Up Next: Dark Forces

In our last episode, we mentioned our next game would be Dark Forces. We also mentioned that playing it on a Mac is a little bit more complicated than it needs to be. So first a bit on the game and then some helpful hints on actually playing it.

Dark Forces is a first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe. After the huge success of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, it was really a no-brainer to make a Star Wars Doom clone. In fact, someone had even created a mod for Doom that let players battle storm troopers on the death star. The fine folks at LucasArts took one look at that and said, “Copyright Infringement!” Just kidding. Actually they thought it was such a great idea they made one themselves and ended up improving the genre as they did.

Far more than just a quick clone, the developers actually had to reverse engineer their own engine. The JEDI engine had some serious enhancements like the ability to look up and down and even the capacity for putting multiple floors on top of each other.

All in all, it’s a great game, and you’ll want to go play it before our next episode. If you’re a PC user, good news! You can get it on Steam or Gog for fairly cheap. Gog even has some great Star Wars bundles that include other SW games.

If you’re a Mac user, things are going to get … complicated. Here’s how we did it!

I set-up a virtual machine on my Mac and installed Windows on it (instructions). Then I downloaded and installed Dark Forces on the virtual machine. But then … it wouldn’t run. And I was sad. But I realized the Windows version from Gog was just running it in Dosbox. So, I sent all the installed files from my virtual machine to my Mac using Dropbox. Then I ran it in Boxer without a hitch!

Ok, maybe one more hitch. The controls were terrible. Not the control itself, but the default configuration. You have to remember this was from before WASD and a mouse was the industry standard. Here are some instructions on how to reconfigure the controls. So, it’s a bit of work to get set up, but once you do, it’s a blast. As a bonus, the Gog version includes a strategy guide with level-by-level walkthroughs. Nice work, Gog.

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