Games, Mechanics and Continuity

Star Wars games have a continuity set in the Expanded Universe.  Some would prefer to assume that they have no canon versions since there are many different endings. There are even some that are determined to believe that game mechanics mean the games contradict any other source and try and use it to give credence to their thinking that the Expanded Universe was all contradictions.

There is no reason the games various endings should be any less fun just because they aren’t the canon version, or why people should get upset that their head canon isn’t true. I’ve played various versions of Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars the Old Republic and Dark Forces.  I have played male and female, aliens, Light Side…in fact I haven’t played Dark Side much at all even when I played a Sith. I have sampled it. I’m just not very good at it.

The default version is that all games, except for the Imperial side in Star Wars the Old Republic, the ending is the Light Side one. This goes back to Star Wars being about light and redemption as George Lucas established.

RevanRevan of Knights of the Old Republic is canonically male. I have played Revan myself as a female and a male, with various faces. The fact that he was a man was established in the novel of the same name by Drew Karparshyn. The version that later appears in Star Wars the Old Republic is as well. There are different romance options (nothing huge) in both. If you play as female you find out Juhani is attracted to you. This is the first attraction between same sexes mentioned in the Star Wars Universe. Whether it was intentional or a game glitch I’m not sure. But in Star Wars The Old Republic MMO, you actually have missions on the Republic side to free him, held by the Sith Emperor’s power for far beyond his normal life span. You are led on this mission in part by the Exile’s Force ghost. The imperial side mission is to kill him. However, mysteriously, you encounter Revan again later, in game. Or is it him, or an imposter?

SPOILERS.
The Emperor’s power weakened Revan in a way that his dark side ‘split’ on death from his light side. His light side joined the Force. His dark side used it’s power to hold on to life, waging war still against everyone. The goal: reawaken the Sith Emperor in physical form so he could be destroyed at last.
SPOILERS.
During the last expansion, you finally face the Sith Emperor in the Spirit Realm in all 3 of his incarnations. Revan joins this battle.

The Exile with Visas MarrThe Exile in Knights of the Old Republic is canonically female. Again this is shown in the Revan novel by Drew Karparshyn as well in Star Wars The Old Republic as a Force ghost.  I haven’t played this one as a male yet at all, but I do plan to eventually.  There is one companion that changes based on male or female playthrough. Also of course the limited romance options do change.

Anakin Skywalker in Clone Wars 2003 for XBoxThe Clone Wars 2003 for XBox is an excellent part of continuity. While the ‘Dooku’ in game is said to be a clone, it ties in with Tales of the Jedi era (and to a lot of other stuff that tie to that.)  The Separatists have found a super weapon of the Ancient Sith War, when Exar Kun and Uliq Qel-Droma battled the Republic. The Jedi have to stop it.  You play as Anakin Skywalker,  where you might find out (as I did) that I’m not nearly the pilot Anakin is!  You interact with a holocron and the spirit of Uliq to get clues on defeating the Dark Reaper, which is powered by the Force Harvester., an ancient Sith artifact.  You start off (as I recall) on Raxus Prime, where you get (unfortunately) captured. From there it’s a race to escape the wookiee moon that the weapon is tested on. Following the trail eventually leads you to the final battle: the Dark Reaper.  It’s a tough fight (which my malfunctioning XBox doesn’t much like now.) This would be set in the same era as the Republic: Clone Wars comic books, while Anakin is still Obi-Wan’s apprentice (and ignoring the disruptive Filoni Clone Wars which came later and blew up the entire timeline.)

