Title Descent Game Type 3D Combat Sim Company Parallax Software/Christian Sauer Available Aminet game/shoot Descemt.lha Players 1 (Link-up option) Compatibility 020+ 8 Mb, AGA or graphics card Required Files from PC version Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer Review Around the time that various talented people on the Amiga scene were frantically trying to produce the King of Amiga Doom clones, I remember hearing about a PC game that had pushed back the boundaries of the 3D game environment further still. I don't remember where Duke Nuke’'em and Quake fitted in chronologically, but the game in question was actually Descent, and I think the consensus at the time (1995?) was that it just wasn’t feasible on an Amiga. Even when the source code became available a few years later, and was duly converted to the Amiga, I was under the impression that only a PPC equipped machine would be able to produce a playable (that magic word again) result. I'm glad to say that I was mistaken. Incase you're not familiar with the game here is a basic rundown. At some distant time in the future, when man has colonized various worlds and is eagerly searching for new resources to plunder, he encounters some very unwelcome opposition. In the huge mineshafts that have been burrowed through various moons, an unknown force has invaded, and taken posession of the existing mining craft. When you consider that these vehicles are capable of blasting through solid rock you will understand that getting in the way of one is probably not too clevery. As well as this, the invaders are developing their own hybrid vessels using the resources available. The situation has caused panic throughout the Terran empire, and the Post Terran Mining Corporation (PTMC), the biggest bureacracy in the history of humanity has called upon you to help. Your job, as the standard cynical anti-hero with legendary piloting and combat skills, is to fly down the various mines, defeat any opposition you encounter, recover any hostages, collecting any energy or weapon supplies you may find, and above all; your primary objective, to take out the mine's main fusion reactor, thereby destroying the infestation. Oh, and once you've critically damaged the reactor, you'll have only a limited amount of time to find your way to the exit and escape the very considerable explosion. The game may sound like it's just another Doom or Quake derivative with spaceship overtones, and while there is some truth to this theory, it does not take into account the extraordinary 3D environment at the heart of the game. Although initially it appears that you are flying along the standard "corridors", very soon you'll be called upon to pitch and roll your craft to gain access into other shafts and areas, which as you might expect defy the traditional constraints that would govern an area affected by gravity. It can be very disconcerting to have lost track of which way is "up". It also becomes far more easy to get lost in the three dimensional twisting labyrinths that are Descent. If you find Doom or even Quake levels easy to navigate, try Descent, you will be disoriented. Fortunately there is a highly advanced mapping feature that can be called up to show you your location and the area already explored, although even the map can be confusing, but that's simply because the levels can get so involved. Descent is a game with a nice variety of power-ups and collectible items, like access keys and weapons. As well as the usual extra energy and ammuniton, you'll find shield boosts, cloaking devices and even a temporary invulnerability device. There are a variety of guns ranging from the standard laser, as well as the quad laser, the vulcan cannon, the spreadfire cannon, the plasma cannon and the fusion cannon ....and that's not even mentioning the missiles or bombs. The game is highly configurable; less powerful machines will be able to reduce screen size and detail, although I found the game played well on my AGA 060 system with full detail and screen size. Control can also be tweaked and while some people may prefer full keyboard control I opted for a mixture of mouse and keyboard. Descent is a lot of fun and a welcome addition to the Amiga game catalogue. There's plenty of blasting, but exploration fans will find a real challenge here too. It is so easy to miss an opening to a new area because you get distracted by cunningly positioned enemies, or haven't looked carefully, and in every direction. I don't think it's a game most people will necessarily want to play their way through from start to finish, it's too mind-boggling, but it's an ideal challenge to take on a level at a time, and then come back to the game sometime later when you feel you can get your head round the next level. Obviously, that may just be me though.