Marathon Cheat Codes

Cheaters don't really win,
and winners don't really cheat,
Unless you're talking politics.

Cheat Codes in Marathon? This is what Jason Jones (Lead Programmer at Bungie Software) had to say about cheat codes in Marathon in an early Inside Mac Games interview with Tuncer Deniz:

There are no secret codes in Marathon. Why? Well, for example, if you're stuck on G4 Sunbathing and you're trying to find the switch to get off the level and if you know you can just type control-aslag three times to get 3 times health and get the Rocket Launcher, it becomes really tempting to do that everytime. Marathon actually has built-in cheating, you can always switch the difficulty levels.

In a later interview with Tuncer Deniz when asked the same question Jason Jones replied:

You mean you haven't found them yet? OK, OK. One problem was that most of our beta testers were using them to cheat during their walk-throughs of the game, which obviously wasn't very good testing. But I also wanted to make the game challenging and not provide players with an easy way out of a difficult situation. I knew cheater programs would be all over the Internet the day Marathon shipped, but running an application to modify your saved-game file is different than just typing "GOPOSTAL" or something during the game and getting a billion health and 65,535 rockets. Honestly, though, Marathon does have built-in cheat codes: the difficulty levels. Playing on the "Kindergarten" level is really easy, but I bet very few people can win the game on Total Carnage (and I'd like to play a few network games with the people that can).

OK so what were the original Marathon ßeta cheat codes before they were removed?

Marathon ßeta Cheat Codes

To impliment these codes it was necessary to hold down the control (ctrl) key while typing the words in as capitals.

HEALTH - Gave the player 1X shields.

RIFLE - Gave the player the MA-75 Assault Rifle.

FATMAN - Gave the player the SPNKR-X17 SSM Launcher.

TOASTER - Gave the player the Tozt-7 Flame Unit.

PZBXAY - Gave the player the alien weapon.

ASLAG - Gave the player the SPNKR-X17 SSM Launcher (+ 2 additional rockets) and the MA-75 (+ 3 additional MA-75 clips and 3 additional MA-75 grenade clips). Also gave the player 2X shields though this didn't show up in the shield level indicator.

AMMO - Gave the player an additional clip/charge for every weapon in their inventory apart from the Fusion Pistol. A maximum of ten clips/charges could be obtained at any one time with this cheat. When used with the alien weapon "Alien Weapon Magazines" where obtained.

HAVESOME - Gave the player the Super Shields (Invincibility) power-up.

ISEEYOU - Gave the player the Hypervision power-up.

FISHEYE - Gave the player the Extravision power-up.

BYE - Gave the player the Transparency (Invisibility) power-up.

LEVEL - Allowed the player to jump immediately to the next level. All weapons were carried forward though strangely devoid of any loaded ammo. Thus it was necessary to reload on arriving. Fortunately additional ammo in the player's inventory was carried forward.

MAP - Allowed aliens to be seen in map mode even when outside the range of the automapped terrain. Below is a screenshot from the start of Arrival. Red squares are Pfhor. Note in the ßeta there was no Pfhor in the room to the left

In addition objects (weapons and ammo) showed up as white squares on the map. The fun aspect of this feature was that Blue Pfhor Fighter and S'pht (Compiler) bolts could be seen in map mode which meant that you could basically play the Marathon beta all from map mode if you so wished. This feature could be toggled on or off.

Below is a screenshot of the MAP cheat code in operation. Red squares are Pfhor. Yellow squares represent Pfhor bolts. White squares are weapons and ammo. The player is in trouble... oouch!

Marathon ßeta Game Mode Codes. Unlike the above codes these gave the player no real advantage.

BOB - Allowed the walking (bobbing) motion of the player to be turned off.

PATHWAYS - Speeded up player and alien movements. Similar to TURBO mode in Pathways Into Darkness but unlike Pathways sounds were not speeded up.

Marathon ßeta Codes that had an unclear purpose.

PISTOL - Unclear. Did not give the player a second pistol. As the player already started out with a pistol the function of this code was unknown.

