Star Wars: Dark Forces is a must-play for any Star Wars fan itching to blast Stormtroopers from a first-person perspective. It's another of those blast-'em-all-away games where your mission is to get from one point to the other. While it may sound like your regular old Doom clone, Dark Forces has more playability, great sound, and most of all, gorgeous scenery.
Dark Forces is the first first-person shooter created allowing you to look up and down, making it easier for you to take out enemies above and below you. You'll need to do this! Just when you think you're safely alone as you walk across a cliff face, a shot fires from who-knows-where, forcing you to spend a few moments searching for the sniper. With the up/down feature, you are able to kill your would-be assassin wherever he may be -- or even take out a clueless Stormtrooper and be the assassin yourself!
You also have the ability to crouch and jump, both necessary in progressing through the game. Don't forget to strafe! Much life energy can be saved by surprising the enemy -- instead of letting the enemy surprise you.
The music and sounds in the game are incredible (even more so if you're a Star Wars junkie). The opening title sets you up with the classic John Williams movie theme, complete with stars and a crawl of slanted text. Once the game begins you immediately hear the deep, tense background music that reminds you of action scenes from the movie. The digitized "Blast him!" of a Stormtrooper, coupled with a sharp, high-pitched rifle blast, brings movie-like action to life through your PC speakers.
Finally, the scenery is flat-out fantastic. There are so many different levels of height in this game that your surroundings are nothing less than vast. A favorite mission is the ice level, where soldiers can be anywhere -- in front of, above, below, beside, or across from you. So large are the levels that you might actually shoot an out-of-reach enemy at one point, only to come across his dead body 20 minutes later.
Aside from sheer size, LucasArts did an absolutely wonderful job of reproducing the landscapes and inner sanctums that we recognize from the movies. One just has to stop and gawk in admiration.
Dark Forces is a wonderfully designed game that keeps you entertained for hours. Although it doesn't allow for multi-player action, there's still plenty of challenge on this disc to keep yourself busy for quite some time. It takes someone truly powerful with the Force to make it through all the missions in one life. Your library of PC Star Wars games is incomplete without Dark Forces.
Graphics: Gorgeous, sprawling scenery with well-drawn characters
Sound: Straight from the movie, with Stormtrooper "Hey there!"s and all.
Enjoyment: Shoot the Stormtroopers, take out Boba Fett, go nuts with the blaster rifle...lots of fun!
Replay Value: Unfortunately, there's only one episode to get through, so once you're done, you're done.
Kyle Katarn is a former Imperial officer turned mercenary, now hired by the Rebel Alliance. After having stolen the Death Star plans from a remote facility, he is tasked with investigating the sudden destruction of a hidden Rebel base. This leads him to face off against Imperial General Rom Mohc and the various iterations of his "Dark Troopers" - cybernetic soldiers with the armor and firepower to turn the tide of the war.
Dark Forces is a close prequel to the original Star Wars movie trilogy. The game marks LucasArts' first attempt to enter the first-person shooter market. Instead of licensing the Doom engine, like many competitors, LucasArts created its own internal "Jedi" engine. The Jedi engine contains advanced features over similar tech, including the ability to look up and down, jump, crouch, and limited support (in the build used for Dark Forces) for rooms (sectors) over rooms. 3D models also make occasional appearances inside the game, as turrets or Kyle's ship dropping him off or picking him up from each mission. Most levels have a fairly complex, often maze-like structure, and include various switches that need to be activated to change the layout of the level. Jumping is integrated into the gameplay, as certain areas can only be accessed in that way. In addition to weapons, Kyle can use shields to protect himself from damage, a head lamp to illuminate dark areas, as well as specific items used to counter environmental hazards. The player character is given a certain amount of "lives" per level; he dies permanently once he runs out of all of them. Game progress can be saved only between missions.
The game features fourteen substantial levels as Kyle works to disarm the Dark Trooper project. Many levels reference characters or areas from the Star Wars movie trilogy, such as a visit with Jabba the Hutt, a trip to Coruscant, and a battle through the interior of a Star Destroyer. As opposed to most first-person shooters of the time period, every level has objectives for Kyle to complete, ranging from grabbing a clue and getting out alive, to planting charges around a facility to demolish it. Cutscenes appear between key missions to update the plot.
The Star Wars license gets plenty of use, and the game features Imperial officers, stormtroopers, and a collection of aliens seen in the films as enemies. Blaster rifles and thermal detonators are used as weapons, along with other firearms inspired by the tech of the films. Dark Forces also uses the iMuse engine to dynamically change the music during action scenes, with much of the music based off, or directly replicating, John Williams' original film score. The game is entirely a single-player campaign, and no multiplayer is included or supported.
People who downloaded Star Wars: Dark Forces have also downloaded:
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars: X-Wing Collector Series, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
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