Marathon's Story

What's New
(July-Aug 1996)

Aug 31, 1996
Alessandra Muccinelli has compiled the full text AND graphics of all the Marathon 2: Durandal terminals on her Marathon 2 Terminals Guide page. The site is in Italy and the download times are good from Ireland so they're going to be good ANYWHERE else. Nice one Alessandra.

Interesting to note that before NASA officially announced the possibility of life on Mars only the US President and 6 other people knew about this exciting discovery. Well that was before Dick Morris (the President's chief strategist) told Ms. Sherry Rowlands. So seven people held the knowledge that life might exist somewhere else. Strangely familar.

The alien projection appeared in the early Spring of 1994, flickering suddenly into existence deep within the Pentagon in Washinton, D.C. The hologram of the Jjaro diplomat interrupted, quite deliberately, an important briefing of the President by his senior military staff. It told them they had eight days to save the world.

No one outside the six men present that day knows exactly what was said in the hours that followed...

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

Aug 27, 1996
Edwin ten Dam <> writes:

"...on the 27th of August the moon of your pages has illuminated our home planet for 343 days. 343? but that's 7*7*7 !"

Aug 26, 1996
Question of the Week #25 remained unanswered. Check The HoT List for details.

Aug 22, 1996
Steve Wood <> asks you all to take your Marathon or Marathon 2 box, turn it upside down, and note the number of times the number seven appears in Bungie's address and the UPC code. Thanks Steve I can see it's going to be one of those days. ;-)

Aug 21, 1996
The Seventh HoTBob Competition is finally over. Due to a quirk of fate a question remains unanswered. It's possibly the best one since the nameless moon in Question #1. As Thoth would say circumstances are cyclical. The Question of the Week competition will be taking a well earned break. However be warned - like Tycho it may be reanimated again.

By now most people will be aware that Marathon Central has moved from AMUG to While the Marathon's Story page is still at it is now also mirrored at As I understand it the Marathon directories on AMUG will eventually be erased. Until such time however the AMUG site for the Marathon's Story page will be updated. You should take note of the URL for the Marathon's Story page at Grayphics. Many thanks to Mark McWilliams <> for finding a new home for Marathon Central.

Pete Spomer <> provides an explanation for how Martian insurgents could seemingly stash ammo on the Marathon seven years after it was launched. See Bungie's New Timeline section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Aug 19, 1996
Bo Lindbergh <> has released a new version (1.3) of his "Durandal Terminal Browser". It now has the ability to copy the contents of the terminal screen as a picture and can also handle map files from the Win95 version of M2. You can get it from the Marathon's Story page here or from Bo's site here. The Durandal Terminal Browser also works with the Marathon Infinity demo.

David Twist <> writes to say that he came across some interesting Marathon information at Strata's web page. It concerns the use of Studio Pro in the modelling of the Defender, the Elite Guard of the Ruling Family of the S'pht'Kr. You'll find it at Strata's Gallery of Featured Artists. The information dates from April 18th 1996 so it's somewhat old. One interesting piece however is the following:

A few experiments led to a bump pattern that gave the Defender the desired look of sophisticated, but ancient, technology.
Sounds like the Jjaro again. There's also a picture of Rob McLees. Couldn't see any bumps on him though. ;-)

Jerud Crandall <> writes "don't you think there should be seven 7's instead of six?". Ah! the mystery of the missing seventh seven. ;-)

Aug 17, 1996
Aaron Snyder <> writes concerning the meaning of the name Tycho. See the Tycho section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Aug 16, 1996
Jonathan Westin <> just couldn't help but notice that part of the intro music to Marathon Infinity is a remixed version of soundtrack number 13 from Marathon. Jonathan writes: "Begin listen to the background beat 7 seconds after the "Infinity" voice".

I won't spoil it and tell you what level uses soundtrack number 13 I'll let you figure that out for yourself. Also I have jelly ears so don't write to me about it. ;-)

Oh yes! No guesses as to what soundtrack "Arrival" uses.

