This is the remastered Star Wars game I've waited 27 years for

Star Wars Dark Forces
(Image credit: Lucasfilm Games/luciusDXL)

A massive modernization project for Star Wars: Dark Forces has just been released, and it's already the best way to play the game in 2022.

The Force Engine has been in development for some time, but the 1.0 version just launched today. It basically adds every quality-of-life option you could possibly ask Dark Forces to support. It's got widescreen support, modernized controls with full mouse-look, control bind settings, and even optional mid-level checkpoints.

This is not, however, a full visual remaster. You can up the resolution to bring some sharper edges to the game's 3D environments, but all the enemies and objects are sprites, so without a more extensive replacement mod they're going to simply remain giant, low resolution cardboard cutouts.

Even with that in mind, The Force Engine is simply fantastic. I've spent a few minutes with it and already I can barely imagine revisiting Dark Forces without it. It's extremely simple to install, too - just install Dark Forces as usual through Steam or GOG or what have you, grab the latest version of the engine from the official site, and extract the ZIP file. The Force Engine will auto-detect your Dark Forces install and run as a new wrapper for the game.

There's more to come from The Force Engine, too. Developer luciusDXL aims to release a level editor, Mac and Linux support, and a voxel renderer in early 2023. Later on, the engine will also get support for Outlaws - an oft-forgotten cowboy-themed shooter that LucasArts built on the same tech as Dark Forces.

If you haven't played Dark Forces, it's essentially a relic of the era back when FPS games were still called Doom clones - and in fairness, most of them were clones of Doom. Dark Forces stood out with an impressive recreation of Star Wars aesthetics, offering fun new corners of the galaxy to explore while offering enough throwbacks to the films to keep things familiar. It's a classic, and one of the few Doom era shooters to maintain its legacy.

It's not particularly difficult to play Dark Forces on modern computers. It's a DOS game, and as a result it runs through DOSBox without much hassle, and you'll get a nice little emulator package if you buy the game through Steam or GOG today. That's just to play the game exactly as it was back in 1995, though - you won't have features like, uh, not having to tap 'page up' to look up.

While Dark Forces isn't part of the official Star Wars canon anymore, it's been thoroughly called back to in modern Star Wars projects. The cyborg Dark Troopers that appeared in The Mandalorian season 2 were originally created for Dark Forces. The pistol the title character of Andor carries throughout the series is modeled after the starting gun in the game, too. And if you want to spend more time with Mon Mothma, I can't recommend the early cutscenes of Dark Forces enough.

Check out a full Jedi Knight series retrospective from our friends at Retro Gamer if you want to take a look at the past, or take a look at everything we know about Star Wars Jedi: Survivor for the future of Star Wars games.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.