Ahhh…The memories of playing Descent late at night when everyone was asleep. The fast passed action that made the Descent 2 so popular was making my fingers itch for Descent 3. On the first day that Descent 3 came out I ripped off the plastic wrap and threw CD it into my machine. My expectations were practically blown away. The game was ten times better then I imagined. From the opening cut scene I knew this game was a winner.
Descent 3 continues on the story of you as the material defender from Descent 2. You find out why the robots were so crazy from the last one, but there is a twist in the story. The story is so well developed that it really puts you in the character. The story also sends you to some of the most interesting places. For example, on one mission you have to fly into Tokyo. The city is made so well with streets lights sign and banners on the walls. Another mission has you inside your base where you have to defend 5 different reactors for five minutes while hundreds of bots spill into the base.
Which also brings me to the point of the AI. These bots are simply human. The smaller bots duck and shoot and use everything they can to get a hit in without getting hit. And if they get beaten up to much, they turn and run. First time I saw a small bot run, I laughed and went about my business not realizing that the little bot was calling reinforcements! My jaw dropped as I say the same bot bring in 3 larger bots to take me out. All the bots have a different AI, varying from one another. There is a Police Bot (tubs) who comes speedily at you and pummels you with punches forcing you to back away. While another lures you around corners only to burn you to a crisp with napalm blasts. But when you really shred these guys, they put on a fine fireworks show.
After hitting a robot with a few laser-shots you can see his whole body convulse and twitch while electrical sparks spring off of it. Then as soon as he hits a wall, you are greeted with an explosion that really looks like burning rubble and lights up your monitor. The smoke effects were also amazing. When pieces flew off a bot they left a realistic looking smoke trail that slowly dispersed.
A big change from the last descent is the addition of the outdoor environments. The dynamic fighting that goes on outside is so adrenaline pumped coupled with the terrain, made me stare in awe the first time I flew outside. And the environments are so large that they really dwarf your ship. But eye candy isn’t the only place this game shines in.
Sound is taken to another level by this game. All the weapons sound beefy and have a pounding kick back. When you blew something up, you felt it rock your chest cavity. The lasers have a nice ping when they bounce off of metal or a force field. This game is simply amazing with 4 point surround sound. I am still amazed with the experience that I am given from hearing a missile blow behind my head. Sometimes the silence is more tense then a heated fight. When the only sound that surrounds you is a low drown hum. The music is mostly weird techno and changes according area you are in, but the music always seems to fit the situation.
Multiplayer is played via PXO (Parallax Online), which is a free online gaming service for Outrage and Volition games. Multiplier gaming is fast and furious. Outrage Entertainment has made some interesting game mods, which include Capture the Flag, Deathmatch and Monsterball. Which is like soccer with a huge ball. Monsterball is my personal favorite. The only draw back was that my 56K modem just wasn’t fast enough from keeping lag from occurring now and then. This doesn’t mean that if you have a 56K modem you will get the same results as me. It really depends on how good your phone lines are and how fast your internet service provider is.
Control was difficult to get the hang of using the keyboard and mouse, but it only is a matter of time before you get really proficient using them. Yet with a joystick that can twist on it’s z axis, you can really cuts down the learning curve. My sidewinder does wonders for this game.
I played Decent on my 233 MHz K6 computer with Voodoo3 2000 (Whoo hoo) at 800x600, and I ran Descent at a great speed of 40 fps on average. Vary rarely did I experience slowdowns. Of course I had to cut back on some of the options to make sure I got a steady framerate. On my friends Pentium III 500 this game looked absolutely gorgeous. I have to say this game looks great on glide. It supports Glide, OpenGL, and Direct 3D. The box says that the minimum requirements for the game are 200 MHz. So if you have a 200 MHz class Pentium make sure that you have a fast 3D accelerator to make sure you have a good gaming experience.
The bottom line is that, Descent 3 is one of the best action games on the market. If you have a 3dfx card and really want to see what it is capable of while having the time of your life. Then make sure to have this one game in your collection. This game will suck you in so far that you’ll find yourself stretching you neck around you monitor to get a better look around the corner. Descent 3 is a winner.
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