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Revisiting ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’ with DarkXL

Revisiting ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’ with DarkXL thumbnail

The original Star Wars: Dark Forces was released back in 1995. The game is a FPS that takes place in the universe created by the Star Wars saga. It had long levels and impressive cinematic sequences for its time, good graphics and also featured awesome music and sound effects. In short, it has a great replay value, so after almost 16 years, why not play it (again)? Since this is a DOS game, you will need to use a emulator to play it, such as DOSBox. The game works fine with the emulator.

Running the game at an emulated environment is not exactly a bad thing, but what if you could execute Dark Forces natively on Windows, at higher resolutions and with other improvements? That’s why there is DarkXL, an application that does exactly that, created by the talented Lucius. As explained on the DarkXL website:

DarkXL is a Hardware Accelerated remake of Dark Forces. It requires the original game data, and will fully support the original game – with cut scenes, briefings and other features.

The first thing one notices while playing DarkXL are the graphics. Not only DarkXL makes it possible to play the game in higher resolutions (1920×1080 and even higher ones), it adds some other graphical features as well, such as filtered textures, a new main menu, dynamic lightning and bloom effects, which are elegantly added, contributing to the original game’s atmosphere. Here are some comparison screenshots:

Star Wars: Dark Forces - DOS version screenshot

Screenshot of the original DOS version.

DarkXL Screenshot

This is how the same level looks on DarkXL.

Additionally, there are some other features that makes the game feel more contemporary, including revamped controls, the possibility to aim up/down with the mouse, a selection of crosshairs to choose from and a new options menu to tweak every setting.

DarkXL is still on the alpha stage of development, but already shows a lot of promise. According to this post and the roadmap on the official website, DarkXL will have, in the future, multiplayer support – a game mode that wasn’t included in the original title. And according to these posts, it will also support two other great FPS games: Outlaw and Blood.

By the time this post is being written, DarkXL only runs on Windows machines. Certainly, DarkXL is the way to go when playing Star Wars: Dark Forces on current hardware, and with the planned features, this remake is worth checking out. Still not conviced? Check out the first mission of the game being played on the original DOS version and in DarkXL:

Video of the first mission of the game (DOS version):

The same mission, played on DarkXL:

One Comments to “Revisiting ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’ with DarkXL”

  1. Flat Eric says:

    Amazing! I found your blog post because I want to replay the best Dark Forces version that I can. I choose DosBox with MIDI soundfonts and graphical filters, but DarkXL seems to be the ultimate way to play the game another time!

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