While I agree that some modern bikes look horrid (I'm looking at you bendy down tube, looks like you've been crashed ht!) I think there's some serious rose tinted specs being worn here. A lot of the mid 90's fs bikes were boggin and to make it worse, didn't work. As others have said, take the paint off many old steel bikes and you'd have to know your beans to tell the difference.
Those saying there's no need for this fork, that sus etc need to remember it's just the natural progression of what went before. Since sus first came out we all wanted more travel, smoother action etc on the next big thing. Front suspension has been a must have for most since the early 90's. Check out an MBUK from around 1994 and see how many rigid bikes are on test. If one of these modern bikes had been released bitd most of us here would have fallen over ourselves to get one.
Looking at my modern bikes, the 2007 Clockwork looks like a standard steel frame bike and can run 100mm forks (just the same as late 90's bikes) and the 2009 5 is a single pivot that looks similar to many early fs to me.
Things change but that doesn't make them bad. Not every bike in the 90's was a fillet brazed, hand crafted beauty