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Reviewed: Star Wars: Jedi Academy
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: January 4th, 2004
Page: 2

Jedi Academy is set between the events of the classic series, and the New Jedi Order timeline. As the story begins, you're a young apprentice, being brought to the Jedi Academy to train under Luke Skywalker. Your dubious distinction is that you are the first person ever to create a Jedi lighsaber without previous force training, or at least the first one to do it without also chopping himself to bits practicing afterwards. As you arrive, a cult seeking to resurrect an old Sith lord attacks, and thus you're off on an adventure to stop them.

Of course, this is a Dark Forces game, so there are still the standard weapons -- blasters, Imperial repeaters, missile guns, etc. They're nice, and in battles with grunts they work. But part of the storyline involves this cult granting force-user status to hundreds of wannabe Sith, and so there are Force users and lightsabers everywhere. Try to shoot at them, and you'll wind up just eating your own blaster bolt. By the second half of the game, everything but the lightsaber is obsolete.

Halfway through the game, you're given the option to re-create your lightsaber, this time with the single, dual, or staff (think Darth Maul) versions. Single is the most impressive in terms of modes; you've got three stances, each of which is tailored to defeating a different stance or type. Need speed to defend against a dual-blade user? No problem. Up against a single blade? Go to power stance to knock their blade aside.

With dual- and staff- versions, your options are more limited; turning off one blade puts you back in normal stance. Then again, the multi-blade versions have distinct advantages. The Staff version is an amazing attack weapon, but not quite as hot on defense. The dual-saber model is most interesting, but with one flaw; its attacks concentrate at about 30 degrees to the right and left of your aim, instead of head-on. If you're going to learn to use it, be prepared to learn to dance in circles around an enemy to keep them targeted right. 

Knowing the saber techniques is especially important when going online to play, since everyone has a saber and force powers and gun weapons are relatively ignored there as well.

Eventually, like all good Jedi games, you're given the option to turn to the Dark Side. Either way, the ending's pretty good.

Bottom line: Grab this game and have fun.

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Added:  Sunday, January 04, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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