a quick 10 minutes and others will take over an hour. You never really know which one you will get. Speaking of your missions, this game has a selective system. Each time you leave the academy you are given 5 missions to choose from. In order to progress you have to complete 4 of the 5. You can play the 5th if you want but once you go back to the academy, your 5th mission will be lost to the ages. The missions are nicely varied and you can see where they all belong in the story line. Overall depending on how fast you play and how many missions you choose, you will get between 15 and 20 hours of solid play time from this title.
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Force Powers and Custom Lightsabers
There are essentially two things that make a Star Wars game...well, a Star Wars game - your light saber and your force powers. Both of these abilities are handled well in Jedi Academy and give you ample chances to make your Jaden custom.
You start out with a basic set of force abilities. The eight starter powers you will start with are saber offense, saber defence, saber throw, sense, jump, speed, pull, and push. From there you have eight more powers to choose from. Four of them are labeled light side and the rest are labeled the dark side. You can buy these powers, each of which you earn at the end of each mission. Just be warned - you can not buy out all of the powers. You will have to choose between specializing in a few very strong powers or having low levels of all of them.
Your light sabers are a different deal. You start out with a standard saber. Later the choices expand allowing you to use dual light sabers or a light saber staff aka Episode One. In addition you have a choice of stances. Your main choices are basically between a slow and strong stance or a fast and weak stance. You also have some choice in color as well, but this is just cosmetic.
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Controls and Graphics
The controls are very easy to use and any ambiguity that you have should be cleared out by the end of the training mission. You don’t need a game pad here, as you will do well enough with your keyboard and mouse. Given the age of this title, the graphics are good. Characters are rendered well, and you won’t see any bizarre face stretching up close. The backgrounds are also nice but some scenes can be lacking in detail. You won't miss it though as your light saber is whizzing around the heads of Sith.
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Any fan of Star Wars games will find this title worth the purchase. The game has the great ability for you to make a truly custom Jedi with custom powers and weapons. The ability to choose between the light side and the dark side, however brief, is also a great addition to the game. With an enjoyable mix of levels, the ability to pass on one that gives you trouble in each set and easy to use controls you may just be a little bit sad to see this Jedi graduate from the academy.
A collection of articles about Star Wars Jedi Knight.