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 writing (February 2023) 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:
The current development release, 1.3 preview 5 (released on 2023-02-08), 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.
Current development release. 1.3 incorporates several new features, many detailed above. New in 1.3 preview 5:
First off, I want to make something abundantly clear: This is not a conventional remix album – I categorise it as an arrangement album. Anyone expecting these songs to preserve the originals’ mood and atmosphere is in for a severe disappointment, though I do have a much older set of remixes¹ that might be more to your taste. I also strongly recommend against using this album for your first playthrough; it’ll substantially alter the game’s atmosphere, which is one of its most memorable qualities. It would (hopefully) still be enjoyable, but it wouldn’t really be Marathon.
That said, these intricate, dense, yet dynamic mixes are brimming with retro synths, arpeggiation, musical cross-references, reverb, and entirely new instrument parts and melodies: where the OST runs for forty minutes, these run for seventy-eight. They’re Marathon’s OST by way of ’70s progressive rock songwriting and arrangement, ’80s pop production, and ’90s Japanese games’ atmosphere, with secondary influences from genres as disparate as jazz, blues, disco, ambient, post-rock, classical, electronic music, Krautrock, and metal.
I’ve included both a lossless FLAC version of this album and an Ogg Vorbis version suitable for in-game use. The Vorbis versions are mostly based on the FLAC files. The sole exception is “Flowers in Heaven”, which loops infinitely² in-game. Thus, the FLAC version in the album simply fades out after completing a loop.
The album also comes with a 16-page PDF featuring additional album artwork and my commentary on each individual song and the album as a whole.
My complete discography, including some works in progress, is available here: https://aaronfreed.github.io/discography.html
I also have these on YouTube, although I strongly encourage use of an adblocker, since YouTube has decided to take the liberty of running ads that I do not want on my videos and do not make a single cent from. There’s no copyright claim on the video, so this is just Google violating its erstwhile mantra of “don’t be evil”. https://youtu.be/bRiDh3PziWU
Plus, I’ve posted videos of “Cool Fusion” and “Bob-B-Q” showing how, respectively, “Flowers in Heaven” and “What About Bob?” play in-game.
“Cool Fusion”: https://youtu.be/QfF01WLolgM
¹You can get my older remixes at https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuD0MykSsmaRpiobXz51kqObAIqH?e=WogGPt
²Explanation of how looping works: https://aaronfreed.github.io/mapmaking.html#looper
Rubicon X was released a long time ago, when Aleph One didn’t have bloom and when its monster activation limits were, by default, much higher than they are now. It hasn’t been updated since, so running it out of the box with no changes has several problems: monsters will randomly deactivate on several levels, and the bloom looks horrible because it defaults to overpoweringly high levels. I’ve created this plugin as an “all-in-one” fix for both these issues. It restores the monster activation limits to their intended values, and it makes the game look decent with bloom.
To run this, just put it in your Rubicon X plugins folder. (If you don’t have one, make a new “Plugins” folder in the “Rubicon X” folder – NOT the “Rubicon Data” folder – and stick this in it.) If you currently have Rubicon X running, you’ll need to quit the app and reload it.
Shared with Dr Sumner’s permission. These are his exhaustively detailed spoiler guides for every level of the original releases of Tempus Irae and Tempus Irae 2: The Lost Levels; they’re also accurate for the 2006 Aleph One conversion, but there will be notable differences in the upcoming Redux release (which will hopefully appear later this year).
These guides contain exhaustive walkthroughs of each level in both games with detailed information on their contents, including any bugs Dr Sumner encountered and information on every accessible terminal in each level, including images of each terminal screen and information on where to find them and when they are active. He also notes how he did in his playthrough.
These guides are attuned specifically to his play style: play on Total Carnage; use as little ammo as possible; collect all possible secrets and ammo; and defeat every enemy when practical – in short, one of the most challenging possible approaches to the game (especially since many levels provide limited shield recharges).
They’re also unbelievably comprehensive; the original Nardo spoiler guides, though admirable efforts, pale in comparison. Dr Sumner’s guides have provided us a wealth of useful information on bugs to correct for Redux (for instance, he notes monsters and items that don’t spawn in).
There’s much more where this came from, by the way. I’ll upload more of his guides soon enough.
Edit: I’m hosting several of his spoiler guides on my OneDrive for the time being (currently, Marathon 1, Marathon 2, Tempus Irae, The Lost Levels, Rubicon X, Phoenix 1.3, and Pfh’Joueur). You can find them at https://1drv.ms/u/s!AuD0MykSsmaRmx_NxpRgTRM69vgn?e=fgVHbX
Note: I didn’t create this; Dr Mike Trinder did. All I did was to convert it to a format compatible with modern Aleph One.
