One game I really liked playing as a kid was Descent. Descent
was a first person shooter/flight simulator hybrid released in 1995 by Parallax Software. The plot was fairly simple to follow. In the game you played a mercenary, hired by the Post Terran Mining Operation to kill off all of the Robots in their mine which were infected by a virus that made them rebel. Called the "Material Defender," you were go into the mine while picking up various weapons and shields and the like, kill each robot encountered until at last you reached the generator, which was also bent on killing you. Then at last, the whole mine was destroyed while you escaped the carnage through a conveniently placed exit.
The reason we got the game in the first place was because Dad was in the mood to shoot and kill things on a computer. He got the Wolfenstein 3D demo disk and loved the game. We all loved the game. I played it even though it made me dizzy (a problem that's kept me from playing fps even to this day). But that guy's face in the bottom of the page was so funny. Besides, what's better than killing Nazis? However, my mother was horrified. Look at all that blood! Look at all that violence! So, father was forced to find other means to quell his hunter/warrior instinct.
Then entered Descent. I remember the day we got it too. We were at a shop that sold computer stuff, and there were several games in a bin. One of those games was encased in an attractive dual-colored box, which had a shine to it, stamped with a blue sphere in the center that was covered in lighting. It was all very inspiring and dramatic. The best part about it was the title, which was typeset in big, bold, white font a cross the top.
It made one wonder, descend into what, into where? What would we find once we descended? What mysteries would be discovered? Was it into a hole? Into a deep cavern?
Dad read the description in the back of the game and discovered that it was all about hunting robots. Mom approved! So off it went home to be installed. It ran on DOS. Yes, it's that old. While all the kids watched (back then my younger brother was about eight. I'm sure it changed his life forever), dad broke it in and played the first level. It must have been funny to observe as we all tilted our head forward and back, mirroring the ship's moments as he navigated it through the 3D environment.
From then on, it ended up being a family staple. I played it for hours; dad played it for hours. Sometimes the little brother would play for hours too, after he got tired of just watching. Even my sister, who didn't play it, would watch. Soon, all the robots had pet names: the roach, the scrapper, the Red Kahuna, the Big Kahuna, the Kahuna King- lots of Kahunas.
Besides the nostalgia, the game itself was excellent. The environments were clean, but not too bad for their time and the maps were large and expansive without being confusing. It was easy for me to get lost, but I've gotten lost in every game I've every played, so it almost doesn't count. The upgrades and challenges were layered on well. The game didn't allow you to rest on your laurels, but neither did it rush you.
I also liked how the levels were set in different planets or moons. I believe the first level was in our moon, with the second level being in Mars and so on. Since I would never travel to those locations, being there in a game and exploring them from within sparked my imagination.
The music was also pretty cool. I consider it my introduction to aggressive electronic music.
Descent II was also fun with a cute guide bot to help you out and lead the way, but overall, I've always preferred the first one.
This is a video of someone playing the first level of the first game. Watching it now, I can't believe I forgot that part of it involved rescuing captives.
What a great game from a by-gone era. It's rather underrated nowadays, almost forgotten. Despite it's rather obscure state, it stands as one of the best classic games from when the PC was gaming king.