In the heavens, they are waiting... for you to get your act together and download the Marathon Trilogy. Bungie's original Sci-Fi FPS franchise, complete with a Mjolnir cyborg years before Halo stole its thunder, has been free to download for years with upgraded features courtesy of Aleph One - who have now overhauled the engine with major new features.
Aleph One Engine 1.0 features enhanced graphics, a new HUD, rewritten scenarios and the HD texture pack that was previously only available in the XBLA version of Durandal. All that, of course, on top of OpenGL shader support, Internet co-op and multiplayer, modern mouse-look and gamepad support and plugin support for modifications.
When it comes to popular gaming clichés, 'Space Marines' are right up there with zombies, turrets and third person cover mechanics. Enormous armoured brutes with massive guns make for easy cookie cutter protagonists, but the simple fact of the matter is that they're great fun to play as. Enormous Armour. Massive guns. Sold.
It's about time we took a look at the most shamelessly brash, most overwhelmingly powerful and flat-out most badass Space Marines that videogames have given us, and ranked them in order of empircal, scientific awesomeness.
Oh, and sorry Gears fans, but Marcus Fenix isn't a space marine. Because he doesn't go into space. Moving on...
"What the f*ck's a Shakespeare?!"
Rico doesn't mince words. Instead, he minces Helghast into a fine paste with honking great guns, and tends to ignore anything that doesn't involve mincing Helghast into a fine paste with honking great guns. Some seriously poor scripting aside, we're big fans of the dumb galoot.
Captain Titus is another uncomplicated hero. He loves shooting heretics, chainsawing Orks and generally splattering the enemies of the Emperor over as wide an area as possible.Click here to read more...
It's Bungie day today, as well as the 20th anniversary of the influential and much-loved studio. Bungie will be bidding a fond farewell to the Halo franchise, which will now be handled by 343 Industries, in order to focus on the recently revealed Bungie Aerospace, which seeks to help budding developers find their footing in the industry. To celebrate and commiserate this epic transition, there's a range of goodies, freebies and events to gorge yourself on including the release of Marathon for the iPad.Click here to join the celebrations!
Many years ago, Bungie created a seminal FPS starring a heroic Mjolnir Cyborg who had to defend humanity from a ravening alien hegemony. Wielding powerful rechargable armour, assault rifles and scoped pistols, he was a one-man army; capable of ultilising different weapons and tactics against the extraterrestrial menace on massive, sprawling maps. At his side was a rampant AI that provided him with mission objectives and guidance... and throughout the ensuing trilogy, players discovered a terrifying array of ancient technology left by a forerunner race that pre-dates the universe.
But we're not talking about Halo. We're talking about Marathon, which Bungie released on the Mac back in 1994. This trilogy not only provided the template for the Halo franchise, but delivered a gaming experience that was literally years ahead of its time.
Before we get stuck into exactly why Marathon was so revolutionary, it's worth noting that you don't have to take my word for anything you're about to read. Bungie officially classified the trilogy as open source, and the Aleph One project hosts the entire series as free downloads with Windows compatibility and high definition texture packs. Download it here, and while you're waiting, it's time we gave Bungie's epic space opera the credit it deserves.
Click here to read more...
Artificial intelligence is a key part of any game's mechanics... but also provides epic scope for unforgettable characters in their own right. The idea of self-aware programs becoming key players in a game's narrative has persisted for years, and this week, we're going to take a look at ten of the best.
And no, GLaDOS doesn't take the top spot. Read on to find out which piece of software manages to snag first place!
Note that this list is Portal 2 Spoiler-free, though it does contain a couple of spoilers for much older games. Robots are also disqualified, sorry HK-47!
Halo's popular personality construct was always going to grace this list with her translucent presence. She's a dab hand with a MAC cannon, capable of worming her way into enemy computer systems and a fantastic source of intel for lone cyborgs behind enemy lines.
However, though we concede that she brims with sass, wit and one-liners, we can't help but notice that she's a bit of a nag. Players actually have more fun when she's not around to boss the Master Chief about, so sadly, she'll have to make do with tenth place. Plus, the level named after her could well be the lowest point of the entire Halo franchise.
Eden sits at the core of Rez; a pure and trusting AI who's tasked with documenting humanity's data flow. However, the stress causes the kind and gentle program to shut down - with her defence protocols providing a serious challenge to any hacker suicidal enough to attempt to reboot her. The penultimate stage in which her shattered consciousness is restored stands tall as one of gaming's most powerful moments, and for that, we have to concede her a place in the list.Click here to continue reading this week's Top Ten! >>
As wild rumours have been flying around this week suggesting that Apple are looking to buy Disney or Facebook or Sony, a spot of old, but very interesting, news has surfaced about an almost-event that could have changed the face of gaming as we know it. Speaking to Develop, Tuncer Deniz, a project lead at Bungie back in the day, suggested that round the turn of the millennium, the studio's bosses contacted Apple to see if they were interested in buying them:
Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, 'asked Steve, who said no,' Deniz told Develop. '[But] after a week, Steve said yes. Schiller calls Bungie, but Bungie had already consummated the deal with Microsoft'.
