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  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

An Impressive Campaign With a Few Serious Problems An AI Called Wanda

MurgenROoF on Jun 13th, 2024, Version 1.0

This is one of the first third-party campaigns made for Marathon Infinity, and it does some pretty ambitious things as far as architecture design is concerned. I was really amazed by the complexity of some of the maps, and certainly making those maps must have taken a lot of skill. In particular, I want to give the author props for making aesthetically good-looking maps, and for making maps that look architecturally functional (example: a water dam has a pumping station and other rooms you’d expect from such a structure).

Unfortunately, there are some pretty serious gameplay issues that prevent this from being one of the best Marathon single-player mapsets, but if you’re willing to look past some of the rough-around-the-edges parts this might be worth a try. Also, due to the complexity of some of the levels, and the prevalence of switch hunts, I strongly recommend using the Eat the Path plugin (also available from S7) so that you don’t get lost.

Now let’s take a look at the specific levels (minor spoilers ahead):

Revival: This is a short non-combat level in which you’re tasked with thawing out a BoB from cryo-sleep. It’s a pretty unique mission, and although it does require you to find an unmarked secret door, the terminal does tell you exactly where you need to go and what you need to do. It also includes some nice chapter art graphics.

Seeds of Destruction: Here the problems start. There is a graphical glitch with many of the textures on this level that causes on-screen blurring. Additionally, some textures are either misaligned or completely out of place (example: a bright stone step in otherwise dark metal maintenance tunnels). A part of the level requires you to navigate through a very dark and confusing underwater area, where you will be pitted against flickta with nothing but your fists. To make matters worse, there is no oxygen recharger, only a single one-shot O2 canister that’s in a semi-secret area and easy to miss. So you can get soft-locked if you take too much time in the underwater area.

But probably worst of all, there is a pervasive lack of shield rechargers and save terminals on this map. This might not be such a big deal except that the combat is quite difficult. Additionally, this level includes a crusher instant-death trap, and it is quite easy to blunder into this trap without even realizing the danger, and before you’ve encountered a save terminal, meaning that you’re going to get kicked all the way back to the start of the campaign (ouch!). Of course, one of the two save terminals in this level is in a difficult-to-find area that’s directly AFTER the crusher trap, so it’s mostly useless, and in any case a door closes that permanently locks you out of that part of the map so you can’t go back to the save terminal if you miss it the first time. The one good thing about this level is that, aesthetically, the temple area looks beautiful.

Pfhorget About It: The unfortunate pattern of lack of save terminals and health rechargers continues. It wouldn’t be such a big deal except the combat of this campaign is absolutely brutal. In this level you’re fighting in cramped corridors and there isn’t much room to dodge. There are several vicious ambushes in which the game waits until you’re involved in a major firefight, then has a bunch of enemies attack you from behind, and since you’re in tight hallways there’s no way to easily disengage. There’s also a part where you encounter some BoBs, some of which are simulacrums, and since health is so scarce a single simulacrum is likely enough to end you. After a while I just shot all green BoBs on sight, just to be sure.

There was an optional switch puzzle that can be solved with some basic trial-and-error; the reward is an ammo cache. There was also a neat multi-floor elevator which must have taken some work to construct.

The initial terminal for this level was unintentionally funny. It gives you some convoluted directions, then it shows you a map which is unintelligible because it has so many lines crisscrossing it. The gist of your briefing is, “What you need to do should be obvious,” which was a statement so patently absurd I had to laugh out loud at how wrong it was. At the technical level, as a Marathon mapmaker, I was amazed at how this level represents a Pfhor ship that has four separate decks. Piling on all those polygons on top of each other must have taken a lot of work, and pushed the Forge mapmaking tool to its limits. But the level was actually too complex. The auto-map quickly became useless because it was mapping at four different elevations. To make matters worse, much of the texturing of the level was bland, with several areas using the same texture for the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. This meant that there were few memorable landmarks for the player to get and keep their bearings.

