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Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" post)
Posted By: XyzzySqrlDate: 7/29/14 11:51 p.m.

Back in 2004 I bought myself a copy of the Bungie Mac Action Sack, a collection of all the Macintosh-only Bungie games. I did this so I could yoink the Marathon series off it and play it on my PC under the excellent Aleph One source port. (Nowadays the Marathon series is free to everyone, yay.) I finished Marathon 1, made some progress in the second, and never could figure the third out.

Recently, after enjoying the Destiny beta, I loaded up Marathon 1 again and pushed through it, went on to 2, and today at 2 AM finished up Infinity for the first time. I played on "Normal", with crosshairs, and did not do the Vidmaster secrets as I am not any kind of FPS wizard, but I feel a great sense of joy at having finished these up (arguably) at least. Some thoughts on the games...

Marathon: This may actually be my favorite of the trilogy. The level design is... charmingly abstract, even minimalist at times, but that gives it a very clean and uncluttered feeling with a strong level flow. I spent very little time wondering where to go or what to do, when I got jammed it was always because I needed to either read the terminals more carefully or because a difficult fight was roadblocking me. I never mastered grenade jumping in this first installment, although I did pull off a rocket jump to find the hidden Bungie Credits terminal in the last level. Proud of that.

Favorite Marathon Levels: 'Pfhor Your Eyes Only' or 'The Rose'. Both are energetic slaughterfests, but I really like the Pfhor ship aesthetics. Very bright and colorful. The Rose, meanwhile, features plenty of wandering Bobs to blow up ... uhm, "valiantly fail to rescue", not to mention a bunch of big big dudes to blow ammo into.

Least Favorite Marathon Levels: 'Neither High Nor Low' or 'Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones'. Defense Drones turned into a frantic sprint away from everything in a mad search for a health dispenser, with multiple deaths at the start of the level dropping me back to the previous one. High Nor Low ended up kind of a slog, but I think the main issue there is being a lackluster level sandwiched between two I really loved. Oh well.

Marathon 2: Colors! Colors! Colors EVERYWHERE. And so much water! And so much lava! And so many cyborgs! The huge sprawling non-linearity of the maps is both a positive and a negative. A plus because it encourages exploration and discovery and MORE FUN. A negative because I get so bloody looooost...
This is where I learned the basics of grenade jumping in a frantic bid to keep myself topped up on ammo. It's also practically an aquanaut's holiday as more than anything my memories of this game are of splashing through pools and swimming in big sweeping circles around the maps. That tapered off towards the end. I missed it, but did not mourn.

Favorite Marathon 2 Levels: 'Bob's Big Date' had a wave pool of variable heights that delighted me endlessly. Up and down, up and down, all level long. Hilarious and wonderful. The trilogy of 'If I Had A Rocket Launcher', 'Sorry Don't Make It So', and 'For Carnage Apply Within' was a three-hit combo of swarming aliens all jumping up to get beat down. Great stuff.

Least Favorite Marathon 2 Levels: '6000 Feet Under' isn't so much a bad level as just aggressively unclear and undirected. Lots of walking up and down lofty ledges trying to figure out where the stuff below you connects and whether you've been there before. 'Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angry' reminds me of Doom 2's 'Tricks and Traps' and 'Dead Simple' slammed together: A series of rooms that all stomp on your tenderest parts combined with "figure it out FAST or DIE" moments. A little wearing after that aformentioned great-level trilogy... I wonder if this were moved somewhere else in the level order if I'd have liked it more.

Marathon Infinity: Hoo boy. Somebody got AMBITIOUS. A constant shake-up of "Who do I shoot? Who's on my side? Where do I go now? What's happening?" that... I really can't fault them for trying. The sheer size of the maps meant I spent more time per-level on any given level than I did in any of the past games.

