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Lit The 181st Discussion Group: Dark Forces! Bonus Level Unlocked: Jedi vs. Sith!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by RC-1991, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    Hi, so, since this thread debuted the day before the move, I'm taking the initiative and reposting it to the real boards. Here is @Grey1's introduction:

    Two words: Kyle Katarn.

    Welcome to another month of discussion. This time around, we have retrieved something that doesn't get found as often as the Death Star plans: The Dark Forces novellas by William C. Dietz. Soldier of the Empire, Rebel Agent, Jedi Knight. I don't know how you feel about this, but the game Jedi Knight is one of my most treasured EU memories from the precious time before the prequels came out. And if I need to say more... Kyle Katarn.

    So, we're going to do one novella per week, starting with Soldier of the Empire, of course.

    I'll try something new by just throwing a few keywords out there for you to decide what you want to discuss:

    - Dietz's quality as an author?

    - Kyle as a character? All the other characters like Jan or Jerec?

    - Life as a soldier of the Empire?

    - Dark Forces - the game and how it is worked into the novella?

    - The backstory for the two games that's given here?

    - Captain Thrawn?

    Off we go! Next month: Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon.​
  2. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    And, while I'm here, I might as well go ahead and repost my reactions to the the first half of the Soldier for the Empire audtio drama. Which, of course, is cheesy awesome.

    Alright, I've started the Radio Drama (Soldier for the Empire). I haven't actually read the novellas, so bear with me.

    Morgan narrates the first few minutes, and gets in an argument with the local Rebel leader over Kyle being a stormie.

    -Sounds like Jerec was present for the raid on Sulon. I probably knew this already, it's just been a while since I played Jedi Knight.

    - yep, Thrawn is getting name-dropped. Bit of casual xenophobia dropped right around here, which is about par for the Empire at this point ("I joined the Imperial Navy because I thought it was all humans").

    -"I hear [Jerec] is one of the Emperor's Dark Jedis (sic)". Interesting that this is mentioned. Obviously Vader's Force abilities were common knowledge- at least within the military- but was it well-known that Palpatine had a stable of Dark Side Adepts? I'm asking because the crewers talking about this don't seem to be high-ranking officers who would be in the know.

    -In reference to Thrawn's blue skin and Jerec's all-black wardrobe: "Between the two of them, they're leaving us black and blue! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" I lol'ed, despite myself.

    -Ah, so Thrawn seems to be in command of this raid. Here he's reprimanding the jolly naval officers. They left the comm channel open, so Thrawn heard all of their jokes. Stay classy, ISD Vengeance.

    -Canon tidbit for Fleet Junkies to fight over- Vengeance apparently has 50 Turbolaser batteries and 5 TIE Fighter (I'm assuming TIE/ln, due to timeline and lack of input elsewise) Squadrons.

    -Thrawn does not care about the joker's "petty bigotry", as long as the officer continues to achieve discernible results.

    -Nevermind, Thrawn is subordinate to Jerec, who is now patronizing Thrawn over the exchange with the racist officer. Thrawn shrugs it off in his inflappable way. I can already tell that Jerec is going to be a cartoon villain, which in this case is fine with me. Also, he's praising Thrawn as being pure calculation, no ego.

    -And Jerec is trying to recruit Thrawn to support him should he try to supplant the Emperor. Thrawn angers him ("MIND YOUR PLACE YOU BLUE-SKINNED FOOL!") by reminding Jerec that the Emperor commands plenty of Force-users. So that's consistent with what we knew of Thrawn by this point.

    -Rebel insignias have been affixed to the hulls of the shuttles... Oh, now I remember, this is a false-flag attack. Also, Jerec wants Morgan Katarn... alive.

    -And now it cuts back to Morgan's narration. The framing device is Morgan making a recording of the assault and its aftermath to galvanize resistance to the Empire.

    -the sound effects for the attack shuttle are identical to a TIE Fighter's cannons.

    -It's probably not the best idea to arm your "Rebels" with state-of-the-art Imperial weapons. And at least hire a few alien bounty hunters so your Rebels don't look like clones. C'mon, Jerec, this is like Villainy 101. I bet you're going to tell Kyle exactly how to kill you, aren't you?

    -So how does Jerec know that Morgan is Force-sensitive? AFAIK he has never met Katarn before, and it's not like Jerec is a Vader-level demigod who could sense a Force-sensitive from lightyears away.

    -Never mind, Jerec can sense him from orbit. Thrawn just kind of give's Jerec his equivalent of "whatever, bro".

    -"It's time to stand up and show other sectors in the Rebellion what we can do!" Yeah! Go Settlers! You totally aren't going to die in the next 20 minutes of audio!

    -So the colonists think that this whole raid is an extortion scheme to force them to buy a fusion reactor from the Empire by destroying their geothermal tap. I guess Imperial captains get bored out in the Brema sector? "Hey Frank, it's been a few weeks since we massacred a civilian populace. I'm bored. Let's branch into extortion!"

