Prepare To Start Your Descent. Sensory overload in 360° 3-D. Welcome to Descent™ - 27 levels of the most mind-bending, stomach-churning action game ever. Featuring true 3-Dimensional worlds with light source shading, texture mapping, 3-D morphing, directional sound effects and sizzling music, this is technology taken to the limit.
User reviews: Very Positive (200 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 13, 1995

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About This Game

Prepare To Start Your Descent.

Sensory overload in 360° 3-D.

Welcome to Descent™ - 27 levels of the most mind-bending, stomach-churning action game ever. Featuring true 3-Dimensional worlds with light source shading, texture mapping, 3-D morphing, directional sound effects and sizzling music, this is technology taken to the limit.

Something has happened at Lunar Base I. The Post-Terran Mining Company has lost contact with the miners and none of the mining robots are responding. The PTMC has brought in you the Material Defender to deal with the situation. Your mission is to find any survivors and find the source of threat. You will start a journey that takes you from the Moon to Pluto. Best of luck Material Defender.

Lunge straight down mine shafts, twist around never-ending tunnels and fight your way past robotic menaces in an environment that's truly 6 degrees of freedom... move up, move down, shoot everything everywhere. Hang onto your senses (and your lunch) as you drop straight down mine shafts on a ride that'll leave you spinning.

And what's the good of losing your mind if you can't share the experience with your friends? Descent invites you and your buddies to dive into the action together with head-to-head combat and cooperative two-player modem and eight-player network support.

Get ready for Descent...

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, 7, 8
    • Processor: 1 Gigahertz or faster
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 or better
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Hard Drive: 32 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster compatible
Helpful customer reviews
10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
This game is phenomenal, what can I say. Playing this game using a source port (D1X-rebirth) makes it so much more better, adding support for more resolutions etc. However, the controls in this game are quite difficult to master, but I've heard a joystick works best with Descent, so I'll update this review when I get my Logitech Extreme 3D Pro and try it out with Descent.

The thing about Descent is, you're in a ship of some sorts and you can use weapons like lasers, etc. You're confined to corridors most of the game, and SOME open rooms. This game can also be the cause of motion sickness while playing, as sometimes it will flip you upside down (atleast that's what happens to me). But other than the quirky controls, motion sickness (applies to some people), it's a very DESCENT game!

Update: For those wanting to get the DXX-Rebirth (AKA: D1X-Rebirth) source port to run through Steam as Descent, here's a little guide: I do not take credit for this guide. All credit goes to the creator of this guide.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
OMG buy this game now. A 3 dollar nostalgia trip turned into a full night blown on killing robots. This game is an overlooked gem and is still a ton of fun. It takes some time to get used to the controls but stick with it.

I forgot the golden rule the first time back though. Find the exit BEFORE you destroy the reactor, *IDIOT*
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
The Ps One port was attrocius though. I first started on a copy that was bundled with my first CD Rom drive. I took to it like a duck to water using the keyboard in this fully 3d enviroment. Especially liking the keyboard controls which they hated. I have also played it since on Os9 on my G3 iBook. Loved the demo for Descent 2 and had the full version given with my 3DFX GPU.

Not nostagia talking as I do play Descent from time to time since. Still holds up today as I buy it for the third time for Windows. Doom and Hexen were good but this is better, even better than Quake for the 3D feel.

The soundtrack is an excellent piece of music in itself

I bet my friends still hate this game

Download the DXX-Rebirth source port for windows to play at better graphic settings
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
very awsome game could use some work on the controls but not complaning its a good game.
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1 of 5 people (20%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
Its Descent
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0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
This game was my childhood. Descent is a disorientating FPS where you could fly your ship at any angle or direction in a gravity free environment, where the levels are even more complex and confusing mazes that become easier and easier to find yourself lost and trapped as you progress further through the game.