Games, Mechanics and ContinuityThe Force Unleashed has you play as Vader’s Secret Apprentice. Code named Starkiller, Galen Marek was taken as a child when his Jedi father was slain.  You get to  play this level as Vader.  From then on, you play as Starkiller.  His powers are literally unleashed and amped up in ways we only saw before in Clone Wars ’03 by Genndy Tartakovsky. The book and comic tie in shows the powers are actually more limited than what we see. For instance:  you don’t actually pull the star destroyer from the sky.  Instead you are steering it down because you can’t get out of the way.  You can at best aim it where you want it to land. It’s a very challenging level even on the easy setting and has led to a lot of frustrated players.  (This is in the PC version.  Console versions tended to have the cut scene instead).  The game mechanics are hyped up. You visit various planets including Raxus Prime (again,  as in the one Anakin visited in Clone Wars.)  Starkiller’s mission isn’t ‘Mary Sue’ as some think.  No one for real would want to be raised as he was, raised by his Father’s killer to be a Sith warrior. One look at the scars reveal a hard life.  Raised in chains by Vader the missions he is sent on are to assassinate Jedi. But along the way Starkiller finds his own path to redemption with the help of his pilot, Juno Eclipse, the Jedi he tried to kill, Kota, and his droid Proxy. But confronting Vader and the Emperor is guaranteed to cost him his life.  Can he (and the player) succeed? While there is an ‘Ultimate Sith” version,  the story where Starkiller is redeemed and becomes a Jedi in the end is the canon one, as evidenced by the tie in media. The story does use ‘The Corellian Treaty” from West End Games Rebel Alliance Sourcebook. Bail Organa, Mon Mothma,  as well as Garm Bel Iblis, first mentioned in the Thrawn trilogy by Zahn appear.

There is some question how the Emperor’s knowledge of Bail’s treason ties in with the Radio drama. In the radio drama, Leia goes on a mercy mission and finds a Rebel hiding from an Imperial takeover. He has critical information about the Death Star. This leads her to another planet which triggers fighting there, then home. At this point, she and Bail invite ‘Lord Tion’ (in charge of the  now occupied world)  to dinner to pump him for information on the Death Star.  Did word not get out yet Bail was a traitor? Possibly. Events were moving very quickly at this point.  Also there is a story that Garm’s family was murdered to stop him speaking out.  How does this tie in?  However, a complicated story is not itself a contradiction.

The Force Unleashed 2:  I have not played this yet.  But I do know Starkiller is reborn, either as a clone or in a completely healed, scar free body.  Unfortunately, since this was supposed to lead to a The Force Unleashed 3, it does leave some loose threads that look like continuity errors. Likely they would’ve been tied up in third game. For one thing the first major victory against the Empire by the Rebellion was getting the Death Star plans. So the idea of a successful raid on Kamino would contradict that. But if that successful raid was part of a trap, if it cost more than they initially thought, that would work fine.  That seems likely to be the case as they literally left Vader a prisoner of the Rebels in this!

dark forces: dark troopersIn Dark Forces you always play as Kyle Katarn, a guy. But his features vary from pixelated beardless face (the first game during briefings) to bearded.  Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire’s artwork in the novella shows him beardless (right after graduating the academy) to bearded (breaking into an Imperial base to steal the Death Star plans.) All games and stories after that show him bearded. While never explicitly stated, one might think a beard a minor detail yet some assume its a contradiction.  Personally I’d say it makes sense that Kyle would grow a beard to go on the mission. He was, as his friend Meck stated in an audio drama, the most famous graduate of their Carida Academy graduating class. The Empire would’ve arrested, if not shot him on the spot. Growing a beard is the least he could do to hide his features. Kyle Katarn’s daring Death Star plan raid is just his first mission. Stopping the production of Dark Troopers is his ongoing quest.

Shadows of the Empire Dash vs Xixor hologramShadows of the Empire is as many know a huge, multimedia event set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Since Han Solo is cooling his heels in bounty hunter hands, a new smuggler is brought in by the name of Dash Rendar. The video game largely centers around Dash.  Tracking down the bounty hunters who have Han is part of his mission. You get to participate in the Battle of Hoth (where he’s smuggling supplies and hops in a snowspeeder), track down bounty hunters, ride a swoop, and finally infiltrate Xixor’s palace.  The game events in general (particularly in the Xixor’s palace) are not specifically the canon version, although some may have happened.  The book focuses on first finding Han, but then a new mystery crops up: someone is trying to kill Luke.  And it isn’t Vader, who has the higher price on hisLuke’s head for live capture only. This ultimately leads to the discovery that it is Black Sun (and only Vader and Xixor know why.)  The infiltration in book is different than in game  (although the game events could’ve happened in most cases and just gone unmentioned.)   The comic book focuses on things from the point of view of the bounty hunters.  That has one minor conflict: where Luke feels it is Vader trying to kill him, whereas in the novel he is sure it isn’t. (Although his angst at the subject of Vader is pretty accurate either way.) I for one found the game very challenging until I invested in a controller.  Dash kept sliding off cliffs until I did so.

