Michael E. Ryan
EDITOR'S RATINGS: * Poor ** Fair *** Good **** Excellent
Interplay Productions; 714-553-6655; http://www.interplay.com.
****, CD, DOS, Windows 95, Price $50.00
Last year, Interplay Productions' Descent wowed gamers with its 360-degree, 3-D action. In fact, we were so impressed, we gave the game an award for technical excellence for its outstanding graphics engine. Although Descent II does little to advance the state of the art in gaming, it certainly offers more of a good thing.
In case you're actually interested in the story, it boils down to this: The evil, nasty robots that you thought you vanquished in the original game are back in a big way. So your mission has been extended so you can eliminate the rest of these annoying automatons by infiltrating their mines on six different worlds (funny how the robots never seem to run out of mines to hide in, huh?).
With this charter in hand, you take off to each mine and proceed to dust off as many robots as you can find. Descent II includes 30 new levels and 30 new robots. The robots in the original were less frightening than your average rhombus, but the Descent II bad guys are more sinister-looking and far more dangerous. Some even steal your weapons and energy, but it was the four-clawed, chomping robot that terrorized us the most.
The game also includes ten new weapons and a wealth of new features and options, including a Guide-Bot. This friendly little fellow helps you find your way through each mine. You'll come to thank this 'Bot, because the automap is just as confusing as it was in the original game.
Descent II runs in several resolutions, ranging from 320-by-200 to 800-by-600. You'll need some heavy-duty hardware, however, to run the game at the highest setting. Although the game is designed to take advantage of the Diamond Edge 3D accelerator, we found the 800-by-600 mode sluggish even on a Pentium/ 100 equipped with that card. It took a Pentium/166 (with a 2-D video card) to run the game well in 800-by-600 mode.
We experimented with several controllers while testing Descent II, but found the combination of the venerable CH FlightStick Pro and the new CH Pro Throttle ($189.95, CH Products, 619-598-2518) unbeatable. Except when we ran into the Boss Robots, that is, which were maddeningly difficult to destroy.
Copyright (c) 1997 Ziff-Davis Inc.