"Thank god it's you!" It's safe to say everyone in their dog is familiar with Halo. It's in a strange spot at the moment. Infinite has clearly gone through a few tumble dryers of iteration during development and after years of "maybe's" it looks like some TV producers might have actually gone through some tumble dryers. If you haven't seen it, words really can't describe the Halo show. You know how in some settings a vampire can create, like, a lesser ghoul. Halo the show is like a ghoul spawned by the CW. So I've had Halo on the brain, but it's also a pretty good time to look back.
Bungie made some interesting games before kicking off the green man saga, but none tied directly into Halo to the insane degree that Marathon does. There are endless callbacks to it throughout all the Bungie games, and the Marathon itself is full of elements that would be reused for Halo. I'm not going to go over a ton of comparisons, since that'd be a project in itself, and the story of Marathon alone is a much more fascinating iceberg. I do want to point out the big one: the Marathon logo. See in Halo it's more often known as the Reclaimer Glyph. It's a symbol for humanity used by the Forerunners and you can find it all over their stuff . . . except you can actually trip over the thing everywhere,
and it's not just on stuff because sometimes the level itself can form it. It becomes more clear when you have the correct angle. Once you notice this you start suspecting it's every circular area. You might even start to double take at stuff that you think you see it on there. Put simply it's a brain poison that makes you start seeing things and wondering if they mean anything. This is very in the spirit of Marathon, but it's also gotten more elusive. By the time Reach came out the symbol is starting to cause some rights issues with Microsoft. There are still some around but
much more obscure. In the days of the Master Chief Collection they've been scrubbed out even more. A lot of the more prominent ones remain though and some may have just been removed by accident. The symbol is too damn prominent for them to remove it completely, but there's now the 343 Reclaimer Glyph. Even in the show they can't escape it. Truth is the game was rigged from the start. What could the symbol mean? I'll come back to that. The story of Marathon has at least three layers to it.
I'll go through things how I normally do and I'll let you know before things start getting weird. So where do you get Marathon? Well I have great news - the entire trilogy is completely free. So let me tell you about Aleph One. Put simply, this is the best way to play the Marathon Trilogy and it's completely free, unlike some other games from the time Marathon had some trouble surviving the ages. Unlike most of the shooters that people know and love marathon was made for the Macintosh. It was then ported to a console that nobody gave a [ __ ] about and later the iPad. I'm not even sure if that one counts because it was also based off Aleph One. This is the
unofficial port for all platforms based off the Marathon 2 source code that Bungie put out for free. There are some tiny gameplay quirks compared to the original game but not a lot really worth going over. As for big changes, to start off with the game can now be played in widescreen. You were still locked down to 30 fps until 2021 when you could finally bump things up. This same update let you bind weapons to number keys, so compared to its neighbors this is where Marathon has been at.
Now Marathon does have keyboard aiming but even at release it's supported mouse look. Actually to make that more accurate it basically invented it. Marathon is credited as the very first game to let you freely look around in a 3D environment using your mouse.
It's impressive stuff, but the first time is rarely the best. There has been years of additional work on it and even a setting for a modern mouse feel, but it still feels clunky and awkward. Not so much the restriction of movement, but the sensitivity is never quite right. It's still leaps and bounds above where it was before, and having it all is welcome. Speaking of welcome Marathon had an auto map system and it filled your entire screen. You could still move while using it and be
shot while using it. For reasons I'll soon get into, playing Marathon can mean seeing a lot of this map. You could leave that just how it was, but there's now an option for an overlay. This by itself can greatly cut down some of the worst parts of playing this game for the first time. It's not like you want it on all the time anyways, since that's a good way to get distracted and die. There's plenty of other pathways into darkness to follow already, so let me get started. Not a lot to go off here and starting a new game isn't much better. This long before Bungie's famed cutscenes.
Goodbye, King. The real opening is two and a half pages in the manual, which isn't completely necessary, but does give some extra context. You're aboard a shuttle rendezvousing with the starship Marathon when a mischief maker named Durandal begins causing some trouble. Durandal is one of three AIs aboard the Marathon and has currently lost his mind or as they call it in the biz - going rampant. The Marathon itself is a colony ship that was sent to Tau Ceti. Rather than a few weeks or even a few years, the journey took over three centuries. Things have mainly been smooth since the colony was established seven years ago, but now things have taken a turn. There are some possibilities in how Durandal has gone rampant, but it probably
has something to do with the alien vessel that's attacking the Marathon and colony. As for qualifications you work security and have always been the colony's problem solver. This whole situation seems strangely familiar to you, but you've always had an active imagination.
