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.
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:
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.
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.
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’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.