As Kyle Katarn, former Imperial Special Ops, now working for the Rebel Alliance, you have been given the delicate mission to steal the plans of the new Imperial secret weapon code named DEATHSTAR. You will be dropped at the cargo entrance of the Imperial base where Rebel Intelligence suspects the plans are stored. You must then find the plans, and return to the drop zone where your assistant Jan Ors will bring back your ship.
The authors here have taken it upon themselves to do a remake of the first level of Dark Forces, hence the title. And in many ways they succeed in improving on the original. In others the level fails, but on a whole it's a good one to play with lots of interesting things to do and look at. The level really succeeds with it's architecture and texturing. The setup of the base is great; staying away from the usual square rooms connected by hallways you'll find unusual elevators, bridges, sewers, hallways with large windows looking out over the city, ledges sitting on the edge of a precipice and more. The texturing is all well placed, but I found myself wishing for something else besides the dark greys and yellow/black stripes. It all stays together to help you believe you're in the same facility, but some more variety would be nice.
The puzzles you need to go through to complete the level are another bonus. Even as you suspect you're on the correct trail, something can pop up and send you reeling for what feels like hours before you figure it out. One of the nicest things is that for the most part the puzzles aren't obvious but woven into the rest of the level so that they feel natural. Finding a way to remove a barrier feels much more realistic than trying to find the right switch to move sections of a wall to match up so that an elevator works (see the Arc Hammer).
The level does have faults. I thought that the positioning of the Death Star plans, while clever and just the sort of thing that Imperials might do, was also so well hidden that most people would probably miss it altogether; I almost did. I already mentioned a texture problem, another is that the base doesn't have the Imperial look and feel that we've found in other levels and in the movies. I also have a argument with the setting: this is supposed to be a secret base. So why is it in the middle of a city? And more importantly why is it so open and obvious? The first SECBASE was secluded, with an almost underground feel to it. It had the feeling of something hidden. This level gives me the impression of being in the middle of Coruscant. A great accomplishment, but not the right place for a secret base.
Even with the few problems this level is still a fun play. It's something that will keep you interested and busy and provide a challenge at the same time. Not necessarily on par with the major levels of today, but as one of the first it also has a distinct appeal. I suggest that anyone trying to pick a level to download check this one out.