Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Interplay
Price Range: $40-50
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: Yes
System Requirements: P 200, 64 RAM, 3d Video card

Genre: Shooter
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

"Descent" first came out in the early nineties and directly competed against “Doom” for the attention of gamers. There was really no comparison between the two even though they are both “shooter” type games. That is where the similarity ends.

“Descent” set itself apart by placing the player in a small spacecraft and then giving the gamer 360 degrees of freedom to move around in. No longer was a gamer restricted to 2d space. Now, you could explore areas you couldn't even visualize in previous games. The game was part "shooter' and part "flight sim", setting itself apart from all other PC games on the market. It was revolutionary at the time and started a series of titles that continues in the most current release, "Descent 3".

Screenshots from 'Descent 3'. Illustrations copyrighted.

The story line of the “Descent” series revolves around a strange virus that infects machines rather than humans. It infects the deep space mining operations of PTMC who sends you, the Material Defender to rid the mines of the virus by destroying the infected units and blow up the mine itself. The Material Defender is back for his third go round with these crazed mechinoids. He must know 2 Tim 2:4 "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." He just won't give up!

All the action taking place inside was another unique twist in the “Descent” series. The game play took place inside the twists and turns of mine shafts and tunnels drilled into the core of planets. This made the game play extremely challenging as the element of mapping your position became essential to finding your way around. It also created the famous sense of vertigo and motion sickness that is still evident in the game today. Trust me, if you are prone to motion sickness at all (I am) plan to limit your game time because you will get queasy!

“Descent 3” is a rich, full game that is one of my favorites. It has all the elements of a great game, fast action, strategy, puzzles and enough plot to keep you moving to the next level. In “D3” you are also no longer restricted to the confirms of the mineshaft. One of the new twists on the game is the need to fly outside the mines on order to navigate certain areas. The graphics are great and play is smooth if you have a reasonably fast machine. There is no violence against humans as all the game enemies are robots (except the PTMC executive Dravis who you find out set you up to be killed). I love to play this with my force feedback joystick as you feel the rumble from blasting those killer robots! But, I digress.

Players need to be aware that this latest version of “Descent” has steep system requirements and a big learning curve. You will need a Pentium 300 with 64 of RAM and a 3D card to really enjoy the experience. If you have played any of the prior versions you will catch on quick. If not prepare to spend an hour or two learning the ropes. This is the one downfall of the game. The controls take a while to master and involve nearly every key on the keyboard as well as the mouse. Having a joystick helps but I find myself having the keyboard on my lap while I have both hands on the joystick on the desk. Is flying real aircraft this complicated?

Anyway, gamers concerned with game content yet wanting a great game experience can't go wrong with "Descent 3."

Year of Release—1999

Overall, I agree totally with the reviewer's comments. There is one place, though, where a bit of gore does come in. In mars, where you're going into the temple of those monk/priest guys, you have an opportunity to kill them (it removes points and is unnecessarily brutal), and there are bloodstains all over the floor in an area… Anyway, great game. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Nathan Baker, age 17

I'm a Christian level designer. I've won a few awards for my Dr. Moreau series in Descent 2. With so much mire and bloodshed out in the PC game world these days, I see Descent as a bright shining star of excellence. Where other games have sullied themselves in gore, Descent prides itself on avoiding killing living things. In fact, in the Descent world, one of the objectives is to rescue hostages and preserve life. While you do that, you have to destroy a few robots that have gone insane. No other game comes close to the real 3D world that is available to Descent. The only objectional aspects to the game are some of the opening clips of Descent 3 that show a robot killing some mine workers (hence the need for you to do something about it!) Whether you play Descent 1, 2, 2 Vertigo, 3 or 3 Mercenaries, I give it a hearty thumbs up! My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Cameron “Stryker” Fultz, age 36

This is a fun game, especially on a Pentium 2 and up. But I have a small complaint about the above review--isn't the intro and ending a bit violent? I mean, hey, it's not as bad as "Tiberian Sun", but seeing the guy get his head sliced off is slightly violent, I think. Otherwise, if you're a fan of the two previous “Descent” games and have a fast computer, you'll probably enjoy D3. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Kessie, age 18

…as a wife who doesn't particularly enjoy her husband's enjoyment of computer games, I would like it noted that “Descent” is one of the rare games that doesn't annoy, horrify or sicken me with bloodshed and unnecessary language. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Kylie, age 26

Very good gameplay. If not for the guidebot you can get lost finding your way around. The map (tab key) provides limited help. New robots abound in this one and they are quite good A.I. wise. Mission based gameplay in this one as opposed to the “find the reactor and blow it away” scenario of previous Descent releases. The only thing that annoyed me about this game was the fact that in some areas the robots re-spawned continually…in my opinion detracting from being a really good game. Now that Dravis is deceased I wonder what the next release of Descent will be focused on. My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Steve, age 47

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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