Here are my demos from the Descent II video game, a 1996 sequel to 1995's Descent. You can download them to play them back on your machine, but you will need either (1) a running version of the original game (available on several platforms) or (2) one of the community-developed versions based on the open-sourced code (my favorite is D2X-Rebirth) along with the original game content. Or, you can just watch them on YouTube (coming soon).
I recorded these demos "back in the day" using the original Descent II game -- mostly using the ground-breaking 3dfx Voodoo video card at a whopping 640x480 resolution! I used D2X-Rebirth to replay the demos and take new screen shots at a higher resolution. Click on the thumbnail images to see larger versions. You can also see the description of each demo by using the "Show Description" link.
This demo set shows two methods for obtaining the Helix Cannon on level two. There are two switches that must be tripped, and the second one (the one that opens the external access to the secret room with the Helix) is a one-shot. This means that here are no second chances. If you don't get through the door in time, you won't be getting the weapon. That is, unless you restore from your saved game, of course! :-)
In both methods, the first switch you must trip is visible through the grates from the "hallway." This opens an internal access panel to the Helix room.
The first method is the most straightforward and probably the one the level designer had in mind. In this demo, I take extra time to instructively point out the key features as I go.
First, I trip the visible switch from the hallway. Then I swing around to the hallway on the other side, stopping to show the location of a secret door that I cannot yet open. Continuing down the hallway, I then expose a secret room that is accessed through the ceiling. This leads to the secret compartment opposite the Helix room. In it, you'll find a guided missile, energy boost, and cloaking device. I pick these up for good measure, but it's not required to do this to get the Helix.
Also in this room, near the (secret) door, is another switch. Tripping this switch will open the secret door I pointed out earlier. Once opened, you have a short time to get through this door before it closes. Once it closes, it's closed for good.
So, I exit the "cloak" secret compartment and take aim at the switch from below, in the "public" tunnel, poised to make a B-line for the other secret door. I trip the switch, and I'm off. I get through the door just as it's closing. Afterburner is not required but may provide a safety margin. Be careful though, as it's a little harder to navigate under the afterburner, and the hallway is twisty.
This demo shows a rather satisfying but wasteful way to accomplish the task. In it, I presume you've watched L2Helix1, and I don't take any time to be overly instructive. I just execute the required maneuvers.
I say it's wasteful because you burn (at least) one guided missile. I can tell you that they will come in handy in the later levels!
At any rate, as required, I blow the visible Helix switch first. Then I guide a missile through the opposite grate, into the "cloak" secret compartment, down the tunnel, and into the concealed switch. As you now know, this opens the external door to the Helix. I then high-tail it to the other hallway and up through the secret door.
This demo, recorded on ACE difficulty, shows how I defeated the level 4 boss. Basically, I snipe at him from the outer ring, sliding to avoid his return fire. It might not be the fastest way to do him in, but it is effective and relatively safe.
As the demo starts, I am positioned outside the fence-door entrance to the boss's lair. Just to the left of this door is a switch that unlocks all the other doors to the central room. I trigger this so that I can employ my sniping technique.
I then grab the hidden cloak near the hostages and proceed to release the boss from his "cage." I feed him a Mega and quickly exit to the outer ring. (Had more time on my cloak than I thought. I definitely could've fed him some more ordnance here.)
All that's left now is to snipe, dodge, and repeat until the exit door opens. :-) I would like to call your attention to an important tactic, though. When the diamond-clawed lifters chase me into the outer ring, I switch to the Gauss cannon to take them out, since they don't release the homing green balls when hit with matter weaponry.
On level five, the exit is quite far away from the reactor, and the path to it involves several turns. Rather than memorizing these turns, this demo shows how I used markers like a trail of bread crumbs that show me the way out. (Being a boater, I like to think of them as "aids to navigation." :-)
At the start of the demo, I have already dropped the markers and am about to blow the reactor. Once I do so, I simply follow the markers out, turning in the direction indicated by the marker text. Note that afterburner is not required to make it in time (although it does provide a safety margin :-).
This demo shows the location of the well-hidden hostages on level six.
Not much to narrate. It starts shortly after the level start. I have cleared the opening room but not much else. From there, I head right for the hostages, dispatching any resistance I encounter along the way.
By request, here's a walk-through of level eight up to the red room. See L8Boss for the handling of the red room.
Watch on YouTube (Coming Soon)
By request, here is my handling of level eight. I show how to obtain most if not all of the protected goodies. Here are some notes (in roughly chronological order):
The demo ends at the red door. You can pick up the action in the L8Boss demo.
