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  1. #1
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    Star Wars on the Steam Deck

    I decided to start exploring and tested every Star Wars game on the Steam Deck to see how they run. I own every SW game available on Steam, as well as GOG, so should have access to most without having to go out of my way.

    The first game I've tried is Dark Forces. This came out in 1995 and was DOS based. The game engine is very similar to Doom, but ran on its own Jedi Game Engine, and added unique features for the time such such as levels with multiple floors and the ability to look up and down.

    On the Steam Deck it shows compatibility as playable, which is great for a 28 year old DOS game. I think it was about 150MB to install, which is nothing that days.

    Running the game it lauches DOS Box and then you see the DOS prompt launching the game and it goes seemlessly into the game.

    The menu system is mouse driven. You can use the right thumb stick or right touch pad to move the mouse and either R3 or click the right pad to left mouse click. Menus work fine. There isn't much in the way of graphics or other hardware settings but out of the box it runs full screen and everything is already set to highest.

    Starting a new game it runs the intro and first animated cut scenes nicely then into the game. Normally in older games I have to play around when the Steam Decks key mapping, but in Dark Forces everything was already mapped nicely and utilises every button. I think it auto found a custom Deck keymap on installing but I've not checked this yet.

    The layout that's running uses the left thumb to move forwards, backwards and strafe, and the right to rotate. To look up and down you have to use the L1 and R1 shoulder buttons. R2 to fire. X to jump. Other buttons and D pad to cycle through weapons, turn touch on and off. And the rear L3 and 4 and R3 and 4 buttons for things like pressing door buttons and crouching. The setup works well.

    The game runs full speed at 25fps and feels nice and responsive. Graphics run perfectly with no glitches and the audio and music all sound correct.

    I quickly ran through the first couple of missions as I remember them from playing through the game quite a few times back in the day. All worked perfectly and the game is still worth a play through. This is the game that started the whole Jedi Knight franchise.

    Originally I had the Playstation version which came out a year later in 1996 and runs slower then the PC version at more like 15fps from what I remember. I will have to run that and compare. Not sure if the music was updated to use CD audio. Will have to check. I later got the PC version in about 1998 and noticed the far better framerate.

    So yes, it runs perfectly and is worth playing. If you have never played it the older graphics lend themselves well to the smaller handheld screen.

    Next game I will be trying is the original X-Wing as it's showing that as playable too.
    Last edited by Harrison; 25th December 2022 at 00:44.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    I think it was about 150MB to install, which is nothing that days.
    Wow, considering it was quite big at that time.

  3. #3
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    I double checked the size as I suddenly realised the Deck tends to download the initial sized part, then downloads additional files. Total size of the game is actually 257.78MB. Which is still pretty small.I

    It's great playing these old games again on a handheld. They take up hardly any space and are still playable. In fact easier to install and run. No DOS or Win9x issues. The Steam Deck really does make playing PC games as easy as a console. And that's a big achievement.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  4. #4
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    Holding my laptop is the same feeling like holding the deck

  5. #5
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    Hardly.

    Anyway, I gave X-Wing Collectors Edition a play last night and that ran perfectly too. You have the option of running the DOS original, the CD version or the collectors edition.

    I opted for what is basically an updated remaster with the collectors edition. Everything worked but I'd forgotten how confusing the menu navigation was in this game,chaving to navigate doors in the facilties to move between game modes and options.

    The controls were not mapped at all well when I first loaded up a practice combat mission to test it out. I've been experimenting with some community control layouts. The one I'm using now is much better but still not perfect. I need to think of the best keymap to adjust shield/Phaser regeneration, targeting, ship speed etc.

    Anyway the game runs well and you forget just how little space dog fights have really progressed in a lot of games since this came out. Still just as good. And it suits the Deck.

    Going to try Tie-Fighter next which strangely shows as unknown compatibility. Then Alliance. I used to really like that one playing as a freighter pilot.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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