    -Morgan points out that this is ridiculous, and that the Empire is probably more concerned with their Rebel activity than whether or not they are buying a generator at 70% markup.

    -"The argument went on for 4 hours, but Skorg and Jamison's side won out. The Rebels voted for war". Kind of sounds like the JC Boards, except change hours to years. We managed to agree on Executor lengths, right? Right?

    -"They came at us with AT-ATs and assault shuttles, but disguised as Rebels". Since when do Rebel groups have the capacity to field AT-ATs? You're really dropping the ball here, Jerec. Although I suppose you can't even see the ball in the first place. 8-}

    -"Freeze, Rebel Scum!" Jerec, this is getting embarrassing. Rebels don't use the phrase "Rebel Scum". Also, the heroic resistance on Sulon lasted all of 30 seconds, apparently. Uh-oh, they captured MOrgan!

    -Apparently stun bolts cause mild radiation sickness. The ACLU could have a field day with the Empire. Also, if this ends up reading a bit like @Havac's "We Hav to Take a Trip With Jacen Solo" thread, well, it's probably intentional.

    -And Morgan Katarn has broken ribs from where he was kicked repeatedly by Jerec's "overeager subordinates". Standard Operating Procedure aboard the ISD Vengeance, I assume.

    -Jerec advises Morgan to talk before he tortures him. Morgan spits in Jerec's face. Moral victory. Though that's not saying much with an opponent like jerk Jerec.

    -"A Gamorrean Princess delivers my orders every morning. She lives under my barn! You'd like it there!"

    -"Very well. If you will not use your head Katarn, then I WILL-VRRRRRRRRRM". Ah yes, I seem to remember Jerec having a thing for decapitations. I suppose Vader already called dibs on the collapsing trachea. Also, this makes the comment at 15:50 Morgan Katarn's last words.

    -And now Jerec is ordering Thrawn to mount Lord Eddard Morgan Katarn's head on a pike in Sulon Spaceport.

    -Jerec: "What was Katarn's son's name?" Odom "Kyle! Kyle! Over here!"

    -Kyle's voice actor is clearly not whoever portrayed him in Jedi Knight. UNACCEPTABLE, RADIO DRAMA. UNACCEPTABLE.

    -Kyle begins to tell Odom about his senior mission. Question for those who read the novella: did Kyle narrate the mission to Odom, or was the raid itself depicted in real-time? Just curious.

    -Sergeant-Major: "Only good Rebel is a dead Rebel".

    -The Rebels are trying to set up an illegal broadcast station on an asteroid. Reminds me of CIA broadcasts into the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Also, Megaupload.

    -And the raid turns into an ambush. Note that earlier, the Sergeant-Major warned Kyle of how tenacious the Rebel fighters were.

    -Kyle's very first kill is some Rebel woman who runs screaming at him with a vibro-axe. This reminds me of this one time I was playing Shogun II: Total War online, and I was commanding a Sengoku-era army against a Boshin War-era army. My army was primarily Katana Samurai, and my opponent was using primarily Black Bear Infantry. Out of my entire army, one entire company managed to close to melee range. The rest were slaughtered.

    -"Make them eat Lasers!!!" I love this Radio Drama.

    -Kyle has a hunch to use life-support. And now a cave-in. Force Sensitive FTW.

    -"Blow the thing to Dantooine!"

    -SOP says execute all prisoners?

    -And Kyle first notices Jan. There's a great story to tell the grandkids. "Kids, I interrogated your grandmother the first time we met. It was surprisingly romantic."

    -Sar-Major is getting increasingly ticked that Kyle won't let him shoot the prisoners. Obviously he's only upset because it's the SOP.

    -"Kyle, I can't believe that story!"

    -General Mohc is commandant of the Academy. I bet Jerec is going to be at the graduation ceremony (caveat: I have listened to these before, it's just that it's been a good 7 months or so).

    -Odom studied with the B'Omarr monks? I guess they didn't have many Star Wars religions to go with at the time? I mean, this sounds vaguely funny, but it also makes me wonder.

    -Kyle's head still feels like the entire Imperial Navy was using it for target practice. So... combat trauma, or hangover?

    -Derra IV just got name-dropped. Some cadet's father is the governor's understudy/stunt double or something like that.

    -Rumor has it that Kyle Katarn killed 436 Rebels during the Asteroid Raid! I see that the EU is making Kyle Katarn jokes... well, even before people started making Chuck Norris jokes. Rumor also has it that under Kyle Katarn's beard lies not his chin, but another Bryar Pistol.

    -500,000 credits per cadet? This makes tuition at WVU sound like chump change.

    -"It's hotter than Nkllon!" I guess there was a rather small pool of planet names to draw from for random phrases at this point in the EU.

    -Jerec makes Kyle's blood run cold. Jerec is eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil.

