The year was 1997, and my Star Wars obsession was in full force. The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition was released in a VHS boxset, the original trilogy was being shown in theatres, and a game called Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II had just been released.
Taking place a year after the events of Return of the Jedi, and acting as a sequel to the 1995 PC game Dark Forces, Jedi Knight placed you in the role of Kyle Katarn, a mercenary who finds out his father was killed by the Dark Jedi Jerec. Returning to your family home, you recover a message and lightsaber from the family droid, which compels you to undertake a journey to confront your father’s murderer and discover your own force abilities.
To say the game captured my Star Wars obsessed mind would be an understatement. This was a time before 1999, where Star Wars tie-ins weren’t the overwhelming norm they are today. Episode 1-3 had yet to be released, there were no plethora of Saturday morning cartoons to keep my obsession at bay. I had the books, yes, but I wanted more, and Jedi Knight was there to fill that void.
For the first time in my life, I felt as if I were truly experiencing Star Wars. Wielding a lightsaber, battling through waves of Gamorreans and Storm Troopers, and being able to fire a blaster pistol at a Viper Probe Droid were all part of the Star Wars staples I so desperately craved. It was everything I had dreamed of, and everything I had wanted up to that point…
I was nine then, and Star Wars doesn’t quite have the same effect on me now. I’ve stopped reading the books, become jaded by the prequels, and have generally accepted that Return of the Jedi is not the pinnacle of filmmaking I once thought it was. It’s not even the best Star Wars movie, by a long shot. But there was a time in my childhood where my heroic deeds were accompanied by the scoring of John Williams, and looking back at that, I see no reason to complain.