Craig Stanton <> writes "Questions 24 and 25 on the same week? 24+25=49 7*7=49, so clear."

Don't you just love days like these! ;-)

Aug 15, 1996
Thanks to Ben Elgin <>, Avi Selk <>, and Jesse Shrieve <J@Field.Com> who all write pointing out that in Jay Barry's a.g.m. post he calls our character a CYBORG. This is the first time someone from Bungie has actually admitted this fact. A little slip perhaps. ;-)

Christopher Mc Craken <> and Mark Tomczak <> both point out that at 5'7" we could still be the biggest in the colony as size is determined by two factors: height and girth. Our character may be a short stocky guy!

Personally I prefer to think of myself as a tall lean mean fighting machine. However that's my fantasy. ;-) Maybe Jonas Eneroth would like to elaborate on how he derived this magic figure of 5'7"?

Avi Selk <> notes that on "Acme Station" we hear water dripping and asks how we can be hearing this? Liquid cannot exist in a vacuum!

On the same theme Ben Elgin <> asks how does the shotgun work in a vacuum?


I won't waste my time trying to explain the loading mechanism to you - your primitive mind could never grasp its complex nature.


Mark Tomczak <> writes to suggest that maybe Acme Station is not in vacuum but rather simply has no oxygen. Mark goes on to say that perhaps the station is filled with the atmosphere breathed by the ancient race that created it? Good point. This could explain the dripping water sound, indeed all sounds on this level. Note also that Durandal doesn't say that the station is in vacuum only that we will run out of oxygen if we take too long.

Aug 14, 1996
Brian Harriss <> points out that on the vacuum level "Acme Station" (the 3rd level on the Marathon Infinity demo) we encounter Fighters and asks how do they survive the vacuum? Brian makes reference to what Leela tells us on "Defend THIS!":

Only two clans of the Pfhor have been examined. The Fighter carries a shock staff, which is capable of attacking at different settings. The Trooper is armored for vacuum conditions and carries a combination explosive and impact projectile weapon which is similar to your AR-75.

<Defend THIS! (Terminal 4)>

Thus the Fighters were not vacuum capable.

Seems like another story inconsistency... we hope that these things will be sorted out before the final release. Maybe swap the Fighters for Troopers... ;-)

Ty Klein <> passes on an interesting Bungie tidbit from The full post is given below.

From: Jay Barry 
Subject: Re: Marathon: the Movie
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 11:08:15 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software Products
Lines: 16
Message-ID: <>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Mailer: Mozilla 2.02 (Win95; I)

> > > You: Arnold maybe? Some guy who looks good with a big gun and is big
> > > and strong.
> >
> > no, um... you would be John Travolta.
> Uh... nah. I was thinking more along the lines of... Sly? Possibly, He
> has the look and all, but I don't know about the voice... Rocky...
> ummmm....

Well... Jonas figured out that in real-world terms the cyborg is about
5'7" (what Hamish Sinclair will do with this tidbit I've no idea) so
Sly would be a better guess than Arnie.  Jason Jones would probably
insist on playing it himself though...


Hold on a sec while I find my serious hat... 5'7" ?!?! Hey let's get REAL here. It says in the Marathon manual that:'ve always been the colony's trouble shooter. You're bigger and stronger, and a better shot.

At 5'7" we're the biggest?!?! What are we talking about here... a colony of midgets? ;-)

Aug 13, 1996
Number 13, unluckly for some. But not for me. AMUG is back and thus so am I. Unlucky for you perhaps?

For those of you who have asked about the level name "Ne Cede Malis" it's latin for "do not yield to misfortunes". And yes it is spelt correctly. ;-)

The level name "Poor Yorick" is taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act V Scene 1). It's the famous graveyard scene. The line goes "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio...". Yorick was the King's jester. The name may refer to the fate of the Pfhor captain.

Aug 12, 1996
Avi Selk <> points out that there are a number of pictures in the resource fork of the Marathon Infinity map file that don't appear in the actual game. They make for interesting viewing.

