Marathon Demo v0.0


The Marathon Demo was finally released on Wednesday 23rd November 1994. Tuncer Deniz, then editor of Inside Mac Games magazine, uploaded the demo to AOL and informed the waiting multitude on Accompanying the demo on AOL was a little note from Bungie.

Tuncer had in fact stated that the Marathon Demo would be released on the 23rd the day before yet unsurprisingly few were willing to believe him.

err... why was that?

Well in the preceding months nearly every Tom, Dick and Bob had posted to claiming they had spoken to somebody at Bungie who had told them that the demo would be out this week, next week, whenever. The online madness was summed up perfectly in this classic post.

Hey wasn't that the same guy who posted the Day In The Life Of Bungie, the true story behind the Marathon delay?

Yes... David Barabe, he was posting from a pseudo-account.

Ah right! so people had been waiting a long time for Marathon.

Yes. Bungie officially announced Marathon on July 25, 1994, though Doug Zartman (PR Bungie Software) had in fact posted to about Marathon a few weeks earlier. That same month Inside Mac Games magazine featured a Sneak Peek of the game. This was no real surprise to people who had been following gaming events closely as Bungie had revealed at the San Francisco Macworld expo in Jan '94 that a game called Marathon was in development. Yet the game shown in the IMG Sneak Peek didn't look anything like the one shown at the SF expo.

Yeah just as well... then again Marathon didn't look anything like the IMG Sneak Peek screenshots.

True. People got a chance to see the new look Marathon at the Boston Macworld expo in Aug '94. Bungie were in fact selling the game claiming that it was done except for the boxes! Shortly after Macworld Doug Zartman indicated that the game would be shipping in early September. Early September came and went but no game and no demo. Doug apologised. Two days later Bungie uploaded a collage (440K) of Marathon screenshots to AOL. Along with the screenshot collage were two Word documents (Press Releases), one dated 9/19/94, the other 9/22/94. The earlier one reiterated most of what Bungie had said in their Aug 2nd Press Release released at the start of the Macworld expo.

wooo... those screenshots looked nothing like the IMG Sneak Peek pics!

Yes Marathon was undergoing a radical overhaul. The downside of this was that its release was being delayed. Frustration set in and a vocal minority tore into Bungie. October and November were particularly unpleasant months on Bungie exited stage left and Tuncer Deniz took center stage to absorb some of the flack. The "flame wars" were about to begin.

Nasty... somebody should write this up one day... lots of lessons to be learnt.

Indeed. One day perhaps but I digress. Today is Marathon Demo day so lets look at some of the interesting things in the demo that you won't see in the final release. For example, the Bob in a hidden room in the maze on Arrival. But did this room really exist?

The Bob and his room were removed in the final release and in the updated version of the Marathon Demo (v1.2).

err... hold on a minute... you're telling me there are different versions of the Marathon Demo?

Yes the original demo v0.0 and the later v1.2 more commonly called Marathon 4L.

Oh no! When did this happen?

The creation date on the Marathon Demo v1.2 app. is March 9th 1995 (last modified date is May 5th 1995). The Map file also has the same creation date. It's not clear when it was first publically released. There was no Marathon demo on the Marathon CD when it was shipped in May 1995. Bungie did released a special CD called 'Marathon 4L (Four Level Game)' which contained the Marathon Demo v1.2 referred to as Marathon 4L. "The Disc" distributed by Power Computing at Boston Macworld Aug '95 also had the Marathon Demo v1.2 but it was not called Marathon 4L. The Marathon 2 CD, released in November 1995, contained the 'Marathon 4L' demo as have all other Bungie CD releases since then.

Hmmm... ok so what other differences are there?

The voices in the pillar.

The WHAT???!!!

This little known fact never made it into the Marathon demo FAQ. Surprised? You shouldn't be. The voices weren't always there which meant that not everybody heard them even when they went looking for them. When the full game was released there were never any voices in the pillar. You also can't hear them in the demo v1.2 (Marathon 4L).

