Part [2]. TACTICS, or "Doom Recovery 101."

-- [2a] ---------- Help! I'm lost in the maze.

The transition from 2D to 3D is not an easy one. While it can be
challenging, once you're used to it, 2D worlds will just seem, well,

The best advice is to keep checking your map (hit TAB). How the maze is
oriented once you enter the map screen is a view from behind your ship,
with "up" going "up". You can rotate the map around after you realize
where you are to see where you want to go. To zoom in and out,
strafe up and down.

Also, look for landmarks -- i.e. a room full of monitors, a huge cavernous
room, or a room full of doors. Keep returning to these rooms until you've
explored every branch.

One technique that may or may not work is to simply barrel down tunnels,
not caring where you're going, just to kill enemies. This has two
advantages -- one, a lot of the enemies in the maze will be wiped out so
you don't have to deal with them when you start exploring, and a
substantial chunk of the maze will already be mapped on your automap.
Once you get a large portion of the map, you can start exploring and
looking for keys. Of course, your mileage may vary.

-- [2b] ---------- I'm having trouble controlling my ship. Any suggestions?

This is often the most brought up subject. Like I said earlier, the
transition to 3D is not an easy one.

The predominant opinion is that the best setup is with a fancy joystick,
such as the FlightStick. This has lots of buttons and switches on the
stick itself that will let you control the game.

Failing that, the next best option is to use a normal, ANALOG joystick
together with the keyboard. I personally use the joystick to point
where I want to go and to use Z and X to accelerate and decelerate,
respectively. I don't suggest a digital joystick, such as the Gravis
gamepad, because a large portion of that immersive experience is lost
when you can't control how fast or how slow you want to turn.

The least attractive solution is to use the keyboard by itself, although
it has been known that a lot of players have become quite adept at this
method. The best way is to use the keypad for pointing, strafing, etc.
and other keys (such as z and x) on the other side of the board for
accelerating and firing.

One suggestion that everyone should try, though -- have DEDICATED strafing
keys! For example, use W,A,S and D for strafe up, left, down, and right,
respectively. This lets you strafe while doing other things, such as
turning, and will improve your gameplay significantly.

-- [2c] ---------- I can't find places on the map.

Remember that when you enter the map screen, the view is from behind
your ship, with up pointing up. Use strafe up and down with the map to
zoom. (With defaults, use left alt + up or down.)

Undocumented feature: To pan across the map (make the map move, as
if you put your hand there and slid it over), hold down "S" while moving
the joystick/cursor keys. Your new center of rotation will be the
center of the screen, NOT your ship.

-- [2d] ---------- How can I beat the big bad robot at the end of level 7?

Adam Pletcher of Parallax Software recommends:

"Stay tight against the inside pillar, and keep circling. This is the
best way to lose missiles that have lock. Take out the Vulcan
Guys, SuperMechs (the red guys), and the Boss, in that order. Get the
cloak in the alcove on the far side of the pillar. When attacking the
Boss, make passes, don't sit still. And make extra sure none of
those green missiles hit you in the face, they'll probably kill you."

-- [2e] ---------- I think Descent is too easy.

Try the following:

:: Don't use any cheat codes
:: Increase the difficulty level of your game
:: Use only one type of weapon, i.e. use only the normal guns

Descent has many difficulty levels, and should appeal to every gamer.

-- [2f] ---------- I think Descent is too hard.

It depends what you mean by "hard". If you're having trouble controlling
the ship, see the section above about controlling your ship. Otherwise,
try the following:

:: Decrease the difficulty level of your game
:: Try flying around an empty mine tunnel as fast as you can and
as fluidly as you can.
:: PRACTICE STRAFING!! This technique will save you many times over
when it comes to enemy fire.
:: Learn when to (and when not to) use the different kinds of weapons
you have.
:: Practice, practice, practice!

-- [2g] ---------- The secret resource: Lava

"I discovered something about the lava by accident, and a fairly
costly one at that: the lava is REALLY explosive - like missiles. This
can be EXTREMELY useful:

Suppose you're in level 2 (the one with the very large room near
the start), and you're going to get the red keycard, which is defended
by about 4 or 5 robots. As you may recall, there'a large lava pit in
the middle of the room, which at least one of the robots is always
directly above. Instead of aiming at the robot, aim at the lava right
below it and fire a blast or two. The blasts will cause the lava under
it to explode, and blow the robot above it apart! Also, since the shots
are sufficiently far from the robot, it won't try to dodge the blasts!
The Vulcan can be nice here: it's extremely high rate of fire turns the
lava into an exploding pool of fiery death (what vivid language :).
This also can work well against humans: fire above them so they dive
into the lava, then blast the lava around them. Either you'll kill
them, or they'll accidentally shoot the lava and commit suicide - you
get their stuff either way."
-Scott Adams, via

-- [2h] ---------- What are those yellow tunnels with sparkly things?

These are areas which recharge your energy. If your energy level
is below 100, if you enter this area, your energy will be refilled
to 100. Note that this area has no effect on your shield level.

-- [2i] ---------- What are those purple areas with new ships?

These are enemy generators, and they are VERY DANGEROUS. Try to
stay away from them, as new enemies pop out of them unexpectedly.
There is no way to destroy these areas (aside from blowing the
reactor, of course).

HTML version of this FAQ done by DrChandra on 95.01.05.