Phils Descent tips:
(By PhilStevens on Kali)
(Sourced at
(Last Updated Sunday May 11,1997)

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How to Stay Alive:

1. Slide!!!! Learn how to slide. Sliding is Key to becoming a good Descent player. When you slide, you are faster, and therefore less hitable. Practice sliding until you can slide without thinking about how to do it. Remember you can slide in 3D. You can slide left, right, under, over, and arround your opponent. Practice sphere strafing an object, shooting at it. Sphere strafing is a 360 degree circlestrafe... Practice using a level with a suspended powerup in mid air, you can navigate a sphere arround. When you can sphere strafe the object, and hit it, you are on your way to becoming a very dangerous Descent opponent.

2. Slide some more!!! When you slide you are faster!!, use this to get to weapons and powerups first, and to avoid incoming missiles and smart missile plasma... Use this as kind of an afterburner, when you have none, or in D1 games.. Slide "foreward" using up, and "backward" using down. This takes practice, Or you may decide to do as some people and navigate your way arround the maze always sliding sideways..

3. How to avoid smart missile plasma. As in life, Descent will reward you for facing your problems. Do Not run from smart missile plasma, unless you _know_ you can make it arround the corner or escape long before the plasma arrives. The first thing to do is to look directly at the point of missile impact. When smart missile hits, the plasma takes a path from the point of impact, directly towards you. What you need to do now, is somehow get 180 degrees arround to the other side of the point of impact. ie run "past" the point of impact. Think 3D. If the missile hit the floor, zip past the point of impact (preferably on afterburners) along the roof.

It is possible to circle the incoming plasma while it is airborne, but do not wait too long, as it will get harder to break the plasma lock, as the plasma gets closer. Always be aleart to a second incoming, don't get distracted by the incoming plasma, be aware of other things which are happening in the game.

4. Listen for the audio clues. From the missile launch, you can pick up the type of missile. The lock sounds different for the different missile types. Listen for opponents picking up items in the area, or for someone behind you..

5. Be unpredictible. Turn arround randomly, change directions, follow a different path.

6. Keep weapons out of your opponents hands. Only need 1 homer? Have a choice of 1 or a rack of 4? Pick up the rack. Thats 3 missiles which now can't be used against you. Ditto for smart mines, regular mines, and all the other rackable items...

7. Keep things for yourself. Hold on to the last item of a rack for as long as possible. Rack items are re-circulated when the last of a rack is used. Hold onto the last item of a rack for as long as possible. This will prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

8. When your about to be killed, try to take the other guy out too, or at least slow him down getting to your stuff. Launch a smartmissile, drop some mines. Drop your last smart mine or two.

9 Never _ever_ stop and stand still!!! Someone will pick you off like you are standing still, cause you are!!

10. Anticipate. Know the level. Know where the opponent is probably going to go next. You saw him go down that corridor, and you know where it comes out? Take another route to that location, and launch some missiles there before you get there. Remember, if hes not where you expect him to be, he probably did a 180 and is now persueing you, so look back along the path you used....

11. Watch for light changes. You can see reflections from the approaching ship on the corridor walls. If you time things just right, a smart missile can be airborne, so that when he rounds the corner, the missile will be there...

12. Stay on afterburners in the vicinity of smart mines. They seem to take less notice of you.

13. Detonate all the smart mines you can, and then go looking for the rack that the game will be repopulating. Try not to get yourself killed while doing this. The game will probably place the mines in one of 3 or 4 locations. Play the level enough and observe where the level places them. I once picked up 3 racks in a row in a minerva game using this technique...

14. Avoiding Megas and Shakers. Ok I don't play a lot of Shaker and Mega levels. I'd rather use lasers and gauss, and hone my aim, and build my skill. There isn't a lot of aim, or skill involved with megas and shakers, and smart mines for that matter. The blast usually will get the opponent, if the missile doesn't directly. There is a somewhat valid argument to be made for developing your skills to avoid these weapons. As I say I don't play a lot of these types of levels, except for anarchy falls.

The best technique I can give you is to run directly towards the missile, and "jump" over or "arround" it, as it approaches, sliding of cource. This will take you away from the missiles final impact site, assuming it misses you, which means your chances of surviving the blast are better. I have found this to be perhaps 70% effective, although the other 30% of the time I get killed. The alternative is to run arround a corner, If you know you can make it.

15. Never exaust the afterburners. Use them a burst at a time, or not at all until you really need them. Keep the energy levels charged up, so you do not run out of the energy that feeds the afterburners at a critical moment.

16. Pick up stuff. Shields and weapons are Obvious, but I always forget to use the energy to shield converter, even if I have it.. . Pick up cloaks, when available. Cloaks make you invisible to smart mines, smart missile plasma, and homing missiles.

17. Do not sit in energy centers. Never ever stop. Slide thru them, and if you need some more energy slide back thru them, or (preferably) move on to another energy center. Or run down the hall and run back..(ok so I'm a bit parinoid...)

