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12-29-11, 11:00 AM
Halo creators Bungie have given the official nod to Aleph One (http://source.bungie.org/), fan-made updates and remakes of the originally Mac-only Marathon series. The project reached version 1.0 in early December, with all three games now available for free. It‚??s an impressive update, too: all three games include HD texture packs, network play, and work on modern operating systems.

They‚??re exploration-based FPS games that look a little like Doom but play rather differently. From the beginning, Bungie were more interested in narrative than combat, and it shows: weapons and enemies are fairly standard fare, but its doomed starships and alien worlds still retain a bit of their old atmosphere. There‚??s more writing than you‚??d expect, too, with world building-handled by AI-controlled computer terminals that feed out in-character plot and location info.

http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2011/12/Marathon-2-Assault-Rifle-590x261.jpg (http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2011/12/Marathon-2-Assault-Rifle.jpg)

Marathon 2 even has voice-acted, short-lived teammates that fight alongside you for brief periods before biting the dust or teleporting away. The games feel like a glimpse into a parallel evolution of the FPS, one that ‚?? for better or worse ‚?? did a better job of anticipating the explosions-and-exposition future of the genre than anything id were making at the time.

As a package, it‚??s something of a museum piece: but a well-curated one that‚??s worth getting to know. The games themselves are polished, fun, and even creepy from time to time ‚?? just be willing to re-learn how to run around with the map open pressing use on everything. A note of warning: some of Marathon 2‚??s menu noises sound exactly like an incoming Steam message. Don‚??t be fooled! Your friends aren‚??t really talking to you. Happy New Year.

Download it here. (http://source.bungie.org/)

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