Apotheosis X by hypersleep

Description

Apotheosis X is a total conversion featuring 24 massive levels of carnage brought to life with entirely reimagined sprites and textures, high frame rate animations, 16 bit audio and an original soundtrack.

The campaign features engaging combat that scales with player skill and aggression, with a roster of new enemies and weaponry that complements the original games' nuance and high skill ceiling.

Version 1.0

Initial Release

  • Uploaded Sep 30th 2022
  • tags: scenario
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  • 4.5 rating ( 5.70 weighted for sorting )

6 Reviews

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

A masterpiece

ukimalefu on Nov 11th 2022, Version 1.0

It's great, I'm not done yet, but I think I'm near the end and I'm loving it. The level design, the ambience. I love it.


  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Worth a try, but room for improvement.

Sharkie Lino on Oct 25th 2022, Version 1.0

May contain spoilers

After playing the original scenario earlier this year, I was pretty glad to give this a try once I heard of its release. I would say for the first two levels, it started out pretty strong, from then on though? I’d say that’s where the annoyances began. In my opinion, I feel like this scenario has the same problem that some others had too; it wasn’t tested much on Total Carnage, and this review reflects that difficulty.

For a majority of the scenario, it really feels like ammo is severely lacking. There are just too many instances where you’re trying to fight against a tough group of monsters, and you keep running out. I get it, it’s Total Carnage, it’s supposed to be a challenging difficulty. But there’s a difference between challenging, and annoying. I know some people have argued that you shouldn’t just have an insane boatload of ammo, and to a point, I understand where they are coming from. But at the same time, it’s not exactly carnage if you can’t fire much of your weapons because there’s no ammo for them! Especially if you are gonna have many instances of a large (more like insane in some instances) groups of Troopers or Hunters coming at you, you seriously need to consider giving more than it currently does. In All Things Uncertain, I literally just had to run to the end the best I could because I had next to nothing left to fight the insane amount of Troopers and Enforcers that were appearing, and attempting to would be fruitless. Kind of like Irons said, sometimes secrets were a necessity if you wanted to have a fighting chance, if that, in some areas. Some of these instances made me consider quitting the scenario without finishing it. But I kept at it because the review wouldn’t be very fair/accurate if I took that route.

And on that point, seriously, make some of the rechargers 2X. Not right at the beginning of course, but later on like most of the Marathon levels do. I know there’s canisters and such, but again, for how many groups of monsters some of these levels seem get, you should really consider giving a little more for the player to actually be able to stay alive.

Another thing Irons had mentioned was the sounds. While they weren’t bad by any means, they just seem to...I guess blend in too well and not stand out much. Like he said, it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on in the environments. I also think the sounds for picking up a power up should be different from ammo, but maybe I’m just used to that. The sounds for the grenade detonations though just seems.....really off.

In a lot of the levels, the whole thing of all these hexagonal polygons for a majority of said levels seems cool at first, but it gets overused and pretty old very fast. I was hoping to see more variety in regards to that, but at least not all levels are like that. Once you get past The Salt Pile, this is where the scenario starts to pick up I think, but of course by that point, you’re a majority of the way through. The amount of ammo and such feels way more appropriate. But I gotta say, making the last level have you lose all your items, and the insane amount of monsters that appear on the stairs while you’re trying to beat the rising lava? Just no. Especially with how far back you have to go if you die, unless there was some pattern buffer I missed, which I don’t think I did.

Some other things here which have no effect on my rating. The soundtrack for The Great Fen? Horribly annoying. I’d really consider changing that. The sounds for what would be S’pht Doors I’m pretty sure are backwards, but that’s probably because of that whole thing with the 8 bit and 16 bit sounds. Simple fix anyway. Some platforms that should be ambient, aren’t. But that’s just a pet peeve of mine, and I know some can be easily missed. And some delays for some platforms are WAY too short. As soon as it stops, you have like less than a second to get off before it goes down again. I’m assuming that was done to allow the player to get on it since the engine sometimes will make the platform go up before the player fully gets on if it is not level with the floor. If I’m honest, I know it’s done for aesthetic purposes, but I really would just have platforms be level with the floor when down so that problem does not happen, and you can have a more reasonable delay.