The gameplay is uniquely stunning, feeling like a limitless 'Doom', where enemies can fly and turn in any direction, will hunt you through rounded hallways and open doors for themselves, and have an array of models, weapons, and fighting styles. You yourself control a spaceship completely free to fly any which direction. The controls allow you to tilt yourself as well as move directly up, down, forward, backward, left and right, as well as changing directions, which both allows you full flexibility and maneuverability and also makes navigation extremely difficult (in a good way of course!) As you progress, you will find upgrades for your ship's primary and secondary weapons, as well as temporary powerups like invisibility and invulnerability. Your ship, your primary energy-based weapons, and your flares run on energy, which can be found at power stations found in certain levels or are dropped by enemy ships. Your ship's protection is its shield levels, which can be boosted by finding blue shield orbs dropped by enemies and placed in levels.

The level design for Descent 1 and Descent 2 is unmatched by any other game; what better way to utilize a fully maneuverable ship as well designed as it is with levels that include limitless doors, rooms and hallways that flip upside down, turn left, right, up and down, fork and loop and do anything possible. The best way I can think to describe it would to be to take a piece of paper and a pencil, close your eyes, and scribble like a mad man in circles and all directions for 5 seconds then stop and open your eyes. With the ability to pilot yourself essentially fully "upside down", on top of flying through a completely three dimensional maze makes for some of the best 'dungeon crawling' possible. With secret rooms on every level scattered throughout the levels, hostages and upgrades to find, if you aren't a long time veteran of this game, you will find something new every time you play.

The general goal of most missions is to find the enemy reactor on the level, destroy it, and find the exit before the self destruct sequence of the base hits 0. The reactor is found by progressing through a three tier series of doors, the blue, the yellow, and the red. You will find the blue key in the primary part of a level, which will unlock the blue door.. which leads to finding the yellow key in the blue door's section of the level... which leads to finding the red key in the yellow door's section of the level. With the sheer complexity of the maps, this can prove to be extremely challenging to a newcomer. Once the reactor is destroyed, the entire mission will start shaking, making it even harder to navigate as well as rattles your ship making it hard to pilot while you find the exit. The exceptions to killing the reactors are the boss levels, but I won't spoil that if you've never played the game before ;).

Overall, this is an excellent game that was way, way ahead of its time. For the breakthroughs it made that had never been seen in gaming before, it deserved a lot more attention than it got. As a franchise, the second Descent, Descent II, was also very successful as it used the same style and mechanics as the first, in addition to adding more weapons to your arsenal, more unique enemies to fight, and way more complex and difficult levels. Unfortunately, Descent 3 took a turn in the wrong direction, experimenting with a new engine, level and gameplay style, and because of its blunder, the Descent series was discontinued.

This was in fact the very first game I ever played at 2 years old, and the first game I completed independently at 3. When my dad, brother and I got the second, it only got better, and some of my best memories as a kid are playing these games and using the map makers for my brother and I to build our own levels.

Bottom line, you need to look past the dated graphics and give this game a consideration. It is just that much of a masterpiece.
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29 of 32 people (91%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
As venerable as this game's graphics look, many hail it as the progenitor of the 6DoF genre of games. Much like the original Elite game's fame as the first to bring 3D vector models and sandbox gameplay to the personal computer, Descent was a pioneer in its own right on several levels.

For starters, the only game that rivaled its level of controls complexity at the time of its release, it can be argued, was Mechwarrior 2. Pretty much every game before 1995 that involved first-person flight or movement were restricted to three axes (turn up-down, turn left-right, and move forward-back). The occasional lateral movement was included (slide left-rigth), and was far less common, but games such as Quake and Duke Nuke'Em come to mind. They might or might not include jumping, and crouching started getting introduced, but the physics of the world they took place in also limited their control schemes. Most space flight games of the age had no lateral movement either. The original elite had no slide left-right, but had roll instead. Each scheme had its own challenges, but never gave you all the options in a single package.

Then along comes Descent, a game with no gravity and no limits. You could turn up-down-left-right, you could slide up-down-left-right, you could move forward-back, you could roll, you could look behind you, and you could afterburner for short boosts. Not only that, but you could move in as many as three directions at once, and the speed benefits were additive, allowing you to perform what was then dubbed 'chording' for the greatest velocities. Triple-chording was tricky, took skill to get right, and was sometimes dangerous (running into walls or lava), especially in the middle of dogfighting. In the sense that EVE Online is the hardest MMO ever created by at least a couple orders of magnitude, Descent was harder than other first-person shooters by an equivalent amount.

