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

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

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.

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