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aka: Descent 1, Descent: Destination Saturn, Inferno
Moby ID: 692
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

The Post-Terran Minerals Corporation (PTMC) digs up minerals on all nine planets of the solar system, employing humans and robots to do its job. Unfortunately, the mining robots are now being controlled by a hacker, and have taken the human workers hostage. The PTMC has tried to get the robots back under their control, but communication with the mining stations has been lost. In desperation, the PTMC modifies a Pyro-GX ship for combat and hires a mercenary, codenamed "Material Defender", to fly it. The mission is to destroy the infected mines and rescue human hostages, destroying any hostile robot that gets in the way.

Descent is a 3D first-person game that puts the player at the controls of the Pyro-GX spaceship. Descent is notable in that the player travels through various interior locations (mines) but can do so in 720 degrees of movement. The ship however only moves forward and backward in any of the directions it is facing. The ship is able to use a variety of weapons scattered as power-ups throughout each level. They include: standard lasers, the Vulcan Cannon (a chaingun-like weapon), the Spreadfire Cannon (a rapidly firing, shotgun-like energy weapon), the Plasma Cannon (a rapidly firing energy weapon more suited for medium-range combat), and the Fusion Cannon (fires a ball of energy that's more powerful the longer it is charged it up, but could destroy the ship). All of these weapons, except for the Vulcan Cannon, use the ship's energy supply. The Pyro-PX is also capable of firing regular concussion missiles, homing missiles, proximity bombs (sits in the sky, then explodes when something gets close to it), smart missiles (more powerful homing missiles that fire out homing energy balls upon impact with their target), and Mega Missiles (the ultimate weapons of mass destruction).

The goal of each level is to locate and destroy the mine's reactor. Once completed, there are only 45 seconds to find the escape hatch to get out of the mine before it explodes. As progress is made through the game, the AI will adapt to player's strategies and attempt to prevent the player from reaching the goals.

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Credits (DOS version)

70 People (58 developers, 12 thanks) · View all



Average score: 85% (based on 43 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 125 ratings with 12 reviews)

Great technology, but lacks atmosphere.

The Good
The true 3-D landscape (as opposed to the 2.5-D of Doom) was fairly innovative at the time. True, Looking Glass had done it already with the Ultima Underworld games and with System Shock, but those games used sprites for the enemies. Descent not only gave you a true 3-D landscape (in which tunnels could go over and under each other), it was the first game to give you 3-D opponents.

The Bad
IMHO, it lacked atmosphere. The storyline is uncompelling, and isn't nearly as nifty as the "invade Hell with butt-kicking weapons" story of Doom or Doom II. Nor does it have the attitude of Duke Nukem 3D, the other major player of the early FPS days. Largely, Descent just feels sterile. You complete the levels not because they're cool, or because the level draws you into the game, but because it's what you have to do to go to the next level and ultimately finish the game.

The Bottom Line
If you're a First Person Shooter fanatic, Descent will tickle your fancy. The game mechanics and graphics still hold up fairly well in comparison to the current crop of FPS games. If you're just a casual FPS player, there are better, more interesting FPS games out there.

DOS · by Afterburner (486) · 2001

Was a good game on an older PC

The Good
It is the first of the Descent series, an old PC game where you're in a ship and fly through mines to find keys to open certain doors and kill a reactor or a boss robot. It is just fun to be able to have the freedom to move around, and to go up to the ceiling to look at things, rather than being stuck on the floor.

The Bad
I don't know what happened from the time I played Descent years ago, and now. There are problems! It may be because my PC is very fast now, or that I am very use to Descent 3, and how that handles, but Descent is VERY hard to handle. The ship bounces up and down fast, and any slight movement threw me off course. Again, this may be because of my PC. If it was that bad before, I don't think I would have bought it and loved it. I can't get sound or music that easily as well.

The Bottom Line
Your best bet is to get Descent II or III. If your PC plays DOS games well, without problem, or little problem, you may have much better luck with this game than I did. Like I said, I remember having music, sound, and moving around without problems. I wonder if it's because I only used a keyboard, or a game pad.

