This Marathon mod 15 years in the making completely overhauls the Halo predecessor

Seems like every other day there’s a cool new Doom WAD that spits in the face of god and turns id’s classic shooter into FEAR or Super Mario 64 or something, but how about love for Marathon, Bungie’s Mac-exclusive Doom clone and clear spiritual predecessor to Halo? On October 1, modder hypersleep released Apotheosis X, an ambitious total conversion of Marathon Infinity that is well worth the attention of retro FPS enthusiasts.

Its aesthetic appeal is immediately apparent: Apotheosis X is much more colorful than the original Marathon games, with revamped weapons and enemy sprites, as well as high-res textures and a custom soundtrack. The first missions take place on a human cruiser, the funnily named UESC Gingerbread Man, and they remind me of Halo 2’s starting level. alien and its required eerie glowing ruins.

Apotheosis X also impressed me mechanically, with even the base weapons behaving differently than their vanilla Marathon counterparts. The gun, for example, is now a projectile-based plasma gun instead of the original hitscan magnum. The missions I played had that boomer shooter feel of untying a level design knot that I craved, but I started to feel like hypersleep could really cook with gas in the second map .

There are way more enemies than you have ammo to manage here, but there are also switches to activate the beefy drones throughout the level. I got into this rhythm bypassing packs of enemies to press the big red button and summon my buddies, almost like calling my older brother to deal with bullies. I’m curious to see if Apotheosis X builds on this mechanic or, better yet, incorporates interesting new quirks into each level as you progress, almost like a Nintendo platformer.

Apotheosis X was slow in coming. In their readme file, hypersleep describes releasing an unfinished version of it in 2007 when they were teenagers, and only moved to try and finish it in 2020. “As usual,” the modder jokes, “ ambition eclipsed common sense and over the next two years almost everything in the game was remade from scratch.”

That hard work and long percolation period has paid off in my opinion, and Apotheosis X is a commercial-grade retro shooter you can play right now, for free. Installation is a breeze, all you have to do is download the Aleph One open source version of Marathon Infinity and copy the playback executable into the Apotheosis X installer file available on Mod DB.

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dark purple alien ruins with cyan highlights

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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facing an alien in a purple and cyan lit alien building

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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looking out from a cave into a rose-lit alien landscape

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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aiming a rocket launcher at an alien floating past a hole in a ship's hull

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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looking into a large cavernous alien ruin

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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examine a crash site with friendly humans

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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blast an alien floating head in a room filled with lava

(Image credit: Bungie, user hypersleep on Mod DB)

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