Freudian Slip: This a non-combat level featuring an annoying lava bath puzzle. You need to take four lava baths in order to insert four chips, but it’s probably going to take more than that since any slip up on your part will definitely be lethal. And then I got soft-locked!!! After inserting the chips the terminal congratulated me and told me that my next task was to open the reactor door to fix the reactor. But the door refused to open. I had to cheat (level-skip) to the next level just to finish this review!!!

One Damn Mess: Finally, a level that isn’t stingy with the health rechargers! Plus you get some allies too. But on that count it was a bit confusing, since some of the cyborgs were friendly, while others were hostile, and it wasn’t easy to determine which was which until they started shooting! The level is architecturally impressive; it’s a water dam complex that looks functional. Somehow the level features two transparent textures back-to-back, which I thought was impossible in the game engine! Unfortunately, the level objectives devolve into a series of overly complicated switch hunts. There is also a pit that is easy to fall into, but that only be escaped from by using grenade jumping— hopefully you have lots of health and grenades, or you found the level’s only save terminal!

Napalm in the Morning: This is another level that is architecturally impressive. There are several multi-floor elevators, and several times that several floors were stacked on top of each in such a way that you might think you were playing in a true 3D game engine, rather than a 2.5D game engine. I was impressed with the multi-floor dynamics of this level, which I know must have been hard to pull off. Save terminals and shield rechargers were adequate; in fact it was kind of strange because this was one of the easiest levels in the campaign, but it is level 6!

At one point I got stuck, with seemingly no place to go. After wasting much time I located a switch that could be hit multiple times. It turns out this switch opens a door out of line of sight, but only for a brief time, so you have to run to it to get through. These sorts of counterintuitive switch hunts are not fun.

Hey, Whose Side Are You On?: This is a level based on a terrible premise, which is that some BoBs are hostile, and some are friendly, and it’s up to you to figure out which is which! You’re told “try not to kill the loyal BoBs,” but good luck with that! Even the normal precaution of just shooting the green BoBs no longer works, because BoBs of all different colors are now hostile. Much of the level consists of narrow corridors that friendly BoBs love to block, and such blockages are annoying and can often only be solved with lethal force. That, coupled with a lack of shield rechargers and save points, and very unforgiving combat, is going to push most players into a mentality of just killing everyone. There’s no punishment for such a strategy, despite the briefing terminal’s admonition, and from an ammo acquisition standpoint it’s clearly the better choice.

Personally I think the level would have been better if all the BoBs had been hostile, or if the friendly BoBs had something to do besides causing traffic jams. For example, in Bungie’s “God Will Sort the Dead” level there were hostile simulacrums, but the friendly BoBs were actually useful because they would fight the Pfhor as they teleported in, and thus the combat dynamics were fun.

At one point there’s an almost-certainly-lethal crusher trap. There’s no warning whatsoever given about this trap, which I disagree with. Players should never be instant-killed without warning, I think. At another point there’s a puzzle involving hitting switches in the right order, but it was pretty straightforward and a nice break from the BoB slaughter.

Into the Fire: There was a puzzle on this level that has echoes of the infamous puzzle on Bungie’s “Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap.” Why? Why would one want to replicate such an awful puzzle? It involves hitting switches, which raise platforms that are (mostly) far away, and which make a stairway to access the way forward. But you must get the platform elevations exactly right, or else you’ll need to do a lot of tedious backtracking. Ironically, the easiest solution to Bungie’s infamous puzzle, and this one, was to ignore the puzzle altogether and instead engage in grenade jumping. But grenade jumping is a difficult skill to master, so most players will be stuck doing the puzzle. On the upside, I did like the nice variety of enemies to fight, and the interesting combat scenarios — fighting yetis at different elevations, or fighting invisible compilers in the dark.

Near the end of the level I stepped on what turned out to be a telepad and was unceremoniously whisked to the next level. But there was still a terminal I didn’t read, and some rooms I never got to explore! Urgh! So I had to reload from my last save and do a bunch of tedious backtracking in order to fully explore the level. This is why level transitions based on terminals are better most of the time, because the player can press “esc” to abort the teleport if there’s still exploring to be done, and there will be no accidental inter-level teleports.

