============================================================================== Descent FAQ v0.9 Written by MangoMan ( Dave Cousineau ) Email: email@example.com Feel free to email with questions you have about the game. ============================================================================== None of this content is simply regurgitated information from the game. This information is directly the result of my experience playing Descent, and like all my FAQ's, I try to give readers information they can't get anywhere else. ============ Why the FAQ? ============ Descent is one of my favorite games of all time. I first played way back when it was released via shareware. I was running it on a 486 and it was running in 320x200 and I got slide-show FPS when the action got intense. Since then Ive played through the full-version countless times, level by level, (on a much much nicer computer 8) ======================================================================== You still play this? Doesn't the 320x200 graphics suck too much to play? ======================================================================== Yes actually. If you try playing the original version in DOS mode on a P4 1.6GHz, you will discover the game is almost unplayable because it runs so fast. Instead, you can download and use Descent 1X. The best place to find it is probably www.planetdescent.com. You will be able to play at up to 1024x768. ======================== What the heck is an L4Q? ======================== An L4Q is the damage potential of one single level 4 laser fired from your ship. I use this basic attack to calculate a lot of the information in this faq. I eventualy shortened 'level 4 quad laser' down to simply 'L4Q'. For instance a Class 1 Drone takes 2 hits from level 4 quad laser. Hence, he has 2 L4Q's of armor, whereas a Super Hulk has 26. ============================================================================== Your FAQ says a Mega Missle does 28 L4Q's of damage, but if I hit the Level 7 Boss with 5 of them he only gets hit 128, which is 25.6 L4Q's per missle. Why? ============================================================================== I really have no idea. It's not just a rounding error. He seems to have some kind of damage resistance. It's possible that since his size is so large, missiles don't detonate close enough to his core to damage him fully. 10 homing missile's should inflict around 50 L4Q's minus a little for rounding error's, but they only damage him 7 L4Q's! Whatever the reason, bosses seem to have resistance to missile attacks. In the case of a Purple Hulk, he dies from 7 homers, which makes sense. He has 31 L4Q's of life. 6 homers is roughly 30 L4Q's of damage, so he takes 7. There is also a small problem I noticed. Since bosses don't die right away, but do their 'death roll' thing, I can't tell exactly how many hit's they take. Normal robots won't get hit by more shots than it takes to kill them, and you can tell by the little explosion animations, but with bosses, they can still be shot after they're dead. ============ Ways to Play ============ Like many games there are different ways you can play Descent. What I mean is before you start a game, set some rules for yourself. Most of these work for all kinds of games and can make some of your favorites way way better. ---------- Save/Load: ---------- Using saving and loading effectively you can pretty much make it through most situations without taking any damage. This is the only way I have beat the game on Insane (so far). Unfortunately this is the way most people will play through the game. Although most people probly don't go overboard with it, to take this style to the extreme, save apx. every 5-10 secs, and as soon as you take a bad hit reload. (If your not careful you can easily end up in hopeless situations so be careful). If you could watch your progress in one smooth transition, you would appear to be unhittable. ------- Ironman ------- No saving. Period. The only thing you use the save feature for is so that you can turn your game off and come back later. If you dont make it to the exit, for _whatever_ reason, you lose a man and all of your equipment. This makes the game WAY more interesting. Free men and points will become very important. ------------- Ironman Elite ------------- You die: game over. Basically make it as far as you can on one life. You can get into some pretty hectic situations, but the point is that if you can make it out of those situations alive, its an amazing experience. ------------ Semi-Ironman ------------ This is my favorite style. It's very similar to how the game DOOM worked. Always make a save at the start of each new level and strive to do the level without dying. If you die you reload and get to start at the beginning of the level again. You could also give yourself a 'save-spot' before the two bosses though, otherwise you might never complete those levels. An alternate (and less frustrating) way of doing this is to have 'save-points' at each key, or at certain keys. ======== Weapons: ======== Here I have done some calculations that show various information for each kind of weapon. I have strived to make this as accurate as possible but i still might make a mistake somewhere. Feel free to go over it if you feel it's not correct. I do my tests as many times as I need to to make sure I am confident with a given value. Note that calculations for Fusion and Missiles would be far more inacurrate, since they do so much damage. So to calculate them properly I have hit an enemy once with the weapon, and then counted how many more level 4 laser strikes remained in the robot's HP. Then calculated damage based on the damage of a level 4 laser. Note also that I do not take into account the benefits of splash damage, or Fusion's ability to pass through targets, or Fusion's disruption effect (enemies that are really close together take extreme damage), or the fact it can be charged. Lastly, note that there will always be minor rounding errors. These are NOT exact numbers, but they are enough to weigh the relative effectiveness of various weapons and how they will do vs an opponent. Past these descriptions, there is a chart of all this information where it is much easier to compare the information. