"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....Dark Forces is LucasArts' new first-person perspective game. It is based on a LA-developed 'Jedi Engine', which supports "full 3D objects, a realistic lighting model, atmospheric effects (haze, fog, etc.), Gouroud shading, animating textures, 3D viewing angles and more."
"The New Order of the Empire stretches its evil clutches across the galaxy, consuming planets with devastating results. Through many struggles, the Rebel Alliance has learned of a new Imperial battle station, the DEATH STAR, with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
"Unable to acquire the plans to the deadly space station, the Rebels have employed the skills of Kyle Katarn. Known to most as a mercenary for hire, Katarn is a rogue figure who has a partial alliance with the Rebels.
"Armed only with a blaster pistol and an intimate knowledge of Imperial methods, Katarn prepares to infiltrate the Imperial base in which the plans are kept..."
Each of the 14 missions encompasses a different world, each with a unique look and feel. This is not a static environment, according to project leader Daron Stinnett: "the worlds extend out in all directions. There are elevators to take you to multiple floors, bridges over flowing water, catwalks, air shafts and other architectural features. We wanted an active environment, so ships come and go at the flight decks, rivers sweep along, platforms and conveyor belts move, and much of the machinery functions."
In this game, you play Kyle Katarn, a mercenary once employed by the Galactic Empire who is now working with the Rebel Alliance. Kyle's first mission is to steal the plans for an awesome space station: the Death Star. Subsequently, the Rebels learn of Imperial General Mohc's plans to create battalions of mechanized "Dark Troopers" -- specially enhanced stormtroopers which could spell the end of the rebellion. In Dark Forces, the player, as Katarn, must travel to varied locations -- such as the Gromas Mines, a Super Star Destroyer, the Imperial City on Coruscant, and the spaceport moon of Nar Shaddaa -- to stop the Empire from unleashing the Dark Troopers...
The characters inhabiting the game are familiar ones from the Star Wars universe, and include Imperial Stormtroopers and officers, pig-like Gamorreans, interrogation droids, the monster from the trash compactor, and Boba Fett, among others. You will be able to use many different weapons; among them a blaster rifle, thermal detonators, and an assault cannon.
Surely, if there were a Rebel who had accomplished as much as Katarn (succeeding in over a dozen extremely difficult missions single-handedly, facing hundreds of opponents), we would have heard of him by now. But, hey -- just try to play along, okay? After all, you may shoot down the enigmatic bounty hunter Boba Fett -- but he later appears in Return of the Jedi to be fed to the Sarlacc, and then reappears on Nar Shaddaa in the Dark Horse Comics series Star Wars: Dark Empire.
On the other hand, Justin Chin writes:
Kyle Katarn is not a more visible character in the Rebellion because Mon Mothma and the rest of the leaders of the Rebellion are concerned about the controversial nature of his employment. Namely his past with the Empire, in which he had many successful operations against the Rebellion, leaving many dead. The other is that he is not officially a part of the Rebellion, and is paid very well for his deeds. Other rebel members are not paid so well if not at all. In fact this very fact greatly upsets Princess Leia to no end. Even with the success with the Death Star plans and the Dark Troopers. Mon Mothma went behind Leia's back to hire him to steal the Death Star plans.
BTW, "katarn" (the surname of the protagonist in DF) is the name of a predator on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. Also, in the Star Wars book Heir to the Empire, written by Timothy Zahn (the first book in his trilogy), there is a Lieutenant Page who heads a New Republic group called the "Katarn Commandos."
Justin Chin writes:
["Katarn"] was used before I officially started on the project. I tried to think of a better one, but I as well as others, were used to it so it was not changed. He was in fact named after the animal. But he has no relation to the Katarn Commandos.
The README.TXT file accompanying the DF demo states that DF requires a Microsoft-compatible mouse, but will also support the Flightstick Pro and ThrustMaster Flight Control Systems, as well as regular joysticks.
I don't think so. We considered it, but it doesn't look like the retailers want a floppy version.Some players have expressed their disdain for the small size of DF. They say that the CD is "padded" with the inclusion of the DF demo. (In fact, the demo of Full Throttle is larger than DF itself -- this is largely due to the former's extensive sound and animation components.) However, others have noted that just because a game comes on a CD-ROM doesn't mean that it should take up 640 Mb -- some games don't lend themselves to that. It would have been nice to have a few more Missions on the CD, like another 200 or so ;-) Think of it this way: what if DF were only offered on (two dozen) floppies. Would you have been happy?
If you are offered DF on ~21 floppy disks, or find such a version on a BBS or FTP site, that version is pirated. Do not download, purchase, or accept DF in this format. This is illegal. You are considered an accessory unless you report this violation of copyright to the authorities. A lot of people worked very hard on DF -- they don't work for free. If you want to try out DF, get the demo level.
