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Clonehunter

Your True Opinon On... (#3): Dark Forces

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Grabble Grabble Hello. (Again![x3!])

For no paticular reason at all over the course of the next few months or so, or perhaps moreso whenever I feel like it, I will be conducting a series of five or so threads asking for your true gamer opinons on several popular or unpopular game franchises.

Yep. For no reason whatsoever. Just to do it. Because I'm curious. I believe most of us/you here are well rounded gamers correct? Correct me if wrong if you all you have ever played is Doom or whatever.

Anyways, today's *shifts eyes* topic is: Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Trek Elite Force

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Two franchises? In one Topic? Unheard of! Star Wars: Dark Forces was released in I believe '96 or '95, I'm totally sure, but either way, it was LucasArt's call to the ever expanding FPS market. Dark Forces uses a heavily modified Doom engine and pits players to fulfill their Star Wars fantasys, well, most of them anyways. Players took on the role of Kyle Katarn (My favorite Star Wars and Video Game character of all time, sorry Doomguy...) as he fights through the endless waves of Imperial Stormtroopers (Heil!). While praised for desgin and graphics as well as the Star Wars setting, many critics noticed the dated use of a Life system and the annoying checkpoint system in place of a save when you want system (Even though this did somewhat build tension and kept you on your toes... er... boots...). The Lack of Multiplayer was also noticeable and did strike up some bad points. Oh, and lets not forget the whiny bitch Star Wars fans complaining about lack of Lightsaber and Force combat. But LucasArts pretty much got everyone to shut-the-fuck-up with Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. Gamespot said that it was arguably the best shooter since Doom (Hah! Suck it down Nukem!). The game used accelerated graphics and featured fast paced action with an intriging storyline complete with FMV video sequences portraying actors as our heroes and villains (Jason Kurt or whatever his name was had the honor of filling out what Katarn would look like for years to come.). DF2 got everyone to shut up as mentioned before by including a new save system, Lightsaber and force combat, the ability to choose an ending for yourself, and... MULTIPLAYER. PLayers could now hook up with friends (And enemies) over the internet and Saber Duel it out for comeplete galactic domination. DF2 was later blessed with an expansion called Mysteries of the Sith, which recieved mixed reviews regarding level design (Or order maybe) yet recieved praise for new visuals (Colored Lighting!), new weapons (Except for the blasted Carbonite Gun), new force powers and multipleyer maps/modes, and also recieved praise for the voice acting. In 2002 Katarn's story continued with Raven Software, a long time partner of id Software. Raven used id's new Quake III Arena engine to give us Jedi Outcast. Katarn was back with more Force and Lightsaber powers/techniques, a new story, and well advanced multiplayer. Outcast was also noted for the flexibility it had regarding mods. Even today, Outcast and Academy (Another Sequel by Raven also using the Q3 engine) share an active mod community. Academy was later released in 2005, but rather than playing as Katarn like in the other games, players took on the role of Jedi recruit Jaden Korr. Players could customize their Jedi to their liking and also fashion saber styles and whatnot. New multiplayer modes including things like Siege mode.

Now, how does Elite Force fit into this? Well, Star Trek and Star Wars are often comapred to each other, and I just find it funny Raven Software used the Q3 engine to create both Outcast and Elite Force along with their respective sequels. Elite FOrce recieved much praise similar to Outcast. I'm a bit dearth though on anything regarding ELite Force II, other than it was the last game to really use the Quake III engine.

*

What I like about this list is, that except for Elite Force II, I have played each of these games. Star Wars Dark Forces and Dark Forces II (And MotS) were some of the first shooters I ever played. They were also the only ones I was allowed to play. Still, I love playing them simply for nostalgia and because of the great level design (The first two Sulon levels are masterpieces in DF2, and the level after Baron's Hed is great as well.). What's funny is that I always thought Dark Forces was one of the first FPS games made, as I didn't know about Doom and the others. Anyways, later I got Jedi Outcast, priamrily for the Multiplayer and this one Dismemberment cheatcode (Yes, that is why I bought it), but then I relaized it was awsome for many other reasons. More recently I bought Academy and the PS version of Dark Forces. Academy I have had mixed reactions in terms of everything, as I feel some animations arent as smooth as Outcast, and the level design was a huge mix bag. Levels like the crashed ship were downright boring to play and so was the opening Yavin level. Dark Forces for Playstation I beat in a couple of days and liked for having a portable shooter with me (Got it for PSP), however the latency did get annoying.