It was also, along with Quake and Duke, one of the first few shooters you could play against other players. All three originally supported only IPX protocols instead of TCP for network play, which meant you could only play against others on the same LAN, but services later started to appear (such as KaliDOS, Kali95, and Khan) that would do IPX-to-TCP translation and allow you to play against others across the internet through dial-up connections, ISDN, or eventually cable modems. I have countless memories of LANfests and ladder matches in the early days of Descent and Descent 2 that, even to this day, have no equal because of Descent's no-direction-is-safe design.

6DoF games have traditionally been a niche for the hardcore gamer, with very few other games in the genre released. The original Descent had two more games released, of course, and there was also a direct competitor launched later called Forsaken which received decent support on its own (see ProjectX for details). Much later, Jumpgate Evolution had aspirations of becoming the king's successor (and would have succeeded) before it was cancelled. Not long ago, Miner Wars was released as an homage to this genre, but it fell short and was riddled with bugs. The most recent potential inheritor of the throne, according to documentation and videos I've seen thus far, may actually prove to be Elite: Dangerous, and this makes me a happy camper.

Regardless, Descent deserves a place in the history books as the grandfather to this playstyle all by itself. Even if you discount the control scheme and ridiculously tricky and hilariously awesome multiplayer in its heyday, other aspects shine that were uncommon as well. All of the original game takes place in the confined spaces of off-world mining facilities, with the layout of most of them painfully unfriendly to two-dimensional thinking. Since there was no gravity and the mine traversed deep into the structure of the asteroid or planetoid it was carved into, there was also no reason to limit the level's layout to traditional gravity-based constraints. It was a great deal easier to get lost if you weren't paying attention to all the options in all directions.

Lastly (at least among the aspects of the game that deserve special mention) was the lack of blood and gore. In an age where the amount of violence against living antagonists (whether NPCs or other players) was increasing exponentially, Descent was a nice alternative that gave parents a choice they could get behind instead of turning a blind eye to the scary biologicals of Quake or sexism and bloodied aliens of Duke.

Having typed this giant wall of text, you'd think acquiring a classic like Descent is a decision without flaws. What's worth of mention here is that this version is the original, and runs inside a DOSbox emulator. Because of this, combined with the fact that the game was coded from the ground up and tuned for much older hardware, before even the first 3DFX Voodoo cards came out, the original verison of Descent suffers from having some of its routines tied directly to the speed of the machine. The ability for certain missiles to track you, in particular, are greatly augmented by faster clock speeds. Whereas someone playing the game on a 486/33 machine back in 1995 could easily dodge deadly missiles with just a little practice, it's much harder now.

Leveraging DOSbox in order to play this game today also brings other problems which can be avoided. Two of the most well-known community efforts to resolve issues like those stated above are D1X-Rebirth (which endeavors to provide a fairly faithful recreation of the original) and D2X-XL (which has several features the original game doesn't, and lets you play both Descent 1 and Descent 2 inside the same engine), both of which are more than passing improvements to the DOSbox method. If they're better than this Steam product, then why purchase the Steam version, you might ask? Because they contain none of the copyrighted files necessary to play the original games. There are what's called .PIG and .HOG files located in the original game's installation directory which contain all the data for the game, such as textures, creature models, and level designs, that can legally only be obtained except through purchase of the game created by Interplay.

So I strongly encourage you to try this game as it was originally crafted, through the DOSbox method provided here, and if some part of the DOSbox experience or the performance or behaviors of the robots and weapons frustrates you, try leveraging the results of the community and follow the installation instructions of D1X-Rebirth or D2X-XL to give it another spin. One way or another, you'll get far more than your money's worth.
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26 of 35 people (74%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
Relive your nausea inducing childhood.
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15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
This is literally the first PC game I ever remember playing in my life. If you ever played this when you were a kiddo then it merits a revisit. If you've never played it before, I highly recommend it for anyone who loves horrendous graphics and an unacceptable MIDI file soundtrack. 10/10 will love forever.
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21 of 32 people (66%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
Eh, I'd say it's pretty Descent.
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8 of 14 people (57%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 13
I do recommend grabbing it soon while it's still on sale, since both together would be $1.50 less than the GOG version. But, outside of the sale, you may as well pick up the two together from GOG.

