Released in early 1998 by LucasArts Entertainment, who was responsible for both developing and publishing the game, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith is the first and only expansion pack for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, a critically acclaimed 1997 PC first-person shooter set in George Lucas' Star Wars universe. Its major features include a new fourteen-mission single-player campaign as well as more than a dozen new multiplayer maps. These new levels are also accompanied by a number of gameplay changes, including new weapons, Force powers, and enemies. The single-player portion of the game picks up some five years after the events of Jedi Knight, allowing players to assume the role of Kyle Katarn once again while later shifting its focus to the actions of his apprentice Mara Jade, a popular Expanded Universe character who was adapted to the game from a series of novels by author Timothy Zahn. In addition to new game content, a number of other enhancements were made to the underlying Sith engine that powered both Mysteries of the Sith and its predecessor, such as the introduction of colored lighting and various improvements to enemy artificial intelligence. It enjoyed a fairly positive reception upon its release, though it frequently scored lower than its predecessor did.
The events of Mysteries of the Sith take place roughly five years after the storyline depicted in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, and assume that the protagonist of that game, Kyle Katarn, followed the path of the Jedi rather than giving in to the dark side. Unlike Dark Forces II, which presented its story as a single unbroken narrative, Mysteries of the Sith is broken into four distinct chapters consisting of three to four missions apiece, with each of these chapters possessing an overarching goal. As the game begins, Kyle is now shown to be strong enough in the Force that he has begun to mentor another, the former Emperor's Hand, Mara Jade. The two are training with one another at a New Republic base on Altyr V when it is unexpectedly attacked by Imperial forces. After he and Mara contribute to the base's defense, Kyle steals an Imperial shuttle and uses it to infiltrate one of two weaponized asteroids that the Empire has situated over Altyr V in order to bombard it. Katarn redirects the first asteroid's weapon system in order to destroy the second, and shortly thereafter sabotages the remaining asteroid's cooling system, causing it to self destruct. Content that the personnel on Altyr are now safe to evacuate, Kyle returns to the planet, but not before obtaining information pertaining to a hidden temple on Dromund Kaas. Convinced that this is important intelligence that the Empire had wanted to keep hidden, Katarn parts ways with Mara at this juncture in order to further investigate Dromund Kaas.
After Kyle departs, the game shifts focus to Mara Jade, who begins to take on assignments in order to aid the New Republic. Her first mission is to convince Ka'Pa the Hutt to contribute material supplies to the New Republic, as they are desperately in need of them. Though Ka'Pa initially refuses to meet with Mara, being wary of what happened to Jabba the Hutt at the hands of a Jedi, when Mara infiltrates his palace and confronts him he agrees to aid the New Republic if she can retrieve a surveillance device from one of his competitors, Takara. Though briefly captured by one of Takara's associates, Mara is ultimately able to recover Ka'Pa's surveillance device and return it to him. Not long thereafter, Mara is caught up in a pirate attack on a New Republic ship, and is forced to track down and return an important Jedi Holocron stolen by a pirate lord known as Kaerobani. After doing so, Mara becomes concerned that she has not heard from Kyle in some time, and resolves to investigate Dromund Kaas herself. After a brief investigation of the planet, it becomes clear that Kyle is still there, and has fallen under the influence of the dark energies emanating from a Sith temple on the planet's surface. Katarn tries to seduce Mara, telling her to give herself over to the dark side, though Mara steadfastly refuses, all the while continuing to follow Kyle deeper into the temple. In their final confrontation, Mara deactivates her lightsaber even as Kyle threatens to end her life if she does not abandon the ways of the Jedi. Seeing that Mara refuses to fight him, Kyle realizes that he does not actually want to kill her, and returns to his senses.
See also: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
Gameplay in Mysteries of the Sith is, for the most part, identical to that of Jedi Knight. Players progress through a linear set of levels from a first-person or third-person perspective, using weapons and Force powers they acquire along the way to overcome various enemies and obstacles. Missions generally have multiple objectives that must be completed in order to progress from one level to the next, as well as hidden areas that can be sought out for useful items and power-ups. Mysteries of the Sith incorporates a number of new enemies (including Noghri, Wampas, and a Rancor, among others) as well as several new weapons and Force powers. Enemy artificial intellegence has been enhanced in some areas, and the game also introduces friendly NPCs that may aid the player in fighting enemies. In terms of structure, Mysteries of the Sith omits the morality scale and branching story paths of Jedi Knight's single-player campaign. The player is likewise never assigned a Force alignment, as happened in the original game, and thus can use both light and dark Force powers with impunity throughout the game. The game's system for assigning Force powers has been overhauled as well, allowing players to assign points in a finite number of abilities for each of the game's four tiers.
A number of significant alterations were made to Jedi Knight's multiplayer with Myesteries of the Sith, with the most noticeable being a large number of new maps. A new gameplay mode was added called "Kill the Fool With the Ysalamiri," which is essentially a King of the Hill variant requiring players to hold onto a Force-neutralizing creature for as long as they can while other players try to take it away from them. Mysteries of the Sith also allows players to select different "personalities" when creating a multiplayer character (i.e., Bounty Hunter, Jedi Knight, Scout, or Soldier), which affects what weapons and Force powers they will start with; normal character creation as it existed in Jedi Knight is still an option, though. Lastly, Mysteries of the Sith also contains a small subset of maps that do not allow any weapons to be used other than the lightsaber.