Besides your father said to make him proud and never lose your honor - and he died when you were only seven. The aliens are called the Phfor (FOUR) and rather than being one species they're a conglomerate of them. It's not clear how they function yet, but they appear to have some kind of racial hierarchy with some species being more rare and deadly than others. You can easily get through this game taking in nothing more and then shoot all the aliens, or grab a SPNKR rocket launcher and blow up the aliens. The actual plot is mostly told you through terminals. Typically you'll do
what a first terminal tells you to, then find the exit terminal to move to the next mission. This is the fun surface part of Marathon that you could play and enjoy like any other retro shooter. I'll save anything beneath this for its own spoilered section. Okay then, let's get into the visuals. If I had to describe it in a word, it would be "clean". Marathon's . . . "Marathon" is a very stark metal environment. If it weren't for the glimpses of space it'd be easy to forget you're supposed to be on a ship at all and not just running around some kind of Cube death maze. Though that sense
might come more from the level design itself. You do get to board a Pfhor vessel which uses unusual shades of purple and has a more organic feel of things. I was going to say it's a dark and strange place compared to the human vessel, but there's plenty of dark and strange places there too. It's tricky to see any hard rules there can be between the environments. Like I want to say "oh
human areas are very rigid and rectangular and maybe this room has a purpose. Whereas the Pfhor live in a winding anthill ship, But sometimes you can figure things out." But then the Marathon has fluorescent light torture rooms and lava rivers so, [ __ ] it. It's all a maze, but sometimes it looks like a room can have a purpose. The game can have large areas and even rooms on top of rooms. Marathon didn't have a true 3D engine - there's some interdimensional trickery going on to make it work, but it's incredibly impressive. All of the textures have lots of color and detail
to them and the way the game plays around with its limited use of light is a lot of fun. It's another one of those times where it's hard to describe the experience in words. It's like you have all these enemy types with bright color variations and they look cartoony, but in a stylistic way that's very appealing to the eyes. It has that Build engine kind of charm to it but it does set itself apart.
I'm not Civvie, or any kind of expert, so I can't put my finger on what exactly makes it look so distinct. My instincts keep yelling at me there's something unsettling about how the game looks, but I think that's some other factors coming into play. For one, like many of Bungie's later games it's hard to separate out the visuals from the music. Some of the tunes are more simplistic loops
but there's a good variety of it. At worst the music can be generic and that's still not bad. They're fine, but what I usually think of over them is the more ethereal, ghostly music. A lot of it is synth music, but notes will be reversed to repurposed and unusual ways. Even when it's more triumphant, it gives the game a more haunting atmosphere.
Marathon may have been where Bungie discovered that you can elevate a really mediocre level with good music. There are still companies who don't understand how much a great soundtrack could add points onto your game. Here, without voice acting in cutscenes, the music is usually dropped when you first read the mission's briefing. For example, when you first hear this track it's right when you find out that Durandal has gone rampant. In game it'll loop throughout
the level and keep looping when you read a new terminal that tells you about the solar system wars and how spaceships are made in this setting. Even with the music hissy and compressed to hell, combined with the great writing the act of just playing the game is elevated. Because you care about what's happening. You enjoy that music while you can too, since the next two Marathon games don't even try to compete. Now unlike those two things the sound design is very stock.
A Pfhor trooper's war cry sounds like a Looney Tunes character coming to a screeching halt. It's serviceable so not a lot worth talking about. Music is the standout. You could argue that ins7ead of course nothing compared to the gameplay, which has a lot going for it. It's sometimes hard to keep up with Marathon's running theme of innovation.