This game still holds up quite well, and I found it a blast to play. Getting the DXX Rebirth source port is a must for more visual fidelity, mouse support, and a whole variety of options.

It's a fairly unique FPS that has you moving in all directions, pitching, sliding, and accelerating through tunnels and chambers while blowing up a variety of spaceships, rescuing hostages, grabbing keycards, destroying a core and getting out of there before the whole thing goes up in flames. As fun as it is, however, it's probably not for everyone.

If there's a game that can get you horribly motion sick, it's this one, though I myself experienced none. You'll also need to mess with rebinding the controls a fair bit to get a scheme you're comfortable with. And as much as it appears that the developers tried to make the different locations visually distinct, the texturework and myriad of tunnels make the environments borderline mazelike. By paying close attention to landmarks like power stations and exit tunnels, opening the automap often, and not spinning all over the place like an idiot, you should be able to get through just fine.

So, if you've got an interest in lazers, potential motion sickness, tunnels, and blowing ♥♥♥♥ up, go ahead and give it a go. You could probably find the shareware version online if you need a demo.

Maxed Out Shields/10
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
39.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
When I first saw this game on Steam, I got excited. Now, sometime later, I find the enjoyable frustration of seeing things blow up (such as my ship) and escaping the level with less than seconds to spare.
Be warned, this game is HARD!!!!! On rookie difficultiy, I spent hours peeking around the cornors and often saving to keep my progress. Rookie difficulity is only second easiest. Don't believe me? You will when you get deep into the game.
Fast paced battles, frantic dodges, and calling the robots rude things are all in the excitement. DON'T let the old graphics make you think twice, they actually are perfect as well as the music. Sure, it's not a top notch game. But for something from 1994, it's worth it.
It's like an old arcade game that you just keep coming back to. Blowing things up, screaming at the screen (maybe getting high blood pressure in the future), and having a good ol' rootin shootin time is what this game offers. I would highly recemend this game to anyone who is willing to give old games another chance.
Have fun and blow those robots to kingdom come!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
This game is highly entertaining, even in 2014, it's probably better than some games that are coming out today! I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good classic.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 18
The enemy's gate is down.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
This game is such a nostalgia trip for me that it brings back memories. I still remember playing this game on the Zodiac Game Pack 3 disc back in '97 and I enjoyed it so much but it was just a demo so I never played it full until now.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
Descent is a great classic game that I enjoyed playing for many hours when I was a kid. Even considering how far gaming technology has advanced, there are still very few games I have seen that feature this sort of three-dimensional movement. The game is kept interesting by a wide range of enemies, interesting weapons, and 30 different maze-like levels. The storyline is rather short and only presented in blurbs of text, but it is absolutely amazing (The ending blew my mind!) One of the best features of this game is the extremely wide range of difficulty settings. When playing on “Trainee,” the first few levels are easy enough to learn the game, but the later levels do get rather difficult. By contrast, I have never beaten the first level on “Insane,” so you should never have to worry about the game being too easy. I was, however, slightly disappointed in the Steam version for two reasons. First, it did not include the remixed soundtrack from the Mac version, which is by far the best non-orchestrated soundtrack I have ever heard in a game. Second, do not expect to use the mouse in your control set, as I have the mouse sensitivity cranked to the max, and my ship still turns too slowly to effectively follow the robots on my screen. Hopefully this issue will be addressed in a future update, but if you don’t plan on using the mouse, I highly recommend this game as one of the best I have ever played.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
This has to be one of the greatest games of all time. So much nestalgia. This game had me gripped when it first came out. Playing it again now, i still find it difficult to pull myself away from the computer. Strongly recommend!

It did a small bit of work to get it working nicely, but there is support on the forums.
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
This game is perfect if you just want that pure nostalgia that you get that is like when you used to play it as a kid like I did. If you want to get back playing this, you should definitely buy this!
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1 of 5 people (20%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
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0 of 9 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 28
kickass dos title, played it since i was old enough to use a computer. better with a joystick. this is my first G rated review....... ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ucker ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ass ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥
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