Gemini Station (first complete release: July 9, 1997) is a partial conversion for Marathon Infinity with 12 total levels, though players may not see them all every time they play it. Two are secrets and three are brief exposition levels, so it has seven proper levels, of which six are very long. Seriously, they’re huge.
I haven’t played through the whole thing in a while, but it was extremely impressive when it came out; as far as I know, it was the first scenario to incorporate several mapmaking tricks like airlocks and programmable teleporters. I last replayed it two or three years ago and felt it still held up.
As far as I’m aware, the only versions previously available were incomplete conversions that came with a shapes patcher that only ran on MacOS (and I’m not even sure they ran with modern releases). This version includes the patched shapes file, so you don’t have to bother patching the shapes. All you need to do is select the map and the shapes in Marathon Infinity and you’re good. (Make sure to select the shapes!)
Apart from patching the shapes and converting the map to MacBinary format, I haven’t modified any of these files at all; the readmes are even still in Mac OS Roman. Hopefully Dr Trinder won’t mind me making his scenario accessible to modern players; several people have asked for it on Discord over the years, so I figured I’d save people the trouble in the future.
In any case, I strongly recommend this, especially if you haven’t played it. It’s probably in my top 10 Marathon scenarios of all time, and the only things keeping it out of the top 5 are its short length and its relative lack of original assets (there are no new sounds and not many new graphics). However, it still looks phenomenal, and its map design would probably still seem inventive today. The writing is also fantastic.
Note: Screenshots incorporate Goran Svensson’s HD walls & landscapes, Freeverse’s HD weapons, and in some cases W’rkncacnter’s BRUTAL MARATHON plugin. I only spent about twenty minutes on these – they’re probably nowhere near the best sights Gemini Station has to offer. (Also, you probably shouldn’t actually use these plugins with it – certain game functionality is highly likely to break or not look as intended.)
Converted from archives.bungie.org upload to formats Aleph One can read on Windows and Linux.
Improved graphics plugins are all the rage these days, so I made my own improvements for Marathon Infinity’s graphics. These graphic replacements have been created using a mathematically perfect algorithm; it’s statistically impossible to create more perfect replacements. As a bonus, these will load almost instantly, unlike inferior graphics plugins. Just enable the plugin, load the game in OpenGL, and marvel at the power of the human imagination.
Note: The readme contains important information that will help you get the most out of this plugin.
To be clear: I didn’t create this – it’s the work of James Hastings-Trew (of Tempus Irae fame). Hopefully he won’t mind me uploading this here.
This won the Bungie Mapmaking Contest back in the day – deservingly so; it’s a superb package in almost every manner. It’s become increasingly difficult to find, though, and the main version available requires running a patch on the classic Mac OS. Hence this upload.
Overall, this is a fun three-level pack with some great new textures. The story is fairly cursory (though well written), and it ends on a cliffhanger for an intended sequel that James never made because he got roped into Tempus Irae instead. TI is great, though, so no major complaints.
This is intended to run in Infinity; it includes a map and a shapes file. Further info is included in the “Simplici7y Megiddo Read Me” file found in the download.
A set of remastered sounds for AOPID: http://simplici7y.com/items/aleph-one-pathways-into-darkness
These are 6 dB quieter than the originals (an attached text file explains why), but also significantly less noisy, much crisper due to the addition of higher frequencies that were absent from the originals, and in some cases free of substantial audio flaws like 60 Hz hum on a lot of the Headless sounds or digital clipping distortion on some of the explosion and weapon sounds.
Note that most of these are not exact reconstructions of the missing audio data, but best guesses that I put together in iZotope RX5 Advanced; in a few cases, however, I was able to use the CD-quality audio sources. Also, make sure you have 16-bit audio on, or you’ll get the original sounds. I also suggest pairing these with W’rkncacnter’s HD AOPID graphics for best results: http://simplici7y.com/items/hd-aopid-graphics
My long-overdue remastered Marathon 1 sounds. They should be noticeably less noisy, crisper, and (in some cases) less distorted than the originals - even more so than my remastered Marathon Infinity sounds, since all of the original Marathon 1 sounds were 8-bit.
Includes a readme with a bunch of (hopefully) useful information, but you should be aware of a few caveats before downloading or using these:
These will only work with Aleph One, not the classic Marathon app.
These will only work with the classic Marathon files, not M1A1.