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Laser: L1 L2 L3 L4 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Potential Damage Per Energy Point: 121.20 133.32 142.84 153.84 Shots Per Second: 3.86 3.86 3.86 3.86 Potential Damage Per Second: 233.92 257.31 275.68 296.91 Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 60.60 66.66 71.42 76.92 Comes in four levels that do increasing damage. This is your standard weapon. Any other weapon is better than single laser. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Quad: L1Q L2Q L3Q L4Q ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Potential Damage Per Energy Point: 242.40 266.64 285.68 307.68 Shots Per Second: 3.86 3.86 3.86 3.86 Potential Damage Per Second: 467.83 514.62 551.36 593.82 Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 121.20 133.32 142.84 153.84 Once you get this you will fire four lasers per shot instead of two. I've read somewhere claiming that quad only increases damage by 50% (instead of 100% or double). This is completely incorrect (in Descent I anyway), and I know since I've tested it. Whether or not you have Quad it takes 26 level 4 laser hits to kill a Super Hulk. The effect of Quad is simple. You are firing twice as many projectiles as before, but they are the same projectiles, each with the same damage potential. Also it does not increase energy consumption, meaning you get 2x the lasers for the same energy. (All energy weapons except fusion take 0.5 energy per shot.) Level 4 Quad Laser is not only the most efficient weapon, doing more damage for less energy, but also the fastest damaging, doing more damage per second than any other weapon. The exeptions to this are rapid firing smart or mega missiles, and hitting multiple targets with fusion. ------------------ Spreadfire Cannon: ------------------ Potential Damage Per Energy Point: 181.80 Shots Per Second: 4.80 Potential Damage Per Second: 436.32 Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 90.90 Very effective at close range, but rather costly in terms of energy. I dont mean it uses any more energy per shot, but it fires much more rapidly, thus consuming energy faster, and unless you are at close range you are probably not connecting with the whole shot. It's efficiency and damage per second is always better than single laser, but always worse than quad. The one way its better than quad, is that at close range, its much easier to hit with the full shot than it is with Quad. Don't use this weapon at long range. ------- Vulcan: ------- Potential Damage Per Ammo Point: 0.95 Shots Per Second: 250.00 Potential Damage Per Second: 237.50 Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 0.95 Rapid-fire low damage weapon. This weapon's main advantage is that it 'stuns' the enemy as long as you fire it at him. That, and it doesn't use any energy. ------- Plasma: ------- Potential Damage Per Energy Point: 133.32 Shots Per Second: 7.30 Potential Damage Per Second: 419.96 Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 66.66 Terrible efficiency, and terrible damage. The best features of this weapon are the super high fire-rate, and large-sized projectiles. This weapon is MUCH more usefull in mutiplayer. ------- Fusion: ------- Potential Damage Per Energy Point: 192.30 (per enemy) Shots Per Second: 0.975 Potential Damage Per Second: 374.99 (per enemy) Potential Damage Per Full Shot: 384.60 (per enemy) Enormous damage per shot! Each purple blob inflicts more damage than a full shot of level 4 quad. On top of that, they travel through enemies to hit the ones behind/beside them. Also, enemies that are close together or touching will tend to get hit way more for some reason. You can kill two or more Super Hulk's with one regular blast if they are close enough together. For each robot your shot hits, you are increasing damage by at least another 100%. While the Potential Damage Per Energy Point is 192.30, it is really much more higher than that when you are connecting with lots of robots. This also does not include charging, which can seriously increase damage potential. ====== Chart: ====== -------------------------- Hits to Kill a Super Hulk: -------------------------- This is the number of direct hits it takes to kill a Super Hulk. This number is the basis of my calculations, and is a fairly accurate way of gauging the relative attack power of the weapon. By nature these are rounded up to the nearest whole number, unfortunately. (If I really wanted I could have used flare shots. This would have been almost completely accurate, but also nearly impossible to perform. A Class 1 Drone takes 26 flares to kill. A Class 1 Drone that has been hit by 1 L4Q takes 13 flares to kill. Therefore 1 L4Q = 13 Flares. This means the Level 7 Boss takes over 2000 Flare hits) ------- Damage: ------- I don't know exactly how much HP a Super Hulk, or any other robot actually has. So I have to use an arbitrary amount (I started by