By John Walker on February 12th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.
Yesterday, when I glanced at the new releases on Steam and saw “Descent” I thought, “Huh, someone’s used that name again – well, it has been nineteen years since it came out.” And then I dropped down dead of old age and horror because it’s been nineteen years since Descent came out. I’ve only just recovered from this death, and looked again. No, it’s actually Descent. It’s somehow appeared on Steam. Descent!
This is just Descent, in its original form, running through Dosbox. There’s no updating here at all, to the point where controller inputs include a Gravis Gamepad. At least I didn’t have to change my IRQ settings before loading, I guess. But fiddle with the keyboard and mouse controls, and you can get something damned close to comfortable. (Although I would desperately love to up mouse sensitivity, despite my probably having originally played this game keyboard only – a skill long since lost.)
And it’s Descent! And therefore it’s utterly splendid. Six-axis flying through corridors inside planets, enemies attacking you from above, below, in front behind and either side, as you spin around, flipping and rolling, hunting down secret areas, and rescuing hostages. Descent!
Tomorrow will be Descent’s 19th birthday, and it’s currently £2.50 on Steam. Of course, saying all this, it’s been on GOG for ages, where you can pick it up alongside Descent 2 for $10. Quite why whoever owns it post Parallax/Interplay has suddenly put it on Valve’s service I have no idea. But still, Descent!