Star Wars: Dark Forces


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6


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.

swdarkforces1.jpg (40304 bytes)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.

swdarkforces2.jpg (32267 bytes)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 levels.

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.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:54 PM