giving a Super Hulk 1000 hit points) and use that to develop relative statistics for each weapon. This column shows what one projectile of this weapon is worth in damage points. --------------------- Damage Per Full Shot: --------------------- This column shows what the entire set of projectiles is worth. (IE: spread shoots 3 globules of energy per shot, the previous column shows the value of an individual globule, this column shows the total of all three) ---------------------------- Energy Consumption Per Shot: ---------------------------- Pretty obvious. Everything is 0.5, except Fusion which is 2.0 and Vulcan/missiles which use ammo. ------------------------------------------- Relative Potential Damage Per Energy Point: ------------------------------------------- This is the first really useful column. This will show you the relative energy efficiency of each weapon. Notice that Plasma has crappy efficiency, and Quad level 4 has awesome. --------------------------------------------------- Energy Consumption Per Second and Shots Per Second: --------------------------------------------------- In order to estimate fire rates, I would fire steady for 30 seconds, (timed on a watch), and see what change had occured in my energy total. Then I can easily calculate average energy consumption per second and from that, average shots per second. (These tests were done many times, and I made sure the time was correct to the second.) ------------------ Damage Per Second: ------------------ Once we know Damage Per Full Shot, and Shots Per Second, we can easily calculate the second really useful column, Damage Per Second. This shows how much damage is flying from your ship per second if you fire continuously, even for missiles. In the case of Fusion, this shows how much damage is flying from your ship if you fire as rapidly as you can. ============================================================================== Direct Hits to Kill Damage (per single a Super Hulk projectile) assuming Name (1 projectile) a Super Hulk has 1000hp Damage per full shot ============================================================================== Laser 1 33 30.30 60.60 Laser 2 30 33.33 66.66 Laser 3 28 35.71 71.42 Laser 4 26 38.46 76.92 Spreadfire 33 30.30 90.90 Laser 1Q 33 30.30 121.20 Laser 2Q 30 33.33 133.32 Laser 3Q 28 35.71 142.84 Laser 4Q 26 38.46 153.84 Vulcan ~1050 0.95 0.95 Plasma 30 33.33 66.66 Below: Damage In L4Q Equiv. Fusion 5 192.30(per enemy) 384.60(per enemy) Concussion Msl 4 153.84 153.84 Homing Missile 5 192.30 192.30 Proximity Mine 5 192.30 192.30 Smart Missile 20 769.20 769.20 Explosion 3 115.38 115.38 Globules(each) 2.83 108.84 653.04 Mega Missile 28 1076.88 1076.88 ============================================================================== Name Energy/Ammo Relative Energy/Ammo Consumption Potential Damage Per Consumption Per shot Energy/Ammo Point Per Second ============================================================================== Laser 1 0.50 121.20 1.93 Laser 2 0.50 133.32 1.93 Laser 3 0.50 142.84 1.93 Laser 4 0.50 153.84 1.93 Spreadfire 0.50 181.80 2.40 Laser 1Q 0.50 242.40 1.93 Laser 2Q 0.50 266.64 1.93 Laser 3Q 0.50 285.68 1.93 Laser 4Q 0.50 307.68 1.93 Vulcan 1.00 0.95 250.00 Plasma 0.50 133.32 3.15 Fusion 2.00 192.30(per enemy) 1.95 Concussion Msl 1.00 153.84 2.00 Homing Missile 1.00 192.30 2.00 Proximity Mine 1.00 192.30 N/A Smart Missile 1.00 769.20 2.00 Mega Missile 1.00 1076.88 2.00 =========================================================================== Name Full Shots Per second Relative Potential Damage Per Second =========================================================================== Laser 1 3.86 233.92 Laser 2 3.86 257.31 Laser 3 3.86 275.68 Laser 4 3.86 296.91 Spreadfire 4.80 436.32 Laser 1Q 3.86 467.83 Laser 2Q 3.86 514.62 Laser 3Q 3.86 551.36 Laser 4Q 3.86 593.82 Vulcan 250.00 237.50 Plasma 6.30 419.96 Fusion 0.975 374.99(per enemy) Concussion Msl 2.00 307.68 Homing Missile 2.00 384.60 Proximity Mine N/A N/A Smart Missile 2.00 1538.40 Mega Missile 2.00 2153.76 ======== Enemies: ======== Normal AI Type: There are a few different AI types. While any specific robot can be reprogrammed with any AI type, here I list the most common, often the only, AI types this robot may have. --------- AI Types: --------- Aggressive: Standard AI. When the robot sees you it engages. When it loses sight of you it immediately disengages, regardless of how far away you are. While without a target the robot may randomly patrol any mine/room/corridor that it can access. While it can't open doors it can pass through them if you open them. If it hears you in the distance it may start patroling. When patroling the robot will attempt to take you by surprise by bursting around corners. A lot of the time Ive seen robots do this when I wasn't even there. Sniper: When in sniper mode a robot will normally never move. The only time it will ever move at all is to avoid being hit by incoming fire, and sometimes to get in range. Other than that all it will ever do is remain in its current position looking for targets, firing upon them (you) when you are in range. If they see you and you are out of range they will slowly advance in your direction to get in range. Cunning: Wow. This is the most impressive AI I have ever seen in any game. The main two robots that are cunning are the Medium and Super Hulks, although Super Hulks are more often in Sniper mode. Medium Hulks are almost always in this mode. Their AI patern is actually hard to explain, because theres a lot of randomness. It basically goes like this. As soon as you enter the same room