Feeds

LucasArts' Dark Forces

Star Wars meets Doom in this classic first-person shooter from 1995

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster

All that said, Dark Forces was still loyal to its FPS origins too - some might say slavishly so. Its list of weaponry follows the classic fists, pistol, machine gun, mini-gun, rocket launcher, BFG ladder, just with some real Star Wars weapons thrown in, plus some cool new ones like the Fusion Cutter and the Concussion Rifle. No lightsabre, mind, or Force powers. They would have to wait for the sequel, 1997’s Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight.

Dark Forces

Mint Imperials

Likewise, there’s a clear hierarchy of bad buys, with Death Squad Commanders, Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers - whose hats cutely fly off when they’re shot, remotes, interrogation droids, mouse droids and probe droids being joined by Trandoshans - represented in the movie by the bounty hunter Bossk - plus Ree-Yees with their three eyes on stalks; slime dwelling Dianogas; and Gammorreans.

And there’s even a brief cameo from Boba Fett.

Not that Dark Forces didn’t extend the genre. While Doom prevented the player from looking up and down, Kyle Katarn can. He can also crouch and jump. Some areas were literally pitch black, with only droids’ lights and - if you found them - power ups or infra-red goggles to help you see. To make it tougher, you can't save the game during play.

Dark Forces

Gloomy Gromas

Dark Forces also features some of the most extensive locations to explore in an mid-1990s FPS, with some levels positively labyrinthine in their complexity - made more so with sections built on top of other sections for some very impressive three-dimensional architecture. Parts of which could move, too. Not merely up and down like Doom’s elevators, but sideways and rotationally. There are conveyor belts and drag-you-along sewage streams. There’s slippery ice. There are hazy, poisonous fumes.

And while, yes, Dark Forces had three colours of key - red, blue and yellow - just like Doom, and the inevitable but unrealistic secret rooms, at least it imposed a broader array of mission parameters than ‘find key, open door’. There were sequences of different-speed elevators to ascend, multiple switches to hit to open up computer cores or to detonate the Arc Hammer’s reactors.

Dark Forces

True-to-the-movie architecture fills each level

The FPS feature that Dark Forces didn’t offer was multi-player gaming, but this was early days for LAN play, let alone over-the-net gaming. Its absence didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the game, played on the Mac, though in a form that’s long been incompatible with modern Apple machines. I tried it again recently using the DOS emulator DOS box - I still have the original CD - though in DOS’ grainy 320 x 240 pixel-doubled graphics rather than the full 640 x 480 the Mac version was capable of, albeit only with a top-of-the-line Power Mac.

Come on, George, free up the source code.

DOS and Mac discs can still be found on eBay and such, if you fancy rekindling fond memories. Just never fear being told: “You’re in violation of Imperial law!” ®

Developer LucasArts
Publisher LucasArts
Release Date 1995
Platforms Initially DOS, Mac, later PS1.
More info Dark Forces info at Moby Games

More Retro Games

Half-Life Populous Legend of Zelda
Ocarina of Time
Ghostbusters Goldeneye

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?