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6:54 PM on 09.18.2009

Dark Forces/Jedi Knight Saga: DF Level 1

Released in 1995 for the PC, Star Wars: Dark Forces chronicles the adventures of everyone's favorite not-yet-bearded mercenary, Kyle Katarn. Taking place before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, this is a First-Person Shooter in the style of id Software's Doom.

You play as Kyle Katarn, a mercenary who used to work for the Empire and is doing a job for the Rebellion to find the Death Star plans from a secret Imperial base on the planet Danuta. Mission briefings are presented in animated cut-scenes, which are followed up by text recaps as shown in the pic above.

A major innovation in Dark Forces compared to other games of the time is how you can look up and down to fire at enemies. Sadly, this is handled by using the Page Up and Page Down keys, making one feel clumsy at times. The small white blob in the picture is a Stormtrooper off in the distance.

Befitting a Star Wars game, there are Easter Eggs scattered throughout. The rectangular droid on the left is an MSE Droid, which was feature in Episode IV as the scurrying droid which Chewbacca scares off in the Death Star. Also note how much space the gun takes up on the screen and the repeated use of gray textures--gray floors, gray walls, and dark grey guns!

This first level is very linear and one finds the Death Star plans in almost no time at all. The area where you retrieve the plans features a fine level of detail in the rotating green wireframe-style schematic of the Death Star.

An Imperial Officer attempts to take a shot at me. The animation on his face as he makes a shot is just adorable, no?

After completing the stage, you board your personal ship, the Moldy Crow, piloted by space chick Jan Ors. The rust on the exterior is a nice touch. Before we move on to Level 2, it is time for a 90's staple: CUT-SCENE TIME!

Darth Vader talks to Moff Rebus, a fat white man looking not unlike Jim Sterling from behind. Moff Rebus reveals his secret plan... The sinister Dark Troopers!

Dark Troopers are really strong Stormtroopers. Could these be the titular Dark Forces?

Like this take on the first level? Hate it? Comment away! ;)   read

8:36 AM on 09.18.2009

Dark Forces/Jedi Knight Saga: Intro

Recently, LucasArts released the entire Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series of games. Feeling the itch to pick up a blaster, wield a lightsaber, and Force-Push some Stormtroopers until they Wilhelm scream, I've decided to start a cblog series where I play each level of every game in the whole saga in order.

I'll discuss the level design, thoughts on the plot, frustrating moments, retro memories, and whatever else I damn well please.

Before I get started on the first entry on Level 1 of Dark Forces, here's a question: Would this be better as a text c-blog or as an audio c-blog via youtube clips?   read

6:26 PM on 09.12.2009

Owning a PSP: Gone and Back Again

A few years ago, after reading a Destructoid article about Castlevania Chronicles for the PSP, I bought a PSP 2000 series. I enjoyed the games on the system, was let down a bit by Crisis Core (despite enjoying its Parasite Eve combat), and ultimately, frustrated at the drought of PSX Classics and original software, traded the system in for store credit.

Last weekend, while waiting to hitch a ride with friends to PAX 09, I bought the PSP Final Fantasy: Dissidia bundle. The weeabo lure of Kefka beating the shit out of Tidus was too great to ignore. Playing it makes me wonder why I traded in the PSP in the first place. I find the software library, while sometimes sparse, more interesting than the DS. Holding a PSP in my hands is much more comfortable than the DS, causing them to cramp less.

Anyone else ever sell a system and then repurchase it, experiencing buyer's remorse?   read

6:33 PM on 09.04.2009

Dragon Age: Origins (PAX Demo Impressions)

Hello, I am Uncle Milkshake, a Dtoider at PAX for the first time.

I had a chance to try the Dragon Age: Origins demo for the 360 after a two hour wait in line. After ten minutes of a lecture flavored with text, I got a chance to play a small combat portion from the full game as a Mage. Combat was very similar to WOW in that commands have a delay after you use them; an ice spell might take a few seconds to recharge.

Although I completed the demo without manually controlling my party members, a developer on the game pointed out you can either issue commands directly or "program" AI not unlike Final Fantasy XII's Gambit system. During certain cut-scenes, you can choose options from a dialogue tree--your avatar won't literally say the dialogue, but do something along those lines. Other party members may protest your actions, causing you to lose "favor points."

Overall, the demo leaves me very excited for the game in a way Mass Effect let me down--but that's for another cblog post.   read

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