Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, to give it its full title, is the sequel to the 1995 DOS game Star Wars: Dark Forces. While the game is a sequel to Dark Forces, it’s also the first game in the Jedi Knight series, confusing isn’t it? Getting Jedi Knight (as we will refer to it from now on) to run on a modern computer can be even more confusing, with several guides around the internet all recommending different hacks, fixes, mods and workarounds. Luckily, our hopefully definitive guide here, compiled with the help of videogame journalist and PC gaming fanatic Alexandra Hall, should get most of you up and running with this classic sci-fi FPS in no time.
The first hurdle to overcome is getting the game installed. If you bought the game from Steam or GoG.com, then installation should just be a matter of downloading the game from the respective digital marketplace. If you have the original retail CDs, things get a little more complicated. The original CD version of the game uses a 16 bit installer program that is incompatible with 64 bit versions of Windows. Fortunately for us, there’s a replacement installer package available on this website. Even if you have a 32 bit version of Windows, we’d still recommend using the replacement installer since it includes several additional fixes and features. To use the installer, simply download it from the page here. Make sure your Jedi Knight disc 1 is in your computers optical drive and then run the installer, following all the on-screen prompts. The replacement installer will place the game in “C:\Program files (x86)” by default. If you install the game here, see the troubleshooting section regarding save games before you start to play.
Starting the game
At this point, thanks to the replacement installer you may be able to start the game and begin playing right away. If you’re only interested in playing Jedi Knight exactly as it would have been back in 1997, you now have basically everything you need. Try starting the game from the Start menu/screen or desktop shortcut. If it works, great. If the game crashes, or simply displays a black screen, don’t worry. Exit the game for now and proceed to the next section.
Redirecting direct draw
Jedi Knights graphics engine has difficulty running with more modern versions of DirectX. Because of this, gamers have found alternative/hacked versions of the DirectX/Direct Draw library “ddraw.dll” that fix or work around various issues. There are several different versions floating around the web. The replacement installer uses one, while other gamers recommend an alternative. In the zip files below we’ve provided you with two different versions you can try.
Place either of these two files in your Jedi Knight installation folder. Do not under any circumstances attempt to put them in any Windows system folders. In order to use either of these two files, you will also need to make some changes to the games shortcut. If you’ve installed the game using the replacement installer, this change is done for you already. See “Editing the games shortcut” for more details.
Even after editing the shortcut, neither of these two dlls fixed the game for us. The first simply caused the game to crash on startup, while the second produced a black-screen during gameplay. If you have a more modern graphics card that can handle DirectX11, you should use the fantastic dgVoodoo2 wrapper software instead. You can find a tutorial on how to use dgVoodoo2 here. Simply install it to your Jedi Knight game folder, overwriting any ddraw.dll file that may be in there already. Jedi Knight is a DirectX (not Glide) game. For best results, use the dgVoodoo2 configuration tool and force vertical sync (vsync) ON.
With dgVoodoo2 installed, you can remove the “-windowgui” command from the games shortcut. See “Editing the games shortcut” for details of how to do this.
Jedi Knight Enhancement Pack
Jedi Knight can be a frustrating game to get running optimally, not because there are a lack of mods and patches but because there are so many different ones it quickly becomes utterly confusing what to install where. The game doesn’t have official support for mods, but that rarely stops the resourceful PC gaming community. Just be aware that when you install a mod, you may break compatibility with your existing save games.
Here at Play-Old-PC-Games.com we like to install mods and updates that don’t fundamentally change the gameplay from the original, but instead get the most out of the existing assets or just slightly enhance graphics or gameplay. Usually we’d have a big list of mods and patches for you to try, but in this instance, since so many of them were scattered all around the internet, we decided that it would be a good idea to simply collect all the relevant files into one convenient zip file and offer them for download. Download our Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II enhancement pack here (link dead? Let me know here). To install it, simply copy all the files from the zip folder into your Jedi Knight 2 installation folder, overwriting where necessary. The pack works on the original retail game and the GoG and Steam re-releases. The enhancement pack contains the following mods:-
Jedi Knight Retexture Pack v0.4
Jedi Knight mouse wheel fix (wheel thingy)
Jedi Knight idle animation fix
Jedi Knight music patch
What appears to be a fan-patch for the main executable.
Once you’ve copied the files in, you need to edit the games shortcut in order to play. The next section covers how to do that.