    -Kyle comes across as a pretty conscientious soldier. Clearly his dad's ideals had an impact on him- wanting him to get an education, rather than be a warrior.

    -Jerec gives Kyle a speech on power. How ominous. "Wear this medal as a reminder of our meeting." As the Emperor's theme plays in the background.

    -Out-of-context quote for the day: "Jerec touched me. It's like an energy is surging through me... not from him, but from inside me."

    -Getting touched by Jerec apparently causes one's ears to experience heightened sensitivity.


    -Wait, I thought Jan was captured by the Empire. How is she back out in the field? Is this explained in the novella itself?

    -Kyle's quarters are near the sublight engines. Steerage?

    -"Everything you need is right at your fingertips." "That's because I can stand in the middle and touch all four walls!"
    Yeah, I can see why Odom complained about Kyle's corny humor.

    -The background alien noises for the Observation deck scene are taken straight from the Mos Eisley cantina, I kid you not.


    -Lando is just a businessman, guys. Those drug accusations are UNFOUNDED.

    -And of course, Lando is a lady's man. By "scenery" he means "those two stunning creatures over there".

    -Oh, the annoying Core Worlder is on this cruise? I feel your pain, Kyle.

    -Candied insects are a Kubaz delicacy. Governor Donar of Derra IV loves them.

    -"The Emperor has something special in store for the Rebel Alliance". Isn't this almost word-for-word from RotJ?

    -That Calrissian knows his way around a sabacc table.

    -Kyle, stalking girls is frowned upon.

    -Rodians have a smoker's rasp and smell, apparently.

    -I'd like to make a note here that Kyle's narration/internal monologue reminds me a lot of Boba Fett in the Shadows of the Empire comic, only Kyle's narration isn't out of character (Fett has more lines in that comic than in the REST OF THE EU).

    -"Thanks for the shove, let me return the FAVOR!" PUNCH
    "You call those punches? What do they teach you officer types in the Empire?" PUNCH
    "To fight dirty!" PUNCH

    -This whole conversation between Kyle, Jan, and belligerent Rebel is rather amicable, considering how gung-ho Kyle was about killing Rebels after he heard about the Sulon raid. If Unnamed Belligerent Rebel/Rusty Galloway wasn't making death threats/chaperoning, Kyle and Jan would probably be at first base already.

    -Kyle's right to know the truth is what the Rebellion is about, apparently.

    -Rebel operatives often disguise themselves as reporters, apparently.

    -And of course Kyle notices that A) The "Rebels" in the recording have an AT-AT, and B) that Rebel insignia was clearly slapped on about 5 minutes beforehand. SEE WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT, JEREC? PEOPLE NOTICE THESE KINDS OF THINGS.

    -And the "Rebel" troops are moving in standard Imperial formation. See, Jerec, this is why the Emperor doesn't trust you. No wonder you ended up with the SSD-on-a-budget.

    -You can't handle the truth, Kyle!

    -And now Kyle sees his father's head on the wall. That's pretty rough.


    -And a Rebel was born today.

    I've tried to convey how cheesy this audio drama is, but you really need to experience it for yourselves. Thrawn is basically a namedrop- his role could have been taken by any Imperial officer- but I would say that his portrayal fits pretty well with his established characterization. Retcon time: Thrawn doesn't think very highly of Jerec's little displays of Force powers because he has already seen far more impressive/terrifying displays- remember when C'Baoth strangled him during Outbound Flight? I like the lampshading they did with the rumors about Kyle killing 436 Rebels at the asteroid. I find it very interesting that Kyle doesn't exhibit any sort of tendency towards revenge when he encounters Jan on the Queen of Empire- like I said earlier, his dad was just supposedly killed by Rebels, yet he wants to have an amicable conversation with Jan. There's some interesting information about Stormtrooper operating procedures in this novella/radio drama, though I do have to question whether executing all prisoners is SOP- granted, there were 15 prisoners and 7 stormtroopers. Jerec is a cartoon villain who rivals Malak, yet I don't feel that we really expected that much from him. Incredibly incompetent, though. Seriously, that has to be the sloppiest false-flag operation that I have ever seen.

    Tomorrow Today I'll listen to part two of Soldier for the Empire, and post my reactions.
    Gorefiend, Esg, Grey1 and 1 other person like this.
  3. Inblackestnight

    Inblackestnight Jedi Padawan star 1

    Jan 26, 2012
    I admit that I only skimmed your second post RC but I have followed the character of Kyle Katarn for a time and enjoy his exploits much more than many other secondary characters of similar status. Thanks for all the info!
  4. A Tool

    A Tool Jedi Padawan star 1

    Sep 2, 2012
    I liked The Room reference. :p
  5. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    I was hoping someone would get the reference :p
  6. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
  7. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Well, I didn't get the memo, so I didn't save what was already posted... I hope we'll get around to include the most of that again. I think Erich and me were the only who'd written longer comments?

