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Sometimes, what you’re looking for is right in front of you.
The Star Wars franchise, for all its overacting, underacting and prequel movies, still serves as a bastion of diehard fans who will stand up for it for as long as it keeps Jar Jar Binks out of future installments. When Bioware took the beloved trilogy and decided to apply their fantastic RPG concepts to it, what we got was a game that blew us away, opened up a whole new world in an unfamiliar time period, and even inspired an MMORPG (which I refuse to play for addiction reasons…damn you MMOs…) Knights of the Old Republic was exceptional in many regards, but the one that tops them all is a plot twist that rivals Darth Vader’s Empire Strikes Back reveal.
Your character is completely made by you and has a different background based on your starting class. In the course of rescuing the Jedi Bastila Shan, you discover there is a Force Bond between the two of you, and you begin to have flashes of strange devices on different planets. Apparently, Bastila was onboard the ship of evil, murderous and stereotypically dark, Sith Lord Darth Revan when he was betrayed by Darth Malak, his apprentice, and was responsible for Revan’s capture. Malak now has command of the Star Forge, an immense artifact of limitless power (why is it always limitless power? Not only does that sound dangerous, it also never turns out to be the case). Using the visions you attain through the Force Bond, you search for the devices, known as Star Maps, to locate the Star Forge and bring an end to Malak’s tyranny. So far, pretty standard stuff.
After traveling across the stars to any three planets of your choice (I usually save Korriban for last, since it’s so much more fun), your ship, the Ebon Hawk, is captured by Darth Malak. After a possibly humorous (T3 and HK-47, I love you) break out sequence and stopping Carth Onasi’s old boss, Admiral Saul Karath (probably over a lack of overtime pay), you are confronted by Darth Malak at last, who wonders if you’re there to exact revenge. Of course, Malak has been responsible for a number of catastrophes that have hurt you (killing your first companion, blowing up Taris, the inflation of intergalactic prices, etc.), but there seems to be more to this one.
Then comes the flashback of phrases you’ve heard throughout the game.
Bastila on Dantooine states the Jedi don’t kill prisoners and no one deserves execution. Nice sentiment, isn’t it?
Master Zhar tells us Jedi normally aren’t trained as adults but this is a special case. Of course, but I’m the player, right? I must have some awesome destiny, right?
Carth says the Force can erase memories and your entire identity. What does that have to do with anything? Wait a minute…
The Star Maps show and Bastilla tells us Revan visited all these worlds to find the Star Forge. And you’ve been having visions of all of them before going there.
Master Vrook tells us about the Dark Side’s allure and how our quest will lead us down a familiar path. It’s beginning to make sense now…
Bastila explains the greatest weapon is turning the enemy to your cause and using their knowledge against them…it can’t be…
Your visions throughout the game flash on the screen…it’s impossible…
Darth Revan stands on a desolate planet, removes the mask and…it’s you. You are Revan.
The visions were your Jedi-destroyed memories. The Jedi turned you to fight for them. Bastila told you the bond was of unknown origins when she created it to keep you alive. They all lied to you. But were they wrong to?
You started this whole mess. You decided to fight the Mandalorian by any means. You embraced the Dark Side You trained Malak. You plunged the galaxy into darkness.
After you fend off Malak, he takes Bastila and you grab the last Star Map. Soon afterward, you find the Star Forge, kill Malak and depending on your choices you save the Republic or usher in a new age for the Sith. Either way, though, nothing quite has the quality of finding out who you were before and what you became because of it.