The classic Star Wars shooter got a major overhaul thanks to The Force Engine, a fan project 3 years in the making.
Proposed as a complete rewrite of LucasArts’ Jedi Engine from the 90s, The Force Engine is a 4K remaster of the original Dark Forces intended to replace the DosBox emulator used in the Steam version. It’s possible to crank Dark Forces up to his 4K while maintaining his original 320×200 resolution support. It also includes support for ultrawide displays.
In addition to improved graphics, Dark Forces adds all the latest conveniences such as a full mouse look, aiming reticles and a new save system. Naturally, all of these features can be disabled or simply ignored in Vintage’s Dark Forces experience.
Released in 1995 at the height of the Doom craze, Dark Forces was the first-ever first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe. This marked the introduction of Dark His Troopers, Terminator-like stormtroopers who have appeared in various works of Star Wars fiction, including The Mandalorian. At the time, it was criticized for its lack of multiplayer and LightStaver, both of which were to be fixed in subsequent sequels, but are much appreciated today.
You must own a copy of Dark Forces to use The Force Engine. After downloading the Force Engine frontend from GitHub, it’s easy to set the source folder and play.
Looking ahead, The Force Engine plans cross-platform support for Linux and Mac in 2023, as well as support for Outlaws, a Western-style shooter that also uses the Jedi Engine. Requires Windows 7 and an OpenGL 3.3 compatible GPU to play. When you’re done, see where Dark Forces sits on our list of the 10 Greatest Star Wars Video Games of All Time.
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Thumbnail image credit: Ron Lussier
Kat Bailey is IGN’s Senior News Editor and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Any tips? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.