Kyle KatarnIn Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, Weegee is being used to attack continuity. Weegee is the droid built by Katarn’s father who decrypted both his father’s message and the map to the Valley of the Jedi. Because Weegee is not seen during the escape from Sulon after Katarn gets the lightsaber from him even the Wookiepedia claims a contradiction that doesn’t exist since the novella Rebel Agent has the droid escorting him out. But in game you can see Weegee (just as the novella states) during a cut scene post the escape.  This is no more a contradiction than the game mechanic that lets one man carry an arsenal without a backpack. You also don’t see his lightsaber, E-11 trooper rifle, Bryar pistol, missile launcher, grenades unless you are using them and those are not considered contradictions.

Mysteries of the Sith expansions ties into the end of Dark Forces 2 and the books via Mara Jade.  It also confirms that the canon version of the main game is Light Side since Kyle is still serving the New Republic. The game is set during the years she is with (possibly leading) the Smuggler Alliance. Interestingly Mara is trusted by Mon Mothma in this, although years later Leia no longer does due to lack of contact. Then again, it wasn’t Mon Mothma’s brother she had a passionate need to shoot, left over from the Emperor’s last psychic message. The game has the same mechanics as Dark Forces 2. (Although the underwater parts are even more difficult) The game is later connected to Star Wars The Old Republic via Dromund Kaas. Even though Mara has some training you are starting from nearly nothing in this game in the Force mechanic department.

Jan Ors in Jedi KnightJedi Outcast picks up where the Mysteries of the Sith leaves off,  with a time gap. Katarn, turned off the Force due to his brush with the Dark Side is back to being a mercenary with Jan Ors. He’s lost many of his skills and the player has to earn them back. This game did not have a novella or audio drama alongside (sadly). It goes perfectly alongside the Jedi Academy trilogy and I,Jedi.  A brief cut scene even mentions the original students helping training the next generation of apprentices. You get to go on a brief tour of the Jedi Academy on Yavin, the same Temple we seen in Star Wars the Old Republic and in the Young Jedi Knights books.

Jedi Academy game with Katarn, Luke Skywalker and Jaden Korr (rodian male version)Jedi Academy (the video game) is the next in line, maintaining continuity with Katarn now the instructor. But you can play as male or female or a several different species. Zabrak, Kel Dor, Twilek, Rodian or human (of course) are available. The canon version is a white male human (I find that rather bland.)  Personally my preference was male Rodian or female Zabrak. I don’t find that affects my game play enjoyment any less just because it isn’t canon to the Expanded Universe. In any case the canon version was established in Riptide and Crosscurrent by Drew Karparshyn. Another neat tie in is that Katarn is acting a bit crazy when you visit Vjun. We also see Vjun in Dark Empire (comics), Junior Jedi Knights: Vader’s Fortress. We even see the statue of Vader, toppled. But most critically we find in Yoda: Dark Rendevouz that an entire family went mad there,  on this Dark Side world long ago. The residual effects are still felt, suggesting why Kyle’s attitude might be a bit off!

These of course are not all the Star Wars video games!  I haven’t had a chance to play them all. Sadly it’s unlikely for some that I ever will. Some just are not working on a modern PC.  (Starfighter is not cooperative with Windows 10).  Some just were made for console. One can’t simply buy console’s willy nilly unless one is rich.  (I would love to play Bounty Hunter. Unless they make a PC port, it’s not happening.) But so far all the games I’ve tried have been part of the Expanded Universe, except of course Lego Star Wars saga which is Infinities.  Rogue Squadron, for instance, takes you from the Battle of Hoth clean up to the Battle of Mon Calamari in Dark Empire comics.

