I was pretty happy with Interplay's PlayStation port of Descent when it came out last year, but this sequel has put a big of' frown on my face. It's not that the game is lacking in levels; DM has 36 in all (most of which are based on Descent's PC sequel. Descent II). It's just that your flight through these levels is way too choppy. Run into more than a couple of enemies and the frame rate takes a major-league nose dive. And if you blow up too many bad guys-whose explosive deaths scatter debris everywhere-be prepared for an even choppier play experience (fortunately, you can minimize the chop by playing with the cockpit displays turned on and not in Full-screen Mode). Slowdown aside, DM has some welcome additions over its prequel, including slicker lighting effects and environments that are more interactive than before (you can now shoot out lights, for example). But the best improvement of all is the Guidebot, a tiny side-kick you can unleash and assign to find keys, power-ups or the exit. The eager 'bot's guidance in the twisting mazes is essential-espe-cially since the in-game map is more confusing than useful. DM controls OK with the joy-pad, but you'd do well to wield Sony's dualstick analog controller.
I was never a big fan of the Descent-style game to begin with and Descent Maximum didn't change that. First and foremost, the frame rate was terrible. It was so bad in fact, that I actually had to pause it and take a break once. The cinemas were awesome but that definitely didn't save the game. The variety of weapons was nice and so were the enemies.
The original high-adrenaline, nausea-inducing game is back. This time, a Guidebot accompanies you during your descent. This thing is a great idea for this type of game, but it can make things a bit easy (it'll take you straight through the levels). The animation on this version really hurts this game's score. The action often becomes difficult to follow.
Not being a fan of the first Descent translation to PlayStation, I was really looking forward to this supposed upgrade. Unfortunately, all I got was a rehashed, choppy engine with nothing over the first game. In fact, Descent Max seems shorter than the original so I'd have to question its value as a sequel. I could see renting it, but otherwise, don't buy it.