So the voices were only ever in the original demo and only sometimes? What's up with that? Did Bungie screw up and position a Pfhor in a solid polygon?

No it's more sinister!

I was afraid you were going to say that!

A little known fact about the Pfhor onslaught on the UESC Marathon was the unexplained and unreported disappearance of close to seven per cent of the alien strike force while on board. The ship simply swallowed them up. Some call it Leela's revenge... others the curse of the interstellar colony ship Marathon. They say that seeing is believing... so download these seven films and witness the frightening tru7h. Oh by the way these films will ONLY WORK with the Marathon Demo v0.0 if you replay them using the Marathon Demo v1.2 (Marathon 4L) the film will start out right but quickly go out of sync and the Player will die... horribly.

You're having me on aren't you?

No... watch the films... you'll see a Pfhor fighter literally swallowed up by the ship. This explains how the voices get into the pillar.


Then I suggest you start looking for it. It's out there.... somewhere...

Ok... ok... I'll go look for it... so what else is different?

A few other things. When you first start out you can hear a platform sound. You have to be quick though... head up the corridor to your right... and there it is. That sound and then silence. It added greatly to air of mystery and suspense on the first level. It was removed in the final release. You can still hear it in the Marathon Demo v1.2 though.

Why was it removed in the final game?

Because of the suicide trap.


Take a look out across Hangar 7A (Port) and you'll see another observation room. That's the source of the platform noise. When you get over there you have to step on a platform to trigger it to take you down into the room. As it's a one shot platform you must trigger it again to get back up. If you happen to jump or fall off on your way up the platform will continue to rise and then stop. End of story for you. No way to trigger the platform back down again. It's a suicide trap only trouble is you can't kill yourself so you have to restart the game. In the final release the platform worked differently. It was initially set at its lowest point and always returned to this position. No way to get trapped now.

Ah good... but why didn't Bungie fix that in the Demo v1.2? After all they removed the Bob and his secret room in the maze.

You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions. Aim higher. Try this: who or what triggered the platform when you first arrived?


oops... sorry about that... let me continue. Bob could climb in the Demo v0.0. Indeed he could scale a seven foot wall with ease while you on the other hand would stumble at a mere three foot ledge.


Oh yes! It was humbling to watch. Olde Bob in "Blaspheme Quaratine" was a real mover. The following screenshots show where Bob did his stuff. First you had to open the locked door in the basement where the three Bobs were hiding out. This involved going up into the main part of the level and dropping back down into the basement triggering the door to open.

Once you did that Bob would run in, open the raised door himself and then skip right on up and out - light as a feather.

Of course he wouldn't get very far if you didn't clean out the area up top before hand. You did clear it out... didn't you? Or did all those years of Bob calling you a "short fat cripple" eventually get to you? Hmmm...

Hey! there are no Bobs on "Blaspheme Quaratine" in the final release version.

True. They were removed so you wouldn't look so bad! Your agent saw to that. It was either that or standing on a box all the time.

Oh yeah! Well there are Bobs on this level in the Demo v1.2 . Climb Bob... climb...

Bob don't climb... in the Demo v1.2.

Oh man! :-(

But let's move on. The Marathon Demo v0.0 came with four demo films that played when the game was idle. Two network games (Whiffin' Boy vs. Munch and Habe Quiddam vs. Geronimo) and two solo films - one of "Arrival" and the other of "Bigger Guns Nearby". The "Arrival" film is on Total Carnage and is supposedly by Jason Jones.

Yeah I heard about that one. That's where he ducks down low and glides across the floor for a few secs.

Nope that's the one shown in the full version. The Demo v0.0 has a different "Arrival" film by Jason Jones.

Woo... two Jason Jones films both on Total Carnage.

Yes. The earliest publically available Vidmaster films in existence. Of course if you had found the secret film page on the Marathon Vidmasters' Page you'd have known about this.


