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UnMod.org • View topic - Dark Forces Series

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Today I found a new virus on the Internet.

Dark Forces Series

A forum to discuss video games, board games, card games, forum games, tabletop games, and any other fun interactive non-sport activities.

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Dark Forces Series

Postby Ace! on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:17 pm

Since I'm pretty much just starting at the beginning and playing as much as I can handle, I figured I'd just put my talks about these games here.



Dark Forces and I broke up pretty early in the rekindling of our relationship. We dated off and on back in 1995. I would ask Dark Forces out, we'd have fun for a little while, but her lack of mouse support (on my Mac) and her lack of direction frustrated me. As it turns out, fifteen years has not changed her outlook on life.

But her sister... oh, her sister. Dark Forces II had everything the first game had, only better (most of the time). Admittedly, I missed the MIDI tracks, but I have a soft spot for MIDI renderings of familiar tunes. Initially I have to admit that I really missed the animated cutscenes, as the live action work in Dark Forces II is ASININE. Jerec and his cronies in particular are hilarious, especially the Snake Hair guy and the old man with razors for teeth (which are attached to the outside of his mouth and threaten to fall off if he talks too much).

But the protagonist, Kyle Katarn, grew on me after the first few levels. I got to like his hairstyle, his hammy yet dashing style, how sharply he stood out against the 1997 era FMV backgrounds. Also, Yun was in Free Enterprise, maybe the best Huge Dork movie ever made!

It took me all of five minutes to fall in love with the level design. The first level starts off very narrow and very linear, and only gets bigger from there. Unlike Dark Forces, the levels never get so big that finding a small button that you missed (or in the case of my particular gripe, a three character password undoubtedly etched in a wall somewhere in a massive level) or a pathway you didn't go down doesn't weigh you down. There are plenty of sections that loop back on themselves, and when you loop back, you know you've seen almost everything. Just go through it again. It's also really good at letting you know when an objective has been achieved, which always means that you're on the right track and that you don't need to go backwards. You've succeeded in passing that chapter of the level.

The level design is really what stands out to me the most. The gameplay is really standard. You get a ton of guns, but not many of them are actually useful and/or it takes too long to change guns that you're better off just sticking with whatever is in your hand. There are explosive weapons that are awesome, but most of the levels are in hallways or small rooms, and you will just blow yourself up instead of murder Stormtroopers.

About a third of the way through the game you get a lightsaber. Once this happens there is no real need to pull out a gun again. It's a blaster shield and it kills really fast, so it's easiest to just jump in a room and kill everyone before they know what's what (especially after you get Persuasion).

The force powers are also really useful and add a really fun element to the game, although I will admit that it's frustrating to use the force to jump really high only to get hurt when you land. You'd think there would be some way to control that...

The flaws in the game are minor and rarely interrupt the flow. Occasionally I sliced at a grate and it didn't open because I didn't do it JUST RIGHT, leading me to scour an area for an exit, only to find that it was behind the grate that didn't open. Jumping is a lot better than in the predecessor, but it still wasn't perfect. Boss battles were great in concept, lame in execution, with the final battle being particularly infuriating.

I'm excited to start playing the next game in the series now.


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Re: Dark Forces Series

Postby Ace! on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:28 pm

I think (hope) I'm about halfway through the first level of Mysteries of the Sith, and I really just want to write it off and say that it's terrible, but it's really not.

It is, supposedly, an expansion pack to Jedi Knight, but there really isn't any expansion here. Instead, they expect you to remember all of Jedi Knight's gameplay rules while changing the entire way that game was played. Instead of generally linear, yet realistic feeling, locations, Sith decided to throw a middle-of-the-game level in as the first. The first level is a base under attack, which is a good thing, in theory. It thrusts you in the middle of the action, providing that hook that you need to be interested for the rest of the story.

But what makes this hook fail is that there is no direction at all. Not even remotely. The first area of the level is pretty big and is constantly under attack. There is no way to end the attacks, and there are no doors to go through, not even one that's locked or broken. It's just a series of rooms and hangars. The exit? Waaay up at the top of a wall in a dark, obscure room. It's a grate that you have to slice with your lightsaber, even though the game didn't give you any indication that you HAD a lightsaber nor did it tell you that you can cut grates with it. No reminders, no direction. Hell, even a marker on the map would have been enough to at least guide me in the right direction. Of course, that's not the end of it.

Go through the grate and the game gets fun again. It's fluid and exploritory without becoming so big you get lost or frustrated. It's fun to play and murder. You get new guns really fast, there are plenty of places to play with them. But then you're instructed to head to the "South Hangar". Well, in the game thus far there have been two hangars, right at the beginning of the level, and at that moment you're in an enclosed room at the end of a long series of hallways.

But, upon returning to the hangars, I found that the hangars were not where I was supposed to go. This is fucking infuriating, and it just might be a sign that a game was made in the 90's, before this shit got figured out.

It is kind of interesting to go back and play older games, to remember what the gaming world was like before things we take for granted now, like maps, goal markers and direction. We'll see how much longer this little affair lasts before I just move on to the next (and according to Tromboner, the best) game in the series.


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Re: Dark Forces Series

Postby mulligan on Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:59 am

Man the best part of Mysteries of the Sith was the super lame animated cut scenes. I distinctly remember one of the ones very early on, when they were on the imperial asteroid base, had an officer running around on his tip toes with his arms crossed. My brother and I would mime that run for the next two years for some stupid reason.
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Re: Dark Forces Series

Postby Ace! on Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:09 pm

The cutscenes really are terrible. They use the in game models, which aren't bad when you're running around shooting at them, but watching them "act" is pretty amazing.


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