I guess it’s time to show my love for one of the more cult oriented first-person shooters, Marathon. I will admit, I never heard of this game when I was younger and I like to say that I was fairly well known when it comes to naming ’90s first person shooters whether they’re a popular one or they were more cult like. I literally discovered Marathon because of Halo since it is made by Bungie. I played the second game because I remembered I wanted to play a single player driven first-person shooter before Halo: Reach came out. I thought about trying out Marathon because I didn’t know Bungie made a Doom-like first-person shooter. I’m a fan of Doom and Bungie, so why not try it?
I could’ve gotten the trilogy for free because you can actually download it on your PC since Bungie decided to let people download them for free instead of finding physical copies. I guess it’s because these games are very old, not really well known, and they can end up being very pricey if one wants to play and experience it for the first time. However, I decided to buy the only Xbox 360 port of Marathon 2: Durandal called Marathon: Durandal. You may thinking to yourself, why didn’t they port the first game instead of the sequel? According to, Freeverse, the developers who ported the game to the Xbox 360 version, they thought it was the best one out of the trilogy and they could only ported one game out of the three.
I thought about getting it on my Xbox 360 because I wanted a new Xbox 360 game to play and yup, decided to spent $10 on a port of Marathon 2 from the Xbox Live Arcade. I do remember there were some controversy with the whole idea you can get the entire trilogy versus getting one Marathon 2 port with the cost of $10 on Xbox Live Arcade, I don’t regret it at all. The port that Freeverse done was amazing and it’s possibly one of the best PC to Xbox 360 ports I’ve played and I feel like it’s a must buy if you’re a huge Marathon fan and you also play on your Xbox 360 a lot.
Looks can be deceiving. I was hoping this game would play like Doom after playing the demo and just looking at its screenshot, but it’s actually a lot more sophisticated and advanced than Doom since there’s emphasis on story and objectives. Not only that, the level design is much more maze like where the player will have to rely on their map significantly more than what Doom did. The gunplay is similar to Doom where it’s action packed, but I wouldn’t say it’s the similar since the enemies on higher difficulty are designed differently than what Doom does.
I won’t lie. When I first played Marathon: Durandal, it was both fun and a frustrating experience. I was having fun with the style of this game and it just felt so different and unique compared to the shooters at that time, but it was also a game I was getting lost a lot and it’s a fairly trial and error friendly game too which can definitely be annoying for a first comer who’s trying to enjoy the game with not a lot of context of its background.
However, the more I played this game, the more I learned to like its design. I like how it’s not a game you can enjoy it right off the bat. You need to spend time with it and then you’ll see its true colors. I just simply loved the game even more the more I played it, and eventually I wanted to play the entire trilogy. It’s really one of those things that’s hard to explain, but if you play it, you’ll get it.
I absolutely think the Marathon trilogy was ahead of its time for doing so many things that a lot of early first-person shooters didn’t do. The emphasis on story, the secondary function of weapons, the interesting tricks like grenade climbing or rocket jumping. The game just also played differently than what other games was like. Just like many great first-person shooters, it was also fun to play and the level design was solid overall.
I won’t lie. I personally think the game hasn’t aged as well compared to Doom or Quake, but I still have a soft spot for this series for just being so different and unique and I personally believe we need more games like this in today’s first-person shooters. It was definitely awesome to play another series that isn’t Halo where Bungie managed to create a series that is just as good as Halo.
There has been rumors that a reboot could happen, and I don’t know how I feel since Marathon has such a cult following and it just doesn’t seem to be a game that people will remember as much from the ’90s compared to other games. However, I do want to play a new Bungie game I can actually enjoy because I didn’t find Destiny too appealing. I personally think it would be better to just release a remastered version with reasonable pricing and some new content if they want to expand its fan base. I would love to have the entire trilogy on my Xbox One. Realistically, I think the Marathon saga is over, but it shouldn’t be forgotten.
If you want to play the entire trilogy, here you go: https://alephone.lhowon.org/