Michael Dawe <> writes concerning Robert Blake and Durandal. See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Aug 11, 1996
Added the Marathon Infinity demo text - Blood Tides of Lh'owon. But AMUG is still down. Warning - this is a high bandwidth area. Do not view it unless you are looking for secrets. ;-)

Of course you can always read the terminals in all their glory using Bo Lindbergh's "Durandal Terminal Browser". It works on Infinity. You can get it from the Marathon's Story page here or from Bo's site here.

Aug 10, 1996
Wilson Miner <> provides some interesting information on an early computer system at the Universtiy of Waterloo called "The Thoth System". Contains some interesting background on why the name Thoth was chosen for the system. See the Thoth section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

There seems to some confusion concerning Bungie's use of Dante Alighieri's quote Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate which appears above their door and as a level name in Pathways into Darkness. David Coufal <dcoufal@MIT.EDU> writes to say that he has been informed by Claudio Cataldo <> that the correct citation from Dante's "Divina Commedia" is Lasciate ogni speranza Voi che entrate. However, it doesn't end there - Columbia University spell it a differently as well - Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate. The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1895) translation of this line is All hope abandon, ye who enter in! Of course we've all seen this before. Latin or Italian, what the heck... it's all Greek to me. ;-)

Oh yes... the Marathon Infinity Demo is out. But AMUG is down so I can't upload this page :-(

Aug 9, 1996
Denny Mills <> writes concerning the mysterious colony text. See The Colony section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Aug 8, 1996
Was there life on Mars? Wilson Miner <> points out that recent evidence would suggest that this is a possibility. The following is part of statement by NASA on the subject:

"NASA has made a startling discovery that points to the possibility that a primitive form of microscopic life may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. The research is based on a sophisticated examination of an ancient Martian meteorite that landed on Earth some 13,000 years ago."
You can check out the details at NASA's news room.

Understandably the CIA have begun questioning certain employees at Bungie Software Corporation. The sudden disappearance of Greg Kirkpatrick remains a mystery.

Dave Coufal has a Special Report of the MacWorld Expo Boston on his Macintosh 3D Games Resources Page. Contains some interesting information on Bungie's up and coming games, including Marathon Infinity.

David Coufal <dcoufal@MIT.EDU> writes concerning a possible influence on the Marathon Story pointing out that the novels of sf writer Iain M. Banks are set in in a universe known as The Culture; where civilization is run by thousands of ship-sized AIs known as Minds. These Minds are generally very sarcastic, and name their ships whimsicaly (for a few examples of the ship names, see: David asks - does this remind you of any A.I.'s of your aquaintance?

If you thought the Marathon Story was detailed and cryptic wait to you read something like Iain Banks's Feersum Endjinn.

Aug 6, 1996
I've watched the movie more than seven times. I've even read the original short story. But I missed this one. Peter Rahm-Coffey < > writes concerning the possible origin of Tycho's name. See the Tycho section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details. The mystery begins to unfold a little more.

Michael Barter <> writes concerning Robert Blake. See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Yes!... the ULTIMATE question has been answered. Was Durandal Elvis reanimated? David Snyder <> says NO WAY - "Elvis was the King. Durandal is God.". Too cool ;-) But did escape make Elvis a God too?

On the same theme - this week is apparently "Elvis Week". He was born 61 years ago. 6 + 1 = 7. Let's ROCK! [after Vasquez of course].

Aug 5, 1996
Kim Foo-Jones <> writes concerning the enlarged Marathon Infinity terminal. See the The Marathon Infinity Terminal Screenshot Text section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

David Snyder <> writes concerning the number seven. See The Number Seven section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Aug 3, 1996
Mark Tomczak <> makes an interesting observation about You (the Marine) and You (the Player). See the You section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

For those of you who have asked about the meaning of the words Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate which appear above the door of Bungie's HQ Jim Mitchell <> has the answer. It's Italian for Abandon Every Hope, All Who Enter Here. How does he know? Is he Italian? No! It's in the PiD Hints Book. I've been telling people for months to get this book. It has ALL the answers and even some of the questions. Now where did I put my copy?

