(This is part of my journey going playing through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Things are coming to a head in Nar Shaddaa, which is both an exciting and dangerous time. Well, let’s go walk into a trap!
Atton rushes after me with a few medpacks and a completely unnecessary sentiment about being careful. I can’t take him very seriously, as his Dark Side corruption and side head-thingies make him look like an emo raver. Back to the ship with ye!
You know what’s one big difference between KOTOR 1 and 2? The sequel has a LOT more cutscenes and isn’t afraid to keep splitting up the party and having you control just one character (and not only your main). Hanharr approaches me and offers the terms of an alliance, and because I’ve always wanted a psychotic Wookiee at my side, I eagerly agree.
Meanwhile, Mr. Caution heads to a bar instead of back to the ship and promptly gets ambushed by the assassin Twi’leks. Let me say, this is the most brutally difficult fight in the game so far. I’d go so far as to say that it’s impossible with normal tactics. Atton’s single blaster can’t cope with two targets swinging swords at him, and it’s too crowded to throw grenades.
So basically, you have to cheat. There are two suggested solutions. The first is to scout out the bar before this scene and plant mines everywhere so that the sisters roll into them and die. I didn’t know about this and don’t have enough mines anyway, so that’s out. The second is to scoot around the bar and then fire away at an enemy too dumb to follow. Yeah, it’s an exploit, but I’ll take it.
Meanwhile, with Hanharr at my back, I boldly stroll into the trap and… get knocked out instantly by Mira the Good Bounty Hunter. She takes my place in the spacesuit for some stupid reason, which doesn’t help her cause because she soon gets captured afterward.
I, on the other hand, wake up in the apartment of the Jedi I was trying to find all along. He is super-duper-impressed that I found him, a sentiment that I share because I didn’t find him so much as “wake up from a drug-induced coma to see his droopy moustache hanging above me.
I won’t lie; Nar Shaddaa feels like it’s been going on a little too long and I have started to lose track of what I’m doing, who all of these bounty hunters/exchange mob bosses are, and why I should care. I guess the ultimate target is ol’ squid head here. My ace in the hole is standing just over his shoulder.
For the second time now, I make my way to this poison air bar. Not even gas masks help, but apparently now my magical bag of Jedi tricks spat out a new “Force breathing” ability that will make me a champion at free diving contests.
As I said before, this game isn’t afraid to send you solo to jack up the difficulty, and this bar is a stiff challenge because of that, the ever-present poison gas, and wave after wave of bad guys. I have to take it slow to make sure my force points replenish for heals, because I’m direly low on health packs. What’s on my side is the fact that all of these mobs are pretty weak and ineffectual in their attacks.
Once I make it through the bar and the ensuing maze (yes, that lovely RPG staple) in the underground tunnels, the story shifts over to Hanharr and Mira. Squid Head pits both of them in a battle to the death, out of which Hanharr emerges triumphant. I assume this is because he’s the dark side character and my character has definitely fallen on that side of the spectrum.
Here I get to control Hanharr as my character, and let me tell you, this guy is a BEAST. He’s melee, but he takes enemies apart so darn quickly that I can’t fault him. Wish I could play a Wookiee for the entire game.
This whole sequence is rather breathtaking in its pacing. It keeps switching back and forth between different playable characters: Hanharr, my Jedi, and Anton’s B-squad. You actually do get the feeling of urgency and movement from this, and isolating characters for parts brings out vulnerability and uncertainty in the player. Can I do this? What if I can’t heal through it? After all, if my one character dies, it’s game over. I don’t have a full team most of the time to balance combat situations out.
Egads, this Nar Shaddaa climax just keeps going on and on and on. There are so many cutscenes and character transitions that I think it would be wise to create a flow chart. The short version: Squid Head is betrayed by the mysterious Goto for betraying him, and I get knocked out for probably the 17th time in the last hour.
Meanwhile Kreia shows up to torture and force-blackmail Hanharr into being my helper — until she needs him, of course. Dun dun DUNNNN. You know what, I’m starting to think she’s evil. Pretty much most of my crew is evil, and not just “kind of bad” but “actively working for the bad guys I’m fighting against.” Why don’t I just cut these people loose and go my own way?
To meet Goto (which is a thing I want to do, supposedly), a convoluted plan is hatched to change the transponder codes on the Ebon Hawk to one of the Hutt’s freighters so that Goto captures it and then we infiltrate from the inside. Or we could just go get slushies? Anyone? Fine. Stupid plan anyway.