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Marathon 2: Durandal was the 1995 sequel to Bungie's hit game Marathon for the Mac OS. It was the only game in the trilogy that was also ported to Windows 95, although it wasn't nearly a success on that platform. The Windows gamers already had a wealth of first-person shooter games to choose from; why pick up one from a Mac company that started in the middle of the series?

Marathon 2 was as much a story-driven game as its predecessor, with events and "dialogue" with organic and inorganic intelligences being carried out through a number of computer terminals placed throughout the levels. The story picks up exactly where Marathon left off, sort of, when the unstable AI called Durandal downloaded himself to a faster-than-light alien Pfhor ship and took off with a crew of cyborg aliens called the S'pht. It turns out that he also teleported you, the hero of the first Marathon game, into frozen storage, where he's kept you for the last seventeen years.

Now he's reached the S'pht homeworld with the intention of tapping their ancient knowledge from before their enslavement by the Pfhor. Unfortunately, a second AI named Tycho from the Marathon space station has developed his own instabilities, and he's been helping the Pfhor locate Durandal with the intent to destroy him. You, inconveniently enough, are trapped in the middle.

In Marathon, you spent most of the game under the guidance of the AI named Leela to defend the station. In this game, you're being bounced around by Durandal with the opportunity to either do what he tells you, or be teleported into space. It's a little less hopeful, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel....

Marathon 2: Durandal featured a number of improvements and changes over the original, made possible by better coding and faster PowerMacs. The screen was wider, filling the whole monitor instead of just half of it; the background music was replaced by ambient environmental sound effects that could pan from left to right with stereo speakers; levels could feature changing physics, including altered gravity; ceilingless outdoor environments and underwater areas abounded; and, best of all for the gamers, you could now wield a double-barreled shotgun. With each hand.

Of particularly interesting note to game developers is the fact that the Marathon 2 engine (which was also used with small improvements for the third game in the series, Marathon Infinity) was released as open source by Bungie a couple of years later, making it possible for aspiring game developers to take a look inside the code. Efforts are currently underway to convert the old, DooM-style 2.5D engine to a modern, platform-independent, fully 3D OpenGL engine called Marathon: Aleph One.

 

Lh'owon
1. Waterloo Waterpark
2. The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune
3. Charon Doesn't Make Change
 
Volunteers
4. What About Bob?
5. Come and Take Your Medicine
6. We're Everywhere
 
Garrison
7. Ex Cathedra
8. Nuke And Pave
9. Curiouser and Curiouser...
 
Citadel
10. Eat It, Vid Boi!
11. The Hard Stuff Rules...
12. Bob's Big Date
13. Six Thousand Feet Under
 
Durandal
14. If I Had a Rocket Launcher, I'd Make Somebody Pay
15. Sorry Don't Make It So
16. For Carnage, Apply Within
17. Begging For Mercy Makes Me Angry!
 
Captured
18. The Big House
 
Blake
19. This Side Toward Enemy
20. God Will Sort The Dead...
21. My Own Private Thermopylae
22. Kill Your Television
 
Simulacrums
23. Where the Twist Flops
24. Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks
25. Requiem For a Cyborg
 
S'pht'Kr
26. Fatum Iustum Stultorum
27. Feel the Noise
28. All Roads Lead To Sol...
 
Final Screen

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