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This classic ’90s Doom rival appears to be finally coming to Steam

The original Marathon from 1994, Bungie's FPS progenitor to Halo, is seemingly coming to Steam thanks to the work of dedicated fans.

Classic Marathon Steam: a creenshot of 1994's Marathon

Before Bungie made Halo, the studio made a Doom rival called Marathon. This classic FPS trilogy bears little resemblance to Bungie’s upcoming extraction shooter reboot of the same name, but between 1994 and 1996 the trilogy of Marathon games would provide, in a lot of ways, the baseline for what would go on to become Halo on the Xbox. While freely playable for years thanks to an open-source fan project, the original Classic Marathon is now coming to Steam.

If you’ve never played Marathon, think of it like Doom’s distant cousin that focuses on sci-fi and narrative over hardcore action. Both are clearly ‘90s FPS games, but different in how they approach what that meant at the time.

This classic Marathon port doesn’t come from Bungie though, but instead from a group of fan developers with it seemingly available for free. Back in 2000, Bungie released Marathon 2’s source code, alongside the entire original Marathon trilogy’s game content a few years later. These can be distributed freely and not for profit, with the Aleph One port team then putting in the work to offer up enhanced versions of the original trilogy, for free. This means we’ve got an entire Marathon-adjacent engine for fan projects, and enhanced ports of the entire original trilogy to play around with.

You can see some of Aleph One’s Marathon port in action thanks to ‘MrThejohmon’ below.

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In 2021 Bungie even granted Aleph One a limited license to distribute the Marathon games, so while you’ve been able to play an enhanced version of the original for some years, it’s now also coming to Steam as a much cleaner and simpler download. I’ve reached out to Bungie to confirm this, and will update this story with any response.

There’s even “widescreen HUD support, 3D filtering/perspective, positional audio, and 60+ fps interpolation” if you want to give the 1994 classic a more modern coat of paint.

You’ll find the Aleph One version of Classic Marathon on Steam right here as “coming soon,” with no word yet on whether the other two games in the trilogy will be coming to Steam as well. While the main Steam page doesn’t say, this version of Classic Marathon should be made available for free whenever it releases.

To be clear, this Classic Marathon port is not the same as Bungie’s upcoming Marathon reboot. Bungie’s new Marathon is an extraction shooter based on the universe of the 1994 original, with this Steam release an open-source port of the classic game.

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