https://www.sendspace.com/file/im2mzq Alpha download. Should work with either vanilla DOS Descent II, D2X-Rebirth, or D2X-Retro. Will not work with D2X-XL.
After playing both Descent games through again on DOS recently, I felt like doing a subtle gameplay mod using HAXMEDIT. The purpose of this mod is to alter various aspects of game behavior to encourage more dynamic, aggressive tactics, giving the player more latitude to charge headlong into a situation and go ham (heh) on the enemies rather than playing hide-and-seek. The overall difficulty of the game is a bit reduced but I think the feeling of being able to charge into a nest of Drillers, dodge their fire by dancing around wildly, and feel like an absolute boss makes up for it. Of course if you find it too easy you could just play on Insane where almost no concessions are given to the player.
* Restored Descent 1 fusion strength
* Flares no longer cost energy. Fire off as many as you want!
* Restored Descent 1 robot sounds (should have used Xfing's patch as a base, this is less comprehensive and stomps on some multiplayer sounds)
* Altered robot versions of player weapons to match the sounds and effects of those player weapons
* Added tracer effects to the vulcan and gauss cannon, both player and robot
* Vulcan damage increased 50% from 4 to 6 per shot
* Added a robot vulcan to the Class 1 Driller that scales with difficulty. On most skill levels, the vulcan shots do less damage and travel slower than the player's, and can be seen in flight due to the tracers. Dodging them is tough but it can be done and feels great to pull off. On Insane they are actually buffed slightly to match the changes to the player vulcan!
* Added a robot fusion to the Fusion Hulk, doing 20/30/40/50/60 damage depending on difficulty level. Below Insane, shots move more slowly than the player's fusion.
* Added robot level 2 (purple) lasers for Class 1 Platforms. Gameplay-wise they are currently identical to other robot lasers (but see below)
* Red hulk health reduced from 325 to 175
* Buff lasers back to D1 level and super lasers further than that, similar to Xfing's Descent 1.5
* Buff spreadfire to match D1
* Reduce E-Bandit health from 200 to 110 to allow for fusion one-shots
* Greatly increase PTMC Defense Prototype rate of fire to match briefing description and "Medium/High" threat rating
* Buff robot gauss and/or Bulk Destroyers on lower skill levels, making them a real threat rather than a minor annoyance. With the tracers they've gone from minor annoyance to downright pitiful and they need a buff badly.
* Make the phoenix cannon not suck somehow (???)
* Slow down robot homing missiles on Hotshot and below, to allow for missiles to be dodged in the manner one might avoid a revenant missile in Doom. Ace and Insane stats will stay the same.
* Remove super cheap exploits I temporarily added to a couple of bosses because I was tired of dealing with them (heheh)
* Totally redesign the gauss into a D3 mass driver-like sniper weapon. May not be practical with the limits of .HAM, robot AI (unless I can put a delay before a Bulk Destroyer opens fire, they would be able to chop off a huge chunk of shields instantly upon seeing you) and the default assets.
* Rebuild HAM using Xfing's sound patch as a new base
* Increase player turn rate for more fluid control with the mouse (may be too cheesy?)
* Double gauss ammo consumption (kind of plays havoc with maps heavy on Diamond Claws and E-Bandits)
* Give Lou Guards smart missiles to differentiate them from red hulks
* Buff most robot lasers according to laser level, becoming faster and more powerful as level increases. PIGs and PTMC Defense Prototypes would become significantly more dangerous.
Kind of a shame there are no ZDoom-style ports for Descent because I'd love to throw out much of the Descent II arsenal and replace them with entirely new weapons, and make the mod cross-compatible with Descent 1 (which, to my knowledge, cannot be modded at all beyond simple level sets).