This demo picks up where L8WTAce leaves off—outside the red door, ready to engage the boss.
Inside the boss's lair, there are many preparatory tasks that must be completed before dispatching the boss. There is a fairly loud welcoming committee, fueled by several strategically placed robot generators.
Also behind the red door is access to the shaft visible from the room just below the starting point.
And then, of course, there is the matter of the hostages. They are protected by force fields, but fortunately, the switch to remove them is nearby.
As far as the boss is concerned, there are ample cloaks, invulnerabilities, and heavy ordnance (read Megas :-) behind the red door to allow you to eliminate him without taking too much damage. Some of these items are protected by force fields, so getting to them takes some doing.
You can see it through the grate, but how do you get in there?
Watch on YouTube (Coming Soon)
This demo shows how to get all the nice powerups hidden behind a fan on level 11. These goodies are visible through a grate in the blue area, but the path to them passes through a fan near the level starting point. Also behind the grate, there is a secret door, protected by a force field. This door only opens from the side facing the grate. On the other side of the door is a switch that disables the force field and removes the fan! Once I trip this switch, I prop two doors open with markers, and take up a position near the fan. I then send a guided missile through the two open doors, through the grate, and into the "one way" secret door.
This demo shows complete handling of the red area of level 11, including freeing yourself from the "appearing wall" trap and exposing the reactor.
It begins outside the red door. The first order of business is to dispatch the welcoming committee that waits behind. Once inside the door, I try to draw the Smelter, waiting beyond the lavafall, out of his hiding spot by making a commotion. Sometimes he comes out, sometimes he doesn't. This particular time, he didn't, and I had to go in after him.
Before descending into the next room, I drop off some gifts for the surprise party that awaits me on my way out.
Also, I clear said room in a bit of a wasteful fashion. Two Smart Missiles, and the Seeker that lurks below is history. I do this so as not to waste time during the demo. I would prefer to save at least one of those Smarties for later, but it would require a lot of patience and boring tactics.
Now, it's time to enter this room, where the first thing I do is remove the fence covering the lava pit, so I have a clear shot at the resistance found underneath. Then I clear the far room. Turns out this is the reactor room.
When you enter this far room, you become trapped by a wall that appears behind you. [Aside: This is a bit weird, because it's not the way I remember it. I recall being able to slide into the reactor room along either wall without becoming trapped. Perhaps this was changed in one of the patches.] I free myself by hugging the wall and entering the robot generator on the right. This does not trip the generator. When I exit the generator the same way I came in, the entrapping wall disappears.
But where is the reactor? It is hidden behind the wall above the entrance to the room. I remove it by tripping the switch in the far corner. It is very hard to see, and I will trip the generators if I move in to get a close look, so I do it from a distance. (OK, so this isn't the first time I've been in this room. :-)
Once the reactor is exposed, it's just a matter of destroying it while hugging the wall so as not to trip the generators, then exiting the mine. My gifts are appreciated by the hosts of the surprise party, so the path to the exit is clear.
This demo shows how I defeated the level 12 boss, on ACE difficulty. I must say that it looks deceptively simple, because the the red room has already been cleared of all minions without using the cloak inside the secret recharge room nor the invulnerability hidden above the guide-bot's starting cage.
The demo starts just outside the red room, where I have dropped off some ordnance in case I needed it. (Turns out I didn't.) I enter the room and immediately go the recharge center and grab the cloak. Then I track down the boss and let him have a few Megas. His return fire is impotent as it can't track me.
Having softened up the boss a little, I now go for the jugular—back out the red door to grab the invulnerability. Wasting no time, I re-enter the red room and search out Mr. Big. As soon as I find him, I treat him to a Gauss and Mega feast. Before my invulnerability wears out, I can back up and enjoy the fruits of my labor! :-)
This is the long version of how I handle the level 12 boss. It starts before I have ever entered the red room, so it shows handling of the minions as well.
The first order of business is to clear the two large rooms close to the entrance. I do this conventionally but cautiously. Next, from outside the boss's lair, I use some of my large collection of guided missiles to take out the two green homer-firing hulks in the far-end side rooms. There is one cool sequence here, where I am surprised by an energy sucker that sneaks through the open door. I manage to gun him down with my Gauss while maintaining control of my guided missile, which goes on to score a direct hit.
With most of the minions gone, I can then grab the cloak in the hidden recharge center and use that to soften up the boss with a few Megas, before putting him away with my final barrage. (See also L12Boss, the short version.)
This grand finale consists of grabbing the invulnerability sphere from the guide-bot cage, tracking down the boss, and unloading my most powerful matter weapons on him. :-) He begins his death dance just as the inulnerability wears off.
