DescriptionKyle 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. The 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, as 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; no multiplayer is included or supported.
Part of the Following Groups
- BPjS / BPjM indexed games
- Game Engine: Jedi
- Gameplay feature: Auto-mapping
- Games made into books
- Sound Engine: iMuse
- Star Wars: Dark Forces / Jedi Knight series
- Star Wars licensees
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Action figuresTwo Star Wars action figures were actually released based on characters from this game. One was the main character Kyle Katarn (whose image was lifted from the game, but they added a beard so he'd look more like the Jedi Knight version of him). The other was General Mohc (the final boss) in his specially modified Phase III Dark Trooper battle suit.
AnimationThe animation of Darth Vader when he speaks to Mohc is 'borrowed' from the X-wing game. A similar animation is seen in a game over cutscene when your pilot is captured and Vader interrogates you.
Similarly. the close-up of Vader's face at the epilogue, is taken from TIE fighter..
BannedBoth the US and the German version were banned in Germany (German: 20.10.95, US: 30.09.95)
CameosMax from Steve Purcell's duo of Sam and Max (who star in their own LucasArts game, Sam & Max Hit the Road) makes a most unusual cameo appearance in Dark Forces.On the ice level, keep your map up during your investigations of its perimeter. You'll notice on the map one structure that looks very similar to the infamous rabbit.
Ewoks also make appearances in the form of a few that are chained up who make fun of you (and you can shoot them if you're one of those Ewok hating Star Wars fans) and the 'Ewoks suck' graffiti you'll find in the some of the darker corners of the Imperial facilities.
The Imperial Blaster Rifle sprite was used in Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire on the second CD.
Cut contentThe original idea was that Denny Delk (the narrator) would read the Star Wars scrolling text, but it was cut out. He actually recorded the lines. You can extract the sound files of these lines with one of the modding programs, available at massassi.net
In an issue of Lucasarts' old magazine; "The Adventurer" (that came with games of the era), Dark Forces was previewed with screenshots that did not appear in the final game. Among those included were a map of a standard Star Destroyer level (the "nose" of the Star Destroyer is very identifiable), an undisclosed Imperial base/Death Star/Star Destroyer level (with a very steep vertical drop), and an abused urban setting (that appeared to have an unfinished, bland sky overhead). Also, the emblem on Kyle Katarn's datapad was different at the time.
In the intro, there was a movie showing Kyle Katarn loading his weapons, but this was cut out too. It can be found in the game demo.
Howie screamDark Forces used the legendary Howie scream sample. If you tripped (or jumped) off of a tall structure, Kyle Katarn would scream "Uuuuarrrgggghhhh!!!!" This scream sample has been used in a countless number of productions, and there are several websites dedicated to spotting its use.
ReferencesKyle Katarn shares his name with a "katarn", a predator from Kashyyyk according to some Star Wars books and media.
The third level- planet "Anoat" caused some confusion, as many people believed that this was the system referred to by Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back" (when he detaches from the Star Destroyer). In later books and scripts, they say the term "Veronat" or "Varonat". Whether the creators of "Dark Forces" meant for the third level to be in the same system as Bespin remains speculation.
As far as anyone knows, the heavy android "Dark Troopers" were invented as the plot device for this game. Later, the Dark Troopers took on steam by appearing in later video games (Rebellion, Galactic Battlegrounds, etc.), and also in some comics and other media. A Dark Trooper's head/helmet is visible in a level of the expansion pack to "Jedi Knight" called "Mysteries of the Sith". It is safe to say that the Dark Troopers in later media are no where near as difficult as the ones Kyle Katarn went up against in this game.
- PCGamer Magazine
- April 2000 issue - voted #46 overall in a Readers All-Time Top 50 Games Poll
- Świat Gier Komputerowych magazine (Poland)
- 1995 - won the Golden Disk Award for the best foreign game
Information also contributed by Apogee IV, Boston Low, James1, Jason Musgrave, PCGamer77, phlux, Ray Soderlund, and Rola
Related Web Sites
- Dark Forces: A MOD for Jedi Academy (A project that aims to recreate the original Dark Forces using the Jedi Academy (modded Quake 3: Team Arena) engine.)
- Dark Forces FAQList (Extensive FAQ for the game.)
- DF-21 (Fansite about Dark Forces level editing with over 150 new levels for Dark Forces.)
- Lucas Arts: Dark Forces (Official site.)
- Star Wars: Dark Forces wiki (The Star Wars: Dark Forces wiki.)
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