This, of course, comes mere hours after it was revealed that Steve Jobs 'went bananas', as Kotaku put it, at Microsoft's Steve Ballmer after losing the studio behind Marathon to Apple's main rival. Would the Xbox have survived without Halo? Would Apple have kicked serious arse? Would we have had to pray to Steve Jobs before every multiplayer bout of Slayer? In a parallel universe somewhere, you could be storming ONI's Sword base on an iPad!
There was a period during the last decade where, every time a group of teens who talked too much sat down to play some video games, it would almost certainly be in front of Dynasty Warriors. For what it's worth, I have a soft spot for Koei's mash 'em up. It's bland, banal and repetitive, but it's excellent for a good few hours of kicking back with a buddy, when you don't want to think to hard. And the good news? There's another one coming out!
At a press conference held yesterday in Japan, Tecmo Keoi announced that Dynasty Warriors 7 is indeed a reality. There's a new addition to the story, although these games were never really all about the narrative, with the Kingdom of Jin being introduced, the game will be 3D compatible and there'll be more characters than ever.
Most excitingly, perhaps, is the addition of Chronicles mode, which sees the return of character creation and allows you to kick butt across ancient China and make yourself a legend rather than filling someone else's boots. No joy for Xbox owners, mind. This one's solely for the PS3 and there's been no news of a US release date as yet. [1UP]
Analyst SharesPost recently valued Zynga at $5.51 billion, double what the social gaming company was worth a mere six months ago back in March this year.
Although these figures are only estimates, if accurate it puts Zynga ahead of the NASDAQ value of EA, which is $5,16 billion, according to Businessweek.
EA's share prices have been a little up and down over the last few months, climbing steadily in anticipation of Medal of Honor, before falling a little and rising again following the acquisition of Chillingo. With Playfish already within their arsenal, EA might not be too worried, though.
Activision Blizzard certainly won't be, what with being currently valued at $13.9 billion. [GamesIndustry.biz]
Engadget has apparently seen the PlayStation Phone. Allegedly, it's real, looks a little bit like the PSPGo (although reports suggest it's far more powerful), and will likely boast Android 3.0.
In terms of specs, the model Engadget displayed was said to be loaded with a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor (200MHz faster than the similar chip found in the G2), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. There'll supposedly be a custom Sony Marketplace for game downloads, a multitouch trackpad and support for microSD cards.
No news on PSN compatibility, but with Microsoft heavily selling LIVE along with the Windows Phone 7 experience, we certainly wouldn't rule it out. We're pretty psyched about this if it's true (I might not need to buy an iPhone after all! Yippeeeee!!! - Ed), but are you? Let us know below in the comments box.
Former Infinity Ward creatives Jason West and Vince Zampella have signed on with the LA-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA). This high-profile company manages George Clooney, Will Smith, Brad Pitt amongst other famous stars; and the acquisition of the pair will likely bring them increased publicity considering the high drama surrounding their current unemployment.
Unpaid royalties and creative control of the Modern Warfare franchise are currently in dispute as the two devs have brought a $36 million lawsuit against Kotick's publishing giant. The sensational and dramatic firing of the two devs occurred after an increasingly strained relationship between IW and Activision, with Zampella and West claiming that Activision were limiting the studio's creative freedom.
Activision has publically laughed off the lawsuit as 'meritless', but it's a huge embarassment for the company. Naturally, we'll keep you updated on the situation as it continues to develop. [gamesindustry.biz]
Halo made Bungie into Gods, but Marathon put the studio on the Map. Or on the Mac, more specifically. This trilogy of sprite-based FPS games blended their growing knack for storytelling (demonstrated to devastating effect in the cult classic Pathways into Darkness) with some impressive tech , and now Bungie have filed new trademark for their classic franchise.
So, what does this mean? Maybe nothing, but Bungie released Durandal, the second of the Marathon trilogy, on XBLA- so maybe we can expect to see the entire trilogy or a reskinned original make a downloadable return. Or maybe Bungie plan to remake Marathon for their next project?
Why not try the reskinned Aleph One freeware trilogy thanks to the folks at Aleph One to get a taste for the series? It's not for everyone, but the story and presentation is as impressive as it gets. [via D'toid]
Goddamn, we hate needless DLC here at Dealspwn... but this one takes the biscuit. The Sinclair Solutions Multiplayer pack (as discussed in our recent XBLA roundup) provides a level cap increase and a few extra goodies- but it's already on the disc. Essentially, 2K are giving players the opportunity to spend their hard-earned cash on content they already have, and should have been included with the original game. After all, this DLC wasn't developed after the game's release: there is simply no reason to charge for the content apart from barefaced chiselling.
Here's the official line:
"The way our engine and game structure works is that people need to have the exact same content for people to play together. One of the challenges with post launch content for MP is that it can split the player base, and we want to avoid that whenever possible. For this content, creating the DLC package the way we did allowed for us to not split the player base – so whether you purchase the new content or not, you can still play with your friends." - 2K Press Release
I'd be interested to hear your views on this type of DLC. Drop us a line in the comments! [bit-tech]