Part 44: Onderon: God Save the Queen
Last we left off, we breached the inner sanctums on Dxun and the throne room on Onderon simultaneously.
"You're too late, our pet beast is about to breach the force field to the Throne Room. The Queen will be dead in moments!"
The baby Drexl is busy being used as a battering ram. My brain doesn't even work on level where this makes any sort of sense; why would you get a big animal to beat down an force field? It's such a weird mishmash of ideas.
Anyway, the beast finally succeeds at beating down the barrier after pounding on it for what seemed like an hour. If it were me, I'd be like, "Get the beast to break down the wall right next to the force field."
Meanwhile back on Dxun, the all night Sith party continues.
The exertion instantly kills one of the Sith Lords performing the ritual. In the game script this is called a 'Dark Side backlash'.
Please don't ask me to explain what that is, because I don't know.
Turns out the ritual was actually responsible for controlling the Drexl beast a planet away.
I could have sworn there was a Pokemon that looked exactly like that.
If you've played the game before, you might have noticed I did things completely out of order. The entirety of the Dxun assault takes place first, and then you get the play the Onderon siege the whole way through. The two planets are not interwoven. What they never really explained was how those two different assaults tied together. It would have been so easy to throw in a line there to say, "The Drexl is free; oh shit, the ritual on Dxun must have failed!" but instead you just have to assume.
In fact there was such a line at one point, but it was cut from the game. Plus it was only if you sided with Vaklu. It's a bit of an oversight.
We stand idly by while Tobin gets completely owned by the Drexl. Jesus only helps those who help themselves.
"But what is this? Ah... of course, the Force has guided you here. It echoes within you, yet I sense it is... untrained."
This is the first time the kids are away from momma and papa, and some stranger in a van is offering them candy.
"An adept has managed to come so far? Incredible. You have within you the potential to wield the Force. I am not speaking of the ways of the Jedi or their flawed teachings - their Order was rooted in weakness."
"I will not walk the path of the dark side!"
"What lies has your Master spread? What have they denied you in their ignorance? The Jedi preach calm and serenity while wallowing in weakness and hypocrisy."
"Can't you feel the power of this place? It echoes through you like a second voice. Accept it... embrace it."
That's the most half-hearted attempt at a redemption I've seen since KOTOR 1.
"So you seek to save me? From what? With the dark side there is no knowledge forbidden, no restraints. What can you possibly offer me?"
"I will not... be tempted. That path leads to the dark side."
The Drexl was suppose to be a mini-boss fight, but at this point it just goes down as fast as any other enemy. I hear it's quite a tough fight if you come to Onderon earlier in the game. It certainly seemed designed that way, as there's a whole giant room you can kite it around in if you wanted to maneuver around a bit.
One last laugh at the recently decesased Tobin.
Queen Talia's troops rush into the throne room to engage Vaklu's soldiers. If the Exile had picked up Battle Meditation as a skill here, it's possible for him to use it to rally Talia's forces. Jesus doesn't, so he'll just have to the dirty work himself.
Meanwhile, back on Dxun, our lightsaber crew are still battling the Sith Lords in the tomb.
I'm going to go ahead and admit this was like the one spot in the game I died at. These guys hit kind of hard, and I was concentrating more on setting up the positioning and spell effects to get nicer screenshots. Next thing I knew, my entire party was dead.
Once I actually paid attention, they were pretty easy to fight.
Anyone got a fishing pole?
Although, with the state of the wildlife on Dxun, the fish would probably be busy trying to eat you instead.
This is the game we like to play called 'Graverobbing the Mummified Sith Lord'.
Back on Onderon, Jesus is cleaning up the last of Vaklu's army. There's maybe 8 or so guys we have to gun down, which would be a lot in any other circumstance, but considering the cavernous size of the room, you'd expect something a little more epic.
Kavar finally shows up to the fight.
I'm going to quote from the comments to the animators in the game's script: "Kavar enters throne room. Kavar gets his Jedi Freak on."
Thank you Kavar for killing all of 2 guards, while the Exile had to take down the rest of Vaklu's army.
There's a pretty funny bug here. After Kavar kills the guards, he just sort of stands around. You're suppose to walk a bit forward past him, at which point the next script starts.
If you talk to Kavar instead, he fires the same dialogue as he did when we find him in the other wing of the palace. That's fine I guess, except after he stops talking he starts leaving the throne room to go back to his usual spot near the museum, which is a mile away.
Where are you going Kavar? The fight's in this direction.
Vaklu isn't such a dink if you side with him instead; his alliance with the Sith is fragile at best, and in the end he betrays them in order to gain the Exile's help.
Queen Talia is beating him in their their little swordfighting duel.
Clearly, Vaklu doesn't deserve to rule Onderon if he can't even beat up a girl.
"You're getting careless, Vaklu. One more mistake, and you're the one who will pay the price."
Why didn't he get them to shoot her earlier? .
This is like Stupid Villain 101 all over again. You have defeated your enemy with overwhelming force and have her at your mercy. You elect to engage her in a duel instead.
Of all the planets in this sequel, I think Onderon 'feels' most like the first game.
