Sam and Max Hit the Road: You’re my only hope

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

The Mystery Vortex only gets all the more mysterious the further that Sam and Max explore it. I think the upside-down room made me dizzy for a brief few seconds, but you can always flip your computer monitor over, right?

What’s interesting here is that there’s another melting display of ice, another missing Bigfoot (this one named “Bert”), and another patch of fur left behind.

To be fair, Max totally did say that when the pair go to the Mystery Vortex. Sometimes he’s pretty insightful, our little insane rabbit.

Also tucked inside the Mystery Vortex is another mole man, this one running on a hamster wheel rather than watching TV. He’s also a scooch psychic, so he offers to help point Sam and Max in the direction of Bruno the Bigfoot.

All paths lead to Frog Rock, where a UFO appears with yet another mole man who tells the pair to head to Bumpusville. Even with clear direction, they’re both disappointed that “Frog Rock” doesn’t look anything like a frog.

The next stop on this bizarre road trip is Bumpusville, the home of the world’s greatest country music star. “If we ever get this rich and famous, I want you to shoot me, Sam,” Max quips.

Inside the mansion, a bunch of talking animal heads spin the legend of John Muir, who was really big in the animal world. It’s pretty funny that Max is seeing all of this, but Sam doesn’t hear a thing and thinks Max is just being inconsiderate of dead animals.

Hey, it’s Bruno and Trixie — and they’re being held captive by Conroy Bumpus, who performs a whole musical number to sing about how he loves to capture the most strange and bizarre animals. When all of the animal heads on the wall started singing like Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, I lost it.

“That was gratuitous,” said Max.

“Sorry,” replied Sam.

Sam and Max Hit the Road: Tall twine tales

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Next up on the Sam & Max tour — the World’s Largest Ball of Twine! So large, in fact, that you have to take a lift chair up to see the top of it.

“It’s places like this that make me wish I was Canadian!” Sam grouses.

“They got one too, but half of it’s French,” the museum caretaker replies.

If you’re not exploring every dialogue and observation option, you’re missing out on so many great jokes. Trust me on this.

With Weird Al’s “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” playing in my head, Sam and Max take the tram to the ball’s summit, where a small restaurant resides. Sam makes mention of grabbing the loose end of the twine because, “you always need a large piece of string in games like this.” True dat.

As you can tell from even this post alone, Sam & Max doesn’t have any qualms against repeatedly breaking the fourth wall. It’s part of the charm, that it’s so self-aware, and one of the features of the goofier adventure games from the era (see Space Quest and Curse of Monkey Island for other good examples).

Getting the loose piece of string is, as is typical in adventure games, extremely roundabout. But it’s clever, too! Players who notice that the chef at the Ball of Twine restaurant is chopping off fish heads might remember the guy at World of Fish who was flinging fish into a net, which was then carried off by a helicopter.

Putting two and two together, Sam and Max stow away on a giant fiberglass trout, get fished up, take a choppa ride, and finally get their string.

Also, they fall OFF of the ball of twine, but they’re cartoons, so they’ll be OK.

By combining a long-distance grabber, Jesse James’ severed hand, and a World of Fish magnet, Sam is able to construct a device to reach into the ball and grab a mood ring lodged there. “That was wholesome,” he remarks. “And physically improbable!” Max adds.

Next stop for the duo is the Mystery Vortex in the Pacific Northwest. Gettin’ a real strong Gravity Falls vibe from this place! So what’s inside this place? I’m just as curious as you are!

This is everything I was hoping for and so much more. Lots of weird stuff doing weird things, all the while making Sam and Max grow and shrink.

“That’s a mirror!” Sam exclaims.

Sam and Max Hit the Road: Cruising the Tunnel of Love

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As our gaming session opens this week, Sam and Max are investigating the carnival in which Bruno the Bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Girl both disappeared. Of course, there’s always time to ride the rides, so a whip around the Cone of Tragedy is not out of line. Alas, it results in Sam losing all of his inventory — which is a huge problem for adventure games. Off to the lost and found!

A weird thing about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with being able to go on virtual theme park rides in video games — MMOs, FPSs, adventure games, wherever I can find them. So you bet your sweet bippity I was thrilled to get to go into the Tunnel of Love. Just look at that thing! It’s amazing and apparently sponsored by Hell!