Mysteries of the Sith contains all ten of the weapons originally featured in Jedi Knight, but also adds half a dozen new weapons into the mix. Some of these are simply alterations made to existing weapons, though others of them are entirely new. Due to the increased number of weapons, armaments of a similar type are grouped to the same hotkey. Melee weapons, for instance (i.e., fists and the lightsaber), are both bound to the same key, as are Thermal Detonators and Flash Grenades. In cases where a hotkey is assigned to more than one weapon, the player can cycle between the two by pressing the associated key more than once.
Blastech DL-44 Pistol
- Hotkey: 2
- Ammo: Energy Units
The preferred sidearm for many smugglers and pirates, the Blastech DL-44 is a relatively powerful gun in a fairly compact package. It is comparably to Kyle Katarn's Bryar Pistol in many respects, including its accuracy at long ranges and comparatively slow rate of fire. Its main advantage over the Bryar Pistol is that its shot can be charged up before release in order to do even greater damage.
- Hotkey: 3
- Ammo: Energy Units
The Electroscope is an attachment for the standard Stormtrooper Rifle that allows the weapon to be used as a sniper rifle of sorts. This increases the versatility of the Stormtrooper Rifle significantly, as it is quite inaccurate in its main mode. Bolts fired while zoomed are more powerful, but expend twice as much ammo. The scope can also be toggled to zoom in even further when passing over viable targets.
A Flash Grenade can be charged and thrown as a Thermal Detonator would, but unlike the Thermal Detonator its main effect is non-lethal. A person standing close to a Flash Grenade when it goes off may take a modest amount of damage, but more importantly they will be blinded by the flash of the explosion. The Flash Grenade has only one firing method, which is a timed detonation.
Seeker Rail Detonator
- Hotkey: 7
- Ammo: Seeker Rail Charges
The Seeker Rail Detonator, not surprisingly, operates much like the Rail Detonator of Jedi Knight, and in truth the only discernible difference between the two is the manner of ordinance they use. Seeker Rails have the ability to home in on enemies in a surprisingly accurate fashion, though they do not have an option for delayed detonation as normal Rail Charges do, instead simply exploding on impact.
Manual Sequencer Charge
The Manual Sequencer Charge is essentially a third firing mode for the Sequencer Charges of Jedi Knight. Whereas Dark Forces II only allowed set fuse and proximity detonation, Mysteries of the Sith allows the player to trigger Sequencer Charges manually. The player may place a single or multiple charges by using the primary fire button, which can be detonated afterwards with the secondary key.
The Carbonite Gun is a unique armament that can be used to trap enemies in carbonite, leaving them defenseless against further attacks. The primary fire of the Carbonite Gun emits a stream of carbonite that will freeze a character in place with sufficient exposure. The secondary attack is a quick swing of the gun butt, which is intended to shatter an opponent that has been encased in carbonite.
New Force Powers
Mysteries of the Sith incorporates five new Force powers and all of the old Force powers from Jedi Knight save for Force Throw and Force Lightning. The latter has been replaced by Force Chain Lightning, while the most direct equivalent to the former is Force Push, which affects enemies rather than objects in the environment. In single-player, Force powers are acquired by spending star points that are acquired by completing levels and finding all secrets within a given level. New tiers of Force powers are unlocked as the player grows in strength, though players are also restricted in how many abilities from each tier they may invest in.
Force ProjectionThrough clever manipulation of the Force, a Jedi is able to create an illusory projection of their own body which may fool those without the means to dispel such a decption. This is primarily useful as a decoy, especially in cases where a player wishes to sneak by or attack from another direction. Greater ability in Force Projection increases its duration.
Force PushThe Force Push ability allows its user to propel others away from them using the Force. While this ability does not cause damage in and of itself, there are a number of situations where the victim of Force Push may be damaged or even killed by it. This includes instances where a player is hurled forcefully into a solid object or off of a precipice to their doom.
Force Saber ThrowBy employing the Saber Throw technique, a Jedi can throw their lightsaber over great distances, causing damage to any creature or person it strikes. The saber will fly in a straight line depending on the player's facing when the skill is activated, and afterwards it will return to the player automatically. Higher ranks in Saber Throw reduce its energy consumption.
Force Far SightA type of Force-centric surveillance, Force Far Sight allows a Jedi to have an out-of-body experience. While engaged in Force Far Sight, a player can explore their immediate surroundings while their physical body remains stationary, giving them much-needed intelligence without placing them in peril. Higher skill levels reduce its rate of Force consumption.
Force Chain LightningForce Chain Lightning is similar in nature to the Force Lightning abilty of Dark Forces II, but a number of improvements have been made to make it more useful. First and foremost, it is now a targeted ability, allowing its user to select a specific victim rather than having to line them up. It may also jump to other nearby targets, causing even greater damage.
Mysteries of the Sith was fairly well-received upon its release in 1998, with most reviewers coming to the conclusion that it was a more-than-suitable follow-up to the original game. At the same time, many critics acknowledged that it had less of an impact than Dark Forces II, though a few, such as the Adrenaline Vault's Emil Pagliarulo, made the case that it was an even stronger game than Jedi Knight. The new weapons, enemies, and Force powers generally met with positive comments, however the game's presentation did not emerge unscathed. Michael E. Ryan of GameSpot complained of poor texture quality and effects in some areas, while Joel Durham of PC Gamer criticized the designers for overusing the newly-implemented colored lighting feature. The level design was also put under some amount of scrutiny. Ryan found the level design of much of the game to be "rather plain," while Durham felt that some of Mysteries' levels relied too heavily on puzzles. Several reviewers noted improvements in the game's artificial intelligence and multiplayer, and overall the game was viewed as a successful expansion to Jedi Knight.