Review by Stinger31383

Reviewed: 05/27/03 | Updated: 05/27/03

Plasma and Mega Missiles... Mmm...

When looking back at the history of PC gaming, most veterans will probably remember names like Doom, Wolfenstein, and Command and Conquer, names that helped create the PC gaming world into what it is today. The Descent series is one of those titles, mixing in 360 degrees of barf-bagging fun. In 1999, Interplay threw in the 3rd edition into the fray, and with little or no disappointment.

Graphics: 9/10
For its time, D3 had incredible graphics, and even by today's standards they show some pleasurable eye candy. From the color and shadowing of the planet surface to even the beautiful camoflaging of the mechs trying to kill you, you'll have no problem enjoying what you see right in front of you.

Control: 9/10
Another great section of the game is the very easily modifiable controls. You can change practically any button and option to your choosing, and can add in a joystick or mouse. The HARD part is actually getting full control over your craft, but the game is made so that you can make your controls into whatever is best suited for you.

Music: 7/10
Game suffers a bit here in my opinion. The music is... well... funky. It's good atmospheric music, but when you try to listen to it you wonder how anyone could have come up with it and how in the world it exactly mixes with the game. However, it does keep your head in the game as all game music should.

Sound: 10/10
The sounds are a different story. The clanging of metal, the burst of explosives of your Vauss Cannon, the explosion of missiles and exploding crates, even the beeping of your Guide Bot. This is a game where you must keep your ears open to know what's going on behind, above, and below you. The game does an excellent job in this department.

Gameplay: 7/10 (about a 7-8, but I'm going to round down)
This was the other area of small disappointment, and mostly because of the fact that I played the other two Descents and was a huge fan. First off, a couple differences. First big difference is you go outside, which is cool, nice, and a difference that was very much needed from the claustrophobic levels especially experienced in Descent 2. Second, the guide bot is a part of your ship, another nice addition which makes your job just a little easier. Plus if he gets annoying you could just call him back into the ship. Third, and probably the biggest difference, is that you're not just there to blow mines, but instead to do a variety of ''chores'' in order to complete your mission. All three of these I enjoyed immensely about the game and would make the game a 9.5.

But those are the good things mind you. Now for the reason I only gave it a 7. The first thing was that I thought there was a lot of redundancy in the levels, and eventually those same chores became just that: a chore. I was sometimes stuck in a circle trying to figure out what next to do, even with the help of a guide bot. Worse was the fact that some parts of the level seemed to be ''recycled.'' In the previous Descents, you might have only been in a mine, but that mine had really big differences in terms of different rooms. In D3, it felt almost as if the next room was very similar to the first room. The second thing that really bugged me was the weapons. There's some classics like the Plasma Cannon (my personal favorite) and the Fusion Cannon along with some cool new ones, including a Napalm Cannon, a sniper-minded Mass Driver, and the Vauss, a combination of the Vulcan and Guass. However, some of the new weapons don't live up to the ones they replaced. The Helix Cannon, as dominant as it was, should have stayed. The EMP Cannon does little damage and eats up a lot of energy. the Black Shark looks cool for two seconds, but then you realize how practically worthless it is compared to what it replaced, the Earthshaker. Plus the Omega Cannon has been EXTREMELY toned down in terms of power or usefulness. The only other really big thing that brought the game down was the fun factor. I don't know, D3 lacked something that made the other two Descents ''over-the-top.'' I sorta missed the simple ''blow the mine and escape'' point of the game, where you didn't have to worry about what to do next. Eventually, many of the missions turned from being very cool to just really painfully annoying. The final thing I was disappointed in (and this doesn't even really count, but I'll put it in) was the character animations. I loved the Material Defenders cold voice, but then I saw him... a thin guy with a bad haircut and who dressed like a bad version of David Hasselhoff in Night Rider, but with a cool, hard, gruffy voice.

Overall: 8/10
It's difficult to exactly rate the game and the gameplay. There's definitely several pluses, but the minuses bring down certain parts of the game not all. In the end, I gave the game itself an 8, and as I said before, the gameplay between a 7-8.

Again, this is not like the older Descents. However, in terms of a game by itself Descent 3 is a very nice addition to anyone's game collection. If you can find it, go an play.

Warning to anyone new playing online: be prepared to be beaten a lot. The D3 online community is filled with several aces that make the online game extremely difficult for newcomers.


Rating:   4.0 - Great

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