So, here's my lowdown:

Star Wars Dark Forces (PC) - 7/10
Star Wars Dark Forces (PS) - 7/10
Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (PC) - 9/10
Star Wars Mysteries of the Sith (PC) - 6/10
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC) - 8/10
Star Wars Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy (PC) - 6/10

Star Trek Elite Force (PC) - 7/10

Let's go. (Damn, all of the main titles except for Elite Force II. So close.)

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Before even reading your post I'm just gonna say Outlaws.

After reading your post here's my lowdown:

Outlaws (PC) - 10/10 hurry the hell up lucius

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Outlaws is crap.

Dark Forces is a great game, I loved it even though I've never liked anything related to Star Wars.

I've played through about half of Jedi Knight and got bored. The map design was really bland for a full 3D game and I didn't really care much about the added Star Wars fluff.

Haven't played anything else from the list.

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Clonehunter said:

Dark Forces uses a heavily modified Doom engine

Wrong. It used the Jedi engine, created by LucasArts. It may have been imitating the Doom engine, but it most certainly was not the actual Doom engine. It didn't even have a BSP tree. (which allowed it to do more complex level design)


Anyway. I certainly enjoyed Dark Forces, and I liked Jedi Knight even more. I really wish that modern FPSs played like Jedi Knight...

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Dark Forces is one of the best FPS games there is. It's just really fun. I bought it shortly after it came out. I thought about buying the PSX port of it on PSN, but I have the pc version running on an authentic DOS machine so I doubt the port is going to be anywhere near it in terms of goodness.

A bit of the mid-game drags sometimes, but I love the end levels and the beginning missions. I was playing Dark Forces nonstop while working on Nilla Doom, that was the last time I really played it (just checkout the powerup pickup sound in Nilla, hehe).

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I've played the first few levels of Dark Forces. It was ok I guess. Tie Fighter (Collector's edition) is still the only really good Star Wars game I've played.

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Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC) - 8/10


For me, Jedi Outcast was meh at best. There were just way too many god awful frustrating moments, such as that one stealth segment.

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Jedi Outcast and Jedi Acadamy were really enjoyable games to me. The singleplayer in outcast was a little tedious at times, but I enjoyed its multiplayer. The singleplayer and multiplayer in jedi acadamy is really awesome, and I still get on a sever every now and then.

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Sodaholic said:

Wrong. It used the Jedi engine, created by LucasArts.


LucasArts created the Jedi Engine using the Doom engine as a base. Thus Dark Forces ran off of a heavily modified Doom engine.

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Clonehunter said:

LucasArts created the Jedi Engine using the Doom engine as a base. Thus Dark Forces ran off of a heavily modified Doom engine.

No, the Doom engine had nothing to do with it. The Jedi engine was created from scratch.

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Clonehunter said:

LucasArts created the Jedi Engine using the Doom engine as a base. Thus Dark Forces ran off of a heavily modified Doom engine.


Sorry but Soda's right, Jedi engine was made without the use of id's technology. This is even more evident if you had ever used a (the?) DF editor. If anything it has more in common with Build, thought the two are also unrelated.

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I spectated and played Dark Forces after Wolf3d and before Doom.