    Thanks for the start up, RC, and thanks for this... jewel of audio entertainment. ;) Actually, it's quite interesting as a lot of the pre-Kyle stuff isn't in the book. The stuff after that... I guess it's played out more, but there's apparently no new scenes. Was the audio play written entirely by Dietz, or was it someone else's adaptation/enhancement of the book?

    Let's talk about Thrawn for a minute, because I think this is pretty interesting in your version. The novel just has him as a pretty spineless, submissive alien. This might be seen as Thrawn laying low until he's on top of the food chain, and it might even show his blind loyalty to the idea of the Empire (giving him a reason to raise hell on the New Republic once he's back with a vengeance). It is, however, stated as Thrawn's actual personality, and as I mused back when this was in the temporary forum: Zahn probably didn't even know of this portrayal, and if he did, he probably dismissed it right away. So it's funny to see the audio play get his character right... or at least 'more right'.

    BTW, I had the same thought about Lando's droid, but the timing is way off, isn't it? Not spoiling too much of our december discussion... ;)
  8. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    I get the impression that Thrawn was just humoring Jerec, and that he was already friendly with Palpatine at this point- after all, it was Palps himself (in Sidious form) who recruited him to his cause 25 years ago. Thrawn's clearly not intimidated by Jerec; he's pretty unflappable in the one scene that he stars in. So yeah, they actually got Thrawn down pretty well.

    Re: the adaptation itself, it was adapted by John Whitman from Dietz's novels. I'll listen to and post about part 2 later, but I'd like to reiterate how steamed I am that they didn't have the Kyle actor from JK voice Kyle. "The dark side? I've been there. Do your worst!"
  9. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    Alright, this will probably be a double post, but heck- it's time for more cheesy goodness from Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire- the Radio Drama!

    When we last left our intrepid protagonist, he had just learned that the Empire- not the Rebels- had killed his father.

    -Opening crawl as is contactually required for any Star Wars media that isn't a novel or comic, yadda yadda yadda, recap, Kyle deeply troubled, blah blah blah...

    -Jan is repairing what I'm assuming is the Moldy Crow and now here's a porter droid

    -motivators are heavy, apparently

    -Now Kyle comes to help Jan lift the motivator, though with the sounds they are making I have to wonder if something else is going on, wink wink...

    -Never mind, it's maintenance. Oh well, maybe next time.

    -The ship is called the "Truly Sorry".

    -Kyle is apparently an instinctive mechanic, aided by the Force.

    -Kyle wants to join the Rebellion, but Jan lacks the authority to recruit Rebels. Interesting. I suppose filtering potential recruits through a local recruiting officer makes sense, in order to prevent infiltration by the Empire/crazies who will cast a bad light on the ARR.

    -Uh oh! Eavesdropping Imperials!

    -"The officer and the young lady have decided to... share coordinates." I'm 5 minutes in and this is twice now that I have willingly chose to misinterpret what is being said. This is what happens when you have spent too much time on Reddit.

    -So, who is raspy voice? "Slider"?

    -Oh by the Nine, this isn't going to be another cruise ship hijacking in Star Wars, is it? I swear, every time a cruise ship is on screen someone has to attack it.

    -Ah, Slider is a Rodian. And of course he's a bounty hunter.

    -Slider identifies people that "ought to have a price on their head", rather than, you know, going after actual posted bounties. I guess this is pretty proactive, at least until you end up hauling in some Vigo's brother for excessive jaywalking. Isn't this also some violation of the Bounty Hunter's Code? I'm sure that, like in Pirates of the Caribbean, the Code is more a "guideline", but I could have sworn the Bounty Hunters' Guild took action against unsanctioned bounties. Oh well, it's not like Slider is going to last another two minutes anyways. Moving on...

    -Apparently Slider has just been staking out the Star of Empire for the last 7 years to do this, which I guess is not a bad idea- he would have the advantage of knowing the local real estate rather intimately. Also, Star of Empire- is that the one that got hijacked in the Brian Daley novels? I know that the Queen of Empire got hit in Rebel Dawn.

    -Slider is going to Governor Donar to report Kyle and Jan.

    -"Sending trollops to corrupt our officers!" Jan is just a regular Mata Hari.

    -Kyle gets warned by Donar's annoying son

    -Belligerent Rebel is still being an arse to Kyle ("who put you in charge, admiral?" can anyone confirm whether Dietz's dialogue is this corny?) while they wait in the escape ship for Jan to show up. I'm guessing she has been captured already or something.

    -Nah, she's just being slowed down by the droid. She's also slowed down by having to describe what her pursuers look like.


    -Waller: "Is that you, Jan?"
    Kyle: "Sorry Waller, I'm not as good looking but I'll have to do."

    -Kyle has Rosco blow up a nearby shuttle to convince traffic control to open the hangar doors

    -next stop, deep space!

