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Doom vs Marathon (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, June 05, 2020, 19:27 (33 days ago)

Believe it or not, I recently finished Doom and Doom 2 for the first time.

Marathon was released around the same time as Doom 2, and the two games were often compared. But how similar were they actually? In terms of engine tech, they were mostly similar. But in terms of game design, they were wildly different.

Dare I say, I think I might prefer Doom to Marathon when it comes to things other than the story. Doom is faster, much harder, and to me, it felt like the level design was more clever. Doom and Doom 2 constantly surprised me with levels that felt like they were bending the rules and providing a ton of variety within the engine. More so than the first Marathon I think.

Heath is handled on different ways. In Doom, you gain health and armor through pickups. In Marathon, at least in the first, your health was entirely refilled by reusable health rechargers. Doom is quite hard, with lots of vicious hitscan enemies, so you will constantly need health pickups. This makes exploring levels and finding secrets much more satisfying, as they have a purpose in terms of survival. The more of the level you explore, the more you can potentially increase your health and armor. Both games feature secret caches of ammo, but secrets in marathon are almost entirely ammo since there's nothing else to pick up. You can always run back to a charger in Marathon, so health management is minimized a lot over Doom.

Doom's enemies are much more vicious that Marathon's. Marathon's basic enemies lack ranged attacks, so you can just keep backing up and evade any green pfhor fighters. But Doom's basic enemies all have ranged attacks. In fact, I think only one enemy has no ranged attack in Doom. Doom also uses RNG heavily, with enemy hits doing a range of damage, as well as your own attacks. Doom's hit scanners are way more brutal.

Doom LOVES to ambush you with monsters. Pick up a key, and doors open and monsters come out. Hit a switch, and monsters are quickly lowered in. That kind of thing. When backtracking through the level after getting a key or moving on, frequently new monsters are let loose so you face different ones while making your way back. Marathon almost never does any of these things.

Doom demands you use a wider variety of weapons for various situations, where in Marathon the assault rifle is useful the majority of the game (it's functionally like a combo chaingun and rocket launcher from doom).

Switches cannot be shot in Doom. This means to hit them you have to get to them. Switches in Doom rarely activate things that are outside your immediate vicinity, where Marathon frequently they open doors on the other side of the map or do things that are otherwise not immediately apparent.

Doom has some features Marathon does not. Defeating certain enemies can do things like lower platforms on their death. Marathon has some features Doom does not, such as having to power on a switch before you can use it.

After seeing what Doom was finally, I think comparisons to Marathon are misguided. They play so drastically differently.

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Doom vs Marathon

by stabbim @, Des Moines, IA, USA, Friday, June 05, 2020, 22:15 (33 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Wow man, I don't know how that's possible, but congrats on a gaming milestone! DOOM/DOOM II still hold up pretty well, I think. They were definitely an obsession for me when I was younger. Have you played the modern incarnations? There are some differences, of course, but I think they did a pretty good job of replicating the frantic pace of the older games' combat.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 09:06 (33 days ago) @ stabbim

Have you played the modern incarnations?

I played them on the PS4 port since I heard it was very good and faithful, but then played Doom again using Chocolate Doom (which is a version that is as exact as possible to the original version that run on modern hardware).

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Doom vs Marathon

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 08:46 (33 days ago) @ Cody Miller

How dare you challenge my biases, prejudices, and decades-old opinions! Seriously, though, I always thought the story was dumb, and I was already a grown man headed toward my 30s — I felt like I needed something not-dumb to justify spending time playing a video game. Hand-in-hand with that was a dislike of the aesthetics, and that sentiment has continued to this day. It took me a while to try Gears of War because of what I perceived as similarities to Doom.

Of course on top of all that you can drop a huge dollop of Mac snobbery.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 09:10 (33 days ago) @ Kermit

Of course on top of all that you can drop a huge dollop of Mac snobbery.

