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Star Wars® Jedi Knight®: Jedi Academy™
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The game originally known simply as Jedi Outcast II has gotten a name change, while the game’s entire series has gotten a facelift. In the new Xbox roleplaying shooter Star Wars® Jedi Knight®: Jedi Academy™, you’re no longer stepping into the well-traveled boots of Kyle Katarn, the hero that some gamers have been following since the days of Dark Forces (that ran on a system called DOS, kids). Now, Kyle has taken a teaching post at Luke Skywalker’s struggling Jedi Academy on Yavin IV, and the hero is you.

They Call Me Master Katarn
If you’re someone who can’t tell a Wookie from an Ewok—or if you’re just new to the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series—the name Kyle Katarn might not mean much to you. But, to Star Wars gamers, Katarn is as much a part of the Star Wars mythos as any Correllian or Jedi farm boy. He started out as a Rebel spy and went on to learn (in Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight) that the Force was strong in his family. His father had it, and he has it. In an epic adventure that spanned the galaxy, Kyle found his destiny and became a Jedi himself.

By the time Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast rolled around, Kyle had severed himself from the Force after it nearly killed him at the end of the first game. Though no longer a Jedi, Kyle still works for the New Republic (which used to be called the Rebel Alliance—this is about 10 years after the end of Return of the Jedi), but once again, fate (and a Jedi Master by the name of Skywalker) have conspired to bring him back into the fold. At the outset of Jedi Academy, Kyle has become a Jedi Master himself. Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy on Yavin IV (the planet used as a base by the Rebels when they attacked the Death Star and the jungle world from the end of the original movie, remember?) is hard up for teachers, so Katarn has agreed to help his old rival and friend by taking on a few students himself. That’s where you come in. You can choose to be a human, a Twi’lek (the multi-hued folks with two big tentacles on their heads), a Kel Dor (the bug-dudes from Episodes I & II who wear black gas masks at all times), a Rodian (think Greedo), or even a Zabrak like Darth Maul (without the funky tattoos, if you don’t want them).

There Is Yet Another
Jedi Academyopens about 15 years after that fateful battle over Yavin. (For fans of the Star Wars novels, that puts this story smack between The Crystal Star and The Black Fleet Crisis and about four years after the Jedi Academy trilogy). The peacekeeping efforts of the fledgling New Republic are strengthened by a new Jedi Order, led by Skywalker and based on Yavin IV.

Skywalker’s choice of Yavin IV was complicated. At first, it seemed to make sense, since the Rebels had left a fully functional base abandoned after the destruction of the Death Star. Eventually, though, Luke and Kyle learn that Yavin IV was also once the power center of Exar Kun, a legendary fallen Jedi who had tried to conquer the galaxy just a few years before the fateful war between the Republic and Darth Malak. In short, Yavin IV is flush with the Force, in both flavors. You’ll spend a quick tutorial level running around Yavin IV before Skywalker sends you out with Kyle Katarn for missions in the field.

Get Those Coordinates Punched In
Once you become Kyle’s Padawan, the story line is yours to build. UnlikeJedi Outcast, Jedi Academy lets you choose the order in which you attempt missions. Want to see where Han Solo was born? Head out to Corellia to investigate some shady dealings. Other worlds have other problems, and you can tackle them whenever you wish to build your own Jedi legend.

By Danny Chihdo

 

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