If, for some reason, you are still using an Aleph One version prior to 1.3: (a) you really should upgrade to the latest version; (b) if you don’t, you will need to quit and reopen Aleph One after selecting these in your preferences.
These are half as loud as the original sounds. You may wish to adjust your music volume.
Should you have any other issues, please let me know via one of the forms of contact included in the readme. Beyond that, enjoy!
I’ve remastered the entire Marathon Infinity sounds file. The most obviously noticeable changes are that many sounds are much less distorted (with the side effect of being roughly half as loud as the originals – adjust your game/system volume as needed), and sounds will feature approximations of upper frequencies that were missing on the originals. Many sounds that were originally 8-bit (a good example is the “got item” sound) will also be much less noisy. Detailed information on the changes is included as a .pdf with the download.
This works with any Aleph One scenario that uses vanilla Infinity sounds. It also works with Marathon 2 on Aleph One - it probably won’t work with the vanilla Marathon 2 apps for either Windows or Mac. If you really need a version of these for vanilla Marathon 2, ask me nicely and I may consider making one (though because I’m in the process of remixing many of these directly from the CD-quality sources, I may not bother until I’m done with that).
Important: ALEPH ONE VERSIONS BEFORE 1.3.0 REQUIRE YOU TO RESTART THE GAME AFTER SELECTING THESE SOUNDS. (Bold and caps so you don’t miss it.) On the plus side, you’ll only have to do this once (unless you move back to the defaults for whatever reason). And you should really upgrade to 1.3.1 or 1.4pre2 – it’s generally a bad idea to run old software, and you can no longer even gather or join net games with releases prior to 1.3.0.
Finally uploading a new version, primarily because I’d mixed up the “S’pht Door Closing” and “S’pht Door Opening” sounds. This is because the sounds file itself had them mixed up in the 8-bit sounds slot, which was what I was using to check that I’d uploaded the right versions of everything; and also because ShapeFusion also has them mixed up. (I’m supposing Anvil may also have mixed them up, but I haven’t checked.) In any case, the game seems to want them where the vanilla file has them in the 16-bit slots, so anyone else who wants to make new versions of the sounds should take note: The “S’pht Door Opening” and “S’pht Door Closing” sounds are mislabelled in ShapeFusion. (The mislabelling may also be true of the Pfhor Door sounds; I’d advise double-checking. However, I did not mix those up, because the 8-bit and 16-bit sounds for those are in the same slot.)
The other major change is that I have moved all of the sounds to the 8-bit slot rather than the 16-bit slot. These sounds are all 16-bit, but on the whole, the game doesn’t care one way or the other; it will still play them as 16-bit sounds. Note that, on old versions of Aleph One, you’ll need to restart the game after selecting these sounds. On the plus side, you will only need to do this once (unless you go back to the default sounds for whatever reason). This was due to a caching bug that was fixed in 1.3, so if you’re running an old version of Aleph One, you should upgrade to 1.3.1 or 1.4pre2. The advantage to moving them to the 8-bit slot is that if you accidentally select 8-bit sounds, you will no longer hear silence. Everything will sound really bad, but at least you’ll hear something!
(Note that I wrote the readme file to this version before the caching bug was fixed, so it won’t reflect that this step is no longer necessary in recent versions of Aleph One. I don’t feel it’s worth rereleasing the sounds purely to update the readme, particularly since I’ve by now remixed many of them directly from the CD-quality sources – expect a major new release sometime in 2021.)
I may also have revised a few of these sounds since 1.0. I didn’t keep detailed notes, so I have no idea what I changed.
Should you have any questions, you can contact me on the Pfhorums (same username as here), reddit (/u/aaronnotarobot), or Discord (Aaron#6608; you will need to be a member of the subreddit Discord – or some other Discord I’m in – to contact me). Enjoy!
I’d been waiting for someone to make something like this for years. I never cared for the floating XBLA HUD, not due to its appearance (it looks fine) but because it doesn’t display your full inventory. The corner HUD bothered me because it blocked too much of the game world.
This, on the other hand, is fantastic. It blocks as little of the screen as is necessary, it gives you all the information the vanilla HUD, and it uses the entire screen for the game world. What more could you want? (…OK, I guess a Marathon 1 version would be nice someday.)
Anyway, an immense thanks are due to treellama for creating this. It’s one of those little things that modernises the game in an important way. It’s great.
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.
This is a truly glorious day.