All that being said, I will certainly give credit where credit is due. The smoother animations on the monsters is very impressive. Definitely the smoothest I have seen for this engine, especially for the Juggernauts when they go from their normal to dying animation. That really caught my eye. Most of the spaceship/space station levels are absolutely beautifully designed. In fact one of them is in the third image of this submission, and I really enjoyed that level. And for Sky Burial? Wow…..that really impressed me. For those familiar with Marathon, it’s easy to see what was done here for the space walking and such, but it really looks, feels, sounds, and plays like it is a damaged ship open to space. For someone who generally heavily dislikes vacuum levels, this is probably the best one I have ever seen. Admittedly that could also be because your oxygen level goes down at a reasonable pace, and you can easily refill when you need to. Too bad Acme Station wasn’t as nice in that regard.

If I were to rate this based on my overall enjoyability? It would have to be a 2 or a 2.5 (if that was possible for S7), but I am giving it a 3 because I know a lot of work went into this scenario, and I want to respect that. Sadly, I can’t say I finished this scenario on a positive note, but that’s just my experience. I’m not gonna say don’t play this, because it deserves a shot.


  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Excellent

zapp on Oct 13th 2022, Version 1.0

I can't add much to the positive reviews so far except for one comment. Apotheosis X loads incredibly fast on my iMac. This is in stark contrast to any other Marathon scenario I have ever played. It takes less than 10 seconds from the initial click to actually playing the game. That is amazing. Many other scenarios take upwards of 4 to 5 minutes to load and then when you quit playing, it takes another 4 - 5 minutes for the game to actually shutdown.

The gameplay is fast and smooth. The weapon systems feel right and are fun to use. I love how different the weapons are from previously published scenarios and how well they function in the game. I found myself using the pistol many times as it is actually very useful in this scenario. I really like the rocket launcher and main assault rifle with grenade launcher -- they felt different from other scenarios and yet were fun, functional, and felt right in game play.

The enemies are done well. They are far more interesting in how they react and fight you than in most scenarios I have played. There were enough differences to make them interesting and deadly if you did not take them as a serious threat.

This is truly an outstanding scenario to play. Definitely one of the best if not the best. I loved the map layouts, complexity, and sizes -- very interesting how the architecture always felt right for the sci-fi setting and I enjoyed the soundtrack playing in the background. I can't say enough good things about this scenario. Simply amazing to play.


  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

I loved every minute of it

Pointblank on Oct 4th 2022, Version 1.0

My initial reaction upon starting this up and seeing the splash-art was pure giddiness, and then, "Wait, this is for free??!"

From the well made maps, to the nice graphics, and the cool scripted moments, this scenario was hard not to binge.

The atmosphere in every level is superb; probably the most immersive maps in Marathon, in my opinion. Even the simple things like the sound of a door whining open really grabs you and pulls you into the setting. The well made gun sprites really give Apotheosis X the edge over Rubicon X, which has pretty terrible and low-poly-esque sprites in my opinion.

The only issue I have, and it was something I pretty quickly got used to, is that the enemies are all a little bit too dark and colorless in appearance. It works well for the setting, but may impact gameplay and enemy recognition just a bit.

The story is pretty interesting too; about another long-forgotten Jjaro experimental species returning to glory and all that jazz. Neat. Personally I don't think the "noah" or the "angels" or whatever they are really got enough physical representation in the game. I would have liked to fight alongside or even against them a bit more, but usually when they appear they are walled off and intended to only be observed, so I didn't even fire a 'test shot' at them.

Oh! And the Pfhor Assassins! Marathon needs more fast, close-quarters enemies that really give you an adrenaline rush, and make you think twice about your next move. I loved their introduction in the original Apotheosis, and was so happy to see that big scary man go dashing across that hallway, silhouetted in the dark. That was the most memorable moment from the original.

Anyway, I loved every minute of this & I'd love to play anything else Hypersleep makes; these 25 maps are killer.

(btw I played on Major Damage, but will replay on Total Carnage eventually)


  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Play It

irons on Oct 4th 2022, Version 1.0

Apotheosis is worth playing for many reasons. The most obvious of these is how visually stunning it is. The architecture and textures look great and there are tons of incredible details everywhere. You can see in some of the screenshots where hypersleep has placed scenery objects with exactly the right lighting, at the right distance, to make them look like real wires or vines hanging down. In another instance, a huge turret object raises up at the edge of the ship. Objects like that in particular, such as the space ship from Infinity, can do more harm than good, but here hypersleep makes the most of them. Fires give off smoke and sparks; alien plants emit pollen. Even more amazingly, much of this is straight in the engine and could have been done in 1996. It's just never been done so well as in Apotheosis.

