Descent, the first game to feature true 360 degree 3D action, came out back in early 1995. While other 3D games of the time (such as Doom) allowed first person perspective action, Descent took it a step further and allowed complete freedom of movement - you can roll, slide up and down, even fly upside down! To this day, no game has matched the pure thrill of first-person perspective complete freedom of movement.
You play the role of a hired mercenary of the PTMC (Post Terran Minerals Corporation). PTMC has mines on planets both in and out of the Solar System, and these mines are mostly automated with robots. An unknown invasion force has infected these mines, taken the human workers hostage, and reprogrammed and modified the mining robots into aggressive attack robots. Your job is to descend into each mine in an Israeli-made Pyro GX spaceship, destroy the rogue robots, rescue the hostages, destroy the fusion reactor, and then get out in the seconds before the chain reaction destroys the entire mine. And, ultimately, to get to the bottom of the mystery behind the invasion force.
Descent also supports up to eight player multiplayer via IPX. Internet gaming back then was nothing like it is today - players used a tool called IHHD (Internet Head to Head Demon) to emulate a serial connection over the Internet. Then a man named Jay Cotton, a big Descent fan, decided to write a program called Kali, which would simulate an IPX network over the Internet. He later expanded it to be able to play almost any IPX networkable game, and made Kali what it is today.
When the sequel to Descent came out in March 1996, although it was based on the same game engine, it added many new features that made a great game an absolute classic! These features included an afterburner, extra settings to help reduce latency in Internet games, double the number of weapons, new multiplayer modes, and ultimately, 3D card support.
In December 1996, an add-on pack for Descent 2 was released - titled the Vertigo Series. This added an additional 20 levels to D2's original 30, with all-new 'bots, and also included the Descent Mission Builder 2, a level editor for both Descent 1 and 2.
Descent 2 is to this day, two years after it's release, a very popular game - especially on the Kali Internet gaming system. 24 hours a day you are able to join a game in-progress on Kali's dedicated Descent server.
Descent 3, the sequel we are all breathlessly waiting for, is due out by December 1998. This time, the game will have a completely new engine, enhanced multiplayer with built-in Internet support, and much, much more. Check out our regularly-updated Descent 3 page for more info.
A spinoff to the Descent series is also available - called Descent: Freespace. This, unlike the other Descent games, is not based in mines, but in deep space. Gameplay is similar to the Wing Commander and X-Wing games. For more info, visit our Freespace page.
Descent and Descent 2 were recently released together on a budget label, in a package called Descent - the Definitive Collection. This also included the Levels of the World CD for Descent 1, and the Vertigo add-on pack for Descent 2. The whole package is only US$19.95! You can order it online at Interplay's web store. You can also download playable demos of Descent 1 and 2, and Descent: Freespace from our Demos and Patches page.