Yes... They're Everywhere!

Who did the demo film of "Bigger Guns Nearby"?

A Spazeroid!

Hold on... there are no solo demo films in the Marathon Demo v1.2. What happened?

The "Arrival" map was changed in v1.2 thus it needed a new film to play correctly. I guess nobody bothered to film one for the later demo.

But why not just use the "Arrival" film that came with the full version?

Wouldn't work. As I explained above the "Arrival" level in the Demo v1.2 is also different from the full release version.

Huh? I don't get it. You mean there are three different versions of the "Arrival" level in existence?

Yes! More if you count the leaked beta versions


Yes... but that's another Story!

Ok... but what about the solo film of "Bigger Guns Nearby" in the Demo v0.0 surely Bungie could have used that solo film with the Demo v1.2 or was that level changed too?

Well you could always check.

Hey! the net films are different too!

Yes the Marathon Demo v1.2 contained two different demo net films. Pluckaroo Banzi vs. Woodrow and SuperOperaBoy vs. F Vulcan.

Cool! That makes four original Bungie demo net films.

Well five if you count the one that comes with the full version.

Hmmm... what about the beta versions.

Who told you about those?

An old friend.


I also know that in the final release version of "Bigger Guns Nearby" the secret Tozt was removed. And the unfinished message was also removed from the end of "Blaspheme Quaratine" because you couldn't take the short cut any more. The switch was gone!

Hmmm... your memory seems to be improving.

Yeah and some of the terminals were changed. There was one about the "Seven Riders of the Apocalypse", the seven was highlighted in bold indicating that it was important... a clue...

Enough!... too much has been revealed already.

But wait there's more... what aboff`~~~~ff`

I am being a~*ssimilated.

Time enough for more secrets... another day


Scott Jaeger <> writes:

Another difference in the demos and release is that in v0.0, in the suicide platform room, you can pick up a Napalm canister, only it is misspelled as "CANNISTER". This was corrected in the release and in the Demo v1.2 if I remember correctly.

Concerning the seven demo films in the package "The Ship is ALIVE!!!" (see above) Nick Roemer <> writes:

That makes the fact that the demo's open dialog (seems to be standard) displays seven files at once... stand out.

Hmmm... could this be the reason there were seven films? ;-)

Mike Watson <> writes:

I found this on a MacAddict CD, in the readme for the Marathon 4L demo. ("DON'T READ THIS!!!") I'm not sure how many of these you've caught.

"The 4L was constructed using only one of five texture collections, so the insane variety that you see here is multiplied by five in the full game."

Five??? I may be a bit groggy here, but there were only 4 texture sets in Marathon, right?

"Turning off floor and/or ceiling textures will also increase speed."

I didn't know you could turn off floor and/or ceiling textures...was this not implemented in the final release?

"Since the sound manager is not native on the Power Mac, using 3 or more sound channels will greatly impede performance."

I can only see a 3 channel maximum in Marathon...Another unimplemented feature?

Yes it does seem odd that the Marathon 4L Read Me was never altered to reflect there unimplemented features even though Marathon 4L replaced the original Marathon Demo v0.0 many months after the release of Marathon. It doesn't take much to alter a Read Me. Note that the Marathon 4L app and map were altered though. Strange stuff.

Simon Brownlee <> writes concerning Mike Watson's comments above:

Marathon has built in support for five texture sets, although the released scenario only used four (sets 1,2,3 & 5). It's possible to use set four in third party scenarios, but the results were always unstable. This may have been due to not having the full specs for the shapes file, or perhaps Bungie found a problem sometime after the "DON'T READ THIS!!!" readme was written and decided to drop the fourth texture set (where is that set now?)

The turn off floor/ceiling option are only available in the 68K version of the beta/demo/release. If you want to test this out on a PPC, just use ResEdit to strip out the 'cfrg' resource.

