Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Squashing a Bug in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

With all the talk of bug-riddled games of late (eg Enter the Matrix and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness) I was pretty discouraged when I encountered an Xbox-freezing glitch in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It occurred on Korriban, during a load-screen just prior to the final portion of my adventures on the planet. The loading progress bar slowly made its way to the right then stopped just before reaching the far end. My stomach sank, dreading the thought of losing 20 hours of gaming. I methodically pressed every button on the Controller S, secretly hoping that Microsoft had endowed the Xbox with its own version of Ctrl+Alt+Del. I had no such luck. I rebooted my Xbox, loaded my save game and duplicated the error. Next, I loaded an older save game. I worked my way back to the point where my character tells the head of the Sith academy that she's ready to take her final test. The game froze again.

I turned my Xbox off and walked away from the game for a couple of days. When my jones for the game would no longer let me rest, I went to the KOTOR website to see if anyone else had encountered a similar problem. I learned of a well-documented "Stealth" bug that occurs on the Sith starship Leviathan. The error occurs when players are still under the effects of their stealth field-generating belt when they enter a cut-scene. Sadly, this problem was nothing like mine.

Luckily, a kind gentleman at the LucasArts Tech Support hotline was able to solve my problem. He told me that several people had encountered the same problem that I had and told me how to rectify the situation. Apparently the Xbox has an onboard cache memory that retains information about the last three games that you've played. It seemed that my cache memory had somehow become corrupted. He suggested that I play three other games, effectively kicking KOTOR's data out of the memory. The trick worked like a charm and I'm pleased as punch to be playing the game again.

Lucas Arts Tech Support earns major Light Side points for this one.