18. Make the unknown safe. . If you are emerging from a tunnel, hit doors with lasers or a flare to open them, and launch a smart thru the door opening. Watch what the plasma does. if it bunches togeather, and heads in a direction, someone is out there. If so you should think about launching a second smart missile. If the plasma scatters, then for the moment at least, the area should be safe. (unless cloaks are in the game..)

19. Have multiple escape routes planned. As you play the game, think about what you would do if someone launched an attack on you right now. If the first route is blocked, what is the alternative route.

20. Minimize the damage. Run thru mines if you need to to avoid smart missile plasma. Take the least damageing path.

21. You may be able to get that extra second you need, as you are rounding a wall, and a missile or plasma is incoming. As you begin to take the corner, and the ship is coming arround, hit reverse, and "back" in behind the wall.

22. Open doors and look behind them first for mines before entering. Use a single flare or _one_ laser burst, you don't want to detonate the smart mine which may be hidden behind the door. And obviously you want to be at a distance, and have an escape route, incase something bad _is_ behind the door.

23. Set your primary and secondary weapons prefrences. Gauss, level6 lasers, and plasma, are at the top of my primary list. Smarts, homers, and mercury are at the top of my secondary ordering. You may have different preferances..

24. When Gauss is low, switch to lasers, or plasma, when energy is low switch to Gauss. You do not want to run out at a critical time. Store up one when using the other and then at a quiet time, switch them arround. Avoid the 1-2 second weapon select time, when you are being fired upon.

25. Do not move in a single plane. Weave up, down, left , right. diagionally, ect. Fake going in a direction and choose another.

26. Wait for battles in progress to end, or take advantage of the distracted player. Whoever won, probably took a few hits from the other combattant. Then you can launch your attack and have a better chance of defeating the player. Or you might choose to attack the stronger of the two players, while he is distracted fighting the less skilled player. Once you take out the skilled player, you can then probably take out the less skilled player also..

27. Do not fire unless you intend to hit something. This just advertizes your position to other players. For this same reason I prefer to use Gauss, as there are no trailers to tell from which direction the shots were fired from. With Gauss you do not see the rounds in flight, as you do with lasers.

28. Do not use afterburners unless you need to. People can hear you coming, and see the plume from it which advertizes your position.

Doing Damage:

1: Launch at least 2 smarts when launching smarts. You want to launch 2 so that while avoiding the plasma from the first, the opponent runs into plasma from the second. One in front of and one behind the opponent is most effective. If there is a wall directly behind the opponent, fire one directly at the ship. If it directly hits him he will probably be toast. If it misses, it will hit the wall and the plasma will run after him. If you see a miss, launch one at the floor several cubes in front of him. He now has to avoid both plasma bursts at same time...

2. Strafing the opponent. Swoop in on afterburners, from above or below. launching homers, and firing lasers or gauss at the same time can be very effective. Missile hits on his ship will make it hard for him to line up lasers or gauss on you. I find this technique very effective against less skilled opponents.

3. Fire while backpeddling can be very effective. If you can slide arround a corner to avoid the incoming fire, that is a bonus. I find this technique to be more effective against more skilled opponents.

3. When dogfighting, strafe in passing. Continue to fire on and launch missiles at the ship as it passes by. Never stop to turn arround. Just continue to slide past and keep the ship in view, and keep firing at it. Note that the ship never stops, but it naturally turns arround. In thinking about this, it may be even better to diagonally slide, or slide up to down, or down to up, so you are not moving in just a single plane. This would make you less hitable.

4. When in trouble, drop a smart mine and detonate it. Keep firing at the oponent, and place the mine in the path of fire.

5. When you know someone is following you.. (you see laser fire going past you from behind? a good clue that someones back there...) let them get somewhat closer to you, duck and weave as you run toward a wall, or a door. Launch a smart missile into the wall or door, and keep on going. Usually they will be so intent on trying to shoot you and have gotten so close, that the last thing they see is the smart missile plasma... remember to go back and collect "your" stuff.

6. Launch a smart at a shield powerup, before you go to pick it up. Someones probably about to pick it up. Shields won't last that long in a Netgame, someone always needs them.

7. Mines on both sides of doors will sometimes get people to run into them. They shoot the first, and thinking things are cleared, open the door and run smack into the one on the opposite side. This will get a lot of Newbie players. Obviously watch out for this trick yourself.

8. Place mines in tunnels top to bottom, and left to right, so that the passageway is made smaller, the further down the corridor the person goes. If the mines are all at the bottom say, it is possible to fly right over them, you want to make it impossible to fly over, under, or arround the mines.

9. Drop mines in tunnels, and when you encounter someone in the tunnel, launch a smart into the wall. They will need to run into the mines, or face the plasma.

10. Especially when the game is lagged, use homers and smart missiles to track down the player you are not seeing properly, because of network delays.

Ace Manuvers.

1. Direct hits with smart missile or mercury missiles are difficult to defend against. If you are in close enough you may be able to directly hit the opponent with a smart, or mercury which will usually blow him up, or cause so much damage, that you can take him out with the next laser hit or two. For Defense, slide over, under or to the side of the missile to avoid the direct hit.

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