descent_coverDescent was released on December 17, 1994 by Interplay. The game was developed by Parallax Software. Descent is a first person shooter.

Descent is a highly advanced first person shooter boasting six degrees of freedom. One of the few games in its class to allow the player full freedom in moving up and down, left and right, backwards and forwards.

Players control a ship as they move through levels in both single player and multiplayer modes, using a wide variety of both energy cannons and missiles to defeat opponents.

The game requires the player to navigate labyrinthine mines while fighting virus-infected robots. The player is given the clear objective to find and destroy each mine’s reactor core and escape before the mine is destroyed by the meltdown.

Occasionally, for some levels, the reactor core is replaced with a boss, changing the objective that the player must destroy the boss in order to trigger the meltdown and escape before the mine blows up.

To get access to the reactor, the player must collect the blue, yellow, and/or red access keys for each level, which are required to open doors,

As an optional objective, the player can also choose to rescue PTMC workers who were taken hostage by the infected robots.

Descent features a complementary points system. Players can score points by destroying enemy robots, picking up power-ups, and detonating the reactor. Bonus points are awarded upon completion of each level.

The game is fully 3D which forces player to think more about spacial placement.  CPUs in 1996 were still running at mostly 66 MHz which made this game amazing for it time.

There are 30 levels, including 3 secret levels. The primary weapons in Descent use energy, with the exception of the Vulcan cannon, which uses traditional ammunition. The game uses shield power as health.

This old DOS game was wildly popular and it really expanded the 3D gaming experience. In the years the followed the rise of 3D shooters far exceeded the imagination of the game designs. The game also has LAN support for up to 8 players. The game even has a multiplayer menu.

Descent uses a real 3D renderer. Most other games, including Doom etc, use Sprites to handle animation. Quake also moved to 3D meshes a year later.

Descent uses 320×200 with 256 colors MCGA.


Operating System Windows XP or better
CPU 1 GHz or better
Memory 1 GB or more
Hard Drive Space 32 MB
Graphics Hardware DX7 graphics
Network Broadband Internet Connection Required