We've got the cheesy B-movie one liners, the overly dramatic tone of the NPCs, and the half-hearted Dark Side/Light Side argument presented at the Dxun temple. The city portion of the planet feels the most populated and full of life, and even the colour palette is quite cheery and bright. I don't think it's a bad thing; it's a Disneyfied version of Star Wars, and while it's not deep, it's fun and enjoyable for what it is.
Kavar just stands around and is once again supremely unhelpful.
Not that we need it. General Vaklu himself is a disappointing pushover.
The Jedi may not kill their prisoners, but Kreia is no Jedi.
I think it's suppose to be "respect your counsel".
Anyway, we'll leave Vaklu's fate up to the Queen; best not to get too involved in local politics. They probably had enough meddling from both Sith and Jedi here on Onderon for a lifetime.
"Are you so sure of my decision, Vaklu?"
Due process? Habeas Corpus? In a time of war?
What an antiquidated idea.
"Your whole life has been a trial, Vaklu. But it's over now. You are right, we can't detain you. Too many people are still loyal to you. You've left me no real option."
"You did the right thing. Leaving Vaklu alive would be foolhardy."
Note Kavar is still completely bugged and doing his 'typing on the computer terminal' animation.
"The crisis is over thanks to you... and Master Kavar. I believe he'd like to speak to you. If you'll excuse me."
So ends General Vaklu. Should have just shot her when you had the chance, buddy.
This is a scene reminiscent of the one on Nar Shaddaa, where Kreia heals a wounded Hanharr and manipulates him into doing her bidding. Here she seems a similar potential tool in Tobin.
"Colonel Tobin, I am with Vaklu. The war has gone against him... he sent me to rescue you, to tell you must make haste off-planet."
Wait, why is she giving away Atris's position? This could be bad.
"What... but the Jedi are gone. They have all but vanished."
"So we all thought. But they have hidden themselves on Telos."
This won't be the last we see of Tobin.
Note Kreia was once slated to be selectable as a party member on the mission to Dxun. There were lines for her written there and everything. Later on it was decided she had to come with the Exile to Onderon, specifically for this scene. Obviously it's a critical scene for the plot of the game.
"We spent all this time looking for you, and you came to us. I thought you might return to Onderon. Looks like just in time."
"You were looking for me?"
"I don't know how much you know, but this threat that's striking at the Jedi... it's attacking us through the Force."
"Whatever, the reason, having us all drop out of sight I thought might make the enemy more bold - but then you happened."
Yes, how wonderfully convenient. All the Jedi went into hiding, and as soon as the Exile stumbled back into the galaxy, every bounty hunter, droid, and Sith Lord seemed to know exactly who and where he was.
"Why did you choose these places to hide?"
"They were places touched by war. And we thought there was a chance you would return to these worlds, if only to try and make peace with what happened there during the war."
It's interesting that Kavar is a Jedi Guardian, a class that's generally to be more oriented towards the proactive and the hands-on approach. And yet he's been sitting back at the palace acting as an advisor to the Queen. This sort of political role is suppose to be more traditionally the realm of Jedi Consulars. The opposite is true for Vrook, a Consular who let himself be thrusted him into the action in order to enact change on Dantooine.
"Why not Telos?"
"Telos? But Telos was destroyed during the Jedi Civil War. I heard they're trying to rebuild."
"Atris intends to rebuild the Jedi Order on Telos."
"Too many Jedi have scattered - the council needs to gather, we cannot remain concealed any longer."
"What happened on Katarr?"
"We knew that someone was preying on us, hunting us. Finally the Jedi decided to take action, and called a secret conclave on Katarr to decide what must be done."
As we learned from Visas, Darth Nihilus was the one who attacked Katarr and killed the Jedi there. It's possible then that he was the Sith Lord that General Vaklu allied himself with as well.
"So the Council decided that we must not present ourselves as a target again. The consequences to others was just too great, that we should use our resources to find who was responsible and deal with them. I think you're the only one who's made progress."
But they haven't revealed any punctuation.
"Did you succeed?"
"You've had more success than I. General Vaklu's men and their allies effectively kept me pinned inside the Palace. I felt all along that Vaklu had contacted the Sith. But the identity and purpose of the Sith, I can't say."
"Why did the Sith come here?"
"They wanted to aid General Vaklu in breaking away from the Republic. If Onderon became independent, this place would be an excellent staging ground for them. But I fear it was more than that, that the consequences of Onderon's fall would have greater implications for the galaxy."
"I thought the Sith were defeated at the end of the Jedi Civil War."
"The dark side is always there, and it is something that can never truly be defeated. I feel our current troubles, though, are beyond what we faced before."
"Do you know anything about this threat?"
"Not enough. I feel it is something that was born from the wars that have struck the Republic. The threat is Sith, but the manner and timing of their attacks is difficult to defend against."
We're getting a lot of "I don't know"s from this conversation.
"Where are all the Jedi?"
"Scattered, searching for you. Going to places where they thought they might cross your path. You were our last hope."