as them, they know you're there. Somehow they can see you. They will remain out of sight for as long as they have to. They will follow behind your ship, out of sight, without even the smallest noise, for as long as they have to. If they are around a corner and you peer around to see if they are there, and you WOULD have seen them, you won't, because they are ducking out of sight. (I know this because sometimes they arent as fast or sneaky as they think they are, and you can see a small piece of their hull.) Once they feel they are in good position and you are vulnerable, they attack. Obvisously there are many variables, and you can never tell exactly what the robot is going to do. If you play this game long enough, the time will come when you will be outsmarted by one of these robots, and while frustrating, it's a great feeling to be beaten by a computer. Mine Layer: Runs around erratically, laying mines as it goes. Once it sees you it flees, laying mines. Often idle if you are not in the vicinity. Threat: How deadly an opponent this is. (Low, Moderate, High, Extreme) This may differ from what the game describes. Armor: The armor rating of the robot. The number in brackets is the number of level 4 laser hits it takes to kill the robot, which is an accurate way to gauge the armor of the robot. IE: a Class 1 Drone has an armor rating of (2), since it takes 2 level 4 (green) laser hits to kill. Hit Points: I decided to put a HP value so that you can compare it to the weapon damages listed above. This makes the values have much more meaning. For instance, the Uber Hulk has 6000HP. L4Q laser does 153.84 damage per full shot. 6000 / 153.84 = 39.00156..., which is more or less correct since he takes about 39 full shots of L4Q laser. (Hit points is simply Armor * 38.46, rounded up to the nearest whole number) Weapon: The weapon that this robot fires. Weapon Speed: The speed of the projectiles this robot fires. Damage: The relative danger of one projectile from this enemy. In brackets is how much damage one shot from this enemy will do on Ace difficulty, which is an accurate way to gauge the damage potential of the robot. Fire Rate: The relative rate of fire of the robot. All robots fire in volleys. In brackets is the size of volley this robot dishes out. ( 3 = 3 shots fired per volley ) (Note that robots will only use their full volley at medium to close range, and will only fire occasionally at a distance.) Potential Damage Per Volley: (Damage * Fire Rate) If you get hit by one complete volley of shots from this enemy you will take this much damage. Another way of putting it is, with each volley, there is this much potential damage flying at you. (All information is based on the Ace difficulty setting) -------------- Class 1 Drone: -------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Low Armor: (2) Low HP: 77 Weapon: Pulse Cannon Damage: (7) Moderate Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 21 How to kill: Quad laser works best on these guys, but any weapon will do, since they are the easiest enemy to kill. How to survive: Just keep moving. They are actually quite deadly with their weapons, especially since they tend to come in large numbers. If these guys had more armor I could definitly see them being a moderate threat. Behaviour: Once they detect you they charge and fire. They are fairly aggressive compared to some other bots. -------------- Class 2 Drone: -------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Low Armor: (3) Low HP: 116 Weapon: Blue Laser Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 12 How to kill: More armor but less attack than the Class 1 Drone. They are also less maneuverable. No matter what weapon you choose, you will kill them effortlessly. How to survive: Easy, there is not a lower threat enemy you will encounter. Behaviour: Once they detect you they charge and fire. Once they lose sight of you they disengage. -------------- Medium Lifter: -------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Moderate Armor: (7) Moderate HP: 270 Weapon: Slicers (Melee) Damage: N/A Fire Rate: N/A Damage Per Volley: N/A How to kill: The best weapon against these guys (other than fusion) is spread. Even Level 4 quad laser is not very effective, since they are so good at avoiding your shots. Spread can do a ton of damage at close range, and these guys have no choice but to get close. How to survive: Do not bump into them, and do not let them get behind you. They will tear your pyro into pieces. Definitely use spread. Behaviour: They want to get behind you and they are very good at avoiding your shots. They will wait behind corners until you pass and then creep up on you from behind. Fortunately they are quite noisy. ------------------- Small (Green) Hulk: ------------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Low Armor: (6) Moderate HP: 230 Weapon: Green Laser Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 12 How to kill: Same attack as a Class 2 Drone and even slower, but double armor. They don't move much, but can be rather good at avoiding your shots. Laser and spread work the best (besides fusion). How to survive: No problem. The only difference between these and a Class 2 drone is their heavy armor. Behaviour: They are extremely silent, but i dont often notice them to be very smart. They tend to behave like Drones, attacking if they see you and disengaging when they lose sight of you. ------------ Medium Hulk: ------------ Normal AI Type: Cunning Threat: High Armor: (8) Moderate HP: 308 Weapon: Concussion Missile Wpn. Speed: Slow Damage: (25) Extreme Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 75 How to kill: Use quad laser if you have good line of sight. Two homers will kill one easy. The best way is to kill them before they see you. Fighting them in tight spaces is never easy. Hitting him with a full fusion shot will kill him. How to Survive: Very dangerous enemies. Their missiles can blow you to smithereens, even if they miss you. Splash damage is very dangerous, you do not want his missiles to explode any where near your ship. Get away from their detonation point as fast as you can. Behaviour: Extremely cunning. These guys will hear you battling other robots and sneak towards the action. They wont immediately engage but will wait for the right moment. Either you'll turn the first corner and meet them face to face, or theyll dive into the room launching missiles. Often if they are vulnerable they will run for cover, if they can. I have never seen such a crafty enemy AI in any game. I have actually methodically searched a set of connected rooms, thinking I had missed one of these guys, but didn't see him anywhere, so I thought he must have died. The whole time he was tailing me silently and opened fire just as I was ready to leave the room. I think i still got him, but took some heavy damage since he caught me off guard. Another time, two of them teamed up together and charged me in formation, firing concussions the whole way. I retreated out the door I just entered, and had to duck down the tunnel to avoid their missiles. When I returned, I found that they had silently followed me into this part of the mine. ---------------- Class 1 Driller: ---------------- Normal AI Types: Aggressive/Sniper Threat: Extreme Armor: (4) Low HP: 154 Weapon: Vulcan Cannon Wpn. Speed: Extreme (nigh instant) Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (13) Extreme Potential Damage Per Volley: 52 How to kill: Fortunately they have low armor, and you can take them out with one well placed homer. One concussion missle works too, but thats not so easily done. Since they usually hide behind corners, fire around the corner when you know they are there. If at all possible do not engage face-to-face. How to survive: You do not want one of these to see you before you see it. They dont quite have the same damage per volley as a Medium Hulk, but unlike the Med. Hulk's slow concussion missile, these guys are firing Vulcan at you with near perfect accuracy. You cannot dodge these shots. If one sees you, kill it as fast as you can, or run your ass off. Behaviour: Extremely aggressive. As soon as they see you and are in range they will pummel you with endless extremely accurate vulcan fire. This is the most bloodthirsty of all the robots. They are also VERY unpredictable. Sometimes if they hear you coming, they will scramble down the mineshaft looking for you, and pop out of some tunnel, screaming and immediately tearing you down with their vulcan. If they smell your blood, they will come for you. -------------------------- 'Spider' Processing Robot: -------------------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Moderate Armor: (9) Moderate HP: 347 Weapon: Pulse Cannon Wpn. Speed: Moderate Damage: (12) High Fire Rate: (4) Moderate Potential Damage Per Volley: 48 How to kill: Despite their high armor, and high attack power, they are fairly easy to kill. I think because they barely move, and there arent very many of them. How to survive: Just don't get hit by it's pulse cannon, and be careful of its spawn when you kill it. Notice that while it shoots the same energy balls as the Class 1 Drone, it shoots 33% more of them and they hurt 70% more, making it's volleys 128% more deadly. Behaviour: Unlike other robots you wont usually fight more than one of these at once. They are also fairly big and clumsy. (who would design a robot that is a flying spider?) The spider bot is really nothing special, except for the fact that it spawns spiderlings when you kill it. ------------- Small Spider: ------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Low (Moderate in groups) Armor: (2) Low HP: 77 Weapon: Red Laser Wpn. Speed: Moderate Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 12 How to kill: Shoot it. Its small and fast, but what ever you hit it with will kill it. Your best bet is to continue firing at a Spider even after you've killed it. How to survive: Beware when you kill a Spider Bot. As long as you are ready for them they shouldn't be too dangerous. Behaviour: They will tend to flock around you shooting you with their weak laser. Swat them down with weapons of your own. ----------- Super Hulk: ----------- Normal AI Type: Sniper/Cunning Threat: Extreme Armor: (26) Extreme HP: 1000 Weapon: Homing Missile Wpn. Speed: Slow Damage: (25) Extreme Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 75 How to Kill: Stay far away, preferably around a corner. It takes 6 direct homing missile hits to kill one. It's best to know combinations of weapons that will kill one. These include: 6 direct-hit homers, 1 direct-hit smart missile + 1 fusion blast, or 1 mega missile. If the hulk is near lava, definitely use that to your advantage, if you can. Also, remember that having a cloak will make you impossible to lock on to, and that their missiles will lose their homing capability. You can pound them when cloaked but remember to change position each time you fire a volley, because they will target your last known position. If you are cloaked the best thing to do is blast him with 1 fusion blast, and 1 smart missile simultaneously at point blank range (try to make sure your behind him). How to survive: The