A classic Star Wars shooter has received a substantial overhaul thanks to The Force Engine, a fan project three years in the making.
Pitched as a complete rewrite of LucasArts’ Jedi Engine from the 90s, The Force Engine is effectively a 4K remaster of the original Dark Forces intended to replace the DosBox emulator used by the Steam version. While it retains support for the original 320×200 resolution, it’s possible to crank Dark Forces all the way up to 4K. It even includes support for ultrawide displays.
In addition to the improved graphics, Dark Forces also adds a whole of modern conveniences including full mouselook, an aiming reticle, and a new save system. Naturally, all of these features can be disabled or simply ignored for the vintage 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. It marked the introduction of Dark Troopers — Terminator-like Stormtroopers that would go on to feature in various pieces of Star Wars fiction, including The Mandalorian. It was criticized at the time for its lack of multiplayer and lighstabers — both of which would rectified in the subsequent sequels — but is highly-regarded today.
To use The Force Engine, you must own a copy of Dark Forces. After downloading The Force Engine’s frontend from GitHub, you can easily set the source folder and play.
Looking ahead, The Force Engine is planning crossplatform support for Linux and Mac in 2023, as well as support for Outlaws — a western-style shooter that also uses the Jedi Engine. It requires Windows 7 and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 compatibility to play. When you’re finished, check out where Dark Forces falls on our list of the 10 best Star Wars video games of all time.
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Thumbnail image credit: Ron Lussier
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.
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