In the original Descent, there are 27 levels corresponding to 27 different and unique mines (and also three secret levels). The first three begin on the Moon, the fourth and fifth on Venus, and the sixth and seventh take place on Mercury. These levels also make up the shareware version.
In the shareware version, saving will only record the player data at the start of the level. Saving in the full version can be done at any time (but not on secret levels in Descent II); it stores the exact details of every object's location and data, and a small snapshot of the player's view, at the time of the save.
Descent is one of the first games to feature a sophisticated built-in demo recording system. Pressing F5 anytime during single or multiplay games records all action on the screen like position/movement of players/robots, what weapon was ired/picked up, chat between multiplayers, etc. to a file. Since the demos do not contain any graphics but only information for the game engine on how to render them on playback (which offers pause and fast forward/rewind), even long sessions result in comparatively small files that can easily be spread via mail or websites which is still done by the community for demonstrating multiplayer fighting techniques, walkthroughs, speedruns and so on.
There were rumors of a Descent movie. NBC commissioned a script for a TV movie but then decided to be adapted for movie theaters. Interplay Productions, the owner and publisher of the Descent games, created a division called Interplay Movies that was going to develop the popular Interplay franchises of the time into movies, one of which was Descent. The last known update was in 1999, so the plans are considered dead. Interplay Movies reportedly successfully got Redneck Rampage made into a film, although it was never released.
The Descent series also spawned a trilogy of novels written by Peter Telep and sold at several major booksellers. The titles are Descent, Descent: Stealing Thunder, and Descent: Equinox. The novels did not follow the games to the word, but expanded on the basic premise, and were very well received.
players: single player, multiplayer (LAN / local, co-op, Modem)
input: keyboard, joystick, thrustmaster
distribution: 3,5 floppy disk, cd-rom
sound: Adlib, Ensoniq soundscape, MIDI, Gravis Ultrasound, Pro Audio Spectrum, Roland, Sound Blaster
Abandonware DOS popularity: low