This demo shows how to get the Omega cannon on level 13. This is the first appearance of this powerful weapon.
There are three keys to getting the Omega:
The demo clearly demonstrates the steps necessary to accomplish the task and obtain the weapon. Enjoy!
This demo shows how to get the invulnerability sphere in the mini-tunnel behind the "fence" in the "tower room" near the red door on level 16.
The mini-tunnel is actually part of a small network of tunnels. There is one other entrance, which is sealed with a grate. This other entrance is in a well-guarded section of the mine behind the blue door. Access is through the twisty little passage in the floor.
The switch to remove both the fence and the grate is inside the mini-tunnel network, so it must be tripped with a guided missile. It is a much easier proposition from the grated entrance, and that's what this demo shows.
The demo starts at the main entrance. I go through the blue door, down the twisty passage, and locate the grate. (Note: all 'bots have been dispatched. :-) One guided missile later, the grate and fence are no more. Normally, I would save this invulnerability for my later encounter with the boss, but, for effect, I finish off the demo by grabbing the sphere and heading to the red door.
This demo shows how I defeated the level 16 boss, on ACE difficulty.
First, I go back and grab the invulnerability in the nearby "tower" room. There is initially a grate blocking access to this mini-tunnel, but it can be removed by activating a switch inside this area. (See L16Invul.) The invulnerability does not play a large part in doing in the boss; it just provides a little insurance that I'll be able to get through the preparation stage unscathed.
Quickly heading back to the red room, I grab the cloak in the secret chamber above the entrance to the boss's lair. While cloaked, I move to the side opposite the door leading to the exit and drop three markers. These provide light, so that I can better see the boss if he decloaks here. I then high-tail it through the aforementioned exit area door. There is a generous supply of powerups in this area, and I stock up, although I am already maxxed out on Megas. I go back for them later. :-)
I am almost ready to engage the boss, but first I must make sure that the area just outside the door is clear. This is so I can poke my "head" out safely.
When it's time to engage the boss, I try to do it from as far away as possible. As mentioned, I poke my head out the door and try to locate him, helped by the light emanating from my markers. If I can see him, I unload as much matter ordnance (e.g., Gauss cannon, Mega missiles) as I can and try to dodge his incoming flash missiles and energy outbursts. If I do get "flashed," I just reverse and slide to one side as soon as I can.
Frequently, the boss will "hide" and remain out of sight. It's too risky to venture out into his lair to find him, so I send a guided missile to do my dirty work. After a hit or two, he will cloak and teleport to a new location.
When he teleports near my markers, I can see him and do serious damage from my current vantage point. When he teleports right in front of the door, I back into the tunnel and do as much damage from there as I can.
When the boss finally gives up the ghost, I get a real good view of it from the door. Then it's just a matter of waltzing to the exit. :-)
Get the yellow key and remove the fences blocking your egress.
Watch on YouTube (Coming Soon)
This demo, recorded on ACE difficulty, shows the complete handling of the blue area of level 17, including freeing yourself after retrieving the yellow key. Turns out that this level has two traps—fences that appear "behind" you and block your egress. Both fences are removed with switches, and for a change, you don't need a guided missile to trip either one. :-)
This pair of demos, both recorded on ACE difficulty, show how to obtain the yellow key on level 20 (Gytowt Station :-).
This task is much easier if one (or more) of the cloaked Smelters give up a cloak powerup. I consider this the "normal" case, and it is covered in L20YKey. You can still get the key without a cloak, as shown in L20YKnc, but it is considerably more difficult.
Both demos cover the entire sequence from outside the blue door to obtaining the yellow key and through handling of the ambush that awaits you once you emerge from the chamber with (or without :-) the yellow key.
One by one, I take care of the cloaked Smelters under the protective fences, while trying to avoid getting hit by the annoying little red gnats. There is also an energy sucker to contend with.
Then it's time to go after the yellow key, which is behind the door in the "far corner" (from the vantage point of the blue door) and protected by a force field. The switch to remove this force field is down below in the same chamber, behind a grate. The lower area of this room is very well protected and equipped with three 'bot generators. I stay only long enough to trip the switch and get the key. I leave the rest of the 'bots to be blown to bits when I destory the station.
Again, getting down to and tripping the switch is much easier if you are cloaked. Since the 'bots can't see you, you can escape with a minimal amount of damage. If you are not cloaked, you must move quickly, and you are likely to take moderate damage.