I did some work on this pack (cleaning up the fighters), so I’m naturally a bit biased, but these are one of the best HD monster packs available if you don’t want to go the MaraToon route; they’re faithful to the originals, but substantially more detailed. Until a skilled artist is willing to make faithful HD sprites, these are probably as good as we’re going to get (or at least tied with treellama’s ML Super Res plugins).
Note: Since this plugin contains hundreds of large images, it may not work on many maps with 32-bit Windows builds of Aleph One, particularly if you also use a lot of other plugins. The crash that enderandrew mentioned occurs because 32-bit Windows apps are limited to 2 GB of RAM – if a level loads too many monster collections, it exceeds that limit. (Most vanilla Infinity levels should load at most four monster collections, and most vanilla M2 levels should load at most three, but a lot of third-party maps use way more.) If these don’t load for you on Windows, get the latest 64-bit Windows app from https://github.com/Aleph-One-Marathon/alephone/releases and run it with that. (This also applies to Eternal 1.2.0 and Juzo-kun’s brilliant MaraToon plugins, among others.)
If you’re one of the <1% of people still running 32-bit Windows: (1) Sorry. (2) Go to Preferences > Graphics > Rendering Options and reduce the Replacement Texture Quality of Sprites until the game loads. (If you also use HD textures and landscapes, you can reduce Walls and Landscapes too, but those probably use far less memory on most vanilla M2/Infinity maps than these sprites do.)
Some people might consider it sacrilege how much this reinvents the appearance of the game, but those people are wrong. (Yes, it’s an opinion, and opinions can’t be wrong. This one is still wrong.) This is clean, simple, elegant, and gorgeous… and may just bring these games to an entirely new audience. I’ve had several people express interest in screenshots and videos of this plugin that had never shown the slightest bit of interest in Marathon before. You need this plugin. Get it now.
It’s a quarantine miracle!
Windbreaker seems to be the last net map creator standing since RyokoTK 4GOT again. If you don’t have this collection yet, there’s a good chance that you’ve been wasting your life. These maps are staples of modern net games, alongside Windbreaker’s previous few packs. They’re gorgeous, they flow incredibly well, and they’re even fun to explore and wander through. They also work well with Survival, since Windbreaker was even thoughtful enough to merge in scripts raising the monster activation limits.
Basically, if you’re still hosting Marathon net games in 2020 and aren’t hosting this pack for at least some of your games, you need to reëxamine your life choices. A set of net games without at least one Imperium map hosted is probably a subpar set of net games. I’d recommend this, Infra Apogee, Caustic Dystopia, Second Quest, Red Spectrum, Paradise Lost, and Starlight as a starter kit of packs for newcomers to learn (an admittedly very Windbreaker and RyokoTK-heavy kit, but their maps tend to be some of the most commonly hosted).
As for the maps here, they’re all great. I think “Yucatan Dive” is my favourite to wander through, though it’s rare to have enough players to make it worth hosting (so games where there are enough players are a treat). “End Times” and “Getaway UK” are very distinctive looking, memorable levels. “Hyacinth House” is also always a load of fun. I think “Inaugural Trams” is my favourite of the new levels – it feels like a cousin of “Tempus fugit” from Infra Apogee, not that I’m complaining. “TRON” is probably the most stylish, though.
If I do have a complaint, it’s that treellama made Visual Mode in Weland, and not one new map from Windbreaker since then. What gives? :V
tl;dr: It’s great that someone released new maps in 2020 and they’re actually good. Get this. If you already had an old version, get it again.
If you host net games at all, you need this pack. (And if you only join others’ net games, you still need this pack to familiarise yourself with one of the most frequently hosted third-party packs on the metaserver.) It’s utterly massive, with (as of this writing) 44 levels from tiny to absolutely gargantuan, all gorgeous, all with fantastic flow, all with impeccable weapon and item placement.
I must confess I haven’t actually played all 44 of these as net games (again, there’s 44 of them!), but I’ve never had a bad experience with any of the ones I have. In my ideal world, we’d see the stock maps hosted on the metaserver a lot less often, replaced by maps from packs like this and Windbreaker’s Imperium.
While I’m at it, Ryoko’s Paradise Lost, Second Quest, and Red Spectrum also hold up really well. (Red Spectrum is quite architecturally simple compared to Ryoko’s later work, but still has great flow and weapon placement.) Grab those too.
Edit: Ryoko added six new maps for version XI that match his expected standard of quality, bringing the total level count to 50. Several other levels also have revisions, expansions, or bug fixes. If you have an old version of this pack, it’s worth getting the new one.
It's probably my fault for not remapping the keys to something more logical whenever I play this, but still :(
Cool stuff, five stars.
