Mommy, can I go on the Tilt-a-whirl again?
Forget all that you have learned. There is no up or down; things can be all around you. A ceiling from one perspective may be a wall from another. DIRECTION HAS NO MEANING!!! I think I'm going to be sick . . .
MacPlay, one of the biggest publishers of Mac games, has successfully ported Descent II over to the Macintosh. This is only game that boasts a full 360 degree world in which you can fly. The fluid animation and polygonal graphics are definitely a sight to be seen. Unfortunately, the controls still are a hassle in the Mac Version. Being an experienced pilot is one thing, but you truly have to master these controls to even know what direction you are going.
The graphics in Descent II are unmatched by anything else in the gaming world. Descent II creates a realistic 360 degree world through which you have to navigate. While this is a major effect, it also is really disorienting. With no way to tell which way your headed and where anything is, this game boggles the mind. You can get shot at from any direction, pass underneath a tunnel without even seeing it, or get stuck behind a reactor that's about to explode (trust me, I did this). Every graphic in this game is so fluidly done, that you truly have to get used to a completely different world than the one we live. Unfortunately, I was unable to run the opening video. No matter what I did, all I get is a black screen with the sound running in the background. A 75MHz with 32MB of RAM should not have that problem, not one bit.
The music for Descent II is excellent. Nice and heavy, these guitar rifts really get you in the mood to kick some ass. The sounds of the other ships, on the other hand, are nothing to write home about. They're your typical explosion, laser, and engine sounds that you've heard so many times before. The sound serves its purpose and nothing more.
The control is where Descent II hurts the most. With so many keyboard commands, it is almost impossible to fly your ship around at all for the first couple of tries. After that, it is really frustrating to control. You find yourself unable to determine where you are. Even the auto-map isn't any help. Many people get used to this after a couple of days, but is any game worth that much trouble? A joystick is an almost necessity for this game if you want to be able to control your ship with any decent ability. The control hurts the overall game immensely.
Descent II is a game for a very select group of people. These people have an innate ability to ignore common sense and be able to navigate, using difficult controls, through a 360 degree environment. Personally, I believe that this game needs some sort of directional indicator, so that beginners can get used to the control more easily. Without it, this game is too much work.