Let’s look at the game that changed how FPS were played back in the 90’s, while being an enjoyable Star Wars adventure!
Played on: PC
Also on: PS1, Mac
Date posted: December 12, 2017
Let’s list things that go good together, shall we? Peanut butter and Chocolate. Strawberries and chocolate. Beer and chocolate. Chocolate and chocolate. Finally, Star Wars and chocolate. Wait. I meant to say first person shooters and chocolate. No, wait, that’s wrong too. I meant to say Star Wars and first person shooters. There! That should be right! Let’s find out why star wars, first person shooters, and chocolate go together!
Chocolate is a – oh I’m sorry. Dark Forces is the great realization that Star Wars could work as a FPS. Released on the heels of the mighty Doom in 1995, Dark Forces broke NEW GROUND by introducing many mechanics that we take for granted today, such as the ability to look up and down, jump, and crouch, among other things, such as room over room, the ability to swim, and moving platforms, just to name a few things. Also, chocolate.
Dark Forces does not follow Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, but instead a new character, Kyle Katarn, one of the most important expanded universe characters, at least in the realm of video games. His first adventure of many leads him not only on the hunt for the death star plans, but further into the heart of the empire, where he must face and destroy the “Dark Trooper Project”, which would give the empire the upper hand in the Galactic War.
Dark Forces is also the first of many games in the Jedi Knight series of Star Wars games- most featuring Kyle Katarn, a popular expanded universe character that Disney most likely doesn’t give a s@#t about!
I almost have nothing but good things to say about Dark Forces. The game starts out strong, with you infiltrating a base to steal the plans for the Death Star. That’s right- before Rogue One came and made this game non-canon, Kyle Katarn was one of the rebels responsible for securing the Death Star plans- he’s that badass!
Afterwards, he is enlisted to find and foil the plans of the empire’s Dark Trooper Project. He’ll venture to all sorts of planets and space ships, and even to the heart of an imperial city in order to stop the empire malicious plans.
At first glance, Dark Forces seems to be yet another Doom clone, but you’ll be sorely mistaken. There is so much here that improves the formula created by Doom, including actual objectives that must be completed to progress. The levels are usually large and full of different kinds of puzzles that really test your skills- some I even had to look up- no joke! As I said before, the locations you visit are of a great variety- all sorts of imperial bases, an imperial city, secret bases and research facilitates, an ice planet, a star destroyer and even Jabba the Hutt’s personal space ship!
You actually have a bit of enemy variety as well. Of course, Stormtroopers and generals will hunt you down in most levels, but you also have different kinds of droids hunting you down, and even some Gamorreans (the guards from Jabba’s palace) in some levels, as well as other alien enemies, including the dreaded Dianoga (the alien in the trash compactor from “A New Hope”).
Also can’t forget the various bosses as well- Dark Troopers serve to be quite the challenge, but you also have to fight a kell dragon with your own two fists! Once again, Boba Fett makes an appearance as a boss as well. The game all leads up to a boss fight with General Rom Mohc- the man behind the dark trooper project!
Of course, you have quite the arsenal to take out the empire and co- you got your standard blaster, but you also have ion cannons, thermal detonators, mines, and other laser weaponry, that is all fun to use- getting kills with the thermal detonators in particular are incredibly satisfying!
Once again, Disney ruins everything. Guess what movie pretty much made this game non-canon? That’s right- Rogue One! No longer does Kyle Katarn exist, but everything he’s done in every game he’s been in has been erased from history. Now what’s her name stole the death star plans. Thanks, Disney!
Other then that, I can’t really find any major flaws in Dark Forces. The levels can be quite cumbersome to play though, mostly due to their size and sometimes the puzzles can be confusing, but all this can be chalked up as being “a product of its time”. In other words, if your used to playing linear corridor shooter’s like call of duty, then your going to be sorely disappointed.
A weird complaint this game had, back when it was first released, was the absence of a multiplayer mode. To be fair, this was a year or two before the mighty Quake would be released and pretty much change multiplayer games forever, but Dark Forces really didn’t need one to be “a good game”.
If you haven’t played Dark Forces, then you need to do so- especially if your a fan of both Doom and Star Wars. Even tough it can be rough around the edges due to some of its dated mechanics, I think it still holds up to this day. The PC version is, of course, the way to go- I’ve played the PS1 version, and while it’s not horrible, it pales in comparison to the PC original. It can be easily boughten from GOG or Steam, so make sure to pick it up during a sale if you can!
Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!