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Dark Forces Remastered makes a classic Star Wars shooter feel fast and fluid

Accepted submission by Freeman at 2024-02-28 15:04:34 from the nostalgia dept.
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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.

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