While Star Wars titles would have an
ambiguous start in the CD-ROM era with Rebel Assault, things picked up with the X-Wing
series and Dark Forces. X-Wing was far too complex for a console, but Dark
Force's basic Doom mechanics were not. The port might not be the greatest, but this
is still a tolerable way to play through the first Star Wars FPS, assuming you
haven't been spoiled by the sequels.
Aside from the aesthetics,
there's not much here that makes this Star Wars. The game is played with various
blasters instead of the more elegant lightsabers, and as such, all of this could be
replaced with machine guns. Duke Nukem would feel right at home. This is still fairly
primitive, with no looking (it automatically starts shooting at a threat on a higher
level), jumping is not an option, and most of the stages are flat.
It's still fun to traverse through the levels, blasting away various 2-D characters from
the universe. Voice samples, both original and from the films, create great atmosphere.
The frame rate has problems keeping up, and seemingly in random spots. There are times
when walking down a hallway will cause problems, all while a disappointing non-redbook
soundtrack blares in the background.
Cinematics are now
showcased through compressed video, and nothing has been altered. It's still the same,
classic Lucasarts animation style. They break up the sometimes messy levels, with random,
useless corridors filling space on the disc. There's plenty of room for these to be
tightened up or shortened. The sequel would have little trouble in this area.
A little variety wouldn't have hurt either, though given the time frame and how young the
genre was, that's a lot to ask for. Players are teased with fully rendered ships used for
escapes, and even a few on-rail space dogfights would have added tremendous value. It
simply becomes monotonous after a while, mostly because of the sporadic designs of the
If you have a PC that can still play it, that's the version of Dark Forces to dig
up and play. The PS One has obvious problems with the engine. Still, if this is your only
option, it's an adequate conversion, just not much else.