Inside the Tunnel O’ Love, the pair discover Doug the Mole Man, a couch potato with a sweet tooth and a penchant for telling overly long tales. It’s here that I learn that Max is allergic to lengthy stories.

One of the stories is useful, though, as Doug tells of how Trixie had fallen in love with the frozen Bruno and pined for him as for the fjords. She eventually coerced the firebreathing guy to defrost Bigfoot so that the two of them could run away and live happily together. Doug also says that his uncle at the biggest ball of twine in the world might know something more.

What’s pretty amusing to me about Trixie is that she’s repeatedly mentioned as having come from Scranton. I don’t know if Scranton was supposed to be super-obscure or whatever back in the early 90s, but these days it’s synonymous with The Office.

Another little interesting feature of Sam and Max is that when a new location is discovered via dialogue or items, it then opens up a new area on the world map to go explore.

For example, Gator Golf! Nothing like a golf driving range with real alligators. I’m really digging this kooky roadside attraction theme that Sam & Max have. These are exactly the kinds of places that I like to stop at on trips.

At the range, the duo bumps into Mr. Bumpus and his bodyguard. Bumpus is a country music star (of the short variety) who is also on the prowl for Bigfoot. Max insults his hair one too many times, and a fight erupts. Despite their tenacity, the Freelance Police are outmatched, and Max ends up being driven into a dunk tank.

To rescue a very ungrateful Max, Sam drives fish into the gator pond to make the creatures line up and create a path. It’s a pretty fun and easy environmental puzzle. 10/10, would smack fish again.

As Max emerges, he shows Sam another tuft of Bigfoot hair that he found in the tank. Also present is a snowglobe that unlocks the Mystery Vortex in Washington state.

Sam and Max Hit the Road: Bigfoot wanted!

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

One of the reasons that I love doing these retro gaming series is that it’s giving me a perfect excuse to make up for omissions of the past. I didn’t play every PC game that came down the line, even the “classic” ones, and LucasArts’ Sam and Max Hit the Road is one of the glaring gaps in my gaming resumé. So knowing very little other than that this bizarre adventure game stars a talking dog detective and a talking manic rabbit, let’s dive into this 1993 title!

Without any warning or explanation, the pre-credits scene opens with a mad scientist about to fry a three-time date who’s just not into him. Cue Sam and Max crashing through the wall and decapitating the scientist (don’t worry, he’s a robot). Already I can tell that one of the trademarks of this game is the fast-talking back-and-forth chatter between the two, which reminds me somewhat of Dragnet. I’m sure that’s on purpose.

Anyway, this is the final bit of their current mission, so after the credit sequence, Sam and Max — freelance police — return to their rundown office.

Almost immediately, the phone rings, and the two have a brief struggle to get to it first (Sam wins by throwing Max out the window). The two obviously have a good working relationship, but that’s not going to get in the way of some good old fashioned cartoon-on-cartoon violence!

Already I’m loving the mouse-driven cursor. In particular, the eye icon closes when you’re hovering over nondescript items and it opens when the characters have something to say about an object or person.

Another thing I like is that Sam isn’t the tsk-tsk type of straight-laced partner I’d expect. When Max does violence, Sam either quips about it, ignores it, or approves of it. I guess they’ve been buddies for a while.

Max extracts their current orders from the throat of a small cat, and away the two go to investigate something weird happening at the local carnival.

How cool is this travel map? By the looks of it, Sam and Max’s office is in South Carolina(ish) and the carnival is up in Maine(ish). That’s a bit of a drive!

But what’s a road trip if you don’t take a rest stop along the way? There are a few Snuckey’s to investigate, with Max whining to go to the bathroom and cruddy knockoff Sam and Max merch lining the shelves. The stained glass donut in the window is a work of art that I wish I had in my own house.

Eventually, the Freelance Police arrive at the carnival, where they discover that the tent of freaks is missing its star attraction — Bruno Bigfoot — as well as the giraffe-necked girl. The mission? The glorious task? The questiest of all quests? To find and retrieve them both!

What I really wish here is that I could properly convey the rather clever and wordy dialogue that provides the backbone of the humor here. I’m listening to all of the characters talk not because I solely need information to solve puzzles from them, but because it’s witty and weird and hilarious.

