Marathon 2: Durandal
Review By Al Giovetti
Price: $40 ($80 retail)
Genre: Doom Clone
Release: September 6, 1996
Phone: 800-295-0060, 312-563-6200
Systems: Windows 95 and Macintosh
Requirements: 486DX, 66 MHz, 2X CD ROM drive, 256-color, 5 MB hard disk space, 1 MB VGA, 640x 480 pixel resolution, sound board
History: The history of Macintosh games is not filled with a dearth of titles. But that may be changing with the influence of companies like Interplay and Bungie who are bringing out titles. One thing is certain about Macintosh games: many games that are not successful on the PC find a home here with a solid and faithful following, since many in this arena are game starved.
The Macintosh is a great platform for game technologically, and many of the games of the past on Macs were regrettably not available on the PC, so many gamers were denied the entry level requirements. It is just too expensive for most people to maintain two state of the art game machines, so often due to the lack of titles and funds, the Macintosh got neglected. Marathon 2: Durandal was released on the Macintosh and is soon to be released on the PC.
Company line: Fresh from your triumph on the starship Marathon, you are seized by the rogue computer Durandal to do his bidding in a distant part of the galaxy. Within the ruins of an ancient civilization, you must seek the remnants of a lost clan and uncover their long-buried secrets. Battle opponents ancient and terrible, with sophisticated weapons and devious strategies, all the while struggling to escape the alien nightmare....
The designers that brought gamers the award-winning action/adventure game Marathon now unleash their most stunning creation. Marathon 2 delivers an intense gaming experience in either single-player or network mode. From the howling winds of outdoor environs to the murky bubbling of underwater scenarios, ambient sounds with active stereo imaging set the mood and provide audio cues for the player. Civilian characters don't hesitate to return fire, or speak their minds. 16-bit graphics fill the wide-format screen, as dynamic lighting effects dazzle the eye.
Plot: This is a Doom-clone, not a Quake-clone. We need to have university courses on the differences between Doom and Quake, and there are subtle differences. The major difference that is apparent on booting both games is the level of detail in Quake. Marathon 2: Durandal (M2D) is a Doom clone.
You take the role of the good guys and kill everything, pick up the power ups and keys, open the next door and start the process over again until no one is left alive but you. The game is set 17 years after the plot of Marathon One. The enemy is an alien presence. Durandal is an artificial intelligence which has brought down galactic war on sentient beings. Durandal now has reached the worlds of the Pfhor and you get to kill them all.
Game play: This is a first person perspective real time arcade shooter which resembles Doom with a three dimensional environment. You explore, if we can use the mayhem you cause exploration, the underwater and other new things you will just have to see to appreciate. The level of tension and threat is real and gives you a feeling of being there. The characters seem to come out of the screen, it is well done.
There are underwater levels, but the only underwater weapons are fists. There is no jumping, ducking, or dodging in the game.
Levels: 27 cooperative levels and 13 competitive levels, such as Kil The Man With The Ball and King Of The Hill.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The aliens are smarter this time around. They use cover to shoot and hide. Also the non-player character, friendlies are going to be helping you this time out and not just sitting there and getting in the way. These friendlies will often just appear out of thin air to help you with a particularly nasty place in the game and then leave you back to going it alone.
Graphics: The graphics seen to leave a lot to be desired. The characters are blurry and have indistinct features, but the explosions and weapon effects are great. Some of the characters are kind of gruesome, especially close up. Check out chest mouth with all the pointy teeth and you will really know characterization.
Animation: Flooding actually shows the water rising on the floor.
Sound effects: Ambient sound effects include running water, alien chirps and squeeks, and the deep throated sound of humming machines.
Multi-player: You can play games in multi-player mode such as kid tag, free for all (FFA), kill the guy who is holding the skull, king of the hill, and others. Up to eight can play over the network in both cooperative and deathmatch.
Chris Hudak, http://www.gamespot.com/action/marathon/, (82%).
Glenn Broderick, Computer Player, volume 3, number 5, October, 1996, pg. 32.
Jason D'Aprile, Computer Player, volume 3, number 7, December, 1996, pg. 68, (70%).
Peter Olafson, PC Games, volume 3, number 12, December, 1996, pg. 172, 88%.