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Mar2 Review

Colin By:

"See Ya Starside,"

said the Bob as he beamed out, leaving you all alone to face the alien menace. Sure, he and his friends will come back occasionally to help you, but you're on your own most of the time. Durandal, the rogue computer who helped you defend the colony ship Marathon, has teleported you to one of the alien's homeworlds. Durandal will only tell you information on a need-to-know basis, he doesn't think you're intelligent enough to figure things out for yourself. So, with him as the brains and you as the brawn, you've got to free Lh'owon from the Pfhor and give it back to the S'pht.(Wow, that's a mouth full.)

It's back; the only Doom type game with a plot, and a darn good plot at that. Marathon 2: Durandal takes over where the last game left off. Using the same, well crafted engine, Marathon 2 will not disappoint any fans of its predecessor. Being the only first-person shooter with a plot, this game has a lot more depth than the normal shoot first, ask questions later type games. Though the concept of the game is not that revolutionary, the game itself is more addicting than Minesweeper.

Unlike Doom, the graphics seem more three dimensional. While Doom is just a 2D maze pretending to be 3D, Marathon 2's graphical engine allows rooms to be overhead, the ability to swim, and your motion sensor to detect aliens above or below you, freaking you out like in the movie Aliens. You've got to have a good sense of direction to keep track of which way you're going. With little additions like platforms rising out of lava and aliens lying in an unidentifiable mass on the ground, Marathon 2 is visually stunning.

Opting not to have music throughout the game was a good move by the folks at Bungie. Instead, they used ambient sounds such as water flowing or the hum of electric lights to guide you through your journey. These sounds set you in the mood of fighting off an alien menace. You feel as though you really are there, not just someone staring at a computer screen.

The plot and gameplay are where Marathon 2 rises above the rest. Throughout the game, you encounter computer terminals that tell you more of the plot. You either receive a message from Durandal or you read about the history of the Pfhor and S'pht. You raid everything from their heavily manned garrisons to their ancient citadels, trying to follow Durandal's directions. You have help, too. The Bobs from the first game are back, but this time they're armed. They beam in to help you when the going gets tough. Unfortunately, most of them end up dead, leaving the dirty work up to you.

Marathon 2 also has some interesting game options for playing over a network. You need additional serial numbers for multiple players, which you must purchase from Bungie. Play Tag, King of the Hill, or Kill the guy with the Skull among up to eight players. You can even play the real game cooperatively, and when you die, you drop everything you were carrying. With this kind of in-depth gameplay, it's no wonder that this game is a winner.
A- Revolution report card
  • Doom-type game.
  • Has a plot! Beautiful graphics.
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