Doom came to Mac before Marathon did. Beat it by about a month and a half :-p

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Doom vs Marathon

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 10:07 (33 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Of course on top of all that you can drop a huge dollop of Mac snobbery.


Doom came to Mac before Marathon did. Beat it by about a month and a half :-p

Sure, but it was dirty, filthy port from yucky MS-DOS.

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And Excel was Macintosh exclusive at the beginning.

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 13:14 (29 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Still don't make it a Mac app.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 13:16 (29 days ago) @ Kermit

How dare you challenge my biases, prejudices, and decades-old opinions! Seriously, though, I always thought the story was dumb,

I can't remember who to attribute the quote to at this point, but somebody at Bungie described the entirety of the Doom plot as "You're in hell; get out." and through to this day it's the first thing I think of whenever someone says Doom (particularly when I heard they were going to make it into a movie)

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 14:46 (29 days ago) @ Vortech

I can't remember who to attribute the quote to at this point, but somebody at Bungie described the entirety of the Doom plot as "You're in hell; get out." and through to this day it's the first thing I think of whenever someone says Doom (particularly when I heard they were going to make it into a movie)

That's literally not even the plot lol. You don't see Hell till episode 3, and you are trying to go INTO IT.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Spec ops Grunt @, Broklahoma, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 09:57 (29 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I very much agree they are completely different games. In my mind Marathon's legacy will always be story and narrative in FPS games, whereas Doom's will be taking the First person perspective and really doing something interesting with it gameplay wise

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 10:07 (29 days ago) @ Spec ops Grunt

I very much agree they are completely different games. In my mind Marathon's legacy will always be story and narrative in FPS games, whereas Doom's will be taking the First person perspective and really doing something interesting with it gameplay wise

There's so many little things that are a part of the game DNA.

For instance, Doom frequently lets players control platforms. You hit the action button, and the platform will go down, you can step on, and it will go back up. This is used all the time to let players get out of holes or pits of slime/lava. Marathon is capable of doing this too, but non door platforms are never controlled by the player. Always through switches.

Speaking of pits, the philosophies are very different as well. Doom's is "you can always get out somehow", where Marathon's is "if you cant escape a pit, it should kill you". Marathon will never just trap you in a pit forever. It'll have lava or something down there to kill you so you can respawn, but many you can't get out of once you fall in (baring grenade jumping).

I was thinking of running through all the levels and commenting on the design (especially since I now know who made each one), but was initially discouraged because Narcogen and Blackstar already did a let's play. But then I watched it. They use the butt ugly Aleph One fan graphics, didn't talk that much about design, and they are bad and miss secrets :-p No offense guys, love you.

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Doom vs Marathon

by nico, Sunday, June 14, 2020, 22:05 (24 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Interesting analysis. Responding to a couple of things:

Dare I say, I think I might prefer Doom to Marathon when it comes to things other than the story.

Doom is faster, much harder, and to me, it felt like the level design was more clever.

I agree Doom’s probably harder, but I wouldn’t know. I beat it in intermediate, and was like “neat.” I replayed Marathon levels over and over, with some being quite a challenge.

Doom and Doom 2 constantly surprised me with levels that felt like they were bending the rules and providing a ton of variety within the engine. More so than the first Marathon I think.

Are you comparing Doom and Doom 2 to the original Marathon only? Is that like comparing Star Wars and the Empire Strikes back to the first Star Trek? Marathon: Durandal brought a few new elements to the table…

[snip]

Doom's enemies are much more vicious that Marathon's. Marathon's basic enemies lack ranged attacks, so you can just keep backing up and evade any green pfhor fighters.

Yes, if you’re talking about rank and file green Pfhors, you’re absolutely right. Were you playing on Kindergarten? Did you not meet Purple Pfhors, Hunters, Spht, Troopers? (I’m sticking with “basic” enemies here.)

