Descent player


There are many modern compatibility conversions of old classic games. They often require the original data files but have a re-engineered game engine written for modern compilers and graphics engines. Many are brilliant, but most of the interest in playing them comes from nostalgia and revisiting a misspent youth. Very few can live up to modern playability standards, but Descent and its immediate sequel, Descent 2, are possible exceptions. Originally released in 1995 and 1996 for the PC and original PlayStation, both games were the first to realize the potential in giving the player "six degrees of freedom." Doom, which had revolutionized the first-person shooter, offered four or five degrees of freedom: movement left and right (1), movement forwards and backwards (2), movement up and down (3), and rotation (4). You could jump and look up or down, which was a fifth degree of freedom, though limited by gravity pulling the player back to earth.

The Descent games solved this limitation by making the player a spaceship in zero-gravity tubes. This meant you could freely point in any direction and rotate around the forward axis, creating a sixth degree of freedom. Add this to the freshly invented dual-axis PlayStation controller for analog control of the principle axes, and you had a game with an unprecedented level of immersion and challenge. The levels had you flying through tubes in underground bases and space stations, often using many axes at once to stalk your prey, save captives, and blow up the base. Despite more modern sequels, including Overload from some of the original Descent developers, the Descent experience is still difficult to beat. Which is why in this case the D2X-XL compatibility conversion, along with modern graphics and mod support, is more than your average nostalgia trip. It ups the graphics ante, adds better controller support, and even insane multiplayer support.

Project Website

There are two popular Descent clones, but we've found D2X-XL builds and works best on Linux.

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