Upon emerging from this room, a previously-hidden 'bot generator kicks into action. In the cloaked version of this demo, I remembered to leave a smart mine gift for the first 'bot out of the generator, but I forgot in the non-cloaked demo. This made it only slightly harder.
Then it's on to the yellow door and whatever challenges await there! :-)
This demo shows how I defeated the level 20 boss, on ACE difficulty.
The keys to doing in the boss of Baloris Prime (master of Gytowt Station :-) are the three cloaking devices found behind the red door. When cloaked, you can unload on him without fearing the homing green plasma balls that he emits when damaged. And remember, matter weapons will not hurt him; you must use energy weapons.
The demo starts in the nearby energy room. A couple remnants of the recent battle here remain: a shield ball and a cloaking device. I grab both of them and head for red door.
Upon entering the boss's lair, I try to soften up his defenses by taking out some of his minions before he awakens from his "slumber." I manage to trip generator twice and dispatch all of its annoying little green gnats. Shortly after this, boss decides he's heard enough and steps in.
Switching to my L6 Quad Laser, I quickly grab the nearby cloaking device. There isn't much commentary to add to the action. Just a matter of staying cloaked and unloading on the boss.
The exit is some distance away, but with a couple of shots of afterburner, I get there in plenty of time to collect the two Earthshakers behind the walls near the exit. :-) Note that I had previously cleared the path to the exit and propped open the doors with markers.
This demo, recorded on ACE difficulty, shows how to expose and destroy the reactor on level 23. There are a couple of puzzles to solve, and three ambushes to deal with.
Our story begins just outside the lower red door, before I have opened it for the first time.
Before opening the door, I go back and leave a little present for a green homer-firing 'bot that is hidden behind a temporary wall. This wall will disappear when you leave the red area through the lower door.
I then open the red door and clear the room behind it, taking a little damage. Entering and exiting the room exposes the green 'bot, and he enjoys my smart mine gift. :-)
Returning to the red area anteroom, I point out the three secret doors that comprise the first puzzle to be solved. The secret door on the right opens when you enter the anteroom via the upper door. Behind this door is a small chamber containing some nice powerups. Entering and exiting this chamber triggers the left secret door (now directly opposite). This chamber contains some more powerups. Entering and exiting this chamber triggers the secret door in the floor. This leads to the reactor and, unlike the other two secret doors, remains open indefinitely.
After executing the above maneuvers, I venture into newly-exposed tunnel in the floor. There is the first of three ambushes awaiting me here: four green "gnats." Annoying, but not too much trouble to clear.
This L-shaped tunnel leads to another small anteroom, and I point out the secret door protecting the reactor when I get there. How to open it? More on that later. First, I open a secret door in the ceiling that not only has a very helpful cloak powerup but is also the only way out! That being the case, I prop open the secret door with a marker to aid my getaway after blowing the reactor.
I grab the cloak and prepare a token of my appreciation for the second ambush, which springs from behind two secret doors, one on either side of the still-hidden reactor. These doors open when I break a plane parallel to the reactor door roughly in the middle of the room. I take a little damage but survive.
At this point, I point out the switch, behind the secret door on the left, that exposes the reactor. But I'm not ready to trip it just yet. First, I go back and grab the invulnerability outside the lower red door. This powerup is ejected by a dying 'bot killed earlier. I can't recall every playing this level where this bot did not eject an invulnerability, so relying on its presence is sound. You just have to remember to save it!
Now, it's time for Mr. Reactor, but he's not alone behind that secret door. He's got a pretty serious welcoming committee, so it's good to be invulnerable. :-) I concentrate on the members of this committee so that they are shrapnel before my invulnerability runs out. Switching to lasers, I take out the reactor, avoiding it's plentiful red blobs, and high-tail it to the exit.
Just before reaching the exit, I see something interesting: a final ambush behind the exit door! A little shot of afterburner, and I'm out the exit just before his missile makes contact! :-)
This long overdue demo shows how I defeated the level 24 boss, on ACE difficulty. Yep, finally got around to recording it. :-)
Unlike my other boss demos, this one starts outside the yellow door. I do this because there is a switch behind it that is important to the red room tactics.
The yellow area is a single medium-sized room that houses the red key and quite a welcoming committee. :-) For expediency, I "waste" an earthshaker to eliminate most of the resistance. It's easy enough to dispatch the remaining little green gnats in conventional fashion.
Once inside, I re-stock my homing missiles (although I'm not sure why— they're pretty useless against the boss :-) and shields, then I trigger two switches. The first removes the grate protecting the red key. The second apparently does nothing, but it does give the message: "door unlocked." Turns out that the door that it unlocks is inside the red area, and it provides access to the two 'Shakers that you can see behind the fence at the "bottom" of the "station."