    -Truly Sorry is being followed by Donar's yacht, which apparently has turbolaser batteries(!)

    -a "get out and push" joke being made about a broken down ship. I want to say I have heard this in some sci-fi before... Tron, maybe?

    -because the Truly Sorry lacks their current position, Jan is now searching for a nearby hyperspace beacon. Interesting.

    -...the Rebels are turning around and fighting? Oh good, the yacht blew up. AC went boom!

    -Kyle is now implicated in the death of Donar. Guess you're part of the Rebels now!

    -Dreadnaught "New Hope" is the Rebel Flagship. Apparently she was stolen from a museum. Hey, I've used this on the Phoenix Rising mod for Empire At War. Which means...

    -Yep, Mon Mothma is here.

    -Mothma knew Qu Rahn, apparently.

    -Palpatine's throne is "stolen". Paging GrandAdmiraIJello

    -Mothma is already planning to send Kyle on a mission. Danuta?

    -Yep, Death Star plans.

    -The Death Star is impossible! Kyle knows this because he took an engineering class once.

    -So Governor Donar knew about the Death Star.

    -Despayre gets mentioned as the construction site. First EU mention?

    -27000 Officers, 775,000 pilots and other troops, 400,000 support personnel, 25,000 Stormtroopers, 7,000 TIE Fighters, 10,000 turbolaser batteries, 2500 laser cannons, and 700 tractor beam projectors. Do these numbers match up with later sources?

    -Mothma is putting a lot of trust in Kyle, considering he's A) a former Imperial officer as of about 20 minutes ago and B) even barring his Imperial past, she's never met him before.

    -"Many being died getting this information to us." Once again, those lines from Tron: Legacy...

    -Even Kyle argues that this is a suicide mission, and that it isn't directly related to avenging his father.

    -Mothma points out that a commando raid would destroy the local town.

    -Odom was assigned to the Danuta base. Kyle mutters something, Mothma notices. Hmm, this radio drama really plays up Mothma's ability to manipulate.

    -Kyle isn't in this for the revolution, he's in it for revenge.

    -Mothma wants to know if Jan would kill Kyle if she had to, and she knows that Kyle knows Odom.

    -Okay, so Mon Mothma definitely isn't as trusting as she at first appeared. She suspects Kyle of being a spy. Jerec, take note: competence is a benefit, not a hindrance.

    -So the Toprawa operation is a backup in case Kyle is a traitor. Nice continuity. The Toprawa mission, of course, is being led by Bria Tharen, Han's first flame. Remember when the Death Star plans were a relatively simple story? Also, Bria Tharen's illustration from The Paradise Snare looks JUST like Miriam Ravenwood.

    -Ah, the Toprawa plans are engineering schematics. So here we first have the retcon that the multiple Death Star plans were for different parts of the station.

    -And here Mothma mentions that the Emperor is a misogynist.

    -Kyle gets the ship in slot 3. Moldy Crow?

    -Rebels are rude, according to Kyle. I'm sure Jello would agree.

    -Yup, it's the Moldy Crow.

    -Next stop, suicide mission!

    -Jans' pilot's voice is annoying.

    -Kyle's cover is Dan Drexel, out of Drog 6 in the Corporate Sector.

    -Hmm, so a small-scale version of the Death Star laser was tested on Danuta.

    -Kyle bribes his way past a spaceport official. "Yes, Kyle, you just learned how the Empire really works!"

    -...There are B'Omarr monks on Danuta? What?

    -Kyle trips over one of the B'Omarr droids. This is definitely not the best way to convince Kyle to convert.

    -Kyle is insensitive to Odom's religion.

    -Why does "Blue Moon Cantina" sound familiar?

    -Jan is following Kyle, who is going to meet Odom at the Cantina.

    -Of course, the cantina is playing some of the music from Jabba's Palace (whatever Oola danced to pre-Special Edition).

    -Oh noes! Is Kyle a traitor?!?

    -... oh dear Sheogorath, it's the Max Rebo Band. "They're too good to play backwater dives like this for long!"

    -Jan is distraught that Kyle is talking to somebody that isn't her Odom. She's gearing up to kill him.

    -Jan refuses to fire, even though she has a headshot lined up. Now she ambushes Kyle. What?

    -I mean yeah, they're already playing up KylexJan, but I thought she was supposed to be better trained than this.

    -Odom has been recruited!

    -There's an intruder in the Danuta base! No wait, it's just Odom, covering for Kyle. So now we are officially to the point where Dark Forces begins.

    -Soldier for the Empire doesn't actually cover the Dark Trooper project, does it?

    -Well, shucks.

    -"Only a madman would try to sneak into this facility." "I couldn't agree with you more, sir". As heroic music plays...

    -Odom left a door unlocked for Kyle. That's... mundane.

    -Uh oh, the Moldy Crow has been identified by the customs agent!