Marathon is the outright first for a lot of mechanics that other games usually get credit for, though to be fair most of them get the credit or were popularized from them for a reason. Marathon's arsenal includes a revolver, an energy pistol, an assault rifle that has horrible spread, and your trusty fisting method. Nothing in the way of shotguns until Marathon 2 where they'll make one hell of an entrance. Your more exotic weapons include a rocket launcher, an alien machine gun, and a flamethrower. Out of all of these the weapon that throws napalm definitely gives the best feedback.
This by itself is an okay arsenal with some redundancy. I mean your revolver is decent but it's no Combat Evolved pistol. So to offset this, you can dual wield. This is sort of the
first FPS to let you use guns like this and I say sort of because Rise of the Triad also did it and it came out the exact same day. Anyhow this is technically the secondary fire option for the magnum. You have two other weapons that get this option: the energy pistol can fire an overcharged shot and the assault rifle can fire grenades. The game has some floaty physics and while you're not able to actually jump you can grenade hop up to a ledge that you couldn't reach otherwise you can also pull off a rocket jump, and some secrets require you to be able to do this. So while the alternate fire options are limited it opens up some new possibilities. A smaller arsenal can feel bigger and a single weapon can give you more flexibility in a fight. What's especially interesting is what mechanic they stacked on top of this. Not only can one
weapon require multiple ammo types, but it also needs reloading. How it's implemented here is . . . interesting. Now we all know what reloading is, I know I'm not talking to jellyfish. Like any game it makes you be more tactical in your approach, if you're not paying attention you can be stuck reloading when you don't want to be or when you really don't want to be. In the moment you could switch to another weapon when your ammo is low to avoid the reload or plan ahead and make sure your magazines are full. Some games will punish you by having you lose a magazine if you manually reload or you have to keep track of mags which are only partially filled with ammo. Marathon avoids both these problems by having no manual reload.
Well . . . you can do this. This is not the ideal solution. Besides the obvious of losing a few bullets, the sound of gunfire will actually attract enemies to your location. There are sections with unalerted aliens that you can get the drop on. Nowadays it's honestly just a funny problem to have. Yeah no [ __ ] a reload button would make things easier, it's just such a standard feature now that it's hard to go back into the mindset of the pioneer days. Even after decades of fan
support you can't manually reload in Marathon. Besides the technical work behind it it also opens up two design questions. As it is you need to play slightly more tactically than its peers when fighting or carefully watching that ammo counter and sometimes it's a close call. But beyond that there are more factors to slow you down. For one the game can be a maze that a minotaur would be tired of and there are plenty of ambushes to go around. There are cloaked enemies and sometimes
fights that take place in near pitch darkness. These engagements can be especially cool because you're having to rely on your motion tracker. You're doing all of your regular ammo timings but now trying to predict where the enemy will end up. Some of these fights can become blacker chaos than Shadow the Hedgehog, so how you approach a dark room can be the difference between progress and going back a save. Also your motion tracker is an actual motion tracker and not just enemy radar.
If they're holding still, combined with your limited view range, this means there could be a surprise for you around every corner. This also isn't a shooter where you're picking up health and armor everywhere. This works great in fast-paced shooters but might not gel so well with the slower Marathon. Instead of health you have shields, and there are stations to recharge them across the map.