What can I say, the game is cool. It suffers from "impossible not to get hit" syndrome because it's very easy for the troopers to hit you for low gradual damage. Otherwise it's fine but not as well balanced as Doom:

- The plasma gun is only useful against the miniboss monsters for example. It sucks against troopers, it's so slow
- You have access to 3 or 4 guns which have the same purpose (artillery) -- grenades, mortar, concussion rifle, rocket launcher
- Melee monsters are painfully slow, unless you're slow at the game (terminator-guys still win because they can appear in cramped places)

Also:

- Concussion rifle monsters are scary, they can instantly ruin 30 or 60 of your hit points and their shots are almost as hard to avoid as the BFG
- Imperial mines made the game much more painful than normal. Not that I complain, but at a point in the game they're very numerous
- There are a few missions which only contain regular enemies and regular combat (such as Mission 11 which is a plain shoot'em'up with humans, droids and a switch hunt near the end and its boss. At least it has dark troopers), compared to the more puzzle-driven missions 9, 10, 12 and so on.
- Mission 14 (the last one) looks a lot patchier and less glamorous than Mission 13 (but it's understandably harder). Makes sense, considering that in Mission 13 you hear Vader's tune, and in Mission 14 not.
- I used to hate Mission 9 (too many monsters instead of robots and humans) but now I love it for its eclectic ghetto design. I wish I could see more samples like it.
- I wonder if there'll be a Vaporware map with many (six) floors and elevator shaft puzzles, like Mission 6.
- Recently when I started to play on hard with invulnerability off, I found Mission 4 to be one of the hardest maps, due to huge number of hard to avoid blasters.

On the other hand, the Jedi engine seems almighty to me... you can build maps in any direction with it, make 3d models integrated into the map, even mod the enemies. IdTech1 can't do all that unless 17 years have passed.

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I really, really loved Dark Forces back in the day. I haven't tried out DarkXL yet because I want it to be near perfect before I mess with it.

Dark Forces and X-Wing/TIE Fighter are my favorite Star Wars media because of the total absence of any Force garbage. Laser guns shooting people/space ships; that's all I want.

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Use3D said:

Sorry but Soda's right, Jedi engine was made without the use of id's technology. This is even more evident if you had ever used a (the?) DF editor. If anything it has more in common with Build, thought the two are also unrelated.


Really? I swear I've heard otherwise.

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To be honest, as much as I want to like it, I think Dark Forces kind of sucks. The level design isn't very good; there's too much emphasis on platforming in some, others are too maze-like and easy to get lost in even with the overlay map, and the texturing is pretty terrible all around. The first map seemed the most polished of them all.

In terms of game balance, like has already been said most of the weapons seemed pointless. I hardly ever used anything other than the pistol (for long-range shots) or stormtrooper rifle. When I did it was the green plasma gun because I was out of ammo for the other two, the detonators to take out a lot of enemies at once, or the blue plasma gun for the dark troopers. I never felt like I needed anything more powerful.

Speaking of the detonators, the enemies that throw them are just obnoxious and some of the levels abused them to the point I wanted to just uninstall the game and never touch it again. Similarly with those lizard guys that snipe you with the concussion rifle, but at least they weren't nearly as numerous. Also the mines pissed me off almost as much as the detonator guys, since half the time you had to trip them to proceed, and it seemed entirely impossible to get away from some of them without taking damage.

Storyline was cool, especially for the era, and I liked the objective-based missions. I just wish the level design wasn't so poor, with so many cheap kills, no saves, and limited lives.

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Dark Forces was alright, but I don't think I enjoyed it as much as most people did.

Jedi Knight is amazing. Easily one of the best games ever made.

Outcast is pretty good. I never got it for the PC, so I imagine I missed out on a great modding community.

Academy-- same deal as Outcast.

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I liked Dark Forces.

I loved Jedi Knight and would rate it as one of my favourite games. A good, and rare example of how a FPS can tell a story (even one that you can influence the outcome of) and still have fun, engaging levels and be a thoroughly enjoyable game (that I have played and replayed many times). I loved the cutscenes and regarded each one as a reward for completing things to that particular stage.

Jedi Outcast, for me, was a disappointment. I found it much less satisfying to play than JK and most of the elements that I enjoyed from the previous game were reduced or missing in JO.

Star Trek... Only played a little of it. Didn't enjoy it. Also, I have never really understood why SW and ST get compared and confused so often. Is it really just because they both have a two word title beginning with "Star"?