Editing the games shortcut
There are a few extra commands you need to add to the games shortcut before you can run the game. Exactly which command you need depends on which approach you’re taking. To edit the shortcut first search for Jedi Knight on the Start menu/Screen or on the search bar. On Windows 7, you can right click on the shortcut and choose “Properties”. In Windows 8 and 10, you need to right click on the icon and choose “Open file location”. A File Explorer window will then open with the shortcut highlighted. Right click on this icon and choose “Properties”. The following window should then be displayed:-
Notice the “Target:” box at the top of the window. Put your cursor in here and press the “End” key to go to the end of the line. Now, leave a space and add one of the following lines of text, depending on how you’re playing the game.
To play the basic Jedi Knight (without the enhancement pack) using the hacked ddraw.dll:-
To play Jedi Knight with the enhancement pack using the hacked ddraw.dll:-
-path JKE -windowgui
To play the basic Jedi Knight (without the enhancement pack) using dgVoodoo2, use no extra commands.
To play Jedi Knight with the enhancement pack using dgVoodoo2:-
Click on “OK” when you are done. You can now start the game by launching it from its short cut.
Tweaking visual quality
To configure visual settings, start the game and skip through to the main menu. From here, choose “Setup” and then “Display”. The following options should then appear (click the picture to see a bigger version).
First of all, make sure that “Enable 3D Acceleration” is turned on. You should then choose a screen resolution. Remember that Jedi Knight is a 4:3 aspect (non-widescreen) game. If you choose a widescreen mode the games graphics may appear stretched. Instead, you might want to use a mode such as 1440×1080 (if your display supports it) or 1024×768. At higher resolutions the games HUD and in-game messages can be very small, so you may prefer a slightly lower resolution especially if you’re playing from your couch rather than at a desk.
The games brightness control may need to be set to its minimum setting if using dgVoodoo2, otherwise it can be set to taste. Below that control is the “View size” control. You can set this all the way to the maximum if you like, but if you do, you won’t see any of the games HUD (heads up display). Set it a notch or two down from the maximum and the HUD icons should reappear.
All the other settings can be left alone. You’re now done tweaking the games visuals.
There are a few tweaks you will want to do to the games controls before you start playing. For some reason, the default mouse controls have the X (up and down) axis inverted. unless you enjoy playing the game like this, go to the Setup menu again and this time choose “Controls”. and then “Mouse”. In this menu you will be able to invert or restore either axis. To change keyboard bindings, choose “Controls” and then “Keyboard”. In modern first person shooter games, the Control key is often mapped to crouch. In Jedi Knight it’s inexplicably mapped to fire by default, so don’t forget to remove the binding for fire and then remap crouch (or Duck as the game calls it) if desired.
You can configure any other controls to taste. One thing you cannot configure in-game is the mouse wheel. Typically most modern FPS games let you scroll through your arsenal by rotating the mouse wheel up or down. If you installed the Jedi Knight Enhancement Pack, you should find a program called “Wheelsetup” in the games folder. Run this program and the following window will be displayed.
As you’ve probably worked out, this little program lets you assign keyboard commands to the mouse wheel. To change it so that your mouse wheel cycles through your weapons, change the top box to “PERIOD” and the bottom box to “SLASH”, then click “OK”. The next time you start the game you should be able to use the mouse wheel to switch weapons.
We haven’t tried playing the game with a gamepad, we imagine it could get rather tricky when trying to select force powers, if you have a working gamepad configuration for this game let us know in the comments.
Other mods and enhancements
If you’re still dying to tinker with Jedi Knight and install more mods, we strongly recommend backing up your current configuration. To do this, just make a complete copy of your Jedi Knight installation folder. Once you’re safely backed up, here are some suggestions.
Saber Battle X (Enhanced third person light saber fighting)
Jedi Knight HUD Revamp (Larger HUD icons, very useful for higher resolution displays)
When using the game with dgVoodoo2, you can also use the ReShade suite to enhance/alter the games colours and add a little extra antialiasing. You can read all about ReShade here. Try this preset (created by Alexandra Hall) for some simple but effective tweaks to the game.
Of course, there are many other mods available for the more adventurous gamer to try. If you are going to try out some more mods, remember to take regular backups as you tinker with your game and since installing mods may break your current save games, try out the mods you want to use before you start the game properly.
Broken/psychedelic colours while playing – Check that you turned on 3D acceleration and that you selected a screen mode of at least 640×480 in the games display settings.
Problems saving games – Like many old titles, Jedi Knight saves its game data into the same folder as the game itself. If you install the game to the default folder (under c:\program files) then, this will usually mean that save games and configuration files cannot be written. To solve this problem you can either run the game as administrator (right click on the games icon and choose “Run as administrator”) or, better still, set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here. The games default installation directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\LucasArts\Jedi Knight”. The actual save game files are stored in the “Player” sub directory.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.