A little less than 20 years ago id Software turned every PC into a gateway to jaw-dropping FPS action with DOOM and DOOM II. These groundbreaking games had Mac owners pretty jealous of all that gory Cacodemon-crushing action. Oh, the Mac did get its ports, but with no low res, high framerate screenmodes, the DOOM experience on the Mac could also be called Tiny Window Carnage. That is, until a little studio called Bungie came along and released their own take on the FPS that took sweet advantage of all those high res pixels on the Mac's display. It was called Marathon, and just about every gamer with a Mac was hooked.

As Wikipedia describes the game's backstory,

Marathon takes place in the year 2794 aboard a large, multi-generational colony spacecraft called the UESC (United Earth Space Council) Marathon. The ship was converted from Deimos, one of Mars' two moons. The plot of the story sets the player as a security officer and focuses around an invasion of the ship and (to a much lesser extent) a colony on the nearby Tau Ceti by hostile extraterrestrials. The plot is primarily revealed through various computer interfaces called terminals, which relay crew logs, maintenance documents, historical accounts, and stories. It is through these terminals as well that the player receives mission information from Leela, the ship's artificial intelligence, as well as Tycho and Durandal, the science and utilities AI in Marathon respectively.

Well, we all know the Bungie story -- Microsoft grabbed 'em, and the most promising Mac-focused game studio ended up on...The Other Side. But, not before releasing the Marathon game engine into the open source community. The engine, known as Aleph One, is based on the Marathon 2 source code and allows modern machines (Macs included) to play through those well-loved Bungie classics, with notable enhancements to boot.

In a thread started a few weeks back in our forums, Daniel Blezek ("vidmaster") revealed that he is working to bring an iPad version of Aleph One to the App Store.

Aleph One for the iPad will feature the following:

  • All levels from Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, and Marathon Infinity
  • HD graphics
  • Smooth game play experience
  • 9 unique weapons, fists, double shotguns, and the devastating SPNKR-X18 rocket launcher!
  • Infinite saved games, film recording

The game is currently in beta testing, with a few issues to be worked out before it's ready for release.

The developer indicates that, if Aleph One for the iPad does well in the App Store, he will likely release an iPhone version of the game, as well.

UPDATE: The iPad version of Aleph One may face some difficulties that we've seen discussed in the Pfhorum.com Aleph One forums ("iGuy" = "vidmaster").

First, there is the issue of the distribution of the various Marathon level packs. That is being handled in this app by the download of the actual levels from a remote website on the first launch of the app, which is a technique we've seen used (successfully) in the App Store previously. The second issue is the fact that code under a GPL license is not "compatible" with the rights situation of an app that has been submitted to the App Store. We'll see how this pans out, but suffice it to say there may be rocky shoals ahead for this effort to bring the Marathon trilogy through Aleph One to the App Store.

  • Leegames

    Yaj! 🙂

  • Deamon34

    Good god this is great news.

    • http://rebelord.wordpress.com/ Rebelord

      All I can hear now is...♫dun na, da na, dun na, MARATHON!♫

  • HDTV

    Please - make am iPhone 4 version !! 🙂

  • Tikicobra

    So it's unofficial then? That's disappointing.

    • Anonymous

      Admittedly, I'd love it to be done by Bungie themselves, but TBH this is the only way the series is carried on these days.

  • Frumius

    That would be great to have on iOS!
    You know you can play this online from your computer right now via mariusnet.com. Forums are there to help you (also play Myth there!). Still fun! back in the day, we'd lug our PowerMacs to each others' houses to play network Marathon, now it's on the web. It's great! You will need to download the Aleph One files.

    Now they need to bring Myth to iOS 🙂 ("They" perhaps being projectmagma, who have continued to keep the Myth series up to date with the current Mac and Windows OS's, plus add enhancements.)

    • http://twitter.com/spongefile Tina Aspiala

      YES YES YES on Myth! (Hi Frum!) 😀

  • guest

    I can't wait to hear this on my ipad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el5yD2Ayokw

    • Frumius

      Dang, that would be great!

    • http://rebelord.wordpress.com/ Rebelord

      I actually own the sound track to these games. I'll never forget the awesome hidden tracks of music on each of the game discs. Oh my goodness Bob's yelling, "THEIR EVERYWHERE!"

  • Dave

    If only Myth could ported with gesture support for unit formations.

    • http://twitter.com/spongefile Tina Aspiala

      I've been idly sketching a control system for this ever since the iPhone came out, and I think it could be done well natively. Rights to Myth are the biggest hurdle though.

      • Dave

        I think it could work well too. you draw a circle to select units and tap with 1 to 4 fingers or draw a formation symbol to orient them. Myth on a iPad might be more fun than on a desktop. Of all games from 90's, myth was my favorite

  • Andiron

    I would love to see Myth I and II (don't care about III) on iOS but I can't see it working out unless the controls were very well adjusted to touch screens. And although I only have an iPhone and no iPad, I can't help but think that it would be a real stretch to get it to run well on anything other than an iPad (but I'm hoping I would be wrong).

  • Michael

    We had custom physics for marathon and I wouldn't want to play without that.

    There are a lot of controls on marathon: Moving around, looking around, 2 firing keys, the map, and changing weapons. I wouldn't want all those to just be virtual keys on the ipad.. that would suck. The best way to look around would be with the accelerometer - that would be very cool. Tilt forward and backward for moving maybe.. I don't know.. the controls would be the tough one.

  • Whitesands007

    "That is, until a little studio called Bungie came along and released their own take on the FPS that took sweet advantage of all those high res pixels on the Mac's display. It was called"

    Pathways Into Darkness

    • http://rebelord.wordpress.com/ Rebelord

      Yeah, um...Who could forget the awesomeness of Pathways into Darkness. Plus Marathon actually had liquids, and an actually compelling storyline.

      Lets see in depth story with better graphics, or Your in hell squash everything in site.

      Plus don't forget BOB!

  • http://rebelord.wordpress.com/ Rebelord

    This is the best news I've heard all year. I was pretty stoked when Marathon was released finally on Xbox Live Arcade, but this is AWESOME!

  • Phouled

    tis good news, but words cannot express how much I want ZPC on the ipad

  • Slushe

    Bungie is independent again...Not owned by microsoft.

  • Anonymous

    It does not make sense to release it on iPad 1st...

  • Guest

    Actually the Mac version of Doom ran at native 640x480 with updated sharp weapon sprites. And a mode to render the game with 320x240 graphics for the older and slower 68K machines, keeping a hi-res HUD. Not to mention the music rocked. If you played that around 1994-1995 you'd never go back to the DOS version again. Quite unfair, considering Mac users also had Marathon.

  • Anonymous

    What is the latest notes on this release? I have not played this game before since I did not get into Mac computing but it sounds like it was a great game and having it on my iPad2 would be great?

  • BungieJump

    awesome!!! Myth next!