    -"That's the trouble with the Empire, no moral values!"

    -Kyle gets into a FIREFIGHT!


    -Jan lifts off to the rendezvous point- wait nevermind, she's getting tailed by a TIE.

    -Kyle is dodging blaster bolts still.

    -C'mon, Kyle, are you really getting pinned down by five stormtroopers? Come on. Show them what happened to that planet in the Hoth system.

    -A glancing hit burns the skin off of Kyle's shoulder. RC-Retcon: this is why Kyle wears the shoulderpad of doom.

    -Kyle decides to let go and use the Force. And...

    -He just mows them down. Now THAT'S the Kyle we know and love.

    -Kyle, this isn't really the time to give Jan a great big explanation of what feeling the Force feels like.

    -Kyle has 3 minutes to grab the plans.

    -Kyle shoots the officer holding the code key. Gameplay mechanics incorporated into canon!

    -So whenever the Moldy Crow fires, it makes this weird farting noise. I kid you not.

    -Death Star plans radiate evil, apparently.

    -Odom got Kyle into the Death Star plan room. Kyle knocks him out to exculpate Odom.

    -Oh no! Is Jan dead?

    -Nope, gotcha!

    -lol awkward reunion when they can't admit they have feelings for each other.

    And that concludes Star Wars: Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire. This is probably the most manipulative Mon Mothma that I have ever seen, and I like it. The Rebellion wouldn't have survived without canny leadership. Kyle kills maybe 6 Imperials during the Danuta mission, rather than the 60 or so I killed last time I played Dark Forces. The Death Star plans stuff was neat as well. Really, I can't convey the voice acting in this write-up. The closest I could come would be to just post a transcript of the whole thing. I hope they changed Kyle's voice actor for JK, since he's A) 5 years older and B) I WANT THE VA FROM THE VIDEO GAME.

    So, yeah. Discuss and enjoy. I'll do the same for the next novella next weekend.
    Gorefiend, Shepherd492 and Esg like this.
  10. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004
    So much for SpecForce troopers being subtle ;)

    Sound almost like something personal :D

    Well if Aboleth can merge with a computer… [face_thinking]
  11. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
    Looked the early games up on the Wook: - Nick Jameson is credited with voicing Kyle in the ogiginal game; Rino Romardo was credited as Kyle in "Mysteries of the Sith"; and Jeff Bennett (who will forever be 'Kyle' to me!) voiced him in "Jedi Outcast" and "Jedi Academy".

  12. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 8, 2004
    I so need to get hold of that radio drama. [face_rofl]

    Is it available digitally anywhere (I checked Audible, but no go) or is the only way an inflated CD purchase?
  13. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    The only legal way to acquire it currently is an inflated CD purchase.
  14. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Okay, some thoughts...

    - Danuta comes from the original game, and that's from the year 1995. While Toprawa is from the original A New Hope radio play, the Bria Tharen story came out in 1998, so it doesn't really factor into the mess made by the game that was probably designed by people not knowing about the radio play. Most interesting: In the book, Toprawa isn't called a back up in case the inexperienced, possibly traiterous guy fails to produce the plans from Danuta. Here, the two plans cover different details of the station, so a complete map made up of the two would be more valauble than just one of the two. Many GreyOnes were involved in bringing you this information. Also, Despayre has, like so much stuff from back then, first been mentioned in old RPG stuff back in 1991. At the time that this came out, it had already been in The Last Command and Darksaber (of course it has been in Darksaber, how could there be a Death Star-related info drop that KJA missed in his Death Star-related novel?).

    - Suggestive noises... no, the book doesn't have those. But Morgan is astonishingly fast when it comes to sizing up the rebel reporter as a potential romantic interest that he would show his barn to under different circumstances (no direct quote).

    - 6 Imperials dead as compared to 60 in the game experience? Well, the book reads like it's somewhere between 60 and 600. Which is strange because, as I mentioned in the temp forum, the "Katarn fact" rumour that he did 436 people in looks like a great way to lampshade the unrealistic game mechanics. But then they go through the shooter massacre with a straight face, only pulling the Force card at one spot that, truth be told, wasn't that different from some of the other tight spots where Kyle just hit the other guy "with luck". As I said, Dietz should have embraced the Schwarzenegger-like qualities of the FPS hero and not made him a sensitive mechanic guy that just happens to be made a cadet commander even though he's close to throwing up when going into battle and who's sent on one of the most important missions with apparently no commando training whatsoever. I wonder if Mothma chose him because of some hints that Rahn dropped her.