Station Alpha: This is a level based around a cool circular ring-design. Even just looking at the level on the auto-map you can tell that a lot of effort went into its design. The combat was fun, although not particularly difficult. Really, in terms of combat difficulty, this campaign is all over the place, with some of the early levels being brutally hard, and many of the later levels being fairly easy.

There was one part that required a grenade jump to progress, which I’m not sure I agree with, since many players don’t know about grenade jumping. Overall though, this was a really solid, entertaining level.

Station Alpha the Sequel: The circular ring design is back, but this part of the station has suffered heavy damage and been exposed to vacuum. I liked the dichotomy between the intact previous level and its smashed-up sequel. Despite coming into the level with full oxygen, I almost suffocated before I found an O2 recharger, and I was playing on Normal difficulty. Anyone playing on a higher difficulty level is going to have a lot of problems with this level simply due to O2 scarcity. This level has a lot of plot exposition given on terminals, but in a vacuum level with limited O2 access I’m not sure that’s a good idea; constant O2 concerns distracted me from any emotional plot revelations.

The basic goal of this level was to collect and insert four chips. Three of them were easy to find, but the fourth I just could not figure out how to get to. I could see the chip, but it was across a large chasm that was too big to leap across. I kept thinking I must have missed a switch or door that led to the last chip, as there were several non-functional doors in the area. But no, it turns out that those doors were never meant to open, they were just window dressing for a derelict space station. The actual solution was kind of ridiculous. After wasting much time, I finally turned to the internet for a solution, then realized that there was an official Wanda hint guide packaged with the campaign, and read that to discover that by blasting dual shotguns I could propel myself across the chasm. I have heard of rocket jumping and grenade jumping before, but shotgun jumping, really??? Did the author edit the physics file of the shotguns to make this possible, as I’ve never encountered it before…

All Pfhor One: Holy moly, it’s a whole new tileset, and it looks really badass! The alien ship graphics looked great; my only regret was that the new tileset was only seen in the final two levels of the campaign. I wish we had seen more of it! One thing that could be an issue is that this level has some mandatory swimming portions, but there are no oxygen rechargers anywhere, which could lead to a soft lock if you came into this level without much air (very possible since the last level was in vacuum). Overall, the combat on this level was fun; the fact that you had Pfhor allies was unusual but I felt it synced with the story and provided some nice variety.

Showdown: The final level involves finding four uplink chips so you can destroy Wanda’s core. The new tileset makes this level look really beautiful. The combat was intense, with many ambushes, but the presence of many shield rechargers and save terminals meant that this was one of the easiest levels of the campaign. There was a particularly mean ambush in one area, where the player will go to read a terminal only for the door the close behind them and indestructible turrets to pop out and start shooting. This is almost guaranteed death the first time you encounter it; hopefully you’ll have a recent save! Architecture was great as usual; the southern elevator room was particularly impressive with how it handled two rooms on top of each other. After destroying Wanda’s core you go to the bridge and pilot the ship into a nearby sun, but it all seemed so anti-climactic. The whole level Wanda is taunting/threatening you, but then we don’t even get a final terminal with her, or a big final battle, it all just abruptly ends. You do, however, get a nice endgame picture during the epilogue, along with just enough exposition to conclude the storyline.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

This Is Truly Amazing! Encompassing HUD

Smytsidian on Jun 3rd, 2024, Version 1.0

Now marathon's UI looks like a halo game! (Edit: I just tried out the hud and holy cow it's amazing, I like the compass that is around the radar. The UI, the health bar, and the ammo counter. Perfect, perfect, right down to most, tiniest details.)

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Most tracks good! Marathon OST 2021

Travis on May 22nd, 2024, Version 1.4

Best rendition of "Splash" out of every remake album

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Nice Community/Freeverse Plugin - Monsters

Smytsidian on May 19th, 2024, Version 1.4.2

I really love the HD sprites of this Plugin, I honestly wouldn't mind the long loading time if you bundle them all together. Great mod, would kill a bob again.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Very out of the way Basic M1 HUD

Smytsidian on May 12th, 2024, Version 1.2

I am those types of people that prefer smaller huds depending on how big it is, so this is a hud that I can see myself using.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

W I D E Widescreen Marathon 1 Classic HUD

Smytsidian on May 12th, 2024, Version 2.19

Best default hud to download if you want a classic/modern experience

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Good HUD for status bar haters Basic HUD

Travis on May 11th, 2024, Version 1.2

Thanks for implementing the scaling settings!