 

 

 

 

Clones & Cloners

In the Star Wars Galaxy, Kaminoans are the most famous cloners but not the only ones.  The Clone Armies of the Republic too, are famous. But again, they are not the only clones.

Clones:

Jango Fett clones:

Republic Commando - Triple Zero Clones

Republic Commando – Triple Zero Clones

While the first clones were born on Kamino and trained by mostly Mandaloreans, later clones were born on Centax 2. The latter were grown using a different method with Spaarti cloning cylinders. They had less physical training and more flash imprinting to get them ready for the job. They were trained differently, without the respect for the Jedi as leaders and even led to believe that Centax 2 was Kamino. This led to the realization by some of the early Mandalorean trainers that the someone in the government was about to pull something, while the Jedi seemed not to notice.  Some of the original clones, resentful of being used as a slave army, realized the threat would affect them as well and deserted. They had the aid of their own trainers as well as a few Jedi who had decided on their own that the Jedi relying on ‘bred for war’ clones was a violation of their beliefs. On their own, these clones sought out a cure for the Kaminoan genetics that sped up their aging for a cure.

Eventually some of the Kaminoans, realizing the Empire were a threat to them, created some of these with loyalties to the Kaminoans. This led to the Imperial Fleet and the Vader’s Fist Imperial 501st to do battle with the Kaminoan clones. It also led to the clones being phased out and different clone ‘templates’ being used for the DNA. The Spaarti method proved to have downsides as well, as the forced speed of growing clones often led to mental instability.

Jango Sources:

Attack of the Clones
Hero of Cartao
– Timothy Zahn, Star Wars Insider 68 Short Story – 2003
Republic Commando – LucasArts Video Game – 2005
Republic Commando Series by Karen Traviss, Del Rey Books -2004
Battlefront 2 – Pandemic Studios & LucasArts Video Game

Morgukai Clones:

The Morgukai Nikto were born and bred to fight Jedi. Their numbers were few, so the Separatists grew clones of them on Saleucami into a Shadow Army. They were stopped by the Republic and Jedi from leaving the planet. They were trained by the Anzati.

Morgukai Sources:

Republic Trackdown – John Ostrander & Duursema, Dark Horse comics
Republic Seige at Saluecami – John Ostrander & Duursema, Dark Horse comics

Starkiller Clone:

Starkiller's Clone

Vader captured by Kota and Starkiller’s Clone in The Force Unleashed 2. This story arc was not given an ending.

Galen Marek was cloned by Vader and the Empire as his secret Apprentice. Until this time, cloning of Force Sensitives had repeatedly failed, always ending with a mentally unstable clone.

Starkiller Sources:

The Force Unleashed 1
Book by Sean Williams – 2008 – Del Rey Books
Graphic Novel by Haden Blackman, Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Wayne Nichols – Dark Horse Comics -2008
Video Game by Lucasarts

The Force Unleashed 2
Book by Sean Williams – 2010 – Del Rey Books
Graphic Novel by Haden Blackman, Omar Francia,  Manuel Silva – Dark Horse Comics 2010
Video Game by Lucasarts – 2010

Thrawn clones:

Thrawn had himself cloned in case anything happened to him, with the goal of defending the Empire from threats in the Unknown Regions. The timer was set to not release the clone unless the timer ticked down 10 years.

Mount Tantiss Clones: Thrawn chose the best of his troops for the Mount Tantiss cloning project, in order to have a ready made fleet for his captured Katana fleet. This would have proven a huge threat the New Republic but for his error in relying on his ability to control the discovered clone of Jedi Joruus C’baoth, who subverted his efforts by easily breaking the mind’s of the clone templates. Ultimately the entire cloning chamber was destroyed by a New Republic strike team.

Thrawn’s Jedi Clones:  Thrawn’s purpose for these is as yet unknown. However Jaden Korr discovered Clones that apparently combined Palpatine’s Sith DNA with those of numerous Jedi of the new Order, including Kam Solusar, Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn and others. It’s unknown how he got all of this DNA, though some was certainly from former Imperials. Katarn, Mara and Solusar had once served the Empire. These clones proved to have a serious genetic illness. They also proved mentally unstable, killing the scientist who created them.