    - Rahn known to Mon Mothma - okay, this could easily be Old Republic business. But doesn't it sound a bit too much like the TFU general thing, a Jedi helping the blooming rebellion...? [face_thinking]
  15. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    I'm not opposed to Mothma knowing Rahn; it's no worse than Bail being friendly with Ylenic It'kla. The narrative pre-TFU still suggests that the Rebellion was an entirely muggle affair, rather than the Jedi messing around. Sure, you had the occasional Jedi refugee get involved, but they were more there as temporary help/redshirts than providing the real impetus for the movement, and none of them seemed to last long enough to meet Luke. I aired my feelings on Kota and Starkiller founding the Rebellion over on the temp boards; suffice to say, I was not pleased that Gary Stu got to be extra-super-special and found the Rebellion.

    And I agree, it would have been nice if Deitz had just seized upon the game mechanics. Also, I could have sworn that Kyle was portrayed as an amoral merc in the first Dark Forces (granted, Morgan probably hadn't been invented yet). Obviously many of my comments were in jest (I was inspired by @Havac's Jacen thread), but I think I might actually stick with that blaster burn being the impetus for the Shoulderpad of Doom, if simply for the lulz. Honestly, the part that annoyed me the most in part two was the Max Rebo Band. Deitz/Whitman couldn't come up with any new band names? Or planet names for that matter?
  16. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    I think Kyle being a lot more Han and a lot less Luke would be an important factor for how the story progresses. It works better with most of the snarks Kyle delivers and plays into him teetering close to the dark side. Also, he's more cynical at the beginning of Jedi Knight, so while he's reminding me of ESB-Luke who's clearly out to get Vader out of revenge for Ben, his friends and everyone else, he's got more experience. And while Jason Court is probably a bit too cute to be a Schwarzenegger-style action hero (he's more like Bruce Willis trying to rescue Jan from the terrorists on christmas eve), later games always show Kyle as this hardened, probably-cynical-for-real, burned guy who's doing his best to hide his heart of gold to truly be a shining hero. "You always feel a disturbance of the Force" always coming before the "But yeah, I feel it too." He's the New Republic's Dark Knight to Luke's White Knight.

    Also, Kyle shooting his way through the whole Dark Trooper project is pretty... aggressive. This original image of him in Dark Forces, that's definitely not cute. Pretty much an amoral merc.
  17. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 2, 2012
    I believe I actually read Dark Forces: Jedi Knight a long time ago.
  18. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    OK, since I found the temp boards, I thought I'd salvage the parts that might spark some discussion.
    RC-1991 likes this.
  19. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Erich posted:
    Lord Grey One said:
    Dietz's quality as an author?
    Lord Grey One said:
    Kyle as a character? All the other characters like Jan or Jerec?
    Dietz isn’t as prominent as Anderson or Zahn, so I can’t really compare him to the aforementioned authors. However, from what I read, he seems to be okay. He definitely got into the characters’ head a bit more than some other authors. Not as much as Stackpole’s approach to I, Jedi, but he definitely added some dimension to the regulars/prominent characters in the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series and the one-shot characters.

    Lord Grey One said:
    Life as a soldier of the Empire?

    Granted, we got to see a bit into the daily routines for a cadet or a soldier. But it’s a far cry from several of the clone-centric episodes of the Clone Wars TV series and the Republic Commando novels.

    Lord Grey One said:
    Dark Forces - the game and how it is worked into the novella?
    Lord Grey One said:
    The backstory for the two games that's given here?
    The backstory definitely elaborated on why Kyle left Imperial service and why he was seeking justice/revenge for his father’s death. As for working the game into the novella, I believe we only get the first level of the original Dark Forces game in this novella. It was passable, but I honestly don’t get the feeling that I’m on the battlefield or in the cockpit like I did when I read Hard Contact or the X-wing novel series. Though I doubt this’ll happen, maybe Del Rey should consider creating a Kyle Katarn novel that focuses on his efforts to stop the Dark Trooper. Once that’s done, then they can deal with Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.

    Lord Grey One said:
    Captain Thrawn?

    His appearance was more like a cameo than anything really significant like the Thrawn Trilogy, Outbound Flight, Choices of One, and short stories in which he was a central character.
  20. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Tim Battershell posted:

    Erich said:
    Though I doubt this’ll happen, maybe Del Rey should consider creating a Kyle Katarn novel that focuses on his efforts to stop the Dark Trooper. Once that’s done, then they can deal with Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.
    Second that! Also add-on Mysteries of the Sith!
  21. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    A Tool didn't actually join in, but still:

    I was going to buy the novellas awhile back, but they were expensive. Love me some Kyle Katarn, though! :D
  22. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    ESg shared this:

    I remeber being fascinated with them when I first heard the audio drama and then read them
  23. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Zeta1127 stopped by:

    Sadly, I never got to read these. Its the same reason I have been avoiding and will likely continue to avoid The Lando Calrissian Adventures threads.
  24. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Some dude called Goodvalors chimed in:

    There was a radio drama adaptation of these!? Omg!

    RC-1991 said:

    Oh yes, there was. And it is awesome. I have a three day weekend right now, so I'll listen to Soldier of the Empire today and tomorrow.

