I think it’s safe to say at this point that if there’s a shooter from the 90s or early 2000s then Nightdive Studios has either remastered it or will probably remaster it in the future. Rise of the Triad? Done. Alien Trilogy? They’ll probably do it. Turok? Already remastered. Exhumed? Check! No-one Lives Forever? Fingers crossed for the future! Star Wars: Dark Forces? Here it is right now!

The good thing about Nightdive Studios is that they’re masters of their craft at this point. Making a quality port with loads of options, gyro, 60FPS, and the like is all but guaranteed, which makes any remaster they do a safe bet for fans of the original game. As such, the only real question is whether or not the game itself is still worth playing in the modern age.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away, a mercenary by the name of Kyle Katarn defects to the Rebel Rlliance after discovering details of something known as The Dark Trooper project during his time as an Imperial Officer for the Empire. These powerful droids pose a serious threat to the galaxy, so he hopes to work with the Rebels in order to put a stop to the project.

Whilst the story is told from the perspective of a newly created character, he encounters many familiar faces on his journey – both good and bad. The plot is as minimalistic as you’d expect from a 90s shooter, but the sheer amount of lore and details in the mission briefings help flesh it out a hell of a lot more, making it feel like a more epic tale than it actually is.


Whilst the game may appear to be a DOOM clone on the surface, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, the levels are rather flat in design and they both share that iconic central gun perspective, but there’s so much here that the game does to separate itself – especially when it comes to the actual structure of the missions. Sure, you’ll be shooting plenty of goons with a reasonably sized arsenal; but instead of hunting down endless keys, you’ll actually be performing a series of given objectives before you’re able to leave each stage. It’s a bit like GoldenEye to an extent, with objects ranging from freeing an imprisoned ally to sabotaging machinery with explosives. This simple inclusion makes the levels feel more like actual missions from the Rebel Alliance as they amount to far more than just shooting Stormtroopers.

It’s not just the mission structure either that helps with authenticity, as LucasArts have ensured that every facet feels like it fits perfectly within the Star Wars universe. Even though some environments are quite simple and definitely show their age, important areas such as ship interiors are surprisingly details and more than resemble places from the movies. Enemy designs and sound effects too also feel authentic, and I was surprised to hear that the voices of fan favourites such as Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader sound remarkably close to their film counterparts, even though I’m sure that they’re not actually the original actors.


Despite all this love for the Star Wars universe, the game isn’t without its issues. Unfortunately, most of the levels are quite gargantuan in size and their structure makes getting around a real pain. Even though I loved the general mission structure, I would often find tracking down my objective to be harder than expected due to getting lost more often than not. The result is that most levels start off strong as you start blasting and exploring, but then end on a bit of a sour note as you find yourself wandering in circles just finding out where the hell you need to go. To make matters worse, many levels require you to backtrack to your ship in order to exit the level. You can bypass some of them using the new automatic exit feature, but if it appears in the list of objectives then it’s pretty much a requirement. Given that Nightdive added objective markers to Turok 2: The Seeds of Evil, it’s sad to see that they didn’t do the same here as these levels are arguably even more confusing.

Even though the level designs are questionable at best, what does work consistently well is the shooting which is only improved in the remaster. With a nice variety of classic enemies and bosses taken from the films, it’s a real joy to run around blasting everything in your way – especially with the Switch’s gyro aiming functionality. The Stormtrooper Rifle in particular, which is gained almost immediately, retains that classic ‘pew pew’ sound and is so damn useful that it will probably remain by your side for the entire game. Other weapons have their uses and are fun to play around with, even if very few compare to the joy gained from that aforementioned iconic blaster. The Packered Mortar Gun is great for uncovering secrets through broken walls, and the Fusion Cutter works a treat on bosses, but I found myself only using the others when I ran out of ammo for the Stormtrooper Rifle. That’s not exactly a criticism per se, but I think that early weapon is so strong with ammo so plentiful that it almost makes the rest obsolete.


As for the remastered content, Nightdive Studios have done a great job at making the game feel just like the original but with substantial improvements to help modernise it. Everything looks incredibly sharp and detailed, and the improved lighting does wonders at giving the stages some extra depth. If you haven’t played the original for many years, you’d be fooled into thinking that little has been done, but once you compared them side to side you’ll see that they’re like night and day. It’s a tricky balance to pull off, and I’d say that only Metroid Prime Remastered comes close to matching Nightdive’s remastering prowess.

There are extras too for you to take advantage of, including a vault containing development material and other tidbits for you to peruse. Whilst I will say that the presentation of the main menu seems incredibly simplistic, it’s hard to criticise the sheer amount of stuff to look at and options to tweak to make the game just as you want it. It’s hard to say whether or not this is their best remaster yet, but it certainly matches the quality of their other recent releases.

Star Wars: Dark Forces isn’t exactly the best shooter from the 90s, as the complex levels can make getting lost pretty easy when seeking out your objectives. That being said, it does do a lot of amazing stuff for the time and features loads of references that will have Star Wars fans smiling.