(Subtitled, A Marathon Review)
After relentless weeks of constant frustration, I've finished all three games.
First thing that needs to be said: Yes, it's better than Halo. All the stuff that makes this game makes this game; it's the first game to include Mouse Look (You can look all directions, up, down, left, right, unlike Wolfenstein, which although does have mouse look before Marathon existed, it's not the first game to include because you can only look left and right), the first game also before COD to include a weapon with two functions (The MA-75 and the S'pht MA-75B is a Automatic Machine gun that comes with a built-in Grenade Launcher), it has an intricate plot that doesn't have cliche elements, wonderful characters (especially Durandal and the Security Officer, who's past is the freakiest I've ever read through the terminals), features that are innovative and have so much to offer, and most of all, the privilege to experience the wonders of orbital bombardment aka fun.
Secondly, I had no actual expectations at first when I got Marathon. But when I heard it was better than Halo, which I mentioned previously that it was, I had to try Marathon out. I thought at first that I never knew Marathon since I 'discovered' it, but it turns out that I knew about this game for...about...4 years. I think it was through finding out some information about Halo 3's armor permutation, among them being the Security Officer variant, which was actually based on the Security Officer's Mjolnir Mark IV suit.
Third, I also found out that more than the Marathon logo was put into Halo; the simulacrums may have been the basis for the suicide Grunts that run to you in Halo 3 and Reach. Simulacrums do that too. The Hunters in the game had a cannon and a shield that reminded me of the shield that Halo's Hunters had for defense, and a quote, "THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!" was put into Halo as well. Oh, and let's not forget the origin of Master Chief's ID number. 117x7=819, which refer to the initials H (The 8th letter in the alphabet) and S (The 19th letter in the alphabet.) The initials stand for Hamish Sinclair, a guy who did a whole lot for the Marathon community, and was given tribute in a secret level in the first game called, 'Hats off to Eight Nineteen'.
This review is a bit clumsy, so I'll get to the chase: the trilogy basically is about a Cyborg who finds out that the UESC (Unified Earth Space Council) Marathon and ends up fighting against aliens, which all changes when Durandal gets him to do what he wants. And then, Tycho comes in by M2:D and by M3:I, he forces him to kill humans known as BOBs (Born on Board. On the bright side, BOBs are fun to kill.) The plot gets twisted and becomes disturbing all thanks to Tycho, Leela, and Durandal.
I'll try not to spoil anything other than that. Now let's start with the cons of the game before I get to the pros:
-Physics. Seriously. I had a problem with Physics in Reach, right until I finally learned how to drive a warthog and not let it flip over upon landing. Now I'm having a problem just moving around in this game. YOU BOUNCE LIKE A BALL. You can't die from high places but YOU BOUNCE LIKE A BALL.
-While I was playing, I had trouble getting through some places because friendly NPCs wouldn't move out of the way. So what did I do? Shoot them. Sometimes, I end up dying because some are armed. This problem is more apparent in the first Marathon game.
-Now someone mentioned from GameSpot I think: No reload button. I purposely have to waste my magazine to reload because there's little left for me to use. I end up reloading at the wrong time because there are enemies surrounding me and I also end up getting cornered and not being able to get out. So I agree with that reviewer.
Now with the Pros:
-By Marathon 2, Bungie no longer composes music for the game. One reason I know is that they did it to make Marathon a bit horrific. The default brightness for the game is actually dark rather than normal.
-I get to be in vacuum for the first time. Yippee. Yeah sometime later when you play M3:I, Tycho will hate you so much that he'll send you in the middle of space. And then Durandal brings you back inside.
-A wide array of weapons: A Magnum Mega Class Pistol that can be dual wielded with another pistol, the MA-75/MA-75B Assault Rifle (Sound familiar?) with a Grenade Launcher attachment, the Zeus Class Fusion Pistol/S'pht Fusion Pistol (This weapon is like the Plasma Pistol from Halo), Dual wield-able WSTE-M5 Combat Shotguns (M2:D and M3:I only, no appearance in M1), the SPNKR SSM Launcher (with a head like Halo's Rocket Launcher), a TOZT-7 Backpack Napalm Unit aka Flamethrower, a KKV-7 10mm SMG Flechette (Marathon's SMG), and two Alien weapons, one that works like a Machine gun, and one that shoots bullets and burns enemies.
-I have not been able to play Marathon's Multiplayer, but I though this was cool. Some of the game modes in this game were put into Halo too. I was awed at the fact that Oddball existed in the game in the form of 'Kill the Man With the Ball' (You hold a skull just like Halo's Oddball.) King of the Hill is in this game too, even a Firefight mode called . Vidmaster challenges also existed back then.
-I especially love this feature: using the F keys 6-8, you can zoom in, switch between 1st and 3rd Person, and toggle on or off the reticule. There was no reticule back then. Although I think this just goes for the AlephOne version.
-More pros than cons so far, good! Now Marathon also had Forge, although this focuses on making levels rather than multiplayer, and it came with another tool called Anvil. I haven't messed around with these yet since I just finished the trilogy today.
It's also a good thing that I'm doing this because this is technically my homework as well, but let's move on.
My overall score for this game. Some people score it around 8-9 from the reviews I've seen so far, but I have to give this game a 10. This game proves that you do not need cool characters like Johnson to have an awesome game. This game is also easier to understand than Halo, and I think Marathon will always be Bungie's finest work. They did a lot of things first back then, which was a big contribution to the the gaming community alongside Outlaw's ability to have a scope zoom (Outlaws did that first). Retro FPS shooters were more innovative back then in my opinion, and Marathon is one fine example.
In conclusion, I praised this game a bit more than I was supposed to. To be honest, I didn't have much to gripe about. Windows may have had an addicting shooter like Doom, but Mac had a game with a completely different approach (Yeah, Mac users didn't have a fun game like Doom to play until Marathon.) But I have to say, this game is better than Doom anytime.