I believe this statement applies to the non native Sound Manager, not to Marathon itself i.e. your Mac will slow down if you try to pipe more than 3 channels of sound through SM3.0. I've seen very similar statements with other applications shipped around the time of Marathon, so it's probably taken from one of the Apple tech notes.

On the subject of Demo "read me" documents and their lack of updating Aaron Freed <> writes:

Here's some text from the Infinity demo Read Me.

"Some of the messages you get are from the different computers aboard the Marathon, some are log entries left by inhabitants of the Marathon, and some are just garbage, spewing out from the digital geysers created by the Alien compilers."

"Switches are activated in the same way as terminals, but they usually change some physical condition aboard the Marathon. For example, a switch might activate a platform or a door."

Err I might be wrong but I didn't think we ever were on the Marathon in Marathon 2 or Infinity.

"Terminals and pattern buffers are twice as wide as switches. The pattern buffer has a red light on one side and an icon of a human on the other. Use the tab key to activate a pattern buffer, computer terminal or switch. The pattern buffer allows you to save games."

Really? I didn't think that was a human on those pattern buffers. I could be wrong though.

Concerning the incorrect spelling of "CANNISTER" in the Marathon Demo V0.0 and its subsequent change in the full release version Aaron Freed <> writes

Concerning "CANNISTER".

It was fixed in later releases but it wasn't in Anvil. Also in Forge was "Cyborg Crenade Major." In Anvil one of the sounds was "Rocket Expoding."

The following is a screen capture (61K) of a Games folder bundled on Iomega Zip Tools disk dating from March '96. Note that the demo is version 0.0 and not version 1.2 (Marathon 4L) which replaced v0.0 around mid '95. Note also the "Troubleshooting" document, dating from the 1st Dec '94. This is in fact a version of Bungie's Marathon Demo FAQ posted to AOL on the 30th Nov '94 and also several days later. So what? Well the addition of "Troubleshooting" document to the demo folder indicates that this was another officially released version of the Marathon Demo v0.0 (the original was released on 23rd November 1994) yet you might be forgiven for wondering what happened to this later version since it doesn't appear to have been widely distributed. Unless of course you know otherwise.

Forrest Cameranesi <> writes:

I, too, was an early adopter of the Zip drive and hence got the Marathon 0.0 Demo. However, from the shot you put up I see you got an A-10 Cuba Demo instead of a Pathways demo like I got. Attached is a screenshot

You can see it Forrest's screenshot here (37K)

Andrew Nagy <> writes concerning the availablity of the Marathon Demo 0.0 on the web:

that's definitely not the only place to find the Marathon Demo 0.0. I got it from ZDNet while doing a search for MIDI. I think it was on the second page of results, and listed as only being two kilobytes. Previously I'd done a search for Marathon and gotten nothing but Infinity and Evil.

Or if the direct link works:

I had no idea I wasn't using 1.2 until I read about the Bob in the labyrinth, and suddenly remembered a weird flashing blue square I saw on the map. I'd learned what that meant in Blaspheme Quarantine and Mars Needs Women, but forgotten about the one in Arrival until now. Then I remembered something else intriguing - several times when entering the room with the pillar, I thought I'd seen an exploding Pfhor in the corner whose remains dropped off the ledge and disappeared into the floor. Before, I thought I was imagining the motion and just seeing the three .44 clips, but now I'm not so sure. I haven't got a good shot of him being crushed yet, but I have a few films where you can just barely see something moving around a corner.

I also have a film and three screenshots of one time when I was just messing around, and suddenly I noticed his corpse showing below the floor, just before the pillar came back down and caused it to disappear. I'll try send all of them as soon as possible after my iMac is working again.

BTW, I nearly screamed when I tried to start the demo 0.0 with a custom physics model, and it showed "0 PIRATED COPLAND BETA" in the HUD just before crashing. I have a screenshot of that somewhere too. I kept using 0.0 just because all my films and savegames were compatible, until I got the 4L version off a CodeWarrior CD.