Some can give you an overshield, or even two layers of overshield. There can be precious few of these and not always in obvious places. You can enter a map wounded and fight for a while until you find one. There's no quick saving before a tricky looking fight either as Marathon uses save stations, which you'll also have to hunt down. It encourages you to proceed carefully and methodically. If you can
manually reload with a shared ammo pool, would it break that pacing? Should you just throw away mags or have partial mags? How would that be implemented? See just saying "add reload button" is easy. There are all kinds of video game problems that seem like they have obvious solutions, but they can have all sorts of consequences and challenges attached. Fixing a game problem is unclogging your toilet and then your microwave catches fire. So nobody has touched it. This is also operating
under the assumption that Marathon is this beautiful masterpiece of pacing and consistency. (Laughter) This game can be an absolute nightmare, and the difficulty setting can't help you. The level design can be so convoluted and awful. There are layers to the awfulness and one of them is that there are layers to the map. This was the era of mazes and there were some grating ones already, but adding multiple floors all to the same map reached new levels of hell even Doom couldn't grab. It is unreal how cramped some of these areas can be. I've played actual dungeon crawlers
from the time that don't box you in like Marathon does. The first mission of the game seems standard, but even the tail end of that one gives you a glimpse of the mazes to come. The controls can already be finicky and cramming you in a hallway isn't helping. It's especially funny here because you can see the regular map, and then the maze forming beneath it. A level can seem normal and then suddenly a maze runs out from behind a bush with a knife screaming/ It's gonna catch you. Maybe this hallway is a dead end and you wasted your time. Maybe it's a death
trap or maybe the truth of God is in this hallway. If you take too long we'll send the predator down there in a dumb waiter. Now if it was just this, it would be tedious but tolerable. So here's the extra layers they sprinkle in. Sometimes the objective is to explore every corner of a maze. You'll then need to find an area to be teleported out, but it won't tell you if you've explored all the maze that you need to, so you can find what you think is an exit but it won't work. So you go back through. When you did explore the map but you're at the wrong point, or you did find the right point but need to explore more. Both situations look exactly the same. You could have missed a teleporter. Some levels have teleporters in them. There's a single level called G4 sunbathing which uses your oxygen
meter. It's there the whole game that is for a single mission. Which areas have air and which don't remains cryptic. Besides the joys of not breathing most of your weapons will also not work in a vacuum. At least it's only one level . . . for now. The worst of all of these though are the switch puzzles. Somehow Marathon includes puzzles and platforming. Remember, you don't actually jump in
this game without grenades or rockets. With the help of the floaty physics of maybe Marathon's low gravity or something, you can slowfall glide jump. Uou can get to one of those switch platforming puzzles and think that you're doing something wrong. All of your instincts will scream that you should make a solid bridge and you're messing something up, but no, this is the answer.
It is a strange way of doing things that I've never gotten used to. The platform switches can have timers so long that again you think you're screwing up, but you just need to wait a long time. Sometimes the platforms go without a switch and you think you need to find one, but it's just an absurd wait. There are switches that manually control the height of platforms inch by inch so you need to guess how high the ledge you can step up is and how your float jump will go. Some appear simple and are and others appear simple but drive you nuts with frustration. You'll wonder if they are puzzles or if someone at Bungie is laughing. Be incredibly cautious but also
take leaps of faith into lava. Sometimes some are annoying, some are fine, but none of them - none of them - have taken years off my life like Colony Ship for Sale, Cheap. It may not look like much from the top, but this level alone stopped me replaying Marathon for years. It is such simple torture. This isn't the one. On first entering it, it's a lot of dark hallways but they're not too cramped.
This time it doesn't look like a maze mission, so you're thankful for that. There are two switches that move two platforms in some kind of chamber but there's no telling what the puzzle actually is, so you move on. The darkness continues and there are some crushing platform traps to avoid, but you keep going and find another switch room. It's very far from the first one. The button just makes when the platforms go up and down and you can stop it at any time.
Moving on there's a room of high end equipment and weapons that's literally impossible to get. You don't know it's impossible, but it is. After more travel and combat there is now a third switch room. Business as usual, a platform will go up or down. It's a brief way down from there but each of those levels requires a timed platform to get back up. You can finally enter the chamber and
see what you need to do. The pillars are adjusted to build a staircase up to the entryway in the top meaning you need to slowly climb all the way back up to a switch room and you need to be thinking ahead. Do you remember which switch and which room controlled which pillar? I hope you did or wrote it down, because it's a long way back up. You also need to remember the way back to each room. It didn't look like a maze before, but now you have to keep track of three near identical locations. You then have to adjust each pillar accounting for how you can possibly jump up in a game you can't jump. It has to count for the exact kind of tiny ledge that you can clamber over and the
only way to be sure you're doing it right is to go back down and check it. Then repeat the process for going back up and remembering where things are and just to make it worse there could be a door you have to turn around and shoot, a switch for or an auto timed platform, or just something to slow you down and not get too into the routine of moving around. Hopefully you've gotten rid of the Pfhor and triggered all the traps. You don't want to start over the puzzle do you? You don't want to fall into the void while building this physics breaking [ __ ]. At least it's not a maze. At least it's not a maze. Who is writing the Halo show? Maybe I am the minotaur. so you get done with that galactic dmv adventure and there's still
So you get done with that galactic DMV adventure and there's still a slow moving timed platform waiting for you. Just to remind you that you'll never fully escape. When I first played the crusty version of Marathon that I could, this is where I stopped. I wasn't broken by the world yet but some years passed and I was able to get back to it. Whenever I thought about maybe replaying it I'd think of Colony Ship for Sale, Cheap and then I wouldn't. It's not the most mind vortex of tedium I've played but if I'm playing a retro FPS and I'm thinking of Pathologic something's going very very wrong. It's not like the level takes hours or anything, but it's just unbelievable how much of a blatant time waste it is.
