Descent 2
Descent 3
Descent 4
Descent 2

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Descent 2 was published in the year 1996. It offered 30 new levels - 24 regular ones and 6 secret levels. The opponents and some of the weapons were new as well.  For the first time, a small guiding-robot (guidebot) accompanied the player. It showed him upon request the next destination, powerups, hostile robots, hostages or the level exit. New was also the afterburner which helped the own ship to get more speed.

While Descent 1 offered only a resolution of 640x480, now 800x600 were possible (with the command -superhires even 1024x768 and 1280x1024). However, also Descent 2 was, as his predecessor, a pure DOS game. Later some patches were issued which optimized the game for Windows 95 as well as some graphic chips (for example by 3dfx).

In comparison to Descent 1, Descent 2 was designed by far more extravagantly. That became already noticeable in the intro film sequence. Audio music titles of bands like "Type-O-Negative" were new as well. They were stored on the Descent 2 CD  and could be played on a normal CD player, too.

However, nothing had changed at the game principle. The task of the player still consisted in combating robots, freeing hostages and, at the end, destroying the main reactor of the mine or a huge robot. In comparison with the predecessor, the levels were clearly more complex. Because of a bug, the final opponents in level 20 and 24 were undefeatable on the difficulty levels “Ace” and “Insane”. This was later fixed by a patch. However, it is very recommendable to have as much as possible earthshaker missiles for the boss of the last level ;-)

Descent 2 does not look up to date on current graphics cards, even at a resolution of 800x600. Furthermore, there are problems, if you want to play it in Windows XP. In order to avoid them, you can use the OpenGL patch D2X-XL. With its help, you can play Descent 2 even at a resolution of 2048x1536 and also in Linux and Mac OS X!

D2X-XL is based on D2X. In comparison to it, it offers a lot of improvements, such as graphical effects (e.g. smoke) and an optimized multiplayer modus. Even Descent1 missions (inclusive the original Descent) can be played with its help.

D2X-XL supports high resolution textures as well. They can be downloaded from the downloads page of D2X-XL. They are incomplete, but they improve the graphics of Descent 2 enormously! In order to activate them, they have to be in the folder “Textures”. That folder has to be copied to the installation directory of Descent 2 (example: c:\games\descent2\Textures). Furthermore, the command “-hires_textures 1” has to be present in the d2x.ini.

Additionally, D2X-XL has got a “nostalgia mode”. If you activate it, the Descent2 menu looks like in former times. To start it, you have to write the command “-nostalgia 1” in the d2x.ini. You can find a precise description of the options that the d2x.ini offers on the “D2X - Switches And Commands” page of D2X-XL.

Another OpenGL patch for Descent 2 is called D2X-Rebirth. It was developed by the DXX Rebirth Project and supports Windows as well as Linux and Mac OS. Quote from its website: “DXX-Rebirth is a Source Port of the Descent and Descent 2 Engines, utilizing OpenGL graphics and effects, advanced Multiplayer and a bunch of improvements, bugfixes and new features... Our Philosophy is to bring these games to the new millenium, keep ‘em alive – reborn. It’s our desire to maintain the original Feeling and Gameplay we all love so much.”

Installation instruction for Descent 2 and D2X-Rebirth:

  1. Install Descent 2 from the CD-ROM (maximum). If the automatic installation causes trouble or the autoplay function of CDs is disabled, you should use the install.exe on the CD-ROM. However, it may be necessary that you click it with your right mouse button and choose the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”!
  2. Don’t set up the sound at the end of the installation!
  3. Copy patch 1.2 into the Descent 2 directory (e.g. c:\games\Descent2). Then execute it.
  4. Copy the files of D2X-Rebirth into the Descent 2 directory.
  5. Start Descent 2 with the d2x-rebirth-gl.exe!

On very fast PCs it may happen that the installation of Descent 2 does not start at all. In this case you should copy all files of the folders CONTROLS and D2DATA from CD into a directory on your hard disk (e.g. c:\games\Descent2). Then extract the DESCENT2.SOW in that directory with Winrar. After that, proceed with item 3 of the above installation instruction!

If you have a sound card of Creative, you have the possibility to use another soundfont in order to receive a better sound quality in Descent. You can find more information about this topic on my Soundfonts page.


Here are the cheat codes for the full version of Descent 2 (see also the tips of!):


all accessoires (without weapons)


invulnerability on / off


destroys the reactor and set you (with all weapons of the level) to the exit


all weapons bounce on walls


warp to other levels


bumping into robots will destroy them


the Guide-Bot shoots to every robot. Enter again to calm him down


another Guide-Bot


all weapons (due to a bug in V1.0 this cheat will give you only the shareware weapons in that version)


homing weapons


all keys


full map


all robots are destroyed (the boss robot when entering one more time and the guide-bot the next time)


only V1.1+: Shields boost


only V1.1+: Robots stop shooting


only V1.1+: the robots kill each other


only V1.2+: very fast shooting


  • even if you play Descent 2 with one of the OpenGL patches, you should update the game to version 1.2! By means of that, it is easier to resist the persistent final opponents!
  • if the guidebot is bugging you, you can tell him to stay away from your ship with the key combination Shift-F4 and key 7!
  • several secret levels can be entered from different regular levels. The entrance to secret level 1 is in mine 3 and 4, to secret level 2 in mine 5 and 8, to 3 in mine 12, to 4 in mine 14, to 5 in mine 17 and 20 and to 6 in mine 21 and 24.
  • the final opponent in level 24 is the most difficult one of the whole Descent series! He is almost only vulnerable on his backside. To beat him, you should fire earthshaker missiles at the wall behind him. The projectiles then find the weak spot of the boss by themselves. Furthermore, a good tactic is to come close to him as near as possible, circle around him and shot then from behind on his weak spot.
  • activate “16x Anisotropic Filter” in the OpenGL options of your graphics card! Adjust the MipMap Bias to a negative value (for example -2 or -3). By doing this, the textures seem to be much sharper!

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Last update on 08/11/15.