I haven't actually gotten to play these in net mode yet but they are all significant aesthetic improvements over the originals, and for the most part they seem to flow better than the originals too. I was pretty shocked by how radical some of the rearrangements were (especially "Dead Fields") but I can definitely get used to them. My only complaint is that it would be nice to have an add-on that can throw in HD textures for the M2 levels.
It would also be really cool to have someone redo "Aye Mak Sicur" as a net map in this style (it was originally built as a net map to begin with, after all), although that's probably a pipe dream.
This is definitely in the top five Infinity/Aleph One scenarios I’ve ever played (the others are, in no particular order, Tempus, Rubicon, Eternal, and Pfh’Joueur, in case you’re wondering), and large portions of this scenario should serve as a model for future map-makers.
Cons: * Too frakking difficult. Not always in a “This is a challenge” way, but in a “If you stand in the wrong place for a second you will die” way, which is fine the first time but gets a bit frustrating after awhile. This probably wouldn’t be a problem if not for the $\\$ing fire speed of some of the enemies (I'm looking particularly at red defenders, blue hunters, the retooled Mothers of All Cyborgs and the like). This isn’t helped by the fact that Defenders fire on the left while pretty much everything else fires on the right, which makes the strafe-while-circling-enemies tactic I use in almost every other scenario almost impossible (although this isn’t really Ryoko’s fault since he wasn't the one who designed them. I guess he could have flipped them and just hand waved it as the A’khr being different though). I recently beat Marathon 2 on Major Damage without all that much frustration. I couldn’t even hack this on Normal. * Some of the secrets are probably impossible to find without the guide.
Pros: * Apart from the Guide Dang It secrets, the puzzles are uniformly superb. Almost everything in the game that isn’t a secret can be puzzled out without consulting a guide, but in some cases you’re going to have to think about it for awhile. * Possibly the most gorgeous map design I have ever seen in a scenario – even eclipsing the best levels of scenarios like Tempus Irae, Rubicon, and Eternal. Every single map is a beauty. * Apart from the insane difficulty, the gameplay is for the most part solid. I did find myself missing the shotgun though; the crossbow is an effective replacement, but you can’t carry nearly enough ammo for it except on TC :(
Neutral/Who cares: * The story is kind of simplistic, but it gets the job done. The writing is effective and the terminals are fun to read without ever going on too long like certain other scenarios occasionally do (\cough\ Eternal). * Some of the graphics were taken from other scenarios. Seriously, find something better to worry about. They’re all used beautifully and all fit nicely with one another.
It would be nice to have an HD version of this at some point, though.
Notice to players: Every single level has at least one secret. The “Nearby Skulls” count tells you how many secrets are on the level. I don’t remember any single level having more than seven.
My favourite levels were probably “Stone Temple Pilates”, “Into Sandy’s City”, “Escape Two Thousand”, “Sanctum Sanctorum”, “Dark Pfhorces”, and “Roquefortress”.
(April 23, 2012)
Edit May 27, 2020: I’m replaying this on Total Carnage and enjoying the combat a lot more. It’s possible some of this is the result of changes to the game since I last played it; however, it’s also worth noting that Ryoko himself has explicitly noted that this game is not balanced for any other difficulty setting. You’ll always have enough ammo on Total Carnage, even if you vid start every level (with Command+Option+New Game or Ctrl+Shift+New Game), unless you’re incredibly wasteful with ammo; however, this isn’t the case on lower difficulty settings, which have ammo caps that Total Carnage removes.
As a result, if you absolutely have to play on a lower difficulty:
Use a script that removes the ammo limits (or at least makes them into something ridiculous like 1,000 per ammo type).
My high esteem for this game hasn’t really changed in the last eight years since I wrote this review; if anything, I think I like it even more now. One of my own levels (“To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God”) is a direct ripoff of “Roquefortress”, which should be a clue as to how highly I regard it. (Further edit, July 31, 2020: My level for the forthcoming re-release of Tempus Irae, “Il grande silenzio”, will be equally obviously influenced by “Stone Temple Pilates”.)
Version 1.3.0 adds six new levels to the end of this game, which are worth your time to play. (They’re normally accessible from a secret terminal in the last level of the main story, “Swan Song”, but you can always vid start if you don’t feel like replaying the whole scenario. The first of these is a rebellion level, anyway, so vid starting it won’t be any different.) The short sequel Kindred Spirits is also worth your time.
And I do recommend vid starting each level. It’s a fun challenge, since Ryoko made sure each level has enough ammo and weapons to complete from a vid start.