Animations are also breathtaking. Hunters block your shots with their armor; MOAHs absorb them using a force field; enforcers raise their weapons with deliberation; giant bugs skitter around fluidly. Then you have boarding parties blasting through walls; you have sparking gouges in metal. The list goes on and on. You already know this is Marathon's most beautiful scenario and you have to see it firsthand to understand just how good it looks.

I like the soundtrack and the sounds as well, although I'll get into the latter shortly. The soundtrack is subtle enough not to ruin the immersion. The sounds are all very different from what we know and on their own sound really beautiful.

All of this creates a unique atmosphere. Maybe some of the similarities in palette make me say this, but I think the scenario that comes closest is Rubicon. There's a grit here that you don't really see in any other scenario - ironically, something you wouldn't get without the polish and care the Apotheosis team put into the game's presentation.

The gameplay itself is good, too. Levels, although they can feel huge, are fairly linear and hard to get lost in. When I say "linear" I don't mean it in a bad way. You know where you need to go, either because a terminal laid it out clearly or because the design is very intuitive. I feel a little bit like I'm on rails, but I can't complain too much about it. When I listen to a great record, I'm not going to whine that I didn't pick the track order myself.

There are some things that keep this from being a "perfect" game for me. Most of them involve the game's difficulty. I played on TC and so expected a difficult experience. I quit playing the original out of frustration, but it's not so extreme here. It's small things. For example, the weapons for the most part look utilitarian, reinforced, heavy-duty, but in a lot of cases feel just a little too weak. A lot of the time I feel like I've almost gotten my ass kicked by a gang of 3-4 hunters. This isn't my usual experience. Maybe if I weren't seeing "fighters," "hunters," "troopers," and the like, I would adjust my expectations. The large scrabbling bugs planetside don't make me feel this way.

Ammo is a bit scarce at the beginning, to the point that secrets are almost required. I had to get into the habit of walking into just about every corner so that I could snag the occasional single clip of whatever was there. This definitely isn't the end of the world, but it can be frustrating before you get used to it.

And maybe that's part of my problem: I still haven't gotten used to things. Believe it or not, the most frustrating example of all for me comes from the sounds. I've said I love the sound design, and that's true. The sounds are all great in isolation. But I've found it difficult to identify what exactly is going on in my environment when I can't see it. More than in a lot of other similar games, Marathon relies on this - which is why it works so well without music. I'm not sure what it is about the sounds in Apotheosis that give me such trouble. Are they all crowding a certain frequency? Does stereo or some similar effect throw off what is otherwise a point-based composite sound image? I don't know. I do know that I've been taken by surprise again and again when a huge volley of fire seemed to come out of nowhere, or when multiple enemies walked right up to me from the side while I was too occupied to look at the motion sensor. Item pickups are also hard to gauge. How much did I just grab? Did I just waste that health can by getting it too early? I think in this case I might be too accustomed to the earsplitting sounds from the original games, but maybe they seem louder because they stand out better from the mix and not because of their amplitude.

Finally, in the early ship sections, I had a lot of trouble getting stuck on architectural features. I tend to back up a lot, or slide along walls until I can sidle into an opening, while I dodge incoming fire. For some reason, this bit me in the ass quite a few times. I would end up in a corner or maybe would slide right into the aesthetic wall damage, getting stuck just long enough that I got killed. Either I adjusted or the levels stopped having this type of architecture. Just something to look out for.

Overall, Apotheosis is an amazing achievement. You might not have the same trouble I've outlined above, and I would be just fine with that. I never thought I would see a Marathon scenario that I could recommend just based on "superficial" elements, but I think Apotheosis offers an experience above and beyond that provided by a typical Marathon game. I stopped caring much about story long ago, and aside from the above quirks, it's been a pleasure getting to know Apotheosis. Will I play it again any time soon? Probably not. Was it worth doing once? Definitely. Try it out.


  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

An instant classic.

The Man on Sep 30th 2022, Version 1.0

Full disclosure: I did sounds, scripting, and testing for this. Nonetheless, I feel safe in saying it may well set a new standard for Marathon scenarios. The original already ranked among the best conversions ever created for Marathon, and this surpasses it in every way. The design is astonishing, the gameplay is consistently superb, and the atmosphere is otherworldly. The rest of us are going to have to step up our game. With all luck, this will go down along the likes of Tempus Irae, Rubicon, Eternal, and Phoenix as one of the best Marathon scenarios of all time. What are you waiting for? Download it already.


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13 Screenshots

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