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posted by hubie on Monday March 04, @08:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the nostalgia dept.

I remember Dark Forces, or Star Wars: Doom, as a slog. Running a demo of the 1995 game on a Gateway system with an Intel 486DX at 33 MHz, I trudged through seemingly endless gray hallways. I shot at a steady trickle of Stormtroopers with one of their own (intentionally) semi-accurate blaster rifles. After a while, I would ask myself a pertinent, era-specific question: Why was I playing this low-energy nostalgia trip instead of actual Doom?
Nightdive Studios continues its streak of providing spiffed-up but eminently faithful remasters of classic titles with Dark Forces Remastered. The studio's leaders told Ars last year that their goal was games that "play the way you remember them playing. Not the way they actually did on your 486 [computer], but in an evocative manner." For me, Dark Forces Remastered feels far, far better than I remember, and so I've gotten a chance to absorb a lot more of the world it's trying to evoke.
The little voice stings—"Stop!" "You're not authorized!"—were a delight, if often cut short by the quick dispatching of their speaker. For the first few levels, I felt like the Rebellion could have destroyed five Death Stars in just two movies if they had a few more Kyles like me. But Dark Forces does ramp up as you go on.

All the same cheat codes from the original game work—Nightdive even gives you places to type them in and then activate them in menus—and I had to lean on a couple level skips and resupplies to get through the first seven levels.
There are new lighting effects, much nicer menus and options, gamepad support (including rumble), and polished cutscenes, in addition to the gameplay that now tilts a bit more toward Motörhead than Rush in speed and feel. But, really, what sells Dark Forces Remastered is the game beneath the upgrades. If you have any interest in hopping on Jabba the Hutt's barge again, this is the way to do it.

Nostalgia, guaranteed to cause "irregular heartbeat, fever, and [...] death". Okay, this isn't the 17th century, so none of those apply.
We once thought nostalgia was a disease, but it might be key to our survival

I've tried to replay Dark Forces II (the sequel to the game mentioned in the article) and the experience was pretty terrible. Game design has really advanced since those dark ages and you really feel it on most older titles. For another example, the nostalgia of Wing Commander is real. However, the interface is beyond atrocious.

[Ed.: Are there any games you think are worth remastering, or is it that you can't compete with nostalgia and the past is best left in the past? --hubie]

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, @09:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, @09:53AM (#1347303)

    Jedi Outcast (3rd in the series?) was pretty good for the time (really felt like light saber and force battles etc):

    Multiplayer: []

    "Is Jedi Outcast Still Good 20 Years Later?" []

    Longplay: []

    As for candidates for remastering I think a more "e-sports friendly" Guild Wars (the first one not Guild Wars 2) could be great. The Guild Wars mechanics and gameplay are mostly good, the issues are the observation modes are not so good for esports (when observing a match you can't see things 100% for the perspective of the player[1]), you can't download a "replay file" to replay a match from different points of view (unlike many other e-sport games), and you can't really jump straight into full PvP with a brand new account (still need to do some grinding to unlock stuff). It would be preferable that backward compatibility is still be retained - just fix the observer mode, add replay download and add an option to immediately unlock everything for PvP. Remastering the graphics could be nice too but not a priority for me.

    [1] Guild Wars

    Perspective of player: [] []

    Perspective of observer (notice you can no longer see the player's skills, targets etc): []

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, @10:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, @10:13AM (#1347304)

    any games you think are worth remastering

    Bushido Blade - a fighting game (there is Hellish Quart[1] now but still) :
    (warning: "blood") [] []

    Destrega (ever wanted to do dragon ball z style stuff - shoot projectiles, use shields, kick, punch etc?): [] []
    Example of attacks: []

    [1] Hellish Quart (warning: gore) []

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Deep Blue on Monday March 04, @06:44PM (2 children)

    by Deep Blue (24802) on Monday March 04, @06:44PM (#1347319)

    The best game in the world, that's just a fact.

    Also Privateer.

    • (Score: 2) by corey on Monday March 04, @10:08PM (1 child)

      by corey (2202) on Monday March 04, @10:08PM (#1347369)

      Interstate 76 was great. My friend had it running on a P150 overclocked to 188 MHz (awesome at the time).

      I think what could also be remastered is Another World. Or The Bard’s Tale.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 04, @06:49PM

    by Freeman (732) on Monday March 04, @06:49PM (#1347321) Journal

    Some fighting games (street fighter/mortal kombat) were great and are great as they were. Trying to "make them better" just means more flashy, more trashy, and more money. (Then again, if you counted by quarters per play, maybe the arcade was a bit expensive.)