I’m not normally one for minigames in adventure games, but this Wak-A-Rat thing is pretty easy — and fun! Bonus points to the devs for letting Sam hit Max on the head while playing.

KOTOR: Wishing on a Star Forge

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

When I first played through KOTOR, I remember being insanely excited at being able to go to Yavin as part of this new, post-release DLC that BioWare put out. It was a bit of a let-down, alas; instead of seeing where the Rebel base would be in A New Hope, Yavin here is pretty much a small space station with a fight and a pricey vendor.

Poor left behind Bastila, she’s enjoying a weekend stay at Darth Malak’s Torture Resort and Spa. He’s trying to turn her to the dark side, mostly via high voltage current, and she’s, “No, no, I’ll never do it!”

Meanwhile, Syppi’s crew finally puts the map together and finds the Star Forge system. Trouble is, some sort of disrupter field cripples the Ebon Hawk and forces a landing on a nearby planet for repairs. At least it’s a very pretty planet and not some dumb volcano zone.

This close to the end of the game, I don’t have as much patience with side quests and faction bickering, which this unknown world has in spades. I kind of just want to slice my way through a lot of bad guys, get to the end boss, and see that final cutscene. But I guess we’ll do it your way, BioWare, even if that means butting heads with a lot of rancors.

If you ever wanted to know what Malak looks like with his face mask removed, here you go. Being a Sith is just as bad for you as chewing tabacco, kids. I don’t recommend it. He’s being told that the Star Forge is pumping out ships like crazy (for that is what the Star Forge does — it’s a ship factory) and the Sith are getting the fleet ready to dominate the Republic.

At the top of the temple summit on the unknown world, Bastila reappears — and sporting a pretty groovy goth look. Malak finally convinced her to go full-on dark side, and it kind of suits her. And here’s where I’m bringing my personal twist to this playthrough — even though I’ve been goody two-shoes the entire way through, I’m switching to PURE DARK SIDE POWAH for the final hour! That’s right, I’m going evil in a bid to rule the galaxy. I think I’d make a good emperor. Of course, this means that I have to kill pretty much half of my companions, starting with Jolee and Juhani, but that’s a small price to pay for galactic domination.

So, yeah, not everyone is taking this betrayal with good grace. Carth runs off like the coward he is, and Mission vows to fight against Revan. Yet Big Z is stuck in the middle, having sworn a life debt to Revan. Now, what’s the really, really evil move here is to use a force power to dominate Zaalbar’s mind and make him kill his best friend Mission. I don’t have that, so I just have to take them down myself. That’s four companions down in as many minutes, plus Carth running back home to mommy. All that’s left on team Dark Side is Syppi, Bastila, Canderous, HK-47, and that other droid nobody cares about.

A mostly unseen battle rages in space around the Star Forge as Syppi, HK, and Bastila sneak aboard and conduct their own Trojan Horse raid. In typical BioWare fashion, this final level throws out of the window any real narrative, choices, or dialogue for a non-stop gauntlet of tough fights.

I’m not sadistic in real life, I’m really not, but I have to admit that there’s a kind of glee in seeing Grampa Yoda here slowly put the pieces together that he’s been six types of betrayed. Well, that’s what you get when you memory-wipe your greatest enemy and then try to get her to play ball.

It’s a bit of a letdown that the final showdown with Malak is one-on-one. After a full game of hanging out with companions, nope, it’s just you and Mr. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.

With Malak killed, the Star Forge falls under Revan’s control, and the Republic fleet is destroyed. All hail Revan! All hail KOTOR!

And that’s it — the end of one of the finest CRPGs that BioWare ever produced. It still holds up great over a decade and a half later, although I won’t deny that there are some frayed edges (especially with the graphics and some of the systems design). For the purpose of keeping this playthrough at a manageable length, I didn’t go into all of the companion or side stories, but there’s a really good amount of content on hand here.

It was nice to revisit KOTOR, but I may have played this one too many times for it to really hold any surprise or deep joy. Looking at it from SWTOR’s perspective, I can see many things I actually prefer more about the MMO — including the stories. It was a good foundation for the future, is what I’m trying to say.