Favorite Infinity Levels: 'Where Some Rarely Go'/'Thing What Kicks' are two parts of the same complex, and they're both fun to explore, fun to shoot through, fun to poke around in. Lots of great Pfhor politics on the terminals too, that was good. 'Eat The Path' was the best of the more abstract, dreamy-style levels. It surprised me that 'You're Gonna Die Big Time!' and 'Aye Mak Sicur' may be the best and most fun levels of the trilogy, both being icons of the "slaughter everything" and "explore everywhere" styles the games do so well. As those are the last two levels (that I played), the series really went out on a high note.

Least Favorite Everything Ever: I am like 90% sure that the 'ACME Station'/'Post Naval Trauma' level duo is where bad people go when they die. Ahahaha you need oxygen to live? Oxygen's for losers! Who told you you needed oxygen, huh? Some loser, who's tryin' to make you feel small. Breathe in space, Batman.

And then PNT -did- let me find a dispenser, but also let me wander in an aimless loop for like three hours going "Uh... exit? Exit? No, that terminal text tells me do something I've already done. No, THIS terminal text refers to stuff BEFORE the previous objective. No, thi-- THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE EXIT! I KNOW IT! ... it's just a secret room. There's nothing in there." At that point my memory grows hazy, all I remember is walking in huge swooping circles chanting "There was nothing there. There was nothing there. There was nothing there." I'm still not sure how I got out of that level.

So you would THINK, having played through all that, I'd be finished. ... Well there's still fan scenarios to play, aren't there? And Destiny isn't out yet.

So it's on to fan scenarios!

I suppose for sure I'm playing the six listed on the Aleph One page. So my current play order at a glance is:

Tempus Irae
EVIL
Eternal
Rubicon X
Phoenix
Red

...Should there be more? Should I shuffle those around? I'm gladly taking advice.

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Replies:

Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" post)XyzzySqrl 7/29/14 11:51 p.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posukimalefu 7/30/14 1:18 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/30/14 2:09 a.m.
                 Re: ExcaliburDocument 7/30/14 10:56 a.m.
                       Re: ExcaliburMartin 7/30/14 1:15 p.m.
                             Re: ExcaliburDocument 7/30/14 2:09 p.m.
                                   Re: ExcaliburMartin 7/31/14 3:22 a.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" pospoena.dare 7/30/14 2:05 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/30/14 2:07 a.m.
                 Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" pospoena.dare 7/30/14 4:24 a.m.
                       Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/30/14 4:42 a.m.
                       Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posMatt 7/30/14 8:32 a.m.
                             Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posGodot 7/30/14 8:47 a.m.
                             Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posCody Miller 7/30/14 11:51 a.m.
                                   Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posMatt 7/31/14 8:07 a.m.
                                         Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posGodot 7/31/14 8:36 a.m.
                                               Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/31/14 9:02 a.m.
                                               Re: Tom CruiseDocument 7/31/14 5:40 p.m.
                                               Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posNarcogen 7/31/14 7:11 p.m.
                                                     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posMatt 7/31/14 9:10 p.m.
                                                           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" pospoena.dare 8/1/14 2:09 a.m.
                                                           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posNarcogen 8/1/14 3:03 a.m.
                                                                 Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posVikingBoyBilly 8/1/14 3:22 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posNarcogen 7/30/14 9:59 p.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posHokuto 7/30/14 7:14 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/30/14 8:24 a.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posDocument 7/30/14 10:53 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 7/31/14 2:47 a.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posVikingBoyBilly 7/31/14 4:04 a.m.
     Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posSimon Araque 8/1/14 5:57 a.m.
           Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posXyzzySqrl 8/1/14 7:19 a.m.
                 Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posDispatcher 8/1/14 3:09 p.m.
                 Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posPerseusSpartacus 8/2/14 9:30 a.m.
                       Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posukimalefu 8/2/14 1:04 p.m.
                             Re: Ten Years Later (an "I finished Marathon!" posDispatcher 8/3/14 5:06 a.m.

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