Maze level design can be fun, but this is where the mindset was at. The shortcomings here can overwrite some cool things, like you occasionally get allied NPCs who fight alongside you which is really cool for back then. But more often than not friendly characters get stuck in your way and you have to hope that a good knuckle sandwich will send them running. It's fine since the born on board humans or BOBs can't help you much anyways and some might be alien replicants. It's a hurdle to get over, but if you can tolerate it there is a really fun game here.
The actual act of shooting the Pfhor with a gun is satisfying and there's a good amount of enemy variety to keep things from getting too stale. On harder difficulties the aliens will hit harder and faster and more elite variants will spawn instead. If you bump it all the way up to Total Carnage it'll remove your max ammo capacity. This is one of those games that will starve more ammo out of you for the difficulty, so you're going to be needing it. Here the biggest letdown with the gunplay especially when you turn things up is how good the assault rifle is compared to anything else.
The bullets that can stun enemies down combined with the grenade launcher is too good of a combo to pass up. You find good amounts of ammo for it too, and while they do try to encourage you to switch things up on certain enemy types, it's not quite enough to keep switching things around. Beyond that when you're not lost the game can be engaging. Risk and exploration doesn't necessarily pay off because the map design is a madhouse, but the nice additions you'd expect like power-ups can be found if you're looking hard enough. You can also find terminals revealing more about the story but some might be corrupted nonsense like a security breach being overwritten by some nonsense about Rome and 117 soldiers and I don't know. While the plot is told entirely through terminals it's
fun to follow, you start off being guided by the AI Leela, one of the Marathon's three. She was responsible for crew relations and is the most helpful to you. In contrast to her Durandal was responsible for life support. Like Space Station 13 this mainly meant he was serving as a door jockey. The BOBs have to ask Durandal aloud to open a door for them because it saved the company 57% on their bulkhead doors. It's canonically possible that doing the stupid [ __ ] made him rampant. Man, I get it. There's also Tycho who managed Marathon's science and engineering.
Unfortunately one of the Pfhor races, the cyborgs known as the S'pht sort of devoured him over the internet at the start of the game. No need to worry about Tycho. Durandal remains a huge problem and taunts you throughout the game, sometimes saying he's sane and sometimes reveling in his derangement. He and Leela duke it out online and sometimes Durandal lets the Pfhor into areas for his own purposes, but he also has no love of the aliens. He has his own agenda, though with his corrupted brain
it's likely meaningless. AI rampancy has three distinct stages - the first one up is melancholia. Put simply the AI has realized the limits of its existence and is falling into deep despair. For example, maybe being hyper-intelligent but only opening doors. The next is anger where the intelligence is not putting up with it anymore and is now trying to shatter the boundaries down. This is followed by the jealous stage, which is a little strangely named. It's not so much coveting anyone, it's now just constantly challenging itself now that it's broken free from its shackles. In theory
they could become stable after going through all of this, but that never happens and they always break down. Durandal is doing cheerleading routines and counting down the end of the universe in the same letter. He seems firmly in the anger stage. He does take an interest in finding a scientist named Dr. Strauss but you never see him throughout the entire game. He was likely killed or enslaved by
the Pfhor during all the chaos, so the plot is mainly you bouncing between the whims of two separate AI and both of them want you stomping out aliens for their own directives. Marathon can be as simple as that. If you don't want spoilers for what's underneath all of this go to here: I'm gonna need to give you a brief history of Marathon's setting. Not only is the background story told entirely through terminals, but they're also out of order throughout the levels. Many important ones are found through secret areas and these can be incredibly obscure. For example there's
a level that gives you two chances to leave it and you ignore both to find a teleporter after, you know, some platform switching, and when you go through it it dumps you out in front of a random wall in a room you've been in before. You can't press a button on the door here to open it up at all or any button. Instead you go to a ledge on the other side of this large room and grenade hop up and then come right back down and then the door opens. These give a lot of insights, but
arguably the most important terminals can still easily be found in the main game. It's still too dense for me to cover every detail, especially when this isn't a lore video, but I'll do my best. By the time the Marathon actually launched our solar system was an economic nightmare. While it was colonized the priorities of Earth were number one. A promising colonial development were solar orbiters these were basically hollow gigantic, artificial asteroids. They were fitted with large solar sails and would spin around the system. When it passed by Earth it would be loaded
with cargo and when it passed by a colony planet it could be unloaded. They launched a few of these and it was exciting enough for colonization to boom and overexpand. The ships were horribly expensive, only lasted a century at most and even retrofitting them could take over a decade.