Philip Accas <> asks who are these terrain BOBs? Are they dressed in earth tones rather than garish greens and reds? ;-)

Philip goes onto say that in the Marathon demo the advice from Bungie on the 1st terminal is RUN, RUN, RUN.... What better advice for a Marathoner?

Aug 1, 1996
Peter Marks <> provides a passage from the sf novel "Marathon" by D. Alexander Smith which he feels at times adequately describes playing the game:

"The marathon is not a glorious race; not a race for triumph. It is a race of endurance won, not by the fastest, not the strongest, but by the toughest, most determined runner. The marathon runner forgets all else; he only sees the ribbon of roadway ahead, he hears his feet slapping methodically against the ground. He feels the pain which wraps about him like a blanket, draining, ever draining. The terrain bobs about him as he runs onward. Pain is his only companion. It is not a pleasant race."

Marathon by D. Alexander Smith (1982): page 98.

See the What's New Section for Jan 27 for details on this Marathon trilogy. Could this have been one of the influences on the Marathon Story?

And now for some trivia. Guess who runs Marathons at Bungie? 3:46:57. BTW this is not a QotW. ;-)

Josh Noel <> provides two very obvious but subtle observations about Robert Blake. Was Blake a fake? See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

July 31, 1996
I'm back! Well at least my mail server is :-) Amazingly I got over the cold turkey pretty quickly and was free to contemplate my existence in metaphorical terms, discovered that the sky is indeed blue and that there is life after 30... or is it 40?... I can't exactly remember. ;-)

I'm presently wading through my Marathon mail. A quick thanks for the fun mail from a Swiss (tick tock!) version of Durandal at <Durandal@olifant.compnet>, a French (ooh la la!) version of Leela at <>, and "The children of Tycho" at <tycho@traxIV%40%40%48%48> in Japan (ah so!). You know who you are ;-)

The Marathon 2 for Windows 95 Demo is now out and available from Bungie's page and other ftp sites. If anybody spots any differences in the Story etc. could they please let me know. No I don't have access to a computer with Windows 95.

July 30, 1996
Bungie's Webperson (let's be PC here!) reveals a little bit more on the influences behind Marathon in Bungie's letters page. The Webperson writes:

"...Aliens was definitely an influence on the Marathon games. Certainly more of an influence than Harlan Ellison, who is more of an influence on the WebMaster, truth be told. (Oddly enough, another James Cameron film - Terminator - was based on a couple of Outer Limits episodes scripted by Mr. Ellison.)"
The Outer Limits episode in question was "Soldier" written in 1964. James Cameron settled out of court.

Who is Bungie's Webperson? Now that is the question!

July 27, 1996
Sorry, but my mail server is down :-(
If you have tried to contact me or are awaiting a reply please be patient.
Recovery, imminent perhaps inevitable Never.
<connection unexpectedly terminated code 0x4e712fe9>

July 25, 1996
First it was 30 levels, then it was 20, now it's a 27 level scenario. Yes folks Marathon Infinity will complete the trilogy with the same number of levels as the original Marathon. Tuncer Deniz writes on AOL:

Subj:  Re:Numbe of new levels in MI
Date:  96-07-25 14:11:14 EDT
From:  AFC Tuncer      

>Yep, 20 new levels.

20 scenario levels, 10 network levels. That was the original plan. We now
have about 27 scenario levels and 20 net levels in Marathon Infinity.

Good news. Thanks to Jim Mitchell <> for passing this on.

July 22, 1996
Avi Selk <> points out that in the data fork of the Marathon map file you will find interesting comments along side some of the map names. Same applies for Marathon 2 ... a ya ya... You'll need a program like Jim Bumgardner's HexEdit to read them. Anybody want to list these?

Avi also mentions that buried deep in the resource fork of Marathon 2 is a reference to the player being a "zombie". It also says something about freaks! But we won't go into that. ;-)

Oh yes... if anybody finds the secret story clue left by Greg please give me a shout.