[snip]

Doom LOVES to ambush you with monsters. Pick up a key, and doors open and monsters come out. Hit a switch, and monsters are quickly lowered in. That kind of thing. When backtracking through the level after getting a key or moving on, frequently new monsters are let loose so you face different ones while making your way back. Marathon almost never does any of these things.

The sound of Pfhor teleporting in is something deeply ingrained in my psyche. There were plenty of ambushes in Marathon.

Doom demands you use a wider variety of weapons for various situations, where in Marathon the assault rifle is useful the majority of the game (it's functionally like a combo chaingun and rocket launcher from doom).

The AR was great once you got it, but you wanted to use a Fusion rifle vs. Spht, SPNKr against bunched up Troopers, pistols (dual wielded!) vs. far away targets, shotguns (dual wielded!) vs. a masses of enemies (same with the TOZT flame thrower), and things like the SMG “Flechette” that worked in vacuum. (Oh hey, Marathon had vacuum levels)

[snip]

Doom has some features Marathon does not. Defeating certain enemies can do things like lower platforms on their death. Marathon has some features Doom does not, such as having to power on a switch before you can use it.

After seeing what Doom was finally, I think comparisons to Marathon are misguided. They play so drastically differently.

We can agree that they’re difficult to compare. It sounds like you’re saying “Marathon is only better because of its story element,” and I’ll respectfully disagree.

Doom to me feels like a child’s video game, it’s fun, but aiming a “shotgun” at a bare wall to try and kill a critter that’s sitting on a window twenty feet above seems silly.

Aside from vertical looking (“vidding,”) Marathon had a number of firsts in FPS, many of which pioneered the FPS multiplayer experience for years to come.

I can’t agree that Marathon is only better than Doom from a story perspective.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Harmanimus @, Sunday, June 14, 2020, 23:19 (24 days ago) @ nico
edited by Harmanimus, Sunday, June 14, 2020, 23:42

Doom and Doom II are both significantly harder. Especially on higher difficulties. Also, both Games were released before Marathon. The defining feature of Marathon has always been the story. Almost all of its contemporaries were more difficult games, and many of them were implementing features at the same time (Rise of the Triad for example had a concurrent initial release with both Dual Wielding and Vertical Look and neither was the first on market with it) or in releases immediately after (Duke Nukem 3D and Dark Forces released 1* and 2 months after respectively and have a lot of additions such as jumping).

I would venture the assessment that Doom as a wholistic package is a better game experience from a moment-to-moment and design standpoint. And that even with its more technically relevant contemporaries Marathon mostly shines bright for its storytelling as well as the story itself over the details of gameplay.


*I misremembered the release of Duke 3D, but Dark Forces is still accurate.

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Doom vs Marathon

by nico, Sunday, June 14, 2020, 23:42 (24 days ago) @ Harmanimus

Doom and Doom II are both significantly harder. Especially on higher difficulties. Also, both Games were released before Marathon. The defining feature of Marathon has always been the story. Almost all of its contemporaries were more difficult games, and many of them were implementing features at the same time (Rise of the Triad for example had a concurrent initial release with both Dual Wielding and Vertical Look and neither was the first on market with it) or in releases immediately after (Duke Nukem 3D and Dark Forces released 1 and 2 months after respectively and have a lot of additions such as jumping).

I would venture the assessment that Doom as a wholistic package is a better game experience from a moment-to-moment and design standpoint. And that even with its more technically relevant contemporaries Marathon mostly shines bright for its storytelling as well as the story itself over the details of gameplay.

Your points are well taken, but if we talk about “wholistic package,” I contend Marathon prevails. Sitting, terrified with little health left and with red triangles moving around your radar (like in the movie Alien), wondering if you might make it to the next save terminal — that’s emotion, that’s experience, that’s gameplay.

At some point, aren’t story-telling and gameplay not part of the “wholistic package?” And doesn’t the Doom franchise feel like one where you’re happy to put a few quarters into, and the Marathon franchise not one that’s worthy of dollar bills and more?