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Good product terminal deleter plugin

Smytsidian on May 10th, 2024, Version 1.0

would kill a BoB again

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Love it! M1A1 HUD

Smytsidian on May 10th, 2024, Version 1.1

I love this hud due to the fact it looks like m2 now!

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Great selection of music. Marathon Infinity - Strange Aeons: A Fan Soundtrack

Smytsidian on May 8th, 2024, Version High Quality Update

I love this soundtrack! It fits well with marathon infinity and makes the game be less soulless. I have been waiting for a mod like this ever since I tired out M2SE. For some reason when listening to the music, I always get the finish the fight feeling like with halo 3's soundtrack. Which is perfect for the game's setting. Overall great mod and amazing music!

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Looks amazing! Fullscreen Corner HUD

Smytsidian on May 8th, 2024, Version 1.1

It is an extremely convenient mod where everything is out of the way and I can just look to the lest of my screen.

Now this make my plugins menu look less cluttered and I don't have to activate 5 plugins just to get the full experience!

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Just what I needed Hitscan Lua

Smytsidian on Apr 26th, 2024, Version 1.0

In singleplayer I wasn't really a fan of the projectiles in the game, I don't mind it in multiplayer since multiplayer is pretty silly. This is an amazing mod if you don't want to take your time and just want to shoot the gun and watch the alien die.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

It Works! Headshots

Throkgaar on Apr 22nd, 2024, Version 1.0

Tested briefly with singleplayer, fairly easy to customize and tweak.

I think Ne Cede Malis absolutely should not have music, and having it drastically alters its very deliberately ambient mood, therefore I can't recommend this addon to any Marathon Infinity newcomers. I even feel that the Electric Sheep levels would be better to have music than Ne Cede Malis.

Otherwise, I am enjoying this addon greatly, and I don't mind having music in any of the other levels.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

MOVE!!!! NEFX - Marathon: BOBJam -- The Tranquil Chaos of Crowded Escape

Throkgaar on Apr 17th, 2024, Version 2023-10-16

NEFX's work a is above reproach. They are a the visionary and make some of the is most odd, most of unique gaming experiences around. This one has the with benefit of being considerably the less obtuse but nonetheless maddeningly difficult, just as the a true expression from of NEFX should be.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

So far so good Marathon Infinity - Strange Aeons: A Fan Soundtrack

cookedbread on Apr 13th, 2024, Version High Quality Update

Played through to Foe Hammer and honestly was surprised how much I liked it. I'm a big "atmosphere is king" guy so I always loved the ambience and loneliness of 2 and Infinity, but this is great for a replay. There would be times where I'd be reading the terminals when a song kicked in and it just really fit. The song for Carroll Street Station was a highlight. Good stuff.

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

almost terminal deleter plugin

W'rkncacnter on Apr 11th, 2024, Version 1.0

This could have been good, but you used the inferior one.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Highly Successful Experiment M2SE Music Plugin

Throkgaar on Apr 4th, 2024, Version 1.0.1

The plugin is outstanding and easy to use, and will likely be the jumping off point for a whole bunch of other outstanding soundtrack mods.

That said, I was highly dubious of whether M2 would benefit from a soundtrack, but from the moment Mark Summer's music kicks in on Waterloo, you can feel it. Not all the tracks are my favorite but you'll probably really like the direction of at least one of the composers here. Some of the compositions absolutely elevate some of my least favorite levels into truly memorable experiences. Definitely worth playing through with this at least once.

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

New Standard Widescreen Marathon 1 Classic HUD

Throkgaar on Apr 4th, 2024, Version 1.1

Honestly surprised it took this long for someone to make this.