Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

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Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:36 pm

Just finished my Ace playthrough of D2. It simply is way, way easier than 1. Even though Brimspark and Limefrost do have some tough situations and the number of Lou Guards in Omega System can border on troublesome, Descent 1 craps on that still. The dreaded Boarshead is but a suckling pig next to its older cousin the Class 1 Driller and D1 levels could have 5 Super Hulks guarding the reactor room. D2 is simply easier. DUH.

I'm sure infinite matcens on Insane would bring the games much closer in terms of difficulty, though :<
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Alter-Fox » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:06 pm

It's still easier on insane, though I'm sure some hardcore D1 fanatics will disagree...
The matcens aren't that much of a problem because they're well-placed to look harder than they actually are.
All I know is of all three games, 1 is the only one I never managed to finish when it was that hard.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:30 pm

Alter-Fox wrote:It's still easier on insane, though I'm sure some hardcore D1 fanatics will disagree...
You're making it sound like the hardcore D1 fanatics would actually hold D2's supposedly harder difficulty against it. I think they'd actually count it as D2's advantage when comparing the missions if it were true :P

Anyway, I've come to quite like Counterstrike. It does have its own atmosphere and Zeta Aquilae really shines. But I still feel First Strike has a somewhat deeper atmosphere, probably due to a combination of factors such as texturing, lighting, more narrow tunnels, the robot cast and the music. The final levels of D2 are quite distinct, but IMO nothing like the eerie purpleness of Pluto. No mission made with a D2 texturing and geometry scheme (or even Vertigo, an improvement) makes me feel the emotions of fear and wonder that I felt when playing for example level 21 of Revenge O' Dravis. Pluto is a big deal, 'nuff said. Sorry about this digression :D
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:46 am

I once did an Ace run of D2 (I don't think it was Insane, I started D1 on that and turned it down so as not to annoy the viewers I was streaming to too much, and didn't want to take the chance with D2 I think...?). It was indeed substantially easier than D1. Especially once the Gauss showed up.

The one exception: Levels 21-23 and maybe 24 are actually a pretty good match for D1. They are cramped and have a lot of robots firing missiles... which is pretty much precisely what made late D1 levels hell.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Avder » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:44 pm

The biggest change in difficulty between d1 and d2 is that in D2 you need to manage your vulcan ammo. Where the vulcan cannon in d1 only had occasional fringe use with the other 4 carrying a relatively balanced load, the guass cannon in d2 is the true workhorse gun of your arsenal with everything else being fringe use weaponry. You get plenty of ammo for it, but it's still very possible to run out if you don't consciously force yourself to work the other guns in once in a while. Especially if you're like me and you cover your primary gun display with your rear view camera.

And the other challenging part is that some of the bosses are indeed bullshit. Ice boss with homing flash missiles for example. It's not terribly hard to dodge them, but all he needs to do is hit you with 1 and then you have to fly on instinct alone, at which point you're dead. The level 24 boss was not that challenging either. but that's probably because I have no trouble getting the cloaks and invulns that are scattered around him.

Chasing down all the bomb shitting little turbo torpedo guys is just an exercise in pure frustration in the last level.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Glowhyena » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:18 pm

Yeah, I noticed that. I've played D2 lately, and were like: "What the? Why does Leo Guard launch only two homing missiles (or more, I didn't pay attention.) on Ace?"

And also the Bulk Destroyer fires slower than the deadly Vulcan Man does, it goes like: Pew! ... Pew! Pew! The other one goes: PEWPEWPEWPEWPEW!!!
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:31 am

The bulk destroyer isn't half as intimidating and difficult to handle as the vulcan driller, yeah.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Glowhyena » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:16 pm

Of course, I don't have to be careful to peek around the corner to launch a homing missile to take the bulk destroyer out. Just approach it as firing lasers at it.

For the vulcan drillers, I must take cover and send a homing missile like you're throwing a frag grenade. However, if I'm in an open room. I must go tri-movement (I don't know that name of Descent tricky movement that we can fly the spaceship very fast w/o the afterburner.) as shooting 'em.