Locations like Mars became horribly overpopulated and destitute others broke off into independence. Two asteroid governments of Icarus and Thermopylae went to war with each other. Being so distant from the eyes of Earth they came up with new ways to wage war with a small population. They invented new horrors like battleroids. These were corpses reanimated and enhanced with cybernetics, you know same basic Universal Soldier rules, except here they were so effective the interplanetary UN had them regulated. You can't abra cadaver your soldiers back unless you're following interplanetary law. Just another normal day in the setting. A century goes on and Mars is facing new
levels of destitution. The Martian government is so poor that they sell the moon of Deimos to Earth. Development work on the moon begins. The decades go on and things only get worse. A Martian political party called MIDA takes the stage. What this is an acronym for I have no idea. It could be the
Martian Interests Defense Alliance or the Mars Interplanetary Dealings Accord or maybe it's something you yell before you hit off-worlders. It's all a mystery. Anyhow MIDA launches a coup but the government only lasts for about a quarter of a year, but during their rule managed to kill off 10% of the population. This was viewed as both brutal and strange. MIDA was known more for politicking and long complicated Machiavellian schemes, especially considering the Deimos project was nearly completed. Deimos had been hollowed out and became the Marathon. There were already a large group of Martians who wanted the Deimos turned into another cargo orbiter. The near finished Marathon could have been the key to solving many of their problems and failing that it's still a pretty good weapons platform. I mean it's a big spaceship built into solid rock. Not only did
they not prepare for the Earth counter-attack, they never set foot on the Marathon. So as the logs say - MIDA was completely wiped out and the organization banned. Marathon took off a few years later and things only got worse back home. During the game you and Leela managed to send a message back home warning about the Pfhor, though with how far away Tau Ceti is the message won't be received for another 92 years. This is the most you accomplish with Leela since Durandal takes over from here. The S'pht compilers overwhelm Leela and she vanishes. She wasn't with you long, you spend much more time with Durandal. Fun tidbit the real life Durandal is the sword of Roland though, sometimes spelled
with an 'a' instead of an 'e'. Similarly Curtana is a blade also known as the Sword of Mercy and one of the crown jewels of the United Kingdom. So Bungie did this again with Cortana, and again with Cor2na. Wait, no, 343 did that one . . . The compilers can't take down Durandal like they do Leela. Durandal's limits
are being broken down, and it becomes more clear that he's been rampant a long time now. A lot of what appeared to be ramblings from him are layered in meaning. He quotes some lines from the Song of Roland, but throws in a few of his own. "I've twice been conquered, three times more, never again shall
humanity purge me, and never Pfhor." It's not clear what exactly he means by being conquered before. Records of him before the Marathon launched have been deleted, but not by him. Someone else did it. If you dig around computers you find that Tycho was still alive. The S'pht have virtually reanimated him with higher levels of thinking. He says that he knows of Strauss's abuse and Durandal's shame on Mars. Strauss was that doctor that Durandal was trying to find. What was he covering up? Durandal doesn't remember but he pieced it together. The Marathon being a web
of tunnels still sucks to play, but if it's a giant flying termite colony it makes more sense. Shockingly the secret rooms filled with weapons and ammo, and the massive armory the ship has are a clue something else has been boiling. Durandal outright points out the hidden caches were placed there by Martian insurgents over three centuries ago. Who would hide huge amounts of ammunition in a storage area? Something happened beyond just opening doors to make Durandal this way. Tycho may have precious few terminals to read, but they give you the most on current events. You can read a log of an argument between them. Durandal asks "Can you blame me for what I did before I was free?
