• Currently 5/5 Stars.

I love where this scenario has come.

Sharkie Lino on Dec 26th, 2022, Version 1.3 preview 4

I first played the original version (or at least close to it) of this scenario back around 2005 or 2006. Of course I didn't understand the story at all. I guess that can happen when you're an impatient teenager, but I remember really liking that I was playing a new Marathon scenario, and it was really fun to check out. I finished it with the sense of "That was interesting....but what just happened?", but to be fair, that's pretty much how Infinity was for me, for the longest time too.

Didn't really play it again for a long time until either last year or early this year when I was told to check out 1.2.1 which was the newest at the time, and I was totally amazed by it. How advanced and updated the levels, and just so many other things looked, and some things I actually did remember from that first version looked a lot better and let's say "more alive" afterwards. You could really see just how much work was put into this.

When the 1.3 previews rolled around. I decided to check them out because I'm the kind of guy who is always interested in seeing how something has changed from last time. While I know 4 previews can be a bit much, each one brought something new to the table, and I loved it. The new usage of color just about everywhere compared to 1.2.1 really stood out to me, as well as the updated monsters, and updated landscapes. The work done on those was phenomenal. I also like how some parts of some levels where in 1.2.1 I would be like "It would be cool if you could get in there." Then low and behold, 1.3 does just that. The usage of tracks switching up for a lot of the levels was a fantastic idea to give some variety.

The use of sounds in general are put to VERY good use for all of the levels, and especially for making all platforms ambient, which plenty know I talk about. Being the sound freak that I am, that was one of the first things I noticed from 1.2.1 when I watched some of the demo videos, and I was so glad to hear it.

I am glad that some terminals were broken up in to different ones too because while reading can be nice, just one LONG terminal can be a bit tiring, and I'm glad that was taken care of. I'll admit, I do miss the ability to get a boatload of fusion ammo on that one level, but that did not really affect my play too much for Preview 4. In fact, it was actually more fun to use some of the other weapons for a change. On that note, it's nice that on TC, there's plenty of ammo. I know, some will say it's excessive, but still, the fact that you actually HAVE it is nice. This is where some other scenarios really miss their mark; there's no carnage because there's nothing to fight with! Fists? Sure, good luck with that, and while this has nothing to do with Eternal specifically, please, DON'T enforce ammo limits on TC players. That never should have become a thing.

Side note, I love how The Midpoint of Somewhere came to be. I always found that level cool, and was really happy to see it become something with combat, and a lot more involved. Fantastic addition. Honestly, all the additions from Preview 3 to Preview 4 are good ones.

I'm definitely understanding the story a lot more than I used to. Do I now fully understand it? Nope :P but maybe that's part of the enjoyment. Each time I play it, I hope to understand more, like I did with Infinity.

It's awesome how far this scenario has come since the mid 2000s, and the work put into it since then really shows. A fantastic job all around.

Eternal is one of the largest scenarios ever created for Aleph One, initially created by Forrest Cameranesi (Pfhorrest) and subsequently revised and expanded by a massive team known as the Xeventh Project, which, as of this update (March 2024) now includes more than 40 people. Besides Tempus Irae, it may be the oldest scenario still being actively developed; it was first released in 2004 and has been refined and expanded almost continuously ever since. Features include, but are hardly limited to:

  • 52 levels, some revisiting familiar locations from the Marathon trilogy and some being among the largest ever created for the engine
  • An intricately layered plot featuring dense political and philosophical themes, a tragic romance, time travel, major events from the Marathon trilogy’s backstory, complex original characters, and returning faces from the trilogy’s cast
  • A huge, acclaimed soundtrack with unique music for every level, lasting more than seven hours total, and created by over a dozen composers and arrangers (significantly expanded in 1.3 previews 4 through 6)
  • Redesigns of most of the game’s familiar cast (new in 1.3), some old foes from Pathways into Darkness, and some new faces (some new in 1.3)
  • Hundreds of gorgeous terminal images (many added for 1.3 preview 4 through 6)
  • Five texture sets, encompassing 650 high-resolution textures, 12 detailed original landscape textures, and several separate human and alien environments
  • An in-game menu system (new in 1.3 preview 6) that toggles several optional features, including:
    • Simplified overhead map views in around twenty levels (new in 1.3 preview 6)
    • A secret tracking system (new in 1.3 preview 4)
    • Auto-save the game on level transition (new in 1.3)
    • An RPG-style monster health display (new in 1.3 preview 6)
    • Shared pickups between players in network games (new in 1.3 preview 6)
    • Disabled friendly fire between players in network games (new in 1.3 preview 6)
  • More than 360 sounds, remixed or remastered in CD quality, in stereo where possible (new in 1.3)
  • Atmospheric weather like rain and snow (new in 1.3)
  • A final boss battle of sorts (new in 1.3)
  • Detailed documentation including illustrated field guides to Eternal’s weaponry, aliens, and humans, detailed credits, a meta-history of Eternal, and technical notes on how its maps and scripts work (new in 1.3)

The current development release, 1.3 preview 6 (released on 2024-03-07), is perfectly playable despite still being incomplete; it is now our recommended way to play the game. We’ll refrain from estimating the release date of 1.3 final, as we’ve overshot too many estimates to count (thank you, feature creep). The current “stable” build, 1.2.1 (released on 2021-11-07), is missing several features listed above but is still an enjoyable game in its own right.

The screenshots seen on the right are from a development release from between 1.3 previews 4 and 5 and are a reasonable reflection of Eternal’s current appearance. Although they were taken on Normal (so as to show more monster types), we do recommend playing Eternal on the highest difficulty you can manage.

1,347 downloads, 2 reviews, 5 screenshots, 5.0 rating