GameSpot's History of Star Wars Games

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X-Wing Collector's Edition
Rebel Assault
TIE Fighter
Dark Forces
Rebel Assault II
Yoda Stories
Shadows of the Empire
Star Wars Rebellion
X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
Jedi Knight Series
Rogue Squadron
X-Wing Alliance
The Phantom Menace
Force Commander
End of Classic Star Wars Games?
Dark Forces
Published: 1994

Dark Forces was a milestone in gaming. Not only was it LucasArts' first shooter, it also was the first first-person shooter to introduce jumping to the genre. In 1994, only a few years after Doom was released, a wave of copycats appeared on the shelves. Descent was one of the more successful ones, but Dark Forces is remembered as the most successful Doom clone.

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Dark Forces put you in the role of Kyle Katarn, a mercenary hired by Mon Mothma herself to perform a vital rebel mission. Actually, the game had a variety of missions, with a little more purpose than those in Doom or Descent. The overall goal of the game was to infiltrate the empire and steal the plans for the first Death Star. Along the way, you must battle stormtroopers and the dark trooper, a new type of super stormtrooper that could be the empire's secret weapon. Making a cameo appearance as a boss in this game is Boba Fett.

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Dark Forces played like any other first-person shooter with a few exceptions. First, it succeeded in conveying a sense of being a part of Star Wars. Urging you to complete missions that were vital to the rebellion and stealing the very plans that Leia and General Madine mention in Episode IV only added to the sense of immersion. Second, it had such noteworthy level design that in years to come, Dark Forces would still be remembered for its great levels. However, Dark Forces also provided a good deal of frustration due to its lack of a save anywhere feature. You could only save in between missions, and since the missions grew to be so extensive, with sprawling level design and multiple objectives, eventually the lack of a save anywhere feature really hurt the game. Almost as damaging to the game's place in history was its lack of multiplayer support, especially considering that Doom and Descent before it both offered multiplay.

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However, taking the whole balance of things, Dark Forces remains one of the classics of the first-person shooter. It wasn't just a run-and-gun game, offering missions, smart level design, and multiple objectives when few other games provided anything more than lots of levels with lots of monsters. It still had its share of key hunting and didn't really break the mold, but it certainly offered an enhanced first-person experience.

Read GameSpot's review of Dark Forces.

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