OXYGEN - Unclear. Presumed to give you 100% oxygen but as none of the beta levels required the use of oxygen the indicator never dropped below 100%.

VIEW - Unclear. Listed amongst the cheat codes but didn't appear to do anything when typed.

OK so where there ANY cheat codes left in Marathon?

Yes! Jason Jones mentioned one in an Inside Mac Games (IMG) interview in 1995, Jason admitted:

Jones: There is one bug in the game which is kind of a secret Vid-Master cheat that you can even use in the game network game. It was just an oversight.
IMG: So what's the cheat?
Jones: I'm not going to tell you (laughing), because you (pointing to me) can use it in the network game.

Well was it ever found? Not clear. There is a cheat in Marathon though whether it is of any use in net games is debateable. By holding down the fire key and tapping next and previous weapon keys VERY quickly (note the emphasis on very) it is possible to punch very fast or empty an entire clip nearly all at once. It's not easy to get right but it does work.

Steve Wood <> writes:

I verified at MacWorld that the cheat that Jason Jones was talking about in the interview was the empty-the-clip cheat. He said "it basically lets you empty your clip in one second".

Steve actually posted to about this way back in August '95. Kinda got lost in the mists of time but a quick search in the Story archives found the tru7h:

Subject:      MacWorld Report Part 2
From: (Steve Wood)
Date:         1995/08/09
Message-Id:   <40apus$>
Sender:       -Not-Authenticated-[7620]
Xdisclaimer:  No attempt was made to authenticate the sender's name.
X-Posted-From: InterNews 1.0.6@
Organization: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Forgot to mention this in the earlier one....

if you've read the interview with Bungie on Inside Mac Games,
they mention a secret Marathon 1 cheat that works in net games!
They forgot to take it out of the release version, and they don't
want to ruin anyone's net games so they're very secretive about it.

I asked Jason about it and he said that he wouldn't tell me how
to do it, but the cheat lets you fire off a whole clip in one
shot. Coool.


Jimmy Mitchell <> writes:

That "cheat" rules! Oh man, this I can use---serious carnage....not really that tough either, although admittingly if you screw up you're in trouble. Very cool. A must-know thing for a Vidmaster. I've attached a short demo film of the "Superfist and Rapid-fire magnum" techniques if you think it's cool enough to add to the Cheat Codes page then please do. :)

BTW interesting to note this "cheat" works in M1 only.

You can get Jimmy's film here.

Jimmy Mitchell <> sends in another film with the cheat code shown. This is a net film. You can get it here. Watch as Jimmy cheats his way to victory. But remember what they say folks: cheaters don't really win, and winners don't really cheat... ;-)

There are a number of 'undocumented' keyboard commands in Marathon but these can hardly be described as cheat codes. These work in all three Marathon games unless stated otherwise.

Holding down the command-option keys as you click on begin new game allows you choose any level to start out from. This is the Vidmasters' way to play Marathon. You start out with only one pistol, 3 rounds of ammo, and 1X shields on each level.

In the Windows 95 version of Marathon 2 the key combination to start any level is alt-esc while you choose begin new game.

shift-F9 sets the Marathon keyboard preferences to their default setting. Handy if you use the default settings and play on different computers. Only works with Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity.

shift-F10 sets turbo mode in Marathon Infinity. Speeds up the game (player, aliens, sounds, etc) to 'ludicrous' speed. Similar to the TURBO mode in Pathways Into Darkness. Only works in Marathon Infinity.

? displays the frame rates for Marathon. Rates are displayed as frames per second (fps). Doesn't work with the early versions of Marathon (v1.0 and v1.1). However it's unlikely that anybody is playing with these versions.

% *before* hitting command-shift-3 allows the standard screen capture combination to work.

Further interesting undocumented (secret) stuff. Forrest Cameranesi <> writes: don't have a certain two 'undocumented keystrokes' on the Cheat Codes page. The first one is either double-tapping run, or double-tapping control. Not sure which because control is my run key. What it does is the same as the action key, but simpler since you've already got 'run' down, simple lift and then hold it again, and the machine recognises that as a double-tap. I rarely ever use my action key any more, I've assigned it to "delete" just so It'll be out of the way. I just double-tap control. The second one is more of an oddity than a constant thing. Sometimes, if I'm trying to scroll through a term really quick, by hitting return a lot, as soon as I exit the term it shoots (and Space is my trigger key). It doesn't shoot by double-tapping return in the game, though, so it's kind odd.

