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 (194 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
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 ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥
Posted: September 28
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 22
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16 of 22 people (73%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Relive your nausea inducing childhood.
Posted: June 22
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
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
Posted: September 13
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 7
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
This game brought FPS games to a completely new dimension! The.... Z-Axis! Before I played this game I was limited to exploration on only the X and Y axis, but after I played Descent, I had access to the Z-axis which meant that I could fly UP and THEN shoot! This was completely differnt than jumping in so many of one way in the sense that I could stay up, after I flew up but when I jumped up, in other games, I would come back down. But now, I am able to go up, stay up and shoot down. What else could I ask for? Open space?!?! Well, that's another game for another time.
Posted: April 29
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2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
still better than dark souls 2
Posted: April 27
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Eh, I'd say it's pretty Descent.
Posted: July 11
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
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!
Posted: August 1
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4.2 hrs on record
it was fun twenty years ago, and its fun today.
Posted: April 27
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An awsome space fighter sim from my youth that I can replay now!
Posted: April 28
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2.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
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36.8 hrs on record
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!
Posted: June 12
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11.5 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 20
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6.5 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 28
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4.3 hrs on record
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.
Posted: June 24
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1.1 hrs on record
The second I saw steam was now selling this fantastic game, I had to buy it. I know I am a little bias for this game because this is the first game (along with Doom) that I played with my father. The game is great! The music is awesome. You will be humming the tunes for days after playing it for only a few minutes. The level design is amazing. I never got tired or felt like they just copy pasted the levels. The AI is super smart. The AI will take you out quick even on easy if you don't look out. Along with the range of enemies. Some are just recolored, but you won't be ever confussing them. The controls are solid. You couldn't do any better with a controller. All in all, I give this game two thumbs up/ five stars/ 10 out of 10 rating.
Posted: June 21
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31.8 hrs on record
This is the best game I have ever had the pleasure to play. It is old, it is ugle, and it is great. Nothing in 20 years has ever come close, and you can own all four games for like $30!

You can play well enough with keyboard and mouse but you'll want to invert mouse. A flight stick is best, particularly one with twist yaw like the old sidwinder.

If you don't get these games yur're a fool, fool!
Posted: May 21
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0.7 hrs on record
I love this game! This is one that I remember playing as a kid. I may be a teen and modern, but I will always have a thing for the classics!
Posted: April 26
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1.9 hrs on record
I highly recommend this game. It is crazily fun and unique and amazing how this works on DOS, i get it can be annoying at times but its still incredibly fun. Buy it i recommend it.
Posted: May 3
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