Dark Forces is LucasArts‘ attempt at Doom, with a Star Wars make-over. It was first released in 1995 for MS-DOS PCs.
Looking at it now: it hasn’t aged too well, although it’s still fun to play if you get the controls set up correctly.
Graphically Dark Forces is a mix of 3D environments and 2D characters, typical of the time. Gameplay-wise it’s a simple first-person shooter, with some tricky door/key puzzles and even some platforming. It’s not a particularly easy game either because the baddies tend to kill you quickly if you just lumber around. You have to be quite careful when entering a new area. You can’t save a game mid-way through a level either, so must start again if you lose all your lives. Having ‘lives’ in a first-person shooter is unusual too…
Still, Dark Forces was revolutionary for the time. Getting to blast your way through reams of Imperial Stormtroopers was what every gamer (and big kid) wanted to do back in the mid-Nineties, and this let us do just that. So Dark Forces was a critical and commercial success. Enough of a success to spawn a long-running series.
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II upped the ante in 1997 by taking the series fully 3D.