• Console: Sony PlayStation
  • Release Date: 1995
  • Joe's Status: Completed

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Star Wars: Dark Forces

by Retro Joe ( JoesRetroGaming)

Star Wars: Dark Forces has been called a Doom clone by those who don’t know any better.

The honest to God’s truth is, if you like Doom, you’d love Dark Forces even more: especially if you’re a Star Wars fan.

It’s hard to imagine this, but back in 1995 Sony’s PlayStation was just released in the United States and one of its first titles, is a port of what would become a cult video game.

Also in 1995, Star Wars didn’t have new content. Aside from the main trilogy, it would still be several years until the series was expanded in cinema with The Phantom Menace. Therefore, Dark Forces enters what was referred to the “Expanded Universe”, creating a new storyline and characters aside from the original movies – which content-starved Star Wars fans were clamoring for at the time. (The Power of the Force action figure line re-released around this same time, which pushed the rebirth of Star Wars in general.)

The game’s story bookends being before and after A New Hope, following Kyle Katarn who is a mercenary working for the Rebel Alliance. Katarn stumbles upon the Empire’s Dark Trooper Project, which are overpowered Stormtroopers.

The game itself is a first-person shooter (FPS), borrowing common elements from the mega popular Doom series. The comparisons might end there, as Dark Forces is much more than a Doom clone with Star Wars painted over top of it.

For starters, its one of, if not the first FPS to include jumping and crouching, which creates some platforming elements that were missing in Doom, such as crawling through ventilation ducts years before it became cool in the N64 classic Goldeneye 007.

It’s also possible to look up and down, helping to aim and shoot those enemies that are on higher platforms. Again, this seems trivial, but back in 1995 it was groundbreaking.

Looking back, the graphics obviously do not age well, but the game play is outstanding save for getting lost in levels (usually due to the graphics and not being able to see what it is you need to do next!)

When adding Star Wars to the mix, you now get some FMV cutscenes and voice work, including famous one-liners from Imperial officers and Stormtroopers. Guns have the familiar shooting and blasting sounds from the movies, and overall, anyone who is a Star Wars fan should have this on their must-play list. In fact, it’s one of the best FPS titles ever made, if you’re capable of dealing with the dated graphics and the PlayStation’s D-Pad controls.

(I do not wish to share anymore, because there’s a few really cool spots in the story that will make any fan smile! Enjoy!)

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