OK, now it's on to the red room and the final encounter! On the way, I meet a couple straggling "Minefish," but they just slow me down a little. The route to the red room is important, and it requires planning early in the level. From the start, if you go right and follow the tunnel around to the left, you will encounter a green "Homer Hulk." This 'bot "always" drops an invulnerability sphere when he dies (at least in my experience). I save this until the end, when I am on my way to my date with the boss (like I am now :-). Be careful not to go "up" this vertical ring, though, as a fence will appear between this invulnerability and your shortest route to the red door.
So, now I enter the red room invulnerable. (Side note: there is an interesting demo playback bug evident in this demo—at least on my system. The red door appears to be already open when I arrive.) I do not enage the boss just yet. The first order of business is exposing the secret room that contains two invulnerabilities and two 'Shakers. You can see this room from the outer, horizontal ring.
To gain access to this area, you must trigger three switches. The first is in a secret compartment, dead center in the "ceiling." Also in this compartment is another invulnerability (yes! :-). This removes a wall, off to the right of the red door through which I entered.
The second switch is behind this now removed wall, nicely hidden behind a fence in the ceiling. This exposes an area deeper in the wall. Finally, the third switch is in a secret compartment in the ceiling of this newly-exposed area.
I'm still invulnerable as I collect the 'Shakers, but it's almost gone, so I wait for it to expire, and pick up one of the two new ones in this room. Now, it's time to formally make acquaintance with the boss.
You may or may not know that the boss is vulnerable in only one spot—his butt! There is a flashing green target located there! :-) It's hard to get a clean shot at this area, even when cloaked (surprisingly), so the best tactic is to shoot 'Shakers into the wall behind him. The blue blobs of destruction will home in on his weak spot, providing he doesn't teleport away.
So, what follows is a series of firing 'Shakers at the wall and returning to grab an invulnerability when my current one is about to expire. During this sequence, I also get the 'Shakers from the cage at the bottom of the station. Turns out I didn't need them, as I finish with two spare, but I sure felt better having them on-board. :-)
By request, here's my handling of level 24, from beginning to end.
Watch on YouTube (Coming Soon)
This demo shows a relatively complete handling of level 24. I don't exploit every secret (alas, some remain a mystery to me), but I acquire enough goodies to destroy Tycho Brahe without ever being in real danger.
It's a long demo, so I won't give you a detailed blow-by-blow, but here are some things to note:
Well, that's about it. I hope this demo helps you.
This demo shows how I defeated the Vertigo Research Station (level 20) boss, on ACE difficulty.
The final Vertigo boss is very similar to the final Counterstrike boss (master of Tycho Brahe) in that he is vulnerable to damage only on his butt. Also like the Tycho Brahe boss, there is a glowing green target there.
You might think that a similar tactic is used to tackle this boss, and you'd be right! Once you realize the similarity, you just adopt the "shoot-Shakers-at-the-wall-behind-him approach. Compared to Tycho Brahe, there are fewer (but still ample) invulnerability powerups available, and the boss seems to be a litte more difficult to locate, due to the layout of the room. So, it is important to avoid wasting time while you're invulnerable.
The demo begins outside the red door. I first take out a few of the more visible minions, while the boss slumbers. Once the near part of the room is secure, I use guided missiles to trigger two switches in the far part of the room. These triggers remove the walls protecting cloak and invulnerability powerups.
Although there are a couple more secrets to be found, that is enough preparation to turn the boss into shrapnel. So, I head back to grab one of the available invulnerabilities and proceed to awaken him. What remains should be familiar to you if you've also viewed my Tycho Brahe demo—firing 'Shakers at the wall behind the boss while invulnerable. At one point, though, I do manage to sneak up behind the boss while cloaked, and I score a direct hit on his butt with a 'Shaker!
My trip to the exit is a bit clumsy but not really damaging. The path to the red door has been mined by the boss's minions, and I have a great deal of difficulty hitting the Smart mine closest to the door to clear the path. Eventually I do, but on the way out, I trip one of the other Smarties, and it homes in on me while I 'burn to the exit. I just do get around the corner in time.
This demo shows that things don't always go as planned when I am recording my demos. I am attempting to defeat the Vertigo Research Station (level 20) boss, on ACE difficulty.
Things start out well enough, as I clear the near room of minions. But I must have made too much of a commotion, because the boss awakens and teleports right next to me. He proceeds to plant an Earthshaker in my windshield. The net result is not pretty. :-)