13_1Get acquainted with the third dimension.

There were too many Doom clones to count in 1995, yet none of them has managed to seriously up the ante and surpass id’s first-person gaming giant. None, of course, until Descent came along. A first-person combat game that pits you in a zero-G environment, Descent lets you pilot a nimble fighter in futuristic space mines where the word ‘up’ and ‘down’ really have no meaning.

With a full 360 degree freedom of movement, Descent really does have its own gaming style that traditional 2.5D games like Doom or its many lookalikes simply can’t match. You can fly in any direction you point your fighter to, hover freely where you stop, or fly backwards if you ever have to retreat. The action is purely arcade, so you won’t have any of that angular momentum nonsense keeping you from having a good time.

The plot is pretty simple but gets hammered home nonetheless. The robotic crew of space mines have gone haywire it seems, and it’s up to you to get in, blast everything, set the mines to self-destruct by damaging its cores and escape to the surface of the planet before a counter hits zero. The armaments you carry for this purpose are pretty cool, with five different primary weapons, four missile types and a rear-mounted bomb dropper. As in any shooter, you find weapon upgrades and ammo spread throughout each of Descent’s 27 levels.

The robot enemies aren’t near as twisted as Doom’s demonic hellspawn, but they put up a serious fight nonetheless. All of them are rendered in true 3D as polygonal objects, and all of them have the same freedom of movement as your craft. This means that they will shoot at you from all angles, which makes it ever so important to examine your surroundings when entering new areas.


Cool lava! You can almost feel the heat.

And if the singleplayer portion was a good ride, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the multiplayer is even better. Descent supports network play (up to 8 players), modem head-to-head and Co-Op, and none of these game modes require a dedicated server – you simply jump into a hosted game and play, without even needing to leave the game for a special IPX connection program (everything is done from the main menu). This is a cool thing since many games before had to have players connect, start and leave simultaneously.

In all, Descent is a pretty solid and far-thinking game. Its three degrees of movement is entirely different from anything you could find in other first-person shooters, and the look, feel and sound of it all give way to a superior action experience.

System Requirements: 80386 40 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS 5.0

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