Star Wars' "Dark Forces" remastered: A classic returns

When Dark Forces came out on the Mac and PC in 1995, I remember being blown away — it seemed like a huge leap forward in graphics, gameplay, and storytelling. It was the first time players could move through Star Wars environments, which was awesome. And it really felt like the first time (in my experience) that you were immersed in the story. You WERE Kyle Katarn.

As reported on Star Wars:

Dark Forces, which blasted onto game store shelves in 1995, holds the distinction of being the first Star Wars first-person shooter (FPS) video game. Originally developed by LucasArts, the PC-only FPS was one of the first times that gamers felt like they were stepping into the Star Wars galaxy themselves.

But then, of course, I got a new computer. The game wasn't supported, so the disks went in a box and never came out again. It's disappointing that I would never be able to play it again.

Well, it's been remastered. Updated and upgraded sound and graphics, but essentially the identical game. Turns out LucasArts had all the original source code intact.

With upgraded gameplay, enhanced lighting and texture rendering, and support for modern consoles, Nightdive Studios' work to update the original game was extensive—but it's not a remake.

Dark Forces Remaster also includes behind-the-scenes content and a new playable level that takes Kyle Katarn to the Star Destroyer Avenger.

Was it still fun? From a purely nostalgic point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed it. A walk down memory lane to a simpler time when crouching seemed cutting edge. If you loved it in the 90s, you'll enjoy this immensely.

But it was also immediately apparent how incredibly far gaming has come since then. It kind of blew my mind. Comparing Dark Forces to a modern game like 2023's Jedi: Survivor is like comparing The Incredible Hulk on CBS in the 70s to the MCU. Not a fair fight.

Enjoy it for what it is, don't be disappointed at what it's not.

See also: DOSBox Pure makes DOS game emulation easier than ever