KOTOR: Leviathan levity

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

As the Ebon Hawk blasts through hyperspace for the next planet, it’s suddenly ambushed and caught in a tractor beam by the Leviathan — Malak’s ship. Things don’t look promising for our rag-tag group, so a plan is quickly devised to camoflage Juhani and let her be the jailbreaker once everyone else gets caught.

Considering that “non-stop torture” is on the menu, courtesy of Admiral Saul, this may not be the best of plans. This segment of KOTOR really is the Long, Dark Night of the Soul for the game — the moment when all goes from bad to worse and it seems quite hopeless for the heroes.

At least Juhani is free, and she’s kicking tail. I spent some time upgrading her lightsabers on the Hawk with the crystals that I got from the Tatooine dragon, and she’s now Death Incarnate with them.

For whatever reason — perhaps man-hours invested in making this work — the KOTOR devs were sure in love with the idea of putting the player in these bulky EVA suits to waddle around for a while before coming back to the action. I always felt like they were painfully pointless segments.

With a beefed-up party, it’s kind of fun to go around the Leviathan, smashing up the place and chewing through waves of elite Sith troopers and dark jedi. There’s a big boss battle on the bridge against Admiral Saul, who whispers a devastating secret to Carth right before he dies. What is this secret? No time for that, the game says, and if that’s not suspicious, I don’t know what is.

I wanted to say that the Leviathan stage is one of my favorites in KOTOR. It’s got a strong narrative flow that feels, for a lack of a better term, very “Star Warsy” in sequence. The odds feel stacked against getting back to the Ebon Hawk and making an escape, but the team keeps trying.

But there is one big obstacle standing in the way of freedom — Darth Malak. He shows up and demands to know why Syppi is here, why the Jedi spared me. This makes no sense until the game kicks into gear and delivers a series of flashbacks from various points in the game so far. Various throwaway quotes that were probably misread by the player. Things about the Force erasing minds, of Jedi not killing prisoners, of the counsel accepting someone a little older than normal for a recruit. This brings us to one of the biggest WHAM! moments of all CRPG history:

That I, the player, am actually Darth Revan, the big bad guy from the Mandalorian wars who was trying to overthrow the Republic and use the Star Forge to my own advantage. Apparently, a combination of Malak’s betrayal and a Jedi strike team combined to capture Revan instead of killing her. The counsel, trying to find the Star Forge, decided to Force-wipe my mind, give me a new identity as a common soldier, and assign Bastila to tag along as I hopefully led them to where they wanted to go. There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ve always felt disgusted at both sides. There’s no defending Malak, but the Jedi are just as bad to erase a person’s memories and life while using them like a puppet.

Anyway, Bastila stays behind on the Leviathan to slow down Malak while the rest of the Ebon Hawk crew escapes. There’s a pow-wow with all of the companions to see if they still support Ex-Revan, and apparently they do. I love that Jolee knew who Revan was the whole time and was like, eh, she’ll figure it out sooner or later on her own.

KOTOR: Manaan musings

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Star Wars is well-known for its one-biome-fits-all planetary design, so it only makes sense that sooner or later we’d come upon an all-ocean world. Manaan is… kind of like an open-air space station sitting on top of the ocean, which is an inviting setting in which to adventure. Let’s go Jedi some stuff! Jedi it reaaaal good.

I seem to recall that Manaan got into SWTOR as well, and I know I was kind of jazzed to return here. Feels like a bit of a sterile oceanside resort. However, this city is teeming with tension between the Sith and the Republic, both of whom want the precious, precious kolto that the Selkath harvest here. For their part, the Selkath play it neutral, selling to both parties and strictly enforcing a peace on their planet.

One of KOTOR’s more memorable quests is on this planet. It involves becoming a lawyer for a guy who’s being tried for murder. As with many RPGs, there are easy ways to resolve this, but to do it right takes a lot more effort and footwork.

The Sith base on Manaan is a rather tough “dungeon” (and unfortunately generic in theme). What’s notable is that there are several discoveries of how the Sith have been recruiting Selkath to make into apprentices, which is kind of a no-no around here. I’m not too keen on fighting the Dark Jedi with twin blasters, to tell you the truth, but I soldier gamely on. And I game soldierly on.

Finally I have proof that the evil Sith are evilly up to no good, which was painfully obvious to everyone except the Selkath authorities. I mean, when you treat with guys who look like discount Cobra Commanders, you have to suspect that maybe they don’t have your planet’s best interests at heart.