John Sumner <> points out another source for the Marathon Demo v0.0 on AOL:

Just wanted to let you know of another location where one can download the Marathon Demo version 0.0. If you go to Keyword: Filesearch, and then do a shareware search for Marathon Demo. There are a number of hits, but one of them is titled **Marathon Demo**

That's the one everyone wants....i downloaded it and played Arrival for awhile....very spooky with that platform sound :)

Here is an AOL address for the very window containing the Marathon Demo download:


Simon Brownlee (aka Squeaky) <> informs me that contrary to popular belief the Marathon Demo v0.0 is still available for download at the Marathon HyperArchive. And true to his word I did a search on the word "demo" and found the Marathon Demo v0.0 at The file is 3076K and dates from 25th Nov 1994. Mmm.... Blast from the Past.

Back in Aug 11, 1998 Ben Fisher <> wrote concerning the text of the "trash" term (Terminal 2) on Arrival from the Marathon Demo. See the Trash Terms section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Back in July 28, 1998 Karl Boman <> wrote:

An incredibly common misunderstanding in the Marathon community is that to "vid" is to follow Bungie's definition of looking up and down an generally navigate in Marathon, and, if you're a VidMaster, finishing levels with your bare fists on Total Carnage. This is not correct. So be it that it was Bungie who untroduced it to us, but it was Anthony Burgess who introduced it to begin with in his novel "A Clockwork Orange". There to "vid" simply was to look/see.

I don't know if this has been pointed out before, and if not, it's really surprising, Marathon being a sci-fi-game and all, and considering the large amounts of sci-fi-literature parallells both in the games and on Marathon's Story.

As Karl correctly points out Bungie originally used the term "Vid" in the Marathon Demo. They explained the term as follows:

Learn to VID. That is, learn to look up and down at will. This is also useful for finding cool things.

It later became part of the term Vidmaster. See the Marathon Vidmasters' FAQ for a full history on Bungie's use of the term. So could Bungie's original use of the term have come from Anthony Burgess's novel "A Clockwork Orange"? And let us not forget that Stanley Kubrick made a film based on the novel. The Kubrick references in Marathon have been noted on a number of occasions.

Way... way... back in Apr 26, 1996 Steve Wood <> pointed out that there was an "Unfinished" Message on terminal 3 of the demo version of "Blaspheme Quarantine". Steve wrote: do you see that message? Easy, use a grenade to throw the switch in the main rectangular room. Then you get to enter the final room without going anywhere on the level.

The message was removed in the final game because the level itself was altered. I'll let you figure out the change for yourself. :-)

Also note that when you finish the three solo levels and reach the final terminal you are teleported back to the first level to start the game anew but you retain all the weapons and ammuntion from the previous game.

Andrew Nagy <> sent in a series of demo 0.0 films showing some odd goings on at that Pfhor swallowing pillar on "Arrival". Andrew writes:

I also have a film and three screenshots of one time when I was just messing around, and suddenly I noticed his corpse showing below the floor, just before the pillar came back down and caused it to disappear. I'll try send all of them as soon as possible after my iMac is working again.

BTW, I nearly screamed when I tried to start the demo 0.0 with a custom physics model, and it showed "0 PIRATED COPLAND BETA" in the HUD just before crashing. I have a screenshot of that somewhere too. I kept using 0.0 just because all my films and savegames were compatible, until I got the 4L version off a CodeWarrior CD.

You can get the films and pics here (423K). In one film Andrew shows the pillar actually crushing a Pfhor fighter and in another you can see the remains of a Pfhor disappear right at the foot of the pillar. Weird stuff. Also check the Get Info comments box on the Blaspheme Quarantine pic.

Can't find the Marathon Demo v0.0 online? Well you can get it directly from the Story page here.

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Last updated Jan 15, 2012