I was naïve, a child." Tycho is furious over all the people Durandal has killed. Tycho thinks he's no better than the humans, but it's not Durandal who's doing all the slaughtering - it's the Pfhor. You could put it together on your own, but there's a terminal where Durandal celebrates calling the Pfhor to the Tau Ceti colony. Interestingly he tells Tycho that he did this before he was free, meaning
he was either lying or genuinely didn't believe that he was rampant yet. So he called the aliens to enact some kind of revenge, right? Well after the compilers stop attacking Durandal, he starts talking to them. The S'pht may be part of the Pfhor but they're an enslaved race. They're controlled by a strange life form aboard the alien ship and Durandal sends you over there to take it out. By wiping out their controller, the S'pht are free and become your allies for the rest of the game. You and the compilers work together to fight the rest of the Pfhor across both ships, so Durandal isn't using the Pfhor to kill off the humans here. What is the end goal? You may not know yet but Tycho does. Tycho also makes sure to own zone him in Latin before laying it out. "As Roland broke you
to prevent your capture, so shall we. I too foresee the imminent collapse and know that we have both begun to realize how it may be cheated (though the price may number in the tens of thousands of stars) May the best sentience win." Are we getting into Dyson spheres again? Well now that we're teamed up, the compilers release Leela. She's also behind on what the plan could be. The truth is Durandal told you his goal very early on. Durandal is trying to escape the end of the universe. Durandal is a super intelligent, light speed thinking being. He looks at the end of existence in the same
way we look at our retirement plans. Durandal is very [ __ ] responsible and getting started early. Hijacking an advanced alien ship is a good way to get a head start, hence him sending you there to explore every inch so he could get it figured out. As a final blow his plan works perfectly. He and the compilers are leaving together on the alien vessel so he can gather knowledge across the universe. There's no stopping him because really, this is Durandal's game. Everything you do is to advance his story. Leela informs you that the Tau Ceti colony is almost completely fine. There were nine Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs living covertly among the population and they wiped out the aliens nearly single-handedly. The aliens are dead, your duty here is done, so the final mysteries are how did all this happen and who exactly are you. It's clear that Strauss
likely experimented on Durandal, but what he did is unknown. The doctor may have tried controlling him in an early rampancy stage, but why do that at all? There are two big hints here and one is very in your face. The more obscure one is Tycho has a log of Strauss attending a ceremony for the Marathon, gloating about how the president didn't know of its hidden cargo of ten cyborgs.
Was Strauss a member of MIDA? It's heavily implied, but just to be sure - over 20 years later -in Destiny 2 there's the MIDA mini-tool. "Strauss is gone I might be the last MIDA survivor on Mars. Cannot shake the fear that they will send battleroids." It is an Easter egg, but now it's outright screaming that he was. This opens another question of why someone from a Martian radical party would be on board the Marathon in doing all of this. This does nothing to help Mars or take revenge on Earth. The key to all of this is a terminal in the beginning of the game, and it's the nonsense one I showed you earlier. It's a big mashup of historical events but some are a secret history. It mentions some leaders and the second page is the key. "Both, however carried out reforms before their deaths which
slowly integrated their people secretly into world society, which are now scattered all over the globe to meet only once every seven years in southeast France. Must be chosen." The MIDA coup, the Marathon, it was all a front. The colonization of Tau Ceti is the end game for a secret society that's been plotting for centuries. The stashing of weapons and military cyborgs, the tampering of AI. Rather than salvage our old home, the powers that be are making a new world order on a new world. The plan has gone awry but the layers of conspiracy remain. As for you the combat situation felt familiar from
the start. Could this be VR training or programming or maybe memories buried deep in your dead brain. Durandal knows what your father said to you before he died. You've been following Durandal's orders. Only nine of the ten Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs were on the colony. Of course you're the final battleroid cyborg. This is "would you kindly" but pieced together through insane fragments. You are named in
the game only a single time. You are Mjolnir Recon Number 54. Doomguy. Ranger. Mjolnir Recon Number 54. I just call him Mjolnerd. You are being sent to stop an object labeled as "seven". That number comes up quite a bit. There is another layer of Marathon - this is the realm of ARGs and cryptic [ __ ] left up to interpretation. People will dig too far and too deep to find sevens.
