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Video Game / Dark Forces

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Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995), the first game in the Dark Forces Saga, is a standard FPS with the trappings of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is an origin story for series protagonist Kyle Katarn, a spy working for Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebel Alliance.

The intro showcases Katarn as the one to steal the plans for the first Death Star and transmit them to the rebellion, thus leading into the events of A New Hope. Afterwards, the game time-jumps to after the Death Star's destruction and goes its own way, uncovering the Emperor's top-secret "Dark Trooper Project."

The game was a dramatic leap for graphics and level design, being one of the first to feature multiple floors. It was also one of the first successful examples of looking up and down, as well as jumping.


The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In Dark Forces, Kyle's rather weathered appearance is most generously described as "grizzled". He's much more conventionally attractive in the live-action Jedi Knight as well as in Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.
  • Airborne Mook: Imperial probes, much like in the films, fly around and attack with electric shocks. There is also the Phase II Dark Troopers who spend most of their time in the air due to having jump packs.
  • Badass Normal: Kyle, since he doesn't have any Force powers in this game yet.
  • BFG: The Concussion Rifle, the Mortar Gun and the Assault Cannon.
  • Bounty Hunter: Boba Fett shows up to confront Kyle on Coruscant.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Unlike Doom or Build Engine games, Dark Forces has no in-game save feature, only a level select, so each mission has to be beaten in one sitting. You do have an extra life feature that lets you respawn if you die.
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  • Down the Drain: Probably one of the most infamous (and earliest, at least FPS-wise) examples of this trope. The sewers come into play as early as Level 3: they combine a confusing maze of corridors, underwater creatures that are very difficult to spot and hit before they spot and hit you, limited supply of ammo and battery cells and being all around just a chore to get through.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • You have no lightsaber or Force powers. Also, Kyle lacks his trademark beard.
    • The game was one of the many 2½D "Doom clones" of the mid-90s, though like those on the Build engine it included many innovations such as true room-over-room. All the later games were fully 3D.
    • Unlike most PC first person shooters, you can't save whenever you want. The game uses a lives system instead. From Jedi Knight onward, you can save at any time.
  • Emergency Weapon: Your fists.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: When you are stripped of all your weapons and other equipment, it only figures you should try and retrieve it. What's the name of the item you need to pick up in order to get your gear back? "Your Gear".
  • Final Boss: Rom Mohc. After setting explosive devices across the Arc Hammer, Mohc shows up just before you can reach your ship. For the battle, he wears a prototype phase III dark trooper suit that's equipped with an Assault Cannon and a Homing Missile launcher that can do a lot of damage. He also has a jump pack that allows him to be airborne.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: In one level, Kyle is captured and stripped of his weapons by Jabba the Hutt, then forced to fight a kell dragon unarmed (two in hard mode). After he is done punching it to death with his bare hands, another kell dragon-infested part of the level opens up, but the odds can end up a little more balanced in his favor if he chooses to force some grenade-carrying Mooks to part with their weapons.
  • Foreshadowing: Kyle's Force sensitivity is hinted at by Darth Vader in the ending.
  • Glass Cannon: Trandoshan goons aren't any more durable than regular mooks, but they carry powerful concussion rifles that deal heavy damage and will even blow you backwards a couple dozen feet.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Darth Vader and the Emperor. The former actually appears, overseeing the Dark Trooper project as General Mohc's superior, but he has no involvement otherwise.
  • Giant Mook: The Dark Troopers are essentially these, particularly the Phase II variations. They're huge Stormtrooper-shaped battle droids who can soak more than 40 blaster bolts or several direct explosive hits before falling, and are armed with rapid fire plasma assault cannons. Unlike most examples of the trope, they're also Lightning Bruisers with jetpacks who can fly around surprisingly quickly.
  • God Mode: Players can enable the Super Shield in the options which will make them impervious to energy weapons and explosions; however the player is still vulnerable to physical damage like falling, punches, medical droid and dianoga attacks, and Dark Trooper phase I blades.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Since half of the game is spent slogging through the various construction facilities of the Dark Trooper project, these are available in all shapes and colours, culminating in a horrific sequence made up entirely of these and long falls in the final two levels.
  • No-Gear Level: The game had a level where Kyle had all the weapons he'd been acquiring throughout the game taken away, and had to fight with what he could scrounge off killed enemies until he could locate his weapon stash.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Creating these is basically the entire point of the Dark Trooper project. Just a few of them deployed on Talay as a test wipes out an entire Rebel force.
    • Naturally, Kyle himself is one of these as well, fighting his way through two large Imperial ships, countless Stormtroopers and every remaining active Dark Trooper by the end.
  • Powered Armor: The final boss, the Dark Trooper Phase III, is General Mohc wearing a specially designed Dark Trooper exosuit.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The cover art features a Stormtrooper blasting at you, while you get a hit in on one of his squadmates. The different cover art for the PlayStation version features this as well, minus you shooting back. It's also pretty amusing that both covers have the Stormtrooper's aim being rather off-center.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Anteevy. Downplayed, as only specific patches of ground are slippery, and they are easily identified. Kyle also has retractable ice cleats in his boots to dampen, if not eliminate, the effect.
  • Sticky Shoes: Kyle has ice cleats for use on slick surfaces.
  • Tentacled Terror: The Anoat sewer system of the third mission is home to tons of Dianogas, which just love to lurk around in the sewage and scare the hell out of you. And you have to wade through a ton of sewage, often in the dark. Have fun. Dianogas still appear sparingly after Anoat; true to A New Hope, where there's a trash compactor, you'll probably find a Dianoga.
  • Variable Mix: Dark Forces did this with MIDI using the iMuse system, previously used in LucasArts adventure titles and the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series.


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