Yeah well, obviously nobody listened to Kavar. Zez was busy hiding on Nar Shaddaa, and Vrook... well Vrook is just an ass. Whatever he was doing on Dantooine, it certainly wasn't searching for the Exile.
That's not surprising, as the other Masters make Kavar out to be a bit of a meathead.
"Yes, at least, that's what I asked them to do. I believed you are the key to this whole war. When you stood before us in the Council chamber on Coruscant, we felt something from you, we'd never felt before - it was as if the Force had died within you, leaving you hollow. We had suspicions as to why this was, but nothing definite. But rather than try to understand, we sent you away. I think because at some level, there was fear."
"To see such emptiness in the Force standing before you... it is not an easy thing to face. Whatever is attacking us, it is leaving something in its wake, something we haven't felt since you stood before us in judgment. The deaths of the Jedi, the destruction of Katarr, all of these things are leaving behind echoes - like the one we felt from you in the council chamber."
If the other Jedi feel these echoes, then it suggests a link between Darth Nihilus and the Exile; this comes into play a bit later. It's interesting because if the Exile went Dark Side, then he obviously is out to kill the Jedi Masters; when you confront each of them, they become confused and figure it's the Exile, not Nihilus, who was responsible for Katarr and the deaths of all the Jedi.
Yeah the cell reception beyond the Outer Rim is pretty horrible.
"I don't know how you got back, but I'm glad you're here."
Tell me more about punctuation. I no spell good.
"The thing is, in traveling to these places... these places where war was fought, we felt the same thing, echoes. Something happened in all these places, but it's hard to figure out what. It's hard to sense things through the Force in such places. Too much pain occurred here. It makes listening to the Force difficult. We resolved to meet again on Dantooine, but only when the threat revealed itself - unfortunately, I happened to be here when it struck."
"Why did you come here?"
"Worlds touched by war, or great tragedies, can be felt within the Force... strongly. We thought by traveling to such worlds, it would help conceal us from the eyes of the enemy. And they were places we thought we might find you."
"There was nothing else we could do. You defied the Council. You followed Revan to war. I know why you did it, but in so doing, much more harm was done."
"We could not have made you do such a thing, in any event. I think you knew, inside, what you needed to do in order to heal."
"What do you mean?"
"All those lives during the Mandalorian Wars - and all those you served beside. Too much death leaves echoes in the Force; it is the price for having such connections. I suspect that is why you chose to accept the Council's judgment, to wander beyond the Rim. And why you traveled with no one, and did not stay in any place too long. I have thought of you since your trial, and there are times when I wonder if being connected to the Force is always the gift it is believed to be."
"I saw a holo-recording of the Jedi Council meeting where you cast me out."
"So you heard what we said? These questions I cannot answer. This is something the Council must answer, not I. You must understand . This is hard for me, especially after all you've done. But it is necessary."
"Why is this hard for you?"
"Did you know that when I was training you I considered making you my Padawan? I didn't. The demands of the Jedi Council were too great."
"But I considered you a friend. I even tried to convince you to become a Jedi Guardian. We could've used someone like you. So the decision that had to be made was not easy. But I cannot say anything more."
So Kavar almost took the Exile as a Padawan, but refrained. I don't think it really says anywhere who exactly trained the Exile before the Mandalorian War, though I suppose it's not particularly important. It could have been Master Vandarr, judging from the holorecording you can find upon arriving on Dantooine.
"Cut you off from the Force? Why do you think the Council was responsible for that?"
But... but Kreia said...
You know what, forget what Kreia said. We don't know who to believe any more.
"I have developed a Force bond with another. If either one of us feels pain, so does the other. If either one of us dies..."
"You always did form connections to others, strong ones, even when you were a student. But what you are describing is beyond me. I'm sure others in the Jedi Council would be able to assist you. If you could find them."
So basically, Kavar doesn't know about the other Jedi, can't help us with the Force bond, and is generally useless. Got it.
In this lightsaber form, we stab ourselves in the hands simultaneously. There are no specific strengths or weaknesses deriving from that.
"I recognize you must leave soon, but please take this."
Vaklu's troops didn't loot the museum; we did! Though if we hadn't, she would have given the shinies to us anyway.
"I know little of the Force, but I hope you can put my family's relics to good use. Captain Bostuco has made arrangements for a shuttle to take you to your ship. I fear it will be quite some time before you can come back."
We don't get to leave on the Basilisk? Aww.
Back on Dxun - first things first, we have to get our free dough from G0-T0.
"I want my reward for stabilizing Onderon."
To be honest there really isn't a lot of opportunities in this game to spend money. It's not like KOTOR 1 where the uber items were all store bought and expensive as hell; most of the top end items here drop off enemies, and the best upgrades are all obtainable by making Bao-Dur the crafting bitch. Money is basically useless except in rare circumstances. It makes being a Dark Sider a lot less tempting in the material sense.
Our happy little reunion scene on Dxun. If the kids had taken the candy from the man in the Dark Side van, the dialog here would have been slightly different, but that's really all that decision would have affected.
And with that, our tour of the four main planets is over, and the endgame is about to begin.