Star Wars: Dark Forces is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by LucasArts. It was released in 1995 for DOS and Apple Macintosh, and in 1996 for the PlayStation. The storyline of Dark Forces is set in the Star Wars fictional universe and follows the character Kyle Katarn, a mercenary working on behalf of the Rebel Alliance. He discovers the Empire's "Dark Trooper Project", which involves the development of a series of powerful new battle droids and power-armored stormtroopers.
Dark Forces uses the Jedi game engine, which was developed specifically for the game. The engine adds gameplay features to the first-person shooter genre which were uncommon at the time of release. These features include level designs with multiple floors and the ability to look up and down.
Critics gave very favorable reviews for the DOS and Macintosh versions of Dark Forces, but not for the PlayStation version. The DOS and Macintosh versions were praised for the level design and technological advances. The PlayStation version was criticized for having poor graphics and slow frame rates, reducing the playability of the game. A sequel to Dark Forces, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II followed in 1997.
p>Dark Forces is a first-person shooter (FPS). The player controls protagonist Kyle Katarn from a first-person perspective, with a focus on combat against various creatures and characters from the Star Wars universe, though the game also includes environmental puzzles and hazards. Dark Forces follows a central storyline outlined in mission briefings and cutscenes. Each mission includes specific objectives which are related to the story. The missions take place in a variety of environments across the Star Wars universe, including a Star Destroyer interior, Jabba the Hutt's space yacht, and the planet Coruscant, where the player must infiltrate a computer vault.
Dark Forces gameplay expands on the FPS standards set by Doom (1993) and features gameplay elements that are now common in the FPS genre. These include the ability to look up and down, duck, and jump. A variety of power-ups are made available to the player, including health, shields, weapons and ammunition. The game also features several non-combat items to aid the player. The head lamp illuminates the area in front of the player, but will reveal the player's position to enemies in dark rooms. Ice cleats provide traction in icy areas, and an air mask protects the player from areas with toxic atmosphere. Many inventory items are powered by batteries (separate from weapon ammunition types) which can be found around the levels.
For combat, the player may use fists, explosive land mines and thermal detonators, as well as blasters and other ranged weapons. Gameplay leans towards ranged combat, although some enemies have melee attacks such as punching, biting, and by using axes. All player weapons except the fist require ammunition which can be collected in power-ups. Many weapons offer an alternate fire mode. The player has health and shields which are damaged by enemy attacks and some environmental hazards, and may be replenished through power-ups.
In addition to combat, Dark Forces provides physical obstacles for the character, such as jumping from ledges or traversing across flowing rivers, and includes multi-step puzzles such as mazes controlled by switches.