I have a real problem with the Republic on Manaan. You go right up to the head guy on the planet and tell him that you’re there on Jedi Counsel orders to find the star map and it’s extremely critical to the fate of the Republic, and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, I *might* know something about that. But first you gotta go on a suicide mission to destroy a Sith base before I say anything.” You do all that for the jerk, and his big revelation is that the Republic has been going behind the natives’ backs and setting up a kolto mining operation of their own. But something happened under the ocean, the communication went dead, and he can’t be bothered to check it out himself so why don’t you go give it a looksee?

The real shame is there is no option to force choke the guy to death. And this is in a game saturated with dark choices.

Is there anything creepier than a deserted undersea base? No wonder so many video games and movies like using these as modern haunted houses. There’s definitely something unconcerting about seeing giant sharks lazily swim about right outside these way-to-large windows while a lone merc babbles about the Selkath going insane and shooting up the place.

Oh hey, here’s something creepier! Let’s jump into a big, bulky environmental suit and sloooowly jog outside of the base while nasty sharks try to get a free meal. It’s a short segment, but it gets high marks for tension. The feeling of vulnerability is palpable.

I’m starting to get tired of the endless wave of bounty hunters, dark jedi, and apprentices that Malak keeps sending to capture Bastila. But at least I save a giant shark from poisoning (the Republic operations were making the locals pretty upset) and got the star map. AND I got a really wicked-looking suit of armor that I upgrade to make me immune to all of the annoying mind-control Force attacks that the dark jedi use.

KOTOR: Korriban and Kashyyyk

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Welcome to Korriban, where it’s always Sith O’Clock and the teachers are quick to dole out electrocution if they get the wrong answers! Well, we gotta get through this planet at any rate, even though I have never been fond of Korriban (in any of the games) or the Sith. Both Sith and Jedi philosophy irk me for different reasons, and I’d rather stay out of it altogether.

It’s kind of funny to see how basic the graphics are here in comparison to the vastly more elaborate spaces and architecture of SWTOR’s Korriban. Both aren’t places I really enjoy visiting, though, so I guess there is that consistency.

Everyone on this planet is completely Sith crazy, reveling in the cruel things they do. One guy memorably makes a trio of potential students stand a vigil for days even though he has no intention of ever letting them inside the academy.

Everyone loves to do all these midair jumps and spins if they’re Jedi. That seems like a responsible thing to do when you’re holding a weapon that can cut through blasthead doors like it’s butter.

I took a break from that and jetted over to Kashyyyk. I think this right here is the most memorable planet in KOTOR and a personal favorite. I love seeing the homeland of the (corporately oppressed) Wookiees, and the treetop platforms and relaxing music put me right at ease. It’s a nice place to be, kind of a super-sized Ewok village. It reminds me of an MMO zone, in a good way.

It’s not a peaceful place, however. Big Z totes a lot of baggage in with him, what with being branded a “madclaw” for fighting against the slavers. His younger brother is now chieftan and has made a devil’s pact with the Czerka Corp to stay in power. That’s gotta change.

Like Taris, Kashyyyk has an “upstairs” and a less-friendly “downstairs” — the latter here being called the Shadowlands. It’s a little less visually appealing and more rough-and-tumble, but we can take it. As a side note, I always found the brief cutscene of the elevator lowering the party to the floor to be one of the most stunning of the game for some reason.

Down here we come upon the last remaining recruitable character of the game, Jolee. I *love* Jolee, because he’s the first character I ever encountered in Star Wars who was a “grey” Jedi — neither light nor dark. As someone who got very tired of both extremes, it was refreshing to quest with this guy who wasn’t bowing to the Sith or Jedi at every turn.

Eventually I help Big Z’s family to be restored to their honor and fight against the Czerka slavers, which is as happy of an ending as one could hope.

KOTOR: Tatooine tourism

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

It’s a race against time to stop the bad guys, as Malak already has the Star Forge and the information (from not-so-dead bounty hunter Calo Nord) that Bastilla is still alive. Meanwhile, Syppi and crew head to their first stop on the map-hunting expedition: Tatooine. Is there any planet more Star Warsy than this one? Very good choice to be included in this game, even if I’m not a fan of desert settings.

