It’s okay everyone, call off the search. I’ve found my Christmas game. LucasArts shooter Star Wars: Dark Forces has been given a modern makeover by The Force Engine project, and they’ve just released version 1.0 to the public after three years’ work. During that time, the team’s reverse engineered Dark Forces and added a whole bunch of mod-cons, such as support for modern high resolutions and mouse-look. The project even has a trailer, which you can watch below.
Dark Forces was released in 1995, and used the Jedi engine. Its 21st century replacement lets players do fancy things such as play the game on an ultrawide monitor, and has quality of life improvements including an aiming reticle, autorun, and better AI for Boba Fett. The Force Engine also lets you bump that original 320×200 resolution all the way up to 4K, and there’s even controller support, if you like. Of course, you will need your own copy of the original game to get things running. You can read more about version 1.0 of the Force Engine here.
The Force Engine team say they’re continuing to work on the project, with support for another Jedi engine game, Outlaws, coming in version 2.0. I still remember the first time I played Dark Forces, on a demo PC at the back of HMV in York when I was about 10. I wasn’t very good at it back then, if I recall correctly. I never played it again, but did enjoy Kyle Katarn’s adventures in Jedi Outcast years later. It’s exciting to get the chance to have another go with Dark Forces nearly thirty years later but with the kind of features you’d just expect from a shooter in 2022.