Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Dark Forces was the first of the Star Wars FPS shooters and one I always felt was unfairly eclipsed by the (admittedly superior) Jedi Knight. Dark Forces bucked a lot of the trends that came before and a lot that would follow: it’s huge, sprawling levels seemed more life-like and realistic than what we’d seen in run-and-gun games like Doom and its imitators.
It was full of clever touches, like an early stealth level where you sneaked around an Imperial base on Coruscant, darting between searchlights that would bring an army down on your head if they caught you.
Dark Forces worst feature, the lack of in-mission saves and the use of limited “lives” in their place, ended up making it one of the greatest FPS experiences I’ve ever had. The feeling of tension when you were deep into a level, on your final life, was incomparable. It was one of the few FPS games I can remember that created real terror of death without resorting to hellish checkpointing.