Aaron Freed <> writes:

An 'undocumented feature' that isn't noted on the cheat codes page is the Command-Option Gather Network Game shortcut. This will allow you to play any level on any mode.

Aaron Freed <> points out that the undocumented 2nd trigger function of the alien weapon in Marathon 2 and Infinity is also not mentioned here. When Marathon 2 was released the 2nd trigger allowed the new alien weapon to fire at two additional angles giving it a three way spread. Although ammo hungry this feature can be put to devastating use at close to medium range. This undocumented featured remained in Infinity and an official Marathon screenshot even shows it in action.

Michael Trinder <> writes:

Whilst poking around the Marathon 2 and infinity apps looking for ways to disable certain keys (strange I know, but we wanted to disable the map in one scenario and the Wheels project for the disabled needs only 7 keys) I deciphered the tables in which are stored the default keyboard layouts. These contain more than just the keycodes for each function :)

It seems that internally Marathon uses a 32bit value to represent what each player is doing at any one moment. The keyboard layout tables not only list the key to be pressed for each action, but a second number which is the internal 'action code' for that action. Put more simply, the first item in the list (move forward) has the number 91 (which is 8 on the numeric keypad) followed by 0x00008000 which is the action code for Forward. Each action is translated into a different bit in the 32bit value, so they can be added together to represent several things being done at once.

Marathon can therefore represent 32 different actions. But there are only 21 keys - what you may ask do the other 11 actions do?

Well, most seem to do nothing at all (unfortunately) but 4 are quite interesting. The first, 0x00000100, looks down very rapidly - almost immediately you are looking at the floor. The next, 0x0004000, backs up a little faster than normal (well at least that is what it feels like - I haven't tested this too well). But the last two are quite wonderful. Action code 0x00000001 causes the player to spin around on the spot three to five times. This is totally useless, but great fun. Action code 0xFFFFFFFF (setting every action to take place at once) causes the player to explode - equally useless and equally fun.

Since these are part of the engine, they will work in network games even if you only modify _your_ copy of the application. This is a great way to cheat:) You can set one key to do lots of things at once - try a 'backup quickly and fire both triggers' key for the ultimate cowards 'heeellllpp' button.

The more important upshot of this is that there is NO duck or jump key in there. You'd need to recode the app to do it.

No DUCK key?!!! ;-)

Mike replies:

I didn't say there wasn't a way to duck - just that I can't find an action code that triggers it :)

Concerning the exploda-key Mike writes: does no damage to anyone else as far as I can see. Not been able to test to see what it looks like to others, but for a single player you get a big white flash and then spash to the ground.

Michael Park <> writes:

I've got an addition for the Cheat Codes page. A very small one.

The "cheat" that allows you to fire weapons at an extremely fast rate can also be used to shorten the time it takes to reload weapons (very handy in network play). Fire a weapon until you empty your clip, wait a split second during the reload animation and then execute the aforemented cheat demonstrated by Jimmy Mitchell's film.

I've also included my own film to show how this cheat works. Uses the exact same concept as the "empty-your-clip-in-a-second" cheat. Total Carnage, of course.

Yes, I'm a keyboarder.

You can see Michael's film here.

Oh dear the Cheat Codes page has been revealed on the Marathon Central forums. Here's the "Spazeroid"! ;-)

Re: Dang these secret pages
Wednesday, 14 February 2001, at 8:50 p.m.
In response to Dang these secret pages

>All I want is the cheat codes!

Here is the Marathon's Story "cheat code page" link:

I'm afraid you may be in for some disappointment.

Who needs cheat codes anyway? If you're good enough you don't need 'em and if you want to cheat in style you'd just use a PM editor.


Go Back to Marathon's Story Home Page

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Page created May 2, 1997
Last updated Feb 15, 2001