Star Wars: Dark Forces is a first-person shooter computer game released on February 28, 1995, by LucasArts. The game was highly successful and was followed by novelizations and a sequel, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Jedi Knight spawned an entire series of games which includes the expansion Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and, most recently, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. This series, with the exception of Jedi Academy, focuses on the continuing exploits of Kyle Katarn, many of which take place after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

The game was originally published with a manual which contained additional backstory text. On April 29, 2015, the game was released on PlayStation Network, and made available to play on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable.

Opening crawlEdit

The New Order of the Empire stretches
its evil clutches across the galaxy,
consuming planets with devastating
results. Through many struggles, the
Rebel Alliance has learned of a new
Imperial battle station, the DEATH
STAR, with enough power to destroy
an entire planet.

Unable to acquire the plans to the
deadly space station, the Rebels have
employed the skills of Kyle Katarn.
Known to most as a mercenary for
hire, Katarn is a rogue figure who has
a partial alliance with the Rebels.

Armed only with a blaster pistol and
an intimate knowledge of Imperial
methods, Kyle prepares to infiltrate
the Imperial base where the plans are


Unlike many other Doom-based games, Dark Forces attempted a realistic approach: The missions followed a certain storyline, sometimes interrupted by videos to progress the tale. Each mission had its own briefing and objective. The levels were designed to represent actual bases, mines, facilities, and other known places from the Star Wars universe, like Star Destroyer interiors, Jabba's ship, Coruscant, etc.


Introducing Kyle Katarn.

The game introduces the character of Kyle Katarn, a former Imperial Stormtrooper and agent, now a mercenary for hire in the service of the Rebel Alliance.

The story takes place both just before and mostly after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

The first mission (which was also released independently as a demo of the game) involved infiltration of an Imperial base on the planet Danuta, in order to steal the Death Star plans. The Mission to Danuta resulted in Rebel possession of the plans that would later be given to Princess Leia and lead to the destruction of the Death Star.

After the Battle of Yavin, Kyle was contacted again by Mon Mothma to investigate an Imperial assault on the Tak Base of Talay, using a type of Imperial trooper never encountered previously. After the attack on Tak Base Kyle infiltrated the ruins of the base and discovered a prototype dark trooper weapon. The initials "M.R." were discovered on it, which were found to stand for Moff Rebus, an infamous Imperial weapons engineer. This investigation revealed the dark trooper project, led by General Rom Mohc, and this led Katarn to Anoat, where he found the Moff hiding in the sewage system of Anoat City.

During interrogation, Moff Rebus revealed the location of a testing facility for the mineral phrik, used in the construction of dark troopers, on the planet Fest. After obtaining a sample of this mineral, Kyle was led to the Gromas system, where phrik was mined and the phase-I dark troopers were manufactured. After the destruction of this facility, Crix Madine was found to have been captured by the Empire and sent to an Imperial detention center on Orinackra. Once Kyle had rescued Madine, he provided Kyle with critical information regarding the dark trooper project.

Kyle traveled to the Ramsees Hed docking port on Cal-Seti, which was used for Imperial runs to the frozen planet of Anteevy, where the second phase of dark trooper construction was completed. After smuggling himself aboard an Imperial ship, Kyle reached Anteevy, destroyed the Ice Station Beta facility. He was afterwards led to Nar Shaddaa, where he obtained a Nava card. At this point in the scenario, the Empire has placed a large bounty on his head, and as he pulls out of Nar Shaddaa, the Moldy Crow is captured by Jabba the Hutt in the Star Jewel.

Ramsees Hed

Kyle Katarn in Ramsees Hed.

Here, Kyle was stripped of his weapons and had to fight hand-to-hand with a kell dragon. After obtaining his weapons, he and Jan Ors escape to Coruscant, the only place where Kyle could insert the Nava Card into a decoder to reveal data chips used for additional information. On his way to his ship, Kyle found the Crow missing and Boba Fett, hired by Mohc, waiting for him. He defeated Fett after a hard fight and then traveled to the Imperial Fuel Station Ergo, where he sneaked onto the Executor. From here, he smuggled himself aboard the Arc Hammer, where the third and final phase of the dark troopers was being overseen.

Finally, Kyle faced Rom Mohc, spearhead of the operation (who was using the only phase-III dark trooper exoskeleton in existence), and defeated him. Kyle then proceeded to blow up the Arc Hammer and escaped. Watching from the Executor, Darth Vader comments that this "is an unfortunate setback" and somewhat prophetically notes that "the Force is strong with Katarn."

For his actions and bravery in the face of defeat, Mon Mothma awarded Kyle the Star of Alderaan.


Voice castEdit



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By type 
Characters Creatures Droid models Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea



Droid models



Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

Weapons and technology


Behind the scenesEdit


Playstation cover

George Lucas appeared on CNN's Future Watch show and demonstrated/promoted the game. Lucas and Daron Stinnett also promoted it in Disneyland when they traveled there for the opening of the Indiana Jones train.