Man, the super hulks and vulcan drillers are the most dangerous robots in D1! I hate the driller ones, they're so obnoxious and bloody. But I accept their abilities.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:11 pm

Yeah, the fact alone that D2 had no robot that you felt necessary to destroy before it even sees you speaks volumes.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:15 am

Sirius wrote:The one exception: Levels 21-23 and maybe 24 are actually a pretty good match for D1. They are cramped and have a lot of robots firing missiles... which is pretty much precisely what made late D1 levels hell.
I dunno, the hardest part of my Descent 2 playthrough apart from maybe the final boss (but even then, just the boss, not the level) was Quartzon, and especially level 5. I think I had like, two or three game overs on level 5 before I managed to get through.
There are so many missile bots roaming erratically through the water tunnels. Brimspark and onwards got a whole lot easier.
I ended up with so many lives once I reached Puuma that I could throw a bunch of them at the bots without even worrying. And I still finished with nine, which is... symbolic? :huh:
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Glowhyena » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:47 am

Do not forget about the level 15, which has only missile hulks. The level is pretty strange because it has nothing than missile robots.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:39 pm

But that's not level 15 of the game I'm talking about. :P
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:50 am

Well, even though D2 is easier, I'd argue it's actually more fun to play. The new triggers and switches really give you tons of possibilities as far as making puzzles is concerned. But yeah, the robot cast from 1 is missed.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:03 am

Hm, interesting. Quartzon wasn't even on my radar. Seekers can be mean, but they're not an answer to Gauss.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Alter-Fox » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:29 am

Nah, I meant the ITSCs. Seekers are pretty hard when you do a cold start but they don't move around as much.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:11 am

Hm. OK. I think I have more issues with emplaced defenses than surprises. They might be predictable but there are some you just can't do much about - especially the secret door traps.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:09 am

Sirius wrote:Hm. OK. I think I have more issues with emplaced defenses than surprises. They might be predictable but there are some you just can't do much about - especially the secret door traps.
A secret door trap done well is the one from secret level 1, with the fusion hulk, opposite the yellow key. It's good because its opening is triggered at such a distance that you have ample room to maneuver. The vulcan driller traps from level 21, on the other hand...
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:03 am

I don't agree completely. Not sure about Ace, i play on Insane... Also it depends on how you play. For example D1 is very doable cold start no death no saves 100% kills on insane, but did anyone did it in D2? 100% kills from cold start on D2 level 16 please! I've seen no videos of this... Consider L12, 20, 21, 22 too... With saving and/or skipping parts of the levels it is different story of course...
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Tue May 16, 2017 3:38 am



Well it might not be 100% kills, but if he managed to do what he did, he shouldn't have any problems with getting 100% kills either.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue May 16, 2017 5:50 am

Xfing wrote: Well it might not be 100% kills, but if he managed to do what he did, he shouldn't have any problems with getting 100% kills either.
His run is great, but he skipped the most dangerous part of the level (where you die 9 out of 10), using cloaking device. And even this way, the level is incredibly hard. I myself did it using 2 save points (one after the difficult area, another before boss). Probably it can be done but it can take months worth of attempts to do the 100% kills no save no death run. Unless someone finds better tactics (which I doubt), and/or is Jedi Master. Well, you can try to do it yourself and see...
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Xfing » Tue May 16, 2017 6:19 am

AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Xfing wrote: Well it might not be 100% kills, but if he managed to do what he did, he shouldn't have any problems with getting 100% kills either.
His run is great, but he skipped the most dangerous part of the level (where you die 9 out of 10), using cloaking device. And even this way, the level is incredibly hard. I myself did it using 2 save points (one after the difficult area, another before boss). Probably it can be done but it can take months worth of attempts to do the 100% kills no save no death run. Unless someone finds better tactics (which I doubt), and/or is Jedi Master. Well, you can try to do it yourself and see...
When I get there. I'm at level 3 Insane right now and it's kicking my ass. To be fair, this thread was made way before I started playing the game without dying and relying on saves. It's quite different for sure. But Calmarius' runs are way good and helpful anyway
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Wed May 17, 2017 9:18 am

I just managed to do it on the second attempt :-o
Should have been recording though, I guess I can give that a shot later. The area he skipped is not as hard as it may look - the Seeker and Sidearms are probably the biggest threat that won't come to get you, and the Seeker can be dropped from long range which helps, while the Sidearms can be sniped around corners or at least with guideds.