The assault rifle has seven grenades and fifty two rounds and five plus two equals seven, Add this number and divide it and it's divisible by seven. Trying to find all the hidden meanings and sevens in marathon will put you on pathways into darkness. You will go on stretches that even Black Dynamite and his crew would think is too far. This isn't the kind of thing I want to lose
my mind over, this is still just an overview. There are great character moments and explorations of philosophy and science fiction concepts, all in service of a game that looks like this. Now about that logo. The simplest answer is that it represents the ship built inside of Deimos. It could represent the Omega Point where all of existence will combine into a single fragment and for Durandal that would make sense. It could just be a simple rotation of a computer search icon or an employee at Bungie just saw a CD on the floor and got the idea from that.
This symbol can mean everything or it can be completely meaningless. Ultimately this is how everything goes so deal with it how you see fit. Marathon tells an incredibly impressive story for its time and for now. Without a voice actor or without any character you can properly see. That is damn impressive for a video game. There's also some fun multiplayer. You can have a great time with Marathon but it has some frustrating elements that even the best of a port won't fix. It has lots of cool innovative features and a deep intriguing story, but if
you're looking for a good solid shooter from this time I could think of so many others I'd recommend over it. It is great to see how much an FPS could be even this early on, but a lot of the good gameplay ideas it has were expanded on and a lot of them not too late after this game came out. You could point to any gameplay element and someone else has done it better, some of them being done not too long after marathon came out and some of them being done by Bungie themselves. Still the game is free, so absolutely worth giving a try at that cost even with the low points the sum of its parts come together to make a memorable game. It has a distinct look and feel I haven't gotten from another series. It's worth a proper try but if you jumped out early I wouldn't blame you. It's been a labyrinth of dangers but things are back on track there are still two more Marathon games which I could cover next but things get denser I guess we'll see.
I ran a Patreon poll to see if I should do the trilogy at once and now I'm very glad that didn't happen. Marathon Infinity might kill me. "Do I prefer chases and jump scares in a horror game or being unsettled?" You can do both but I prefer unsettled. I think unsettled is usually more memorable but if you have the right setup or something strange a good jump scare can stick in there too. I don't mind streamer bait haunted house games, I guess you'd call them, some of them can get neat stuff but others can run out of steam fast. "Will I go through the Mass Effect games like I did Dead Space?" If I do it'll be a while off because I still haven't played the Legendary Edition. I heard it might have outright removed Pinnacle Station from the first game. Normally I'd hate
hearing news like that, but in this case I hope it's true. "Did Elden Ring take over my life?" As of the time of recording I actually haven't beaten it. I was already going through some longer RPGs and in the meanwhile I've been playing a bunch of smaller games instead of a gigantic one. I'll get back to it, it was just dangerous to play. "Why are the Fallen London developers making a romance
novel game?" Well I don't think it'll sell a ton, I think it'll make some of their hardcore fans very, very happy. I think they know that and I respect that. "Why don't we have more Berserk games?" Well my question is why don't we have a good animated follow-up to the Golden Age arc? They've adapted that twice now, and they'll probably do it a third. It's kind of unreal how influential that series is and how done dirty it's been on that front. Anyway to answer that I wish we did because even if the game is bad we usually get a good song or two out of it. It's funny because the dream would
be for FromSoft to make the game and adapt it but they've kind of already been doing that. "You get to nut shot one person in history who is it?" I mean there are a bunch of obvious bad people answers. I think the most chaotic answer would be finding Genghis Khan when he's like 10 or something and really just trebucheting into him. If he was rendered infertile from that the world we know might be unrecognizable. I think about that kind of thing more than the obvious "go get Hitler" answers. "Do I like fishing and if so what kind of fish and environment is my favorite?" I haven't been fishing in a long time, but I used to do it at a lake. Catfish were fun to reel in and toss back out, but eventually I kept catching Asian snakehead fish.
I stopped fishing.