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The only ones I've played have been outcast and academy. Now I'm not a gigantic star wars fan, but I quite enjoyed these games for what they were. I can't say too much for the single player since I didn't play it too much and honestly don't remember it. But goddamn there's something really satisfying about force pushing/gripping people off of ledges in deathmatch, heh. However, everyone else felt the same way and 99% of the time that's exactly what multiplayer turned into in these games, a couple people dueling, a couple people watching the duels and 20 people force pushing/gripping people off of ledges. But it was good fun for a little while.

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DuckReconMajor said:

Uh, duh, also both are in space.

And lots of movies/TV shows are on Earth. :P Or to tie it down a bit more, lots of movies/TV shows are set in a particular place/setting (eg WWII, the Wild West).

Yeah, I know, I know. It's just the number of times I hear people talking about "Yoda from Star Trek" or "Mr Spock from Star Wars" or saying things like "You like Star Wars eh? I guess that makes you a Trekkie" or just a simple "I can't tell the difference" or the even more desperate "what is the difference?".

I guess it's probably mainly people who actually don't give a shit about either suddenly finding themselves in a conversation about one or the other and then, as humans often do, spraffing off some bullshit about something they know little about. In fact, I may be doing that right now. ;)

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DuckReconMajor said:

Uh, duh, also both are in space.


Well if you want to get technical not all of the missions take place in space. :V

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I'm not even going to read the rambling wordwall in the OP; seriously, line breaks exist to be used. :P That aside, I enjoyed the original Dark Forces quite a bit, with some gripes on the art style, weapons, and level design. It's certainly not among a list of my favorite games or anything, though, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I even finshed the entire thing.

Years ago I purchased Dark Forces II, but to this day I've never attempted to install or play it, despite the great things everyone says. I think the package might still be shrink-wrapped, actually. I suspect that one day I'll break down, check it out, and regret not having played it sooner.

I have played through Jedi Academy a few times though, but I can only remember the little things about it: it had a flying train level, the lightsaber combat was fun but clumsy, the sniper rifle disintegrated people, Kyle Katarn always seemed to be heading off to a cantina for dubious reasons.

I also vaguely recall enjoying most of the missions and playing with the force powers, but that's all that comes to mind right now. I never really tried it out in multiplayer, either, so I can't comment on that.

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As far as the Doom engine for Dark Forces perspective, from my understanding is that LucasArts got a look at the doom engine to see how it did things, getting the inspiration and basic idea of how the engine should work, then wrote their own based on what they learned.

Did love that game. Need to find my disc and play it again.

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My opinion here will probably be obvious, but before getting to it I'd like to clarify something.

I've dealt heavily with the Jedi Engine and to a lesser extent the Doom Engine. I'm not sure how this rumor that the Jedi Engine was derived from the Doom Engine but it's ridiculous as soon as you look at the technical aspects. If the Jedi Engine was built using stolen Doom code then not only was it completely re-written but the entire architecture and rendering philosophy was changed as well. The Jedi Engine has far more in common with the Build engine then with Doom.

There is no global BSP tree. Instead it uses "adjoins" - lines connecting sectors together - as portals. Like Build, it is basically a dynamic portal engine (portals can be moved around just like other sector geometry). This allows for overlapping sectors as well as moving and rotating sectors. But anyway, enough derailing the thread, if you want more technical details just do a search - I posted about this numerous times. If you spend any time looking at the technical differences between the engines it'll quickly become apparent that they are dramatically different and not based on the same code at all.

As for the game itself - obviously I really enjoyed it. It introduced many cool features that weren't common at the time, such as improved story telling, mission briefings, weapons with secondary fire, truly dynamic sectors - rotating doors, doors that move, rotating generators, etc.-, puzzles and scripting using the INF system, a modular logic system for AI, cool gadgets, the ability to destroy some walls using explosives, dynamic music system using iMuse, 3D model rendering so you can see ships flying by, 3D droids, 3D bridges, layered buildings made possible by overlapping sectors and the ability to dynamically change which sectors arelinked together and more.

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