I did have to peek-a-boo the boss, but it looks like I'm not alone there. Tough to get that much damage in with just the invulnerability/cloak, and splitting them up wouldn't help much.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Wed May 17, 2017 11:11 am

Sirius wrote:I just managed to do it on the second attempt :-o
Should have been recording though, I guess I can give that a shot later. The area he skipped is not as hard as it may look - the Seeker and Sidearms are probably the biggest threat that won't come to get you, and the Seeker can be dropped from long range which helps, while the Sidearms can be sniped around corners or at least with guideds.

I did have to peek-a-boo the boss, but it looks like I'm not alone there. Tough to get that much damage in with just the invulnerability/cloak, and splitting them up wouldn't help much.
Well, need to see the demo of this, is it insane no-death no save cold start, without using any D2X-XL tricks, from the second attempt? If so, your skills should be incredible. I do not care much about the boss, since it can be killed from the safe tunnel with good success rate, so even if you die at the boss I don't care. Maybe you can coldstart level 21 too with few attempts? Or L12? I remember those three - 12,16 and 21 were the hardest at the time I did it (so I had to use saves). Probably I should give it a second try myself, because from that time my skills improved a lot. For example I could not even imagine playing TEW or Obsidian no-save, which I successfully did later. Maybe I am overestimating the difficulty based on my old experience...
EDIT - or do you mean that you did D2 L3 from the second attempt (the previous message from Xfing)? I am talking about D2 L16 of course.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Thu May 18, 2017 2:34 am

Yeah, it was level 16. I did another run to record it. Slightly messy but it worked...
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu May 18, 2017 5:22 am

Sirius wrote:Yeah, it was level 16. I did another run to record it. Slightly messy but it worked...
Well it is stunning run! Different level of play compared to all youtube videos I've seen including Calmarius vids. Probably because you are a multiplayer pro... Also you seem to know the level like you designed it yourself, i did not knew about many of the secrets
BTW is your source port different from d2x rebirth in any important aspect (robot AI, mouse sensitivity, homers, etc)? Do you play with the mouse or smth different? You aim and movement smoothness seems too good for mouse (well for MY mouse at least)! I still get jerky ship movements at time, and either cannot aim well at long range or cannot do 360 turn quickly.. It is interesting,whether you can do all the levels of D2 counterstrike with the same ease? How about other difficult levels , 12 and 21, or anything you consider most diffucult in this campaign,can you also do them with few attempts? And the last, what is your opinion on the topic (D2 easier or harder than D1)? Excuse me for so many questions.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Thu May 18, 2017 8:13 am

Actually, yes, it reverts the homing missile code to behave like the original D1/D2 code but locked at... I think it was either 25 or 30 FPS. That makes the D1 homing missiles easier to dodge, and the D2 homing missiles... either no different or maybe actually harder, because there was something weird about D2 Rebirth's homers - they seemed unusually easy to shake. I believe it was some pre-existing change in D2 that Rebirth amplified because of its approach to the code.

I do use a mouse though (Logitech G700). That's the main reason I can aim like that with Gauss. And Gauss is the main reason most of D2 isn't particularly difficult to me - with the notable exception of the last four levels because there just isn't much space and the missile robots are packed in pretty frequently there. However... I actually don't do a lot of Insane cold-start runs. So that's an interesting question, and maybe I should try them out soon. :) I do recall level 12 having some really dangerous areas behind the blue and yellow doors.