It seems that this Number Seven thing is catching. Adam Freidin <bob@clarity.Princeton.EDU> points out that in the game Odyssey, an Ultima style game, there are numerous references to the Number Seven. So what's the connection? Apparently the game uses code from Bungie's game Minotuar and Alex Seropian, Jason Jones, Greg Kirkpatrick and Doug Zartman are all mentioned in the credits.

July 21, 1996
Added additional information to The Colony section of Facts and puzzling things about...

July 20, 1996
Jim Mitchell <> points out that the level name "Try Again" is 'officially' spelt "Try again" on the map. Arrrghhh... if I wasn't a stickler for detail I'd ignore this comment. Do you how many times that level name appears on this site?

July 18, 1996
Jim Mitchell <> writes concerning the number seven. See The Number Seven section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

July 16, 1996
Ahmad Shah Sahar <> points out that Bungie are featured on Cool Site of the Day at There's a short interview, some pics, and a quiz. Man those questions are hard. I've been typing in the words Ling Ling for hours and I still don't get infinite lives in Marathon 2. 8-)

July 13, 1996
Not much activity on the Marathon's Story front so the boys have allowed me to preview two more pages from the The Marathon Vidmasters' Page. The Vidmasters Rules and another page from the Vidmaster Tips & Tricks section.

July 10, 1996
It seems that some people are working overtime on The Marathon Vidmasters' Page. Another sneek preview has been released. But will it be out before Marathon Infinity, that is the question?

Just in - a sneek preview from the soon to be unveiled Marathon Vidmasters' Page. Will you be on it? Do you have what it takes to "Just Vid It"?

July 9, 1996
In keeping with the tradition of the Sevens - Bungie's letters page confirms that Power of Seven will be doing the Marathon Infinity theme music.

July 8, 1996
As the sun begins to set on the Marathon Trilogy a new page is about to be written. A page to celebrate Marathon Vidmastery - old and new.

The Marathon Vidmasters' Page

Command-Option Begin Game for Total Carnage all the way. Solo levels like you've never experienced them before. To wet your appetite here are two films of Ignie Ferroque. One by an old timer the other a young gun. By Fire and Sword. More information about this Page will appear soon. Will you be prepared to bite the bullet?

July 3, 1996
David Coufal <> has some interesting Bungie tidbits on the News Section of his excellent Macintosh 3D Games Resources Page. A DNS lookup on the * hierarchy has revealed some amusing and interesting names. Quite a few references to Norse Gods, Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers", maybe the odd bit of Japanese food and some computer art by Heidemarie Seblatnig, even a pc version of Tuncer Deniz! Who knows what mysteries lie in these names. ;-)

Adam Freidin <bob@clarity.Princeton.EDU> writes:

"Odyssey:The Legend of Nemesis which has portions copyrighted (1995) by Bungie. Special thanks to Alex Seropian, Jason Jones, Greg Kirkpatrick, Doug Zartman at Bungie Software and to Tuncer Deniz."

Adam also points out that the game ShadowWraith mentions Reg Graphix, lead graphic artist for Marathon, Marathon 2, and Diamonds 3D in it's credits. Could Reg Graphix be J. Reginald Dujour?

Added some more stuff to the What's in a Name? section. A few of the level names are still unclear and some of the information can be improved. For example, see Ben Elgin's <> addition for "My Own Private Thermopylae". For those you without a frames capable browser you can see the What's in a Name? section here . However it is best viewed using frames. The link is on the left for all you 'framers' out there.

July 2, 1996
Eylon Caspi <> writes concerning the unformatted terminal message on "Kill Your Television". See the The Unformatted KYT Term. Message section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

July 1, 1996
Eylon Caspi <> writes concerning Bernhard Strauss, Tycho, and Durandal's rampancy. See the Bernard Strauss section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Go to What's New (May-June 1996)

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Title graphic courtesy of Greg K. (Mar 7, 1996)
Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Aug 31, 1996