    And Gorefiend stopped by as well:

    Love those as well, especially the Lando cameo along with Vuffi. ^^ They also seem to have additional banter and dialog that the novel doesn’t have.
  25. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Finally, there was this sort-of-rant that I got off my chest. Other than that, we contemplated reading a comic in January and had a segue into the comic story "Equals and Opposites". That about covers it.

    RC-1991 said:
    Can I contribute the Radio Drama version of it? It's cheesy awesome.

    This is the stuff we want in here, please do that. Why is it cheesy, just because of the voice actors or because of the story?

    Plaristes said:
    Tim Battershell said:
    Anyone know what (if anything) happened to Jan between getting a mention in the game 'Jedi Academy' and Kyle's appearances as a Jedi Council member in LOTF and FOTJ?
    She was helping Kyle fight Vong in "Equals and Opposites," in Star Wars Tales #21.

    It might be of interest that they were discussing having babies in that story.

    Zeta1127 said:
    Sadly, I never got to read these. Its the same reason I have been avoiding and will likely continue to avoid The Lando Calrissian Adventures threads.

    Sorry to hear that, hope to have you on board again if there's anything that qualifies as a little less rare or obscure. There will be more YJK in november, and we haven't discussed yet how to continue in january.

    Erich said:
    Lord Grey One said:
    Dietz's quality as an author?
    Lord Grey One said:
    Kyle as a character? All the other characters like Jan or Jerec?
    Dietz isn’t as prominent as Anderson or Zahn, so I can’t really compare him to the aforementioned authors. However, from what I read, he seems to be okay. He definitely got into the characters’ head a bit more than some other authors. Not as much as Stackpole’s approach to I, Jedi, but he definitely added some dimension to the regulars/prominent characters in the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series and the one-shot characters.

    I must admit that I'm less than happy with what he's put into this book.

    I have the feeling as if some of the text got cut down to fit into this novella format, but somehow this can't excuse all of it. There is that scene in which Odom, the friend, is inviting Kyle, and suddenly Kyle thinks about a Meck, and only a few paragraphs later it is confirmed that this is supposed to be the first name. Stuff like that might be due to poor editing, but in my opinion it's just part of a bigger problem. Dietz is also always jumping between POVs in a way that would only be good in a high literature god-like narrator scenario. Here, it reads like something written for school by a kid that needs to find out more about writing. This sounds harsh, but I do not know how to phrase it in a more fitting way. Maybe it really was better that Dagu was cancelled. Does anybody know about Dietz's other (franchise) work?

    Also, I'm not so keen on the way he's building backstory and characters. Kyle is too realistic as a person and almost too unrealisticly emo for a soldier compared to the fact that he's really just a Schwarzenegger stand-in in the Danuta mission. I like how Kyle's deeds at the asteroid were blown out of proportion by student gossip, how he killed hundreds of rebels in their version of the story - as if it was a joke about the video game mechanism of a single guy really taking on everyone by himself. But then the Danuta mission establishes that yes, in this narrative you can have one single guy running through a secret high-security base, shooting everyone while only receiving minor injuries, only using the Force in one select instant and only having a secret little helper in the enemy ranks who acts only in ways that won't help you survive firefights. Seeing how this guy leads cadets without even wanting to be a soldier, but rather a mechanic, is just as strange as the rebels giving Danuta to him as a first mission even though he never even had a proper first Imperial mission, and apparently didn't train as a commando (at least the book doesn't point out any such special training).

    So all in all, I'm not really pleased with this. And yeah, as I mentioned above, I was a huge fan of the Jedi Knight game. I'm somewhat afraid of books 2 and 3.

    Erich said:
    Lord Grey One said:
    Captain Thrawn?
    Erich said:
    His appearance was more like a cameo than anything really significant like the Thrawn Trilogy, Outbound Flight, Choices of One, and short stories in which he was a central character.

    It's interesting that this was at a time when we basically just had the Thrawn trilogy of "certified Zahn level Thrawn portrayals". Next to this, only Galaxy of Fear took the opportunity of using Thrawn as a namedrop toy. This Thrawn here could make sense - have him be a career officer that's pretty spineless as long as he's still got to endure the spite of speciest authorities. Only becoming a confident mastermind (if one that enslaves itself to the idea of the Empire) once he's reached the top of the food chain, and by then maybe being cynical enough to forget about all good intentions and just lash out in pent-up frustration at any opposition. This could work. Pre-Zahnverse. And that's interesting: this is an artifact from a time when characters like Thrawn were a free-for-all, but nobody really used them. Here, he's a namedrop, a basic EU networking effort. And let's just marvel at the fact that Zahn's further portrayal of Thrawn suggests that the insight the author (not just the innerdiegetic characters) has on him was ignored completely. For better or for worse, but I'm beginning to wonder if Thrawn even knew/knows about Thrawn being in here.