I did do a D1 Insane run maybe a couple years back, but it wasn't cold-start - I do recall finding it more difficult than D2 (1-20; about the same as 21-22) but that was from the perspective of someone who didn't remember the levels well at that point. One of the things about multiple attempts is that you remember where the traps are, and that makes them less deadly.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu May 18, 2017 10:30 am

I asked about your port, because I noticed 2 things in the video : a) homers seemed a little bit easier to dodge than in rebirth b) robots seemed more agressive and easier to lure, but again not much, probably this is just different RNG. I remember having more difficulties with tower - like room and blue key room because luring did not work often. Also I was amazed how you ran through this grated tunnel in the beginning without cloak, no damage, usually I lost half of my shields there due to seeker and sidearm, no matter how I afterburned or trichorded. Also Its very cool how you remember the levels, It is as difficult for me as fighting robots and sometimes even more.

It would be very interesting if you could record some difficult levels of D1 and D2 cold start and compare the difficulty face-to-face. My touchstones were levels 11 and 19 in D1 (maybe 9 too, or 23). In D2, 12, 21 and 16 (and 10, 22, 20 ranked close to them). However I consider 22 and 10 easier versions of 21 and 12, as for D2 level 20, boss fight is most interesting part for me, I still did not found reliable way to beat it without saves (die too often). L12, yes, contains a lot of difficult areas, I remember the room filled with red mosquitoes that can kill you in no time even cloaked. Many seekers, too. And the boss, yes, its much worse than ice boss. My opinion - D1 is easier than D2 if your knowledge of the levels is perfect.

About other D2 campaigns, it is interesting if you can beat TEW secret level 3 insane no-death no save (no cold start of course). I just cowardly skipped it, because it was full of rocket mechs in snipe mode... Also I am interested whether you can beat at least L1-3 of AF on insane no death no save. With such skill L1 should be doable. I am now replaying AF on Insane and still using a lot of saves (however much less than prev time). And I still cannot beat most of AF bosses without using (in some cases, abusing) saves, and cannot imagine how it can be done even in coop. It would be nice to have some videos on AF from you, be it no-death insane runs, or just boss walkthrough, or secret area tour, or just a co-op playthrough. BTW I was much impressed by AF level 13 that is a "remix" of D1 level 19! Nice work!
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Marvin » Fri May 19, 2017 3:51 am

I enjoyed that level 16 run, thanks for posting it Sirius!
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sat May 20, 2017 2:12 pm

At last i played this level myself, and did it (without skipping anything)! It required maybe 20 attempts and I finished with 1 HP, lost most at the end (which I did not learned) and on the boss + some stupid mistakes of course, because it was the first time I got to the yellow key. I can say, with enough skill, and good knowledge of the level, it is not so hard as I thought. If I would compare it with D1 level 23 for example, which took me approx the same number of attempts, D1 level requires good strategy and some luck, D2 level requires good knowledge of the level and skills (dodging and shooting accuracy). So for one with great skills (Sirius) it should be easier.
Edit : did D2 level 12 cold start, it is much easier than 16 (except the boss which is harder, but not that much), although long. If you do it correctly (as you have enough invulnerabilities and cloaks for difficult parts). So probably I will change my opinion on D2 vs D1 difficulty, need to try L 21,22 now.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Mon May 22, 2017 2:17 pm

Did level 22 of D2, one of the hard ones, a demo here :
https://www.sendspace.com/file/9nfxh1
not very lucky run, every robot behaved in wrong way, too many spawns, did many mistakes etc, but still I did it, killing 100% robots even in difficult traps.
well, have to agree it is easier than D1 L11 and 19, still. Seems I will eventually prove myself that I was wrong about D1 vs D2 difficulty...
Will try to do 20,21 later.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Tue May 23, 2017 1:27 am

Took a couple shots at level 12 earlier but will need more time with it - the weapons you start with are weaker and you can't really pin down the legions of merc-flinging robots that easily. I believe it can be done still, since I at least got to the energy center and that's the worst stretch as far as I can see. It'll just take patience and strategizing :)
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue May 23, 2017 5:21 am