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Doom vs Marathon

by Harmanimus @, Monday, June 15, 2020, 00:06 (24 days ago) @ nico

But that experience isn’t unique to Marathon and isn’t lacking in Doom. I mean, minus having a radar. And in many regards I would say that the atmosphere of Doom is significantly more dangerous and adrenaline pushing than anything in Marathon. Even some middling encounters and level designs of Doom are higher intensity than anything I recall from the first Marathon.

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Doom vs Marathon

by nico, Monday, June 15, 2020, 09:13 (24 days ago) @ Harmanimus

But that experience isn’t unique to Marathon and isn’t lacking in Doom. I mean, minus having a radar. And in many regards I would say that the atmosphere of Doom is significantly more dangerous and adrenaline pushing than anything in Marathon. Even some middling encounters and level designs of Doom are higher intensity than anything I recall from the first Marathon.

It's been so long I could be making all of this up, but if I had to compare the games to a movie experience, I'd say Marathon was like watching Alien, Doom was like watching Aliens...

Both were fine, enjoyable experiences, but difficult to compare side-by-side.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 09:28 (24 days ago) @ nico

Both were fine, enjoyable experiences, but difficult to compare side-by-side.

They are, which is why I'm comparing them to show that they aren't so similar.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 09:26 (24 days ago) @ nico

Your points are well taken, but if we talk about “wholistic package,” I contend Marathon prevails. Sitting, terrified with little health left and with red triangles moving around your radar (like in the movie Alien), wondering if you might make it to the next save terminal — that’s emotion, that’s experience, that’s gameplay.

I tend to think that the non recharging health in Doom makes this even better. You need to seek out corners of the level, and secrets that have powerups in order to survive. The secrets not only become part of the normal part of the game for survival, but they tend to be designed in such a way that make the levels feel bigger and more cohesive. Romero would always let you get somewhere if you could see it. It was just a question of how.

There are no health powerups in Marathon 1. So going back and forth to a recharger becomes what determines survival. Secrets are limited to ammo caches, terminals, and very sporadically an early weapon.

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Doom vs Marathon

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Monday, June 15, 2020, 10:42 (24 days ago) @ Cody Miller

The secrets not only become part of the normal part of the game for survival, but they tend to be designed in such a way that make the levels feel bigger and more cohesive.

Am I hearing that right? Secrets become a normal part of the game for survival? That's like saying that the skulls on Halo become a normal part of the game for survival. If you need skulls to "survive" in Halo, I would hate Halo.

Now if "secrets" were just parts of the map you have no need to venture into... maybe.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 11:05 (24 days ago) @ MacAddictXIV

The secrets not only become part of the normal part of the game for survival, but they tend to be designed in such a way that make the levels feel bigger and more cohesive.


Am I hearing that right? Secrets become a normal part of the game for survival? That's like saying that the skulls on Halo become a normal part of the game for survival. If you need skulls to "survive" in Halo, I would hate Halo.

Now if "secrets" were just parts of the map you have no need to venture into... maybe.

You can frequently see items like soulspheres or blue armor that's just out of reach, so the trick becomes figuring how to get to them. Many secrets are visible or otherwise intuitive to find.

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Doom vs Marathon

by MacAddictXIV @, Seattle WA, Monday, June 15, 2020, 12:33 (24 days ago) @ Cody Miller

The secrets not only become part of the normal part of the game for survival, but they tend to be designed in such a way that make the levels feel bigger and more cohesive.


Am I hearing that right? Secrets become a normal part of the game for survival? That's like saying that the skulls on Halo become a normal part of the game for survival. If you need skulls to "survive" in Halo, I would hate Halo.

Now if "secrets" were just parts of the map you have no need to venture into... maybe.


You can frequently see items like soulspheres or blue armor that's just out of reach, so the trick becomes figuring how to get to them. Many secrets are visible or otherwise intuitive to find.

