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Star Wars: Dark Forces Looks Fantastic In 2022

The 1.0 release of a rebuilt engine gives a classic a new lease of life

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Star Wars Dark Forces
Screenshot: The Force Engine

We have this on record, I know, but in case anyone needs reminding: Dark Forces is the best Star Wars video game ever made. It might not be the best video game made using the Star Wars license, but it is the most Star Warsy. So it is very cool seeing the game given a fresh coat of paint thanks to the work of a dedicated fan.

luciusDXL has spent the last few years working on The Force Engine, an effort to “reverse engineer and rebuild the Jedi Engine for modern systems and the games that used that engine. It is now at version 1.0, ready for download, and to celebrate this trailer has been released showing off some of the improvements we can expect to a game that was first released in 1995:

The Force Engine Version 1 Trailer

To get more specific, The Force Engine lets us play the same old Dark Forces, but with loads of modern improvements and touches, like proper widescreen support, higher resolutions and, most excitingly, full mouselook support (the original, like Doom, locked the players movements to the X and Y axis). [Actually, you could look up and down in Dark Forces, but it was on Page Up/Down, and incredibly awkward to use -Er, Actually Ed]

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There’s also a modern save system, a proper aiming reticle, and integrated support for mods. Indeed, about the only change here that goes beyond cosmetic or quality-of-life improvements are some tweaks to Boba Fett’s AI, though that—and everything else—can be switched off if you want to play the game as 1995 intended.

If you’ve got Dark Forces (it’s available on Steam and GoG for pocket change) and want to download The Force Engine, you can get it here. Oh, and before we go, note that this is an engine project, not just a Dark Forces project, so the other game built on the Jedi Engine—cult classic Western Outlaws—will be getting similar treatment soon.