Xbox Software: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

When LucasArts announces a new Star Wars game, people get curious. When it says it will be an RPG set 4000 years before the first movie, people start paying attention. But when it reveals that the game is being developed by BioWare, the outfit behind Baldur's Gate and nearly everything that's good about PC RPGs, that's when gamers start to get really excited.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is set at a troubled time in galactic history. The Jedi Knights still number in the thousands, but they have strong enemies in the Sith, masters of the Force who don't bother with the goody-goody righteousness that Jedis take to. Into this conflict enters you, a young Jedi with the power to make or break this interplanetary war.

Your journey will take you across 10 planets, from Tatooine and Dantooine to the Sith homeworld and Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's birthplace. You'll choose two other characters from a group hanging out on your space ship to accompany you. The game's battles will be action-oriented while keeping some of the strategic elements that marked the Baldur's Gate interface. System details have yet to be revealed, but LucasArts is promising combat scenes heavily inspired by the films' light sabre battles.

Knights of the Old Republic will be the Xbox's first major RPG, and BioWare is busy making sure it will be a memorable one. The galaxy you explore will be exquisitely detailed and include thousands of little graphic touches - including realistic shadow and sunlight effects - that bring the saga to life in a way paperback science fiction novels could only hope to. You'll have the freedom to be a good Jedi and work against the Sith, or turn toward the dark side and spread chaos across the universe. A host of mini-games, including swoop-bike racing and target practice at your ship's main turret, will complete the picture.

Publisher: LucasArts.

Developer: BioWare.

URL: www.lucasarts.com/products/swkotor.

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