Thrawn Sources:

Dark Force Rising – Timothy Zahn – Bantam Books 1992
The Last Command
– Timothy Zahn – Bantam Books 1993
Vision of the Future
– Timothy Zahn – Bantam Books – 2013
Crosscurrent – Paul S. Kemp – Del Rey Books – 2010
Riptide – Paul S. Kemp – Del Rey Books – 2011

The Emperor’s Clones:

Emperor Palpatine discovered how to clone Force sensitives with Vader’s experiments using Starkiller, along with his own Master Darth Plagueis’ training. The ability for the Sith to transfer their spirit to another had originally been lost, but he reclaimed that knowledge from a Jedi called Ashka Boda and a Jedi holocron. Using the cloning, he planned to ‘jump’ to a new body when the old wore out or was damaged. This was foiled by treacherous doctor’s paid off to sabotage the clone DNA as well as Luke Skywalker destroying the inactive clones.

Emperor’s Sources:

Dark Empire – Tom Veitch & Cam Kennedy, Dark Horse comics – 1991
Crimson Empire – Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley, Paul Gulacy – Dark Horse Comics, 1997
Crimson Empire 2 –  Mike Richardson,  Randy Stradley, Paul Gulacy -Dark Horse Comics, 1998

Khommites

Khommites froze their culture at the level they felt was ‘perfect’ by using cloning. Rather than procreate as other species, each individual was cloned and trained by their predecessor. They were differentiated by a number. Rarely did things change, even under the Empire.  However a massive change occurred when Dorsk 81 found that he was Force Sensitive and went off to become a Jedi. He successor also followed in his wake. Khomm civilization received a serious cultural blow when the Imperial Remnant led by Admiral Daala attacked their world, causing damage to the cloning facilities and stored clone DNA.

Khomm Sources:

Jedi Academy Trilogy – Kevin J. Anderson – Bantam books – 1994
Dark Saber – Kevin J. Anderson – Bantam books – 1995

 

Ultimately, cloning is a complicated business in any galaxy. Cloning a person has moral implications that in all probability, they will question if misused. Cloning for slave labors doesn’t mean they are not sentient with rights, intelligence and feelings. The Kaminoans also bred the shovel handed miner slaves of Subterrel, they had no ‘moral’ problems as they considered all species but their own inferior. Using cloning even to clone oneself has problems as well. For what if your ‘double’ does not wish to be a true duplicate? And basing an entire culture and society on cloning risks stagnation, which will be threatened when the unexpected (such as Imperial attack or unavoidable natural disaster) occur. The expedience of using a mysterious clone army nearly brought about the end of the Jedi Order in the prequels. The blind belief that paid for Kaminoan scientists would never question the danger to themselves caused the clone on clone battle for Kamino.

 

 

 

Jedi Academy Game Review & Continuity

The Jedi Academy Game is a tie in that goes in all directions. By this I mean previous games, comics and books, as well as those that come after. For that alone I would love it. I also find it most helpful in that I had previously been stuck on Jedi Outcast. After playing this I found it gave me skills I needed to succeed at the earlier game.

Released the year after Attack of the Clones, it is a follow up on the popular ‘Dark Forces’ series. In this game, instead of playing Kyle Katarn, you play his apprentice, Jaden Korr. As you work up through the levels, you start out choosing whether to play male or female from 4 species and what styles to wear. You also get to choose from different lightsaber hilts.

Jedi Academy Player Character Options

Jedi Academy Player Character Options

The opening encounter introduces Rosh Penin, a fellow student and involves a shuttle crash onto the Yavin moon. We quickly find trouble at work in the form of Imperial allies who have dark Jedi companions. This sets the story for the game.  We also learn Jaden does already have at least some skill in the Force: already has built a lightsaber with no training.

The very important detail to continuity comes in the form of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker assigning students to teachers. He explains that the ‘old’ Jedi Order kept it one on one, but they did not yet have enough Jedi for that. This explains that this is not a contradiction with the Phantom  Menace and Attack of the Clones, (Revenge of the Sith wasn’t out yet) but a natural result of a decimated order. As he assigns students to teachers, familiar names from the Jedi Academy books are among them.