Although it wouldn't make much sense to have a 'deathmatch'-style game with two rebels fighting each other, a one-on-one Kyle Katarn/Trooper match is possible. A cooperative modem game option would fit much better into the storyline, considering that some fairly intricate and complex puzzles must be solved to complete a mission.
The storyline, however, is not the decisive factor here. LA obviously decided that DF would be "popular enough" without a modem option. Many net.players have modems or are on networks, thus the high demand for this option on the Net is understandable.
If you lose all your lives, you restart at the beginning of the mission and everything (enemies, doors, map, etc.) is reset as if you'd started the mission anew. Additionally, you are reset as you were when you first started the mission. That is, you have all the weapons, ammo, lives, shields, and special items you had when you first started the mission. It's not like starting Mission 1 again, with no extra weapons, etc.
Is this a good feature, or a glaring omission? On the pro side, some observe that having to play all the way thru a mission nonstop is exciting, and contributes to the realism of the game. On the con side, others note that reality has a way of intruding into game-playing, and that it would be nice to save the game in the middle of one of those long missions and come back to it later to do such mundane activities as eating, sleeping, and going out on dates, for example.
DF is also part of The LucasArts Archives: Volume II: The Star Wars Collection for PC (item #01-058) and Mac (item #01-060), listed at US$46.95 (CA, IN, UT residents add sales tax). Shipping and handling is another US$6.95 per order within the US; US$14 to Canada.
To order DF in the USA and Canada, call 1-800-STARWARS, or 1-800-98LUCAS (1-800-9858227), or check your local software retailer.
Project leader is Justin Chin; other team members include Ingar Shu and Ray Gresko.
(Although I've used Macs before, I don't run DF on a Mac. Mac users are encouraged to correct me on any errors in this section!)
Note: the CD includes settings for the following joysticks and pads: Thrustmaster, MouseStick, GamePad, Flightstick Pro, Questick, and QuePad.
The award winning Dark Forces is a first-person action-adventure game executed in richly detailed 3D graphics. The compelling Star Wars story is fraught with danger and intrigue and challenges players to destroy the Empire's latest weapon: the dark trooper.
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The demo was also included on the CD-ROM coverdisks of the magazines PC Gamer, Vol.2, No.3 (March, 1995), and Computer Gaming World, No.128 (March, 1995).
The demos on the CD-ROMs are version 0.16D, as opposed to the 0.163D version available on the Net. Only the Net version allows you to choose mission difficulty from Easy, Medium, and Hard.
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I suggest you make up your own mind -- and not try to "convert" others. Download the shareware version of DOOM 1.8 and compare it with the DF Prologue Mission 1 demo, available at better FTP sites everywhere.
(Me? I bought DOOM, and have played it solo and over the modem, and have played a bit of DOOM II -- in addition to DF, of course. But I'm probably not going to "rmdir doom" anytime soon. I like each game for its unique features.)
If you wish to flame me on these (quite reasonable, I think) answers, get a clue. Like IDDQD. ;-)
Each one of these games has, shall we say, "inspired" a successor. The successor has made large improvements in gameplay and design. Also, advances in computer hardware have allowed the latter games to be more ambitious in their attempts to create a pseudo-immersive game environment.
That is not to say, however, that DF could have existed without DOOM. But I will not change the answer to this particular FAQuestion unless I receive the "smoking gun" internal memo from LA stating "Develop a ripoff of DOOM." (The magazine PC Games Plus Global reported that "apparently LucasArts confessed to Jay Wilbur of id that they had ripped apart the DOOM engine to assemble Dark Forces.")
From CD-ROM Magazine:
"So how much had id Software's Doom influenced the team.[sic] "When Doom first came out it made us set our sights a bit higher," said Stinnet[sic]. "We knew we wanted to do a first-person Star Wars game, but we didn't know what programming technology we'd use. But it is our own engine, which we developed internally." Is it better than the Doom engine? "It has quite a bit more capability -- ours can look up and down and it has 3D objects."
"However, there's no rivalry going on, just a lot of healthy American mutual respect. Both teams keep in touch through E-mail and the id team has played Dark Forces and (according to a Lucas PR person) loved every bit of it. This is probably because Dark Forces includes some of the features which id is supposedly including in its latest title, Quake. The most obvious difference is that in Dark Forces, you can look up and down. To create the right perspective, the programmers employed a clever fish-eye effect which makes buildings look as if they're really looming over you."
DF and DOOM have many features in common:
A recent LA ad campaign contained the following copy: "After facing stormtroopers, the Death Star and Darth Vader, we took on our toughest adversary yet. [The critics.]", and these reviews: