When most people think of Bungie, they think of the Halo franchise–which makes sense, what with those games going on to become a pop cultural phenomenon, and making both Bungie and Microsoft boat loads of cash. But before Halo: Combat Evolved was even a twinkle in the collective eyes of the developers, there was the Marathon Trilogy.
For most, the games will either be unknown, or little more than a feint memory. Bungie developed the first game in 1994 as a Macintosh exclusive, way back before Apple ruled the world. The game’s reach was limited, but it gained a cult following, and in many circles has become an extremely influential game in development circles. When Marathon 2: Durandal was released in 1995, it retained a year of Macintosh exclusivity before being released on the PC in 1996. The third title, Marathon Infinity, was released on both Mac and PC, also in 1996. In 1997, all three games were released under the banner of The Marathon Trilogy, and were available on both Mac and PC.
But still, the games were best known by Mac fans, and barely known to those that stuck with consoles. It wasn’t until Bungie decided to go ironic and leave the Mac family in order to release Halo: Combat Evolved exclusively for Microsoft’s original Xbox in 2001 (then later on PC and Mac in late 2003) that Bungie became a sensation.
Now that Bungie is a rockstar in the developer circles and gets all the best parking spots at gaming events, they are looking back releasing the trilogy that started it all for free. In 2007, Marathon 2: Durandal was released via Xbox Live, then earlier this year the original Marathon was released for free to iOS devices, but now all three games are available to download for free, for both Mac and PC, which you can download here.
Set in 2794, the games begin with you as a security officer orbiting the distant Tau Ceti IV, as alien slavers attempt to capture your ship and crew while an AI known as Durandal is manipulating events for its own purposes. The series then jumps 17 years into the future after Durandal sends you to search the ruins of an ancient civilization, which could lead to stopping an invasion of Earth. In the third and final game, you traverse multiple timelines to prevent an ancient enemy from escaping.
The games were also fairly renowned for their use of multiplayer modes, which are again available to play online.
Although Bungie has long since moved on from the Marathon universe, it is an interesting look back at the history of the company that helped change first-person shooters forever. And now you can check out all three games for free.