Qt3 Classic Game Club: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

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Editor’s note: Every two weeks, we’ll pick a classic game to play and discuss. Then the choice of the next game will be made by a randomly selected participant from the current week. It’s like a book club, but with videogames. We hope you’ll join our forums if you’d like to participate. This week’s choice is, ironically, from a community member who posts as Spock. Take that, Star Trek!

For the second installment in our Game Club, I thought we’d mix things up with a bit more action! We will be playing Star Wars: Jedi Knight (Dark Forces II), released in 1997. This is my favorite of the Dark Forces series, and one of my favorite first-person shooters of all time. The game is available on Steam for $4.99.

There are, unfortunately, at least three technical issues with the Steam version. The first two aren’t a big deal; the third is more annoying, but I was able to patch it for myself.

1. First, the iconic Star Wars crawl and full-motion video will play only in a small window, not full-screen. I don’t know any way around this currently. Just suck it up and watch the first 2-3 minutes in a small window. After the opening FMV scene is over, the game will automatically switch you to full screen.

2. At this point, you will probably see lots of pixels. You need to go into options and check “Enable 3D acceleration” on the setup screen to fix this. (Back then, not every PC had a 3Dfx video card!) You may also want to fuss with mouse sensitivity and inverted-axis controls.

3. Finally, the Steam installation does not include the music. You’ll hear the cantina song when you first get control of your character, but that’s the only music on the Steam version. Fortunately, someone has posted a patch that fixes this, without requiring you to mount a virtual CD. This patch worked perfectly for me, but the installation process did say something about changing my registry, which made me a little nervous. Read the thread here. If you’d rather not use this patch, you could always just play a Star Wars soundtrack in the background. Of course, if you have the game on CD-ROM, you’re good. It’s available from Amazon.com, albeit for $15.

I hope you’ll play along with me! I haven’t fought my way through Nar Shadaa in years, and I’m looking forward to trying again.