Dark Forces was the 11th best selling computer game of the period 1993 to 1999, with 952,000 copies.

Several cinematics reused images from earlier games, such as Star Wars: X-Wing (Vader's talking animation with Mohc and Mon Mothma's awarding cutscene) and Star Wars: TIE Fighter (Vader's closeup in the final cutscene). Like TIE Fighter, several space scenes in Dark Forces were 3D-rendered. Not until Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire did LucasArts began using original filming with actors and stunts.

The intro of the demo is different from the published product in that it contains a Rambo-ish cutscene showing Kyle preparing his gear for the mission. This was omitted from the final game. The reason for this is not clear since the files of that sequence already exist in the CD. However, it's possible to reinsert the missing scene into the game.[1]

The "omission" of the lightsaber was frequently questioned on forums by casual fans who were not satisfied with having the fist as the only melee weapon. However, those familiar with Star Wars noted that only Force-sensitive users could effectively wield such a weapon. This controversy no doubt influenced the direction of the sequel.

Lead artist and author Justin Chin stated that weapons like the Bryar pistol and Packered mortar gun were named after his personal favorites, such as composer Gavin Bryars and 1950s Packard automobiles, respectively.[2]

A character named Ruu San was meant to appear in the game, and was briefly described as an antagonist of Kyle Katarn in the article Revving Up the 'Jedi Engine' in Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 1. However, she did not appear in the final release of the game.

Many of the key data files in Dark Forces were actually plain-text files, allowing fans to decipher the formats and write tools to edit them. These have been used to create a wide variety of new levels for the game.[3] Many of the same fans have gone on to create tools and editors for the later games in the series; and at least two, Yves Borckmans and Don Sielke, joined LucasArts to work on Dark Forces II.

In 2002, a team of fans began the Dark Forces Mod project, planning to remake the game utilizing the Quake III engine used in the latest sequel, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (later adapted to Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy when it was released). Later, they announced that they would be ending the project[4], and posted a final release containing full remakes of the first six levels of the game.[5] However, an effort to remake the remaining levels is underway as of April 2008.[6]

Comparisons with DoomEdit

Blue Glass Arrow See also: Jedi Engine

Dark Forces was released during the hype started with Doom a year earlier. Often labeled a "Doom clone" like other games following that trend, Dark Forces may have been created to counter the many unofficial Star Wars–themed WADs for Doom. LucasArts is rumored to have reverse-engineered the Doom engine to find out how to build their own.

The "Jedi Engine" was more advanced than that of Doom. It allowed designers to construct overlapping sectors ("room-over-room") to create multistory buildings, bridges, and similar structures; most earlier first-person shooter engines, such as Doom, do not support this ability. The Jedi Engine does not support perspective correction when looking up and down.

Star Wars: Dark Forces was criticized at the time for lacking a multiplayer mode; however, given the growing complexity of games as the 21st century approached, developers had to decide whether to trade off online play for the single-player storyline missions. It also did not have mid-level saves, instead having extra lives like Doom's predecessor Wolfenstein 3D. While Doom's gameplay placed an emphasis on fast-paced action and combat, Dark Forces was considerably slower paced. Dark Forces also included numerous puzzles that the player had to solve to advance. While difficult for the casual player and often frustrating, this gave Dark Forces much appeal among hardcore gamers and critics.

Doom had shared textures for all levels, one solid objective (which was simply to move from entry to exit), and maps which were designed often very abstractly, with the architecture often somewhat unrealistic. The levels of Dark Forces each had their own unique texture sets that were rarely reused, their own briefings and objectives which often varied, and maps which were designed to represent actual bases, mines, facilities, and other known places from the Star Wars universe, like Star Destroyer interiors, Jabba's ship, Coruscant, etc.

All Dark Forces cheat codes start with LA- (LucasArts), paralleling the cheat codes of id Software titles, which always began with ID-.


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Patch designed to aid in reinserting the missing cutscene
  2. Email from Chin recorded in The Dark Forces FAQList
  5. (news post dated 29.1.2008)

External linksEdit

Dark Forces saga
Video games
Dark Forces · Jedi Knight · Mysteries of the Sith · Jedi Outcast demo · Jedi Outcast · Jedi Academy
Strategy guides
Dark Forces Manual: Coded Transmissions · Dark Forces: Official Player's Guide · Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II: The Official Strategy Guide
Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast: Official Perfect Guide · Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
Soldier for the Empire · Rebel Agent · Jedi Knight
Audio dramas
Soldier for the Empire · Rebel Agent · Jedi Knight · The Collector's Trilogy
Sand Blasted · Equals & Opposites · Jedi vs. Sith
N.R.I. Reports · The Dark Forces Saga · Kyle Katarn's Tale

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