Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Lucas Arts
Price Range: $25-35
Learning curve time: 30-60 mins.
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: Yes

Genre: FPS
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Jedi Knight.  Illustration copyrighted.

Lucas Entertainment is the group who brought us the Star Wars movies that many of us still enjoy 20 years after their original release. Well, the organization has branched out to include a division that now produces games for the PC. They have developed such titles as "Dark Forces", "Rebel Assault", “Monkey Island” and "Shadows of the Empire". Many of these games have revolved around events and characters in the Star Wars Universe.

“Jedi Knight” is just such a game. It is a continuation of sorts of the “Dark Forces” game. The main character of Kyle Katarn returns from that game (even if you didn't make it to the end J) to take on the Empire once again in the latest release. In this game Kyle finds out his dead father holds the secret to the location of a Jedi burial ground that contains vast powers for whoever claims it. Working against Kyle are some evil Jedi wanting to take over the galaxy.

Screen capture from Jedi Knight.  Illustration copyrighted.

Christians who have an issue with the Star Wars philosophy will be uneasy with this game. One of the technical achievements present in JK is the ability for the player to gain and use "The Force". There are several types of “Light Side” powers such as healing, invisibility, blinding, and force absorb. Of course there are “Dark Side” powers also such as throw, grip, lighting, and destruction. This is another twist the LA has thrown into the game. The player as he progresses in the game develops into a “Light” or “Dark” Jedi based on his action in the game. Be destructive and kill the non-player characters and you will develop into a “Dark” Jedi. Avoid these actions and you are directed down the “Light” path.

Now this may shy many parents away from the game but I would give this second thought. My boys and I have had numerous discussions of the temptation of "being bad", the life that it leads to, the further progression down a progressively evil life, vs. the rewards of struggling against the forces on the side of right. Wow, sounds like life! There could be a potentially valuable life lesson hidden in the game, but due to the option to go to the “Dark Side” I have given a Christian/Moral rating of "3".

The violence contained in the game is on the low end for a typical “Shooter” style game. It is bloodless but you do dispatch a wide variety of Stormtroopers, Aliens and “Dark Jedi” during your game. You utilize many weapons familiar to those who know Star Wars including a light saber. This tends to be the messiest weapon, enabling you to severe limbs from your enemy, albeit bloodlessly.

Adult themes in the form of sexual content or suggestiveness escaped me if there was any.

The game is impressive technically. You will need a fast processor (166 or better), a lot of RAM and a high-end graphics card to get the most from the game. If you have this kind of system the game will be a tremendous thrill. LA has included video cut scenes between the levels that really add to the experience and brings the story tightly together. Unlike many other shooters you get a real sense of what your trying to do and why.

My reason for a 4 has nothing to do with how the game plays but the sheer size of it. This is an issue I have with many games these days. Who are these programs made for? I am an average player and am lucky to have 1-2 hours a week to play on the PC. Many games, “JK” included, would take me a year to get through (without cheats, but that's another issue). With so many quality games to dig into and root out the good and bad in for my Christian brethren, I frequently find I play through several levels and move on never completing a game. What we need is as satisfying an experience that's a meal, not a buffet!

JK does teach a valuable lesson in my opinion, by the very fact that it allows players to choose their path, evil or righteousness. This is somewhat like life (albeit in more black and white, comic-book style terms). The player may be tempted to take the “quick and easy path” of the Dark Jedi, but the cutscenes leading up to and the ending show the horrible loss and toll that all of that dark power takes on our hero. He may have won the power for himself, but he has lost those closest to him and become like the evil men he fought against. The Light Side of course is the virtuous hero that we all want to be, and the “Force” again in the fantastic Star Wars universe is a metaphor for religious faith in our world. An excellent game, with far more depth than most games in the genre that have come before and since. Note that in “Mysteries of the Sith” the addon missions, Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade are both good, no matter what (if you kill innocents, it drains your ability to use the Force, since it hurts your morale). In this game, one of the Jedi seeks to reclaim the faith of their comrade who has backslide into darkness and is dangerously close to the edge. Thus it is a story of redemption and self-sacrifice, a very Christian concept. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Kurgan, age 22

Jedi Knight is one of the best games I ever played. The graphics are exceptionally good and the variety of weapons and inventory make the game quite interesting but the fact that your entire objective is to hunt down the bad guy and kill him does not exactly make this a game that follows Christian principals. The game is fun and challenging and I would suggest it to any First Person Shooter lover. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Justin Moes, age 12

This is one of the truly awesome games. And if the name Star Wars scares you off, don't worry, all though this is probably one of the best star wars games ever, it is also one of the best First-Person shooters. One of the great things about this game is the way you can customize it. I downloaded many different types of weapons, and games. One of them I downloaded changed the game so that you had a sniper rifle instead of a laser pistol. Their is no blood in the game but if you use the lightsaber (which is really fun!) you sometimes can chop off a arm. There still is no blood when you do that though. Playing the game in the multiplayer mode is awesome! I loved fighting against my cousin with lightsabers and blasters. Their are many different sites which have levels that you can download for free. There are even programs that you can download that enable you to create your own game. When this game came out, it earned numerous awards such as Game of the Year. If you like First-Person shooters, then you have to get this game! My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Kyle Dave, age 15

I found this to be a wonderful game. I found it also taught that although it may sometimes seem fun to kill innocent characters with no weapons, it does have consequenses. I have played both Dark and light settings and if you don't believe me, watch the final dark cut scene. It's very sad and depressing, I can't tell you much more because it might ruin the game for some gamers. I give it a Christian rating of 4 because of the violence and possible objection to the force. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —David Peacock, age 15

I enjoyed the game immensely. Excellent level design and good game play makes it fun that you forget the time when playing this game. This game's learning curve is smooth. From a Christian perspective, some people might have problems with the shooting/hacking of people. Also, the “Force” elements of the game is similar to Extra Sensory Perception stuff like telekenesis and telepathy. Good versus Evil and you can choose which one you'll be. Might be a good thing to discuss with your child who plays this game. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Marvin, age 25

I agree with Rick. “Jedi Knight” will take a long time to complete. To top it off, when you finally do make it to the end, the bad guy is really tough! You will be tempted to use cheat codes! If you enjoyed "Dark Forces", you will really enjoy "Jedi Knight". The “force” features are well done (I didn't play the dark side, so can't speak to those). Plus wielding a light sabre is surreal. Let me re-emphasize the violence in this game though. As with the FPS kill a lot of “people.” Yes, it is a game genre (First Person Shooters) in general, the goal is to, well, shoot people. While you can sneak by some enemies and use your light saber instead of a gun (blocking their laser shots back at them is neat), you and they are just pixelated people, but still. But if you have issues with that, you've been warned. I'm still a Christian even after playing “Jedi Knight” (and I haven't grown a fool's tail and started swinging around a mop … but I do enjoy Weird's Al's “The Saga Begins” song, see ). All in all, a well-done game by LucasArts. It does require a beefy machine though. My Ratings: [3/4]
   —Tim Emmerich, age 32

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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