DOS · by Jeremy Bailey (4) · 2002

A Classic Game You Can't Go Wrong With

The Good
The graphics, it worked on older PCs, it's extendibility (many levels available, campaign creators and map editors; usually nowadays you only get map editors that let you make one standalone map at a time. This game will let you make many and zip them up into one file exactly like the included campaign), the multiplayer modes (people still play)...

The Bad
Frankly, the included levels are boring. After playing a bit I suggest getting some more levels, moving on to multiplayer or Descent II.

The Bottom Line
360 degrees of fun!

DOS · by wossname (203) · 2000

[ View all 12 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Early Moby Shenanagins. GAMEBOY COLOR! (1990) Jul 30, 2008


1001 Video Games

Descent appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


If you used one of the cheat codes, you'd hear a female voice call you "Cheater" in a mocking tone.


Commercials for the Playstation version of the game featured the celebrities Rodney Dangerfield and Jenny McCarthy.

Covermount release

A complete version of Descent is available on Classic Games Collection CD featured with the July 2000 issue of PC Gamer Magazine.


The game was originally titled Inferno and was to take place in space stations rather than mines.

Enhanced edition

In the readme file included with the registered version of Descent, a "CD-Enhanced" version was promised to be released in the summer of 1995. Descent had already been released on CD-ROM, but the "CD-Enhanced" version was to contain new levels and enemies, a Redbook (CD audio) version of the game's soundtrack, and 3D-rendered cinematics. Unfortunately, this version was never released. However, Descent II was suggested to have been the CD-Enhanced version of Descent that they were talking about: it contains all of the features promised for the CD-Enhanced version, and retains most of the original Descent's gameplay (along with some new features like an afterburner, energy-to-shields converter, and headlights).


The very popular KALI online matchmaking program, which emulates IPX over the Internet was created in the sole purpose of bringing online play to Descent. Indeed, it grew quite bigger as the time went on.


Descent was to be a shareware game, and Apogee Software (one of the most famous names in shareware games) was going to distribute it for Parallax. Unfortunately the deal fell through...Apogee didn't have the finances to distribute the game, and Interplay came in to save the game from being canceled fully.

The game was still released as shareware, where you could download the first seven stages and purchase the rest from Interplay directly or in stores. As a token of the appreciation, Parallax added a thank-you message to "Scott Miller and Apogee Software" in the credits for the game.


A trilogy of novels inspired by the game was published by Avon Books. They were all written by Peter Telep and first published in 1999:* Descent * Stealing Thunder * Equinox


  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #50 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #45 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll

Information also contributed by Cochonou, jnik, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Satoshi Kunsai, Scott Monster and Spartan_234


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Related Sites +

  • The Descent-Network
    Site Description: "The Descent Network hosts the biggest websites for Descent-related information and download since mid of 97. Since mid of 1998 we are extending our web to cover all other games released or about-to-be released by Volition, Inc. and Outrage Entertainment. This URL, descent-network.com, is there to combine the sites and to serve as a gateway to the Descent Network sites, as well as offering shared resources." My Opionion: Its the largest collection of stuff for the Descent Series that I have ever seen, thousands of levels for Descent 1,2,3 and Freespace 1,2. Numerous contests going on, like level building contests and robot building contests. Also has a whole arsonal of Descent robot and level editing tools for download. If you like descent, you will LOVE this site.
  • The Official D1_3dfx Site
    There is a patch here that will let you run Descent hardware accelerated, as long as you've got a 3dfx card. Patch never went beyond beta, so no mouse support and a few bugs.
  • The Official DESCENT Page
    official game page at Interplay's website from 1997, preserved by the Wayback Machine
  • Wikipedia: Descent
    Information about Descent at Wikipedia

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 692
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Accatone.

Linux added by Plok. Macintosh added by Kabushi. PlayStation added by Adam Baratz. Windows added by lights out party. PC-98 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: rstevenson, Kalirion, Zaroba, Jeanne, Frenkel, Charles Lippert, Alaka, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, MrFlibble, FatherJack.

Game added January 8, 2000. Last modified January 24, 2024.