Super Hulk combines the heavy armor and heavy damage of the medium hulk, with the deadly accuracy of the Class 1 Driller. Like the Driller, you cannot fight face-to-face and come out of it uninjured. (Well, you CAN go for the direct assault approach. If you relentlessly pummel him with quad laser strikes, he will be unable to reciprocate) You should stay behind a corner or wall in order for his missiles to hit the wall and not you. Do not feel cowardly, you are simply countering sniping with sniping. Behaviour: These guys arent actually too aggressive. (Don't take that to mean they aren't deadly because they are!) They will tend to snipe at you from their position, hardly ever moving at all. ---------- Uber Hulk: ---------- Normal AI Type: Sniper Threat: Ultimate Armor: (156) Ultimate HP: 6000 Weapon: Smart Missile Damage: (100) Ultimate Missle Hit: 16 Globule: 14 x 6 = 84 Total Damage: 100 Fire Rate: (4) Moderate Potential Damage Per Volley: 400 How to Kill: Actually he's fairly easy alone, it's the Super Hulks and Class 1 Drillers that make this hard. And his insane armor rating. He takes as many hits as 6 Super Hulks. Make sure you use level 4 quad laser on him. NOTE: I have discovered an interesting fact. This boss, (and perhaps the end one too), is resistant to missle weapons. It doesn't seem to effect Vulcan, but homing missiles especially damage him less than 1/7th what they damage other robots. Definitly stick to Level 4 Quad if you can. How to survive: Dodging smarts is easy if you have the room, and the place where you fight this guy is nice and huge. As long as you strafe, you can toast this guy without much difficulty. Avoid spending too much time in the tunnels, the feeling of safety is an illusion, since you will not be able to avoid smart missiles that go off next to you while you're in a tunnel. Behaviour: Can cloak on-demand. Can teleport on-demand. Its a good thing theres only one of these. He will randomly teleport around the mine, firing smart missiles if he sees you. He is completely immobile except for his teleporting. Shooting him will trigger a teleport. ----------------- Secondary Lifter: ----------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Moderate Armor: (6) Moderate HP: 231 Weapon: Red Laser Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (3) Low Potential Damage Per Volley: 12 How to Kill: Not hard, just shoot it down. How to survive: You have to be quick. While annoying, this enemy is not all that dangerous. They do tend to form large groups though so be careful, especially since they try to get behind you. Behaviour: Extremely Agressive. The only thing that makes this enemy worthy is it's high maneuverability and small size. They like to try to get behind you. ---------------- Advanced Lifter: ---------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Moderate Armor: (8) Moderate HP: 308 Weapon: Slicers(Melee) Weapon Speed: N/A Damage: N/A Fire Rate: N/A Damage Per Volley: N/A How to Kill: Not hard but they are fast. And will try to avoid your shots. Spread is good at close range. How to Survive: Pay attention, they are rather quiet unlike the Medium Lifter. You won't even hear your life being drained away. They don't even make that harsh scraping sound like Medium Lifters do. All you will hear when they see you is a humming/whirring sound. Behaviour: Very quiet, very aggressive, very fast. They will scrape the armor right off your ship. Since their 'I see you' sound effect doesnt sound like a 'I see you' sound effect, you don't tend to react to it. Realize that its just as dangerous a sound as hearing a Secondary Lifter's more murdurous scream. ---------------------- Class 1 Heavy Driller: ---------------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: High Armor: (12) High HP: 462 Weapon: Plasma Weapon Speed : Fast Damage: (8) Moderate Fire Rate: (4) Moderate Damage Per Volley: 32 How to Kill: They are fast and have a lot of armor. If you charge Fusion for about one second, you can kill them with one blast. You can also kill one with all the globules from one smart missle, or 1 homer + 1 regular fusion blast, which is the best, especially if you are cloaked. How to Survive: You have to hone your reflexes to react quickly enough. If your used to dodging lasers, you will be moving too slow. Anticipate his volleys and move fast. Behaviour: Basic Aggressive. Once they see you they pulverize you with plasma. ---------- Mini Boss: ---------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive/Sniper Threat: High Armor: (31) High HP: 1193 Weapon: Fusion Damage: (60) Extreme Fire Rate: (2) Low Damage Per Volley: 120 How to Kill: They aren't gonna move much so pelt them from afar using any safe nook or cranny you can find. How to survive: Do NOT get hit by their fusion. It sure woulda been cool (and dangerous) if there was a more maneuverable fusion-firing robot than this. (Un)Fortunately, these guys can hardly move, and even if they could they're too big to fit anywhere. Behaviour: Sniping. Thats it. They'll move a little sometimes, but only like a few feet at a time. ------------- PTMC Defence: ------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Moderate Armor: (6) Moderate HP: 231 Weapon: Green Laser Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (5) High Damage Per Volley: 20 How to Kill: They're fast, but easy to kill. Just another standard laser firing robot. They sound cool though. How to survive: Easy. These guys are no challenge. Behaviour: Nothing special. --------------------- Laser Platform Robot: --------------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive Threat: Low Armor: (6) Moderate HP: 231 Weapon: Blue Laser Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (5) High Damage Per Volley: 20 How to Kill: These are even easier than PTMC Defence robots. Their essentially the same, except these are way less agile. How to survive: Easy. Behaviour: Unagressive, rapid fire, low damage. ----------------------- Missile Platform Robot: ----------------------- Normal AI Type: Aggressive/Sniper Threat: Extreme Armor: (12) High HP: 462 Weapon: Concussion Missile Damage: (25) Extreme Fire Rate: (5) High Damage Per Volley: 125 How to kill: Very quickly. The best way to do it fast is one full Fusion blast and one homer simultaneously. You can also use the globules from one smart missile, or one slightly charged Fusion blast (not recommended). NOTE: Using the Fusion + Homer trick can really save your neck. If you can get good at it you can kill these guys much faster than otherwise. How to survive: This is the deadliest standard robot in the game. Within seconds of bumping into one you will be plastered with missiles. Either kill him fast as above, or kill from afar. Very afar. You will not win at close quaters combat vs this robot. Behaviour: As soon as they see you they will continuously pelt you with missiles until you are dead. You cannot even survive getting hit by two volleys if you had 200 shields, and when you face 3 or more of them, there's a lot more than 2 volleys. Extremely dangerous enemy. Fortunately they are an aggresor, and not cunning. ------------------------ Cloaked Class 1 Driller: ------------------------ Normal AI Type: Sniper Threat: High Armor: (8) Moderate HP: 308 Weapon: Vulcan Cannon Damage: (4) Low Fire Rate: (8) High Damage Per Volley: 32 How to Kill: Find them before they spot you. One fusion blast will kill one. Or two C. Missiles. You won't be able to use homing weapons since they're cloaked, unfortunately. They also have twice the armor of a regular Class 1 Driller. How to survive: Kill them before they see you. If they see you, kill them or get out of their line of sight fast. They won't follow you, not even a measly two inches. Behaviour: Unlike Class 1 Drillers, these guys are snipers. They are totally unaggresive, and almost completely immobile. They will still try to dodge your shots, but thats the extent of their movement. ============================== Single Player Combat Strategy: ============================== ------ Basic: ------ Ok there are only a few types of encounters you can have with enemy robots. I will list them here and discuss what you should try to do in each situation. One-on-one no homing weapons: This is the first kind of battle you will have, and you will have many of them. The key to all combat and especially to this kind of combat, is sliding. (also called strafing) Whatever kind of controls you are using (keyboard, joystick, mouse, etc..) you must make sure you can perform a minimum of all the following maneuvers at will, and on-demand: Pitch/Yaw Left and Right Slide Forward/Reverse Fire Primary Fire Secondary And if you can: Vertical Slide Banking Thats 10-14 keys/buttons. Because it works so well for me I will show you what I use for my controls. I use only the keyboard. Axis 1: Pitch Up: X Pitch Down: S Yaw Left: A Yaw Right: D Axis 2: Left Slide: J Right Slide: L Forward: K Backward: , Fire Primary: Space Fire Secondary: E Lay Bomb: Q Slide Up: Z Slide Down: C Bank Left: M Bank Right: . Basically what I did is create the two standard FPS axes right in the middle of the keyboard. Then you use other keys around the ones you used already, for weapons, bombs, etc... Another way you could do this is just like other FPS games, is use WASD, and then use IJKL for aiming. Or vice-versa. These are just some examples so that maybe you can find somthing that works good for you. A problem you will encounter using a keyboard is the secret keyboard limitation. Certain keys are linked together and if holding down two or three keys, certain other keys will become unusable. The combinations of keys that this happens with varies from keyboard to keyboard as far as i know. (well, at least different models of keyboards) For example, if I hold the 'a' key, a's start to repeat if i remain holding 'a' and press 's', s's start to repeat. The same for 'd', and also for 'f', but if i am holding 'a', 's', 'd', and 'f' the 'g' key, as well as most of the keys on the left side of the keyboard, becomes unusable. Ok now that you can properly slide, you can use it to get out of the way of incoming attacks. Its almost that simple, but there are a few other things you should know too, mostly involving the enemy AI. The main reason this game is soo good, is that the enemies you fight are robots. But since this is a computer simulation, the robots behave, well, like robots. In any other game it would be a bad thing if the enemies behaved like robots (like most if not all games), but here, its fantastic. When one of these robots shoots at you it does so with 100% accuracy. Even at long distances, all robots have 100% accuracy. Not 90%, not 99%, but 100.00% accuracy. This is an important fact. Once you realize that 100% of the incoming attacks will have 100% perfect accuracy, NEVER budging from that 100% rule, you can dodge them with ease. For example, if a Class 1 Drone opens fire, and shoots his volley of 3 glowing orbs, you KNOW they are targeted directly at you, with absolutely no chance of error. If it was a human, the shots could be going anywhere, but because its a perfect robot, with 100% perfect accuracy, you know they are all aimed directly