    One of my favorite, X-COM, the originals, already got a couple of "sequels" as well as at least a couple of "spiritual successor" kinds of "remakes". They originals play fine and even on something like DOSBox you get pretty much the same feel. While the interface can be a bit clunky, they are good games of the genre. The newer XCOM games, while in the same genre, with similar backstory, they are very different when it comes to game play. Though, at least the newer ones still included at least some destructible environments. They didn't include fire that spreads and leaves smoke or fully destructible environments. Unlike the originals, which were way ahead on that curve. While you couldn't use a 'ye olde rifle to punch a hole through a UFO (you could take out a wall or fence), you could use 'ye olde "HE packs" (Though, I'm uncertain if that was just the floors of the UFOs). Still, you could use the alien tech to dismantle entire ships, if you brought enough exotic ammo.

    Dark Forces II could be interesting, if they redid it. It had multiplayer as well as a single player campaign. As someone mentioned Jedi Outcast was also great for the light saber duels that you could do in multiplayer. Dark Forces II was much more Quake style and didn't feel as much like you were dueling with Jedi Outcast.

    Civilization Series. Civ V/VI have too much eye candy and the turns take way too long. Civ IV was peak Civilization series in my opinion. Civ II had absolutely great Wonder Videos and I loved the "council" and it's what really made the Civilization series. Civ I was archaic and Civ III was horrendous (in my opinion), though it introduced some concepts that were used to good effect later.

    Fallout Series, they've been there, done that and got the T-Shirt. Too bad Fallout76 is so full of microtransactions. It's a prime example of money/greed ruining what could have been an otherwise great game. It's still okay and could be great with a friend, but you are constantly reminded of the fact that the game was designed to print them money.

    Master of Magic (No, Not Might and Magic), this is also a great game that plays good on DOSBox. While it has been remastered in the traditional sense of the word. It also is eminently playable on DOSBox. The interface isn't the 100% greatest, but it's essentially what I would call the good Civilization II Fantasy game. Civ II had "fantasy" maps/scenarios, but it was essentially just renaming troops/etc. Master of Magic is an honest to goodness Civilization Style Magic game. Probably heavily inspired/borrowed/stolen from Dungeons and Dragons. There's the surface and myrror worlds. You can win the game without stepping foot in either through research. There's tons of spells in each realm of magic (nature/fire/life/death/sorcery/neutral). You have basic access to a few spells, but beyond that you could specialize your wizard's profile to have specific non-spell related bonuses. This includes choosing to start in myrror and use one of the races based there (dragon like race), dwarves, beastmen, nightelf, and trolls (if I remember all of them). I played way too much of this back in the day.

    Master of Orion, maybe it would have been best, if it had stayed classic. (Though, I've not really looked into it.) I did play quite a bit of the original. The game just take so much time to complete a single play through that I just don't really play it anymore. From what I remember of it, MOO played reasonably well.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday March 04, @07:32PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday March 04, @07:32PM (#1347335)

    Seven Cities of Gold, remade Jumanji style, with "The Rock" and other recognizable actors as your characters.

    🌻🌻 []
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by boltronics on Tuesday March 05, @08:14AM (1 child)

    by boltronics (580) on Tuesday March 05, @08:14AM (#1347417) Homepage Journal

    Descent 1 & 2.

    There have been various indie games over years that have attempted to recapture the magic (eg. Overload). There's even the upcoming Ships That Fight Underground (how can they go wrong with a name like that?). But a true Decent remake that uses the original maps and music (and name too) but better?

    I'm aware of the dxx-rebirth project, and kudos to the developer who maintained it for many years. I think I sent a postcard to him back in the day for his collection. It's just a shame that the original engine source code wasn't released under a free software license such as the GPL3. Hence, it could never be included in any free-software respecting GNU/Linux distro, and that likely hurt its popularly. It could have been as big as OpenArena was if it weren't for that (which I used to have a blast playing with colleagues in the office after hours).

    The best chance to resurrect the franchise would be to remaster the original games like NightDive did for System Shock. I know it would be proprietary, but it would also have marketing so people would actually know about it. Add controller and modern flight stick support. Perhaps some voice acting in place of the slabs of text for the mission intro sequences, etc. Make it easy to host some online multiplayer servers.

    Rushing through a bunch of dimly lit tunnels in HDR at 4K, 120FPS, a big bot with big spikes for claws chasing you... shooting little flares everywhere to try to find an escape in the dark... would be a lot of fun.

    It's GNU/Linux dammit!
    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday March 05, @02:08PM

      by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday March 05, @02:08PM (#1347442) Journal

      I'll second Descent.

      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday March 05, @01:46PM

    by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday March 05, @01:46PM (#1347438) Journal

    Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliances....

    need MORE.

    Just. more.

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---