Jedi Academy Temple Training Area

Jedi Academy Temple Training Area

The first level is an awesome tie in  level. Jaden gets to run through the Yavin Academy and solve puzzles as the player learn about using the Force and the lightsaber. We get the basics immediately: push, pull, speed, jump. Some of this scenery we experienced in Jedi Outcast. And previously we had to earn (or re-earn) those powers. But it also ties in to other stories. This is what Jaina, Jacen, Anakin Solo and their friends would’ve gone through between scenes of the Young Jedi Knights and Junior Jedi Knights books.

Having warmed up, we are now ready to take on missions. We get to choose our weapons and which Force powers to boost first. Here we get to choose which order they come in. On one, we get to team up with Chewbacca. Some of the missions are just good deeds, others are a quest to find out why the Empire was sneaking around Yavin 4. We meet sandpeople, jawas, pirates and (of course) imperials.

Tie ins in the first set of missions:  (Jedi Initate)

Emergency Assistance – Bakura: is set on the world introduced in the Truce of Bakura by Kathy Tyers, first novel after the Thrawn trilogy.

Cult Investigation – Corellia: We’ve long heard Han Solo was Corellian, but the movies never showed it. It has popped up in Rogue Leader & X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics, I,Jedi and the Corellian trilogy novels. It is a hotspot in the Legacy of the Force novel series. We admittedly don’t see much outside of the flying tram.

Nod to another franchise:
Merchant Rescue – Blanjeel was inspired apparently by the Dune series.

Tie ins in the second set of missions: (Jedi Apprentice)

Jedi Academy Video Game - Vader's Stature on Vjun

Jedi Academy Video Game – Vader’s Stature on Vjun

Vjun – Exterior / Vjun – Castle Basement / Vjun – Vader’s Castle : the planet Vjun was first revealed in Dark Empire 2 comics and visited by Anakin Solo in Junior Jedi Knights, Vader’s Fortress. The planet was also base to Dooku in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.

Now we need to choose whether to add a new style of lightsaber combat. Or we can choose to stick with what we got but choose duel lightsabers (pick your hilts and colors) like Anakin used in Attack of the Clones, or a double bladed saber, such as introduced by Exar Kun and later used by Darth Maul as well as Bastila Shan.

Tie ins in the third set of missions: (Jedi Knight)

Dismantle Device – Yalara – This level features the Noghri, made famous in the Thrawn trilogy. These noghri have been out of touch for awhile. They are not allies, even though they are fighting Imperials and will attack with poison gas.

Force Theft Investigation – Byss :  The planet Byss was first revealed in Dark Empire comics. It was destroyed in Empire’s End comics. It is the destroyed system that is visited in the game.

Taspir (which is all new) is where you are faced with the test of rescuing Rosh Penin, fellow student who (apparently) was captured and turned. At this point you have to choose whether to forgive him (and stay in the light) or kill him (and go to the Dark side.)

marka-ragnos-ghost

Korriban, Tomb of Marka Ragnos. He was first introduced in Golden Age of the Sith by Dark Horse Comics

Korriban – Catacombs / Korriban – Valley of the Dark Lords  : Korriban first appears in Tales of the Jedi,  comics. It reappears in Empire’s End (comics),  Knights of the Old Republic (game and comics), The Old Republic (game and comics), Legacy of the Force, Fate of the Jedi, Jedi Quest: The Final Showdown,Crosscurrent and Riptide (both of the latter starring Jaden Korr).

Somewhere in the third set of missions you have to choose to stay a Jedi of the Light or fall to the Dark Side.

For a real walkthrough, Check out this Gamespot article.

Jaden Korr - canon version

Jaden Korr – canon version as he is described in the books.

Each video game has one ending which is considered canon. In this case, it’s the light side ending. While Jaden Korr can be played with various options, the canon version is a white human male since that is ow he appears in the follow up books Riptide and Crosscurrent. (Which is a bit disappointing to me, given how many other options there were.)