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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.


Descent DOS PTMC mission briefing  (game intro sequence).
Descent DOS The registered version supports the 640x480 VESA mode, but only in-game (not in menus) and without the HUD. The text and the firing reticle are not scaled up.
Descent DOS Ordering information splash screen (shareware version).
Descent DOS Finding the reactor of the level...

Promo Images

Descent Screenshot
Descent Screenshot
Descent Other In-game ammo pickup sprite (high resolution)
Descent Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "Inferno" -- Working title
  • "Descent: Destination Saturn" -- Demo version title
  • "Descent 1" -- Informal name

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A stomach turning adventure... Chris Martin (1204) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
A decent flight combat sim, but could've been better. James1 (244) unrated
This is one of my favorites Goteki45 (352) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
Great technology, but lacks atmosphere. Afterburner (496) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
Axes Ashley Pomeroy (233) unrated
A Classic Game You Can't Go Wrong With wossname (209) unrated
A 360 Degree Shooter, that is Innovative, but it is highly repeatative NotTwoQuick (22) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Space Journey of a Lifetime Kayburt (15826) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
Was a good game on an older PC Jeremy Bailey (5) unrated
A game I'm rather indifferent to. Tomer Gabel (4634) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

Critic Reviews

The Retro Spirit Apr 11, 2009 6 out of 6 100
MikroBitti May, 1995 92 out of 100 92 Mar 23, 2012 9 out of 10 90
Score Feb, 1995 90 out of 100 90
CD Player 1996 9 out of 10 90
Computer Games Magazine May 18, 1995 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Joystick (French) Mar, 1995 87 out of 100 87
Power Unlimited Apr, 1995 8.1 out of 10 81
GameSpot May 01, 1996 8 out of 10 80
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Jun, 1995 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80


Topic # Posts Last Post
Early Moby Shenanagins. 9 GAMEBOY COLOR! (2002)
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

Related Web 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,, 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)
Accatone (5314) added Descent (DOS) on Jan 08, 2000
Other platforms contributed by Kabushi (257599), Adam Baratz (1484), lights out party (59568) and Terok Nor (32356)