It does feel as though Tatooine helps to bridge a gap between the games and movies. Plus, there’s that strong dose of virtual sunshine to cheer up the questing soul. I kind of like being here, even though dark Jedi keep jumping me at every turn.


Of course, the BEST part of Tatooine is the acquisition of HK-47, the breakout star of KOTOR. This “hunter killer” droid drips with sarcasm and seethes with a desire to assassinate everything around him, which makes him a refreshing change from a lot of droids that we had experienced in the Star Wars universe to date. He became such a fan favorite that he appeared in both the sequel AND the MMORPG. I love me some HK-47.

Out in the Dune Sea, it’s a lot of fighting against Sand People — who are pretty tough, don’t let old Ben Kenobi tell you different. At least I died… clutching my… guns.

Since this is a BioWare RPG, each one of your companions comes fully loaded with a backstory and a crisis that needs to be resolved. For Mission here, it’s the fact that her older brother Griff deserted her on Taris. The crew rescues him from the sandpeople, but he’s still the same deadbeat and Mission is crushed to hear that he left her deliberately.

Here’s an interesting little interchange. Syppi questions Bastilla about her confrontation with Revan and Malak, and Bastila said that they boarded the ship to capture Revan. But when the player asks her if she killed Revan, she ducks the question. Repeatedly, but in that slippery Jedi way that you’ll only notice if this is your second or whatever playthrough.

Getting to the Tatooine star map means getting past this giant dragon thing, but here’s where SWTOR surprises. Instead of tackling it as a huge boss battle — which is what I would have expected — the thing can be taken down in a trap using mines and bantha fodder. Hey, we just got out of a boss fight!

Except we totally didn’t, because Calo Nord shows up looking to collect on a bounty. It’s not that tough of a fight — I’m not above using tons of grenades when the situation calls for it — and before I know it, the star map piece is in my hand and we’re blasting off this two-sun planet!

KOTOR: Dantooine daydreams

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Getting to Dantooine was always a big moment among my previous KOTOR playthroughs. I used to care about finally getting to be a Jedi (now, not so much), but I still do like the planet itself. It’s more peaceful and pastoral than Taris, a tranquil outpost in the plains with some really great music. And it was good to finally be somewhere other than the very long Taris section — and see some landscape!

Anyway, now that this ragtag group has escaped from Malak’s destruction of Taris, Bastila has the great idea of going to the small Jedi counsel instead of back to the Republic’s capital. She’s not the brightest of leaders. The counsel wants to see Syppi to promote her to full-fledged Jedi (well, padawan), but no thanks, I’d rather be a smuggler? Oh, there’s no choice in the matter. Well, fine. I’m keeping my guns, though.

So there’s this training montage so show that Syppi is getting her Force skills, but she’s got to go through three Jedi trials first. Also, because she and Bastila now are vision-bonded or some nonsense, they are going to investigate the dreams Syppi has of Revan and Malak investigating a temple on Dantooine.

Because, as far as I know, the mobs don’t respawn in this game, it’s always important to find and kill all of them to get as much XP as possible. So it’s kind of relaxing running around on Dantooine shooting at various beasties and spitting in the face of the Force.

Still a pretty game, in a sparse kind of way.

Out in the plains is a former Jedi named Juhani who got into a tiff with her master, killed him, and fell to the Dark Side. The choice to help redeem her back to the Light or further cement her in the Dark is a really great one and perhaps the most interesting of all of the companion “conversions” that you can do in this game.

The main thrust of the Dantooine chapter is to explore some ancient ruins that Darths Malak and Revan were tooling around in a while back. It’s there the party meets a droid that explains that this was the workshop of what eventually became the “Star Forge” — which is this game’s Death Star, but more on that in later chapters.

At the back of these ruins is a map to a map. It’s a map to four worlds — Korriban, Kashyyyk,
Manaan, and Tatooine — that each contain a fourth of the map to the location of the Star Forge. It’s basically the plot of the last few Star Wars movies, just less dumb. So that’s how the game is going to open up from here: In order to find this super-weapon that Darth Malak is also trying to find, it’s imperative to go to these four worlds and get the map segments. In classic BioWare fashion, it’s up to the player to choose the order of the four planets, but in the end, all have to be done.