at you. So what do you do? You slide 2 inches to the left, and all the shots miss. The next volley will be perfectly targeted at your new position, so you again slide 2 inches, this time right and all the shots miss again. And the poor perfect robot, since its a robot, cannot do any better. It will continue to fire at you with 100% perfect accuracy, and if your sliding skill is good enough, you can effortlessly dodge them all with ease. I just love this concept. The robots may have amazing aiming skills, but its only BECAUSE of those aiming skills that you can dodge so easily. Once you get good at it you can dodge incoming shots without even seeing them. If you hear shots fired, you know that every single one is aimed exactly at your current location. Change your current location, and they will all miss. Of course, your sliding movement must be perpendicular to the incoming shots, or your movement will have no effect. With a good sound system you should be able to determine the approximate location of the incoming shots, and thus be able to dodge them without seeing them. Now, that kind of dodging works great in a big empty room, but what about narrow corridor's and tunnels? Well you use the knowledge you have so far to trick the robots. Since you know the robots have 100% accuracy, let an incoming volley finish before you begin to slide. Also, do NOT stick around the center of a corridor. What you want to do is leave as much dodging room as you can. For example, stick to the bottom left corner of the tunnel. Let the incoming volley finish firing, then slide to the top right of the corridor for your dodge. The next volley should be fired at your new position, so dodge back to the bottom left. And so forth. The trick is first to leave yourself a lot of room to dodge, second to make sure the robot fires down the side of the mine, leaving a big gap, and lastly to wait for the entire volley to finish before moving, so that ALL the shots are going to the same place. If you were, for example, to dodge from bottom left to top right WHILE the robot was firing his volley, the volley would spread accross the entirety of the tunnel and you would not be able to avoid getting hit, except by retreating. --------- Advanced: --------- What makes a human player better than an AI? What is it that will allow you to defeat an AI opponent? What quality is it that you, a human, have, that the AI does not? Anticipation. This is why using save/load makes the game easier, (and is also basically cheating). But assuming you don't use save/load, and that you restrict yourself (like to one save per level, at the start of each level), anticipation is still your greatest weapon against the robots. This anticipation comes in different forms. In the save/load example, the anticipation is actually your knowledge of the future. Your anticipation of future events prevents them (hopefully) from happening again. The non-cheating form of anticipation is experience, and this comes in two variations. The first is knowing the level. Assuming you play with save/load restrictions, you will probably end up repeating the same level(s) at least a few times. Every time you play through the same level, you learn a little more about it. Once you know it inside and out you have a great advantage. This could also be cheating, since in real-life you get no second-chances, but it is the nature of video games that you repeat them. The second is knowing your enemy. This could be called skill. It's like skill but it's a little different. You can have a lot of skill, but unless you know your enemy, he will defeat you. As you play through levels and encounter the same enemies again and again, you will learn how to counter them effectively. You will learn what works, and what doesn't. Here is an example. Hero #1 is fighting a Class 1 Heavy Driller in a large empty room. Hero #1 knows how to fly, but is inexperienced in combat, especially vs. a dangerous robot like the Class 1 Heavy Driller. He will probably be getting hit by the second volley of plasma before he realizes he should have dodged the first. This is the beginning of his learning process. Depending on how fast he learns, (and his current armament) he may win or lose. Now for Hero #2. Lets say he is fighting the same battle, except with experience. Hero #2 knows that the driller's plasma moves like lightning. He also knows the general time between volleys, and their length. He may get hit by some of the first volley, but he will most likely be able to avoid the rest, as he gets used to the speed, and anticipates them. His skill will enable him to setup an accurate shot while avoiding the incoming plasma. Hero #3, on the other hand, was able to get the drop on the Class 1 Heavy Driller, because he knows the level and knows exactly where the robot is stationed. While out of sight of the robot around a corner, he fires a smart missile (because he knows both how a smart missile works, and that the globules of one smart missile will kill a Class 1 Heavy Driller) and the robot is destroyed, and Hero #3 takes zero damage. Another option for Hero #3 would have been to have fusion and homers selected, and to burst around the corner, firing both at the robot, killing it before it can act. Why is all this important? Hopefully by identifying what makes a good player good, and a really good player really good, you can focus on those points to improve your own skill. ========================================================================== Copyright (c) 2003 Dave Cousineau You may not distribute this document without my express consent.