At last did L21, it seems to be the hardest one of D2. Comparable with D1 L19, L11, maybe even harder The run was not perfect, some waste of time + stupid mistakes at the end as usual but I survived. Seems this is the only viable strategy to complete it, I borrowed much from Calmarius run (although cleared all the traps also). It was long because I tried to be on the safe side when possible.
https://www.sendspace.com/file/4n0nz6
Did a good L20 attempt,
https://www.sendspace.com/file/fmjgcp
Unfortunately demo recording stopped after I exited secret level (is it a glitch?), when invulnerable and ready to fight the boss. And I forgot to press record again. So lost my attention a bit and died at the same time with the boss. Strategy for the boss appeared to be simple - you can kill it with helix when invulnerable. If you cannot find him quickly, use cloaks (which are abundant) to unload a volley of helix and change position. I did not liked Calmarius approach with shooting Phoenix from the red door, too boring. I do not like to replay it, the level itself is rather easy but long (as you cannot fight the boss if you did not uncover most of the secret level too), and boss fight is basically all about good RNG seed.
About L12, with wise use of invuln and cloaks energy center can be reached with ease (invuln behind the guide bot helps to reach it 9 of 10 times). Otherwise seems next to impossible. The level is mostly about using powerups and strategy and not so much about skill (but again need good RNG at the boss). Maybe will record it later, but I feel a bit discouraged because still die at the boss too often. But maybe it can be useful because I improved Calmarius strategy fot this level a lot and eliminated nearly all risks except the boss.
Edit : today I recorded a demo of D2 level 12. A bit more robot slaughter-fest, very good run... BTW I encountered strange boss glitch (playing rebirth 0.58.1), it simply refused to teleport (i.e cloaked and uncloaked at the same spot always). When I restarted the game (i. e exited it, not just restarted the level) it was ok. Maybe the boss decided to help me to record a successful run :) However it was not so easy too, once it cornered and killed me in my camping place.
https://www.sendspace.com/file/3x995w
So - my verdict on D1 vs D2 (on insane cold start) - a draw. Each is hard in it's own way. Each is a fun to play. However, thief bot was definitely a bad idea in D2... Some bosses too.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Wed May 24, 2017 8:43 am

AlexanderBorisov wrote:About L12, with wise use of invuln and cloaks energy center can be reached with ease (invuln behind the guide bot helps to reach it 9 of 10 times). Otherwise seems next to impossible.
...oh. LOL. :lol: I forgot that was there... getting to the energy center without it is incredibly painful, as I suspect you can imagine.
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AlexanderBorisov
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Fri May 26, 2017 4:55 am

Decided to post my (new) successful run of L16 here, this time without annoying ★■◆●-ups. Otherwise I will be to lazy to replay it later. I forget the levels too quickly.
https://www.sendspace.com/file/ef9a88
Still was not very easy for me, needed around 10 attempts to record this.
BTW maybe we need to have a special place at the forum where good walk-throughs,can be placed,so different people can look at them, compare, learn tricks to complete the level or get particular secrets, etc. In fact there are very few good runs on the Web (especially cold starts and on Insane difficulty), so it could be very useful. BTW which format do you thing is better, Descent demo or video? For me it seems .dem is better because it weights less and has much better quality when played, but it could be different for others.
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Re: Ok, Descent 2 is officially easier than 1 on Ace.

Post by Sirius » Wed May 31, 2017 9:41 am

I was supposed to reply to this when I had time and then forgot :oops:
It's a tradeoff. .dem files are easier to produce, and work better for slow connections because they're relatively small and very small when compressed. They also have better picture quality on slower (below 5-10 Mbps) connections, and subtly better even on fast connections since video compression is usually lossy. I think there are some subtle things that don't reproduce correctly in them like the missile lock sound, but they don't get in the way much.

Videos are easier to consume except on slow connections. You don't need the game to play them, so you can watch them on a phone if you want; they're less hassle to start up since you don't need all the file management (make sure you have the level, download the demo, start the game, find the right file in the demo list again); and there are better publishing resources since video is so common across the internet - most video sites are searchable, and usually don't remove old content, while file-sharing sites often do. However, they also take forever to upload unless you sacrifice picture quality.
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