I would argue that if you can see them, those aren't secrets.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 09:22 (24 days ago) @ Harmanimus

I would venture the assessment that Doom as a wholistic package is a better game experience from a moment-to-moment and design standpoint. And that even with its more technically relevant contemporaries Marathon mostly shines bright for its storytelling as well as the story itself over the details of gameplay.

MOST of the levels in Doom are about wide interconnected areas. Marathon does this I think for a minority of the levels. Many are straight up linear. The Greg Kirkpatrick levels tend to be more non linear, and interconnected. Jason can do it too, but doesn't as much.

M2 was I think a significant improvement in the level design department, not just from a perspective of flow, but also geometrical aesthetics. It's not that Marathon was bad, but I feel as if Doom had more detailing in general, particularly in episode 1.

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 09:17 (24 days ago) @ nico

I can’t agree that Marathon is only better than Doom from a story perspective.

I'm comparing Doom 1 to Marathon 1 since they came out for Mac around the same time. I did my playthrough on Major Damage, so I believe only half of the minor enemies are promoted to majors, whereas on Total Carnage it's all of them.

If you would like to join me on my commentary I'd be happy to have another voice.

Doom vs Marathon

by Claude Errera @, Monday, June 15, 2020, 10:07 (24 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I'm comparing Doom 1 to Marathon 1 since they came out for Mac around the same time.

I'm pretty confused by this sentence.

Doom 1 was never released for Mac at all.

Doom 1 was released for MS-DOS at the end of 1993, while Marathon 1 was released for Mac at the end of 1994. (In fact, Doom 2 came out for DOS a couple of months before Marathon 1 came out for Mac.)

So 'for mac' and 'same time' are both weird claims - what am I missing?

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 10:23 (24 days ago) @ Claude Errera
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, June 15, 2020, 10:30

I'm comparing Doom 1 to Marathon 1 since they came out for Mac around the same time.


I'm pretty confused by this sentence.

Doom 1 was never released for Mac at all.

Doom 1 was released for MS-DOS at the end of 1993, while Marathon 1 was released for Mac at the end of 1994. (In fact, Doom 2 came out for DOS a couple of months before Marathon 1 came out for Mac.)

So 'for mac' and 'same time' are both weird claims - what am I missing?

Doom got a Mac port in November of 1994 dude. Marathon came out in December. I'd say that's around the same time; within a month. The Mac even got Doom 2 and Marathon 2 the same year: 1995.

Doom vs Marathon

by Claude Errera @, Monday, June 15, 2020, 10:46 (24 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I'm comparing Doom 1 to Marathon 1 since they came out for Mac around the same time.


I'm pretty confused by this sentence.

Doom 1 was never released for Mac at all.

Doom 1 was released for MS-DOS at the end of 1993, while Marathon 1 was released for Mac at the end of 1994. (In fact, Doom 2 came out for DOS a couple of months before Marathon 1 came out for Mac.)

So 'for mac' and 'same time' are both weird claims - what am I missing?


Doom got a Mac port in November of 1994 dude. Marathon came out in December. I'd say that's around the same time; within a month. The Mac even got Doom 2 and Marathon 2 the same year: 1995.

Interesting - can you point me to some info about the Mac port?

This page says that the only platforms it was released for by the end of 94 were MS-DOS, Linux, Sega32X, and PC 9801.

https://godmodeuser.com/p/21#20

This page doesn't list a Mac port of Doom 1:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(1993_video_game)

However, this page does... but provides no information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_versions_of_Doom#Mac_OS

This page suggests that the first official Mac release of Doom 1 was part of the Ultimate Doom for Macintosh, released in 1995:

http://macintoshgarden.org/games/the-ultimate-doom

This page says you can download Doom for Mac, but provides MS-DOS files, and says it can be played on OSX:

https://gamesnostalgia.com/download/doom/1595

I can't find any actual info on a 1994 release of the first game for the Mac. Help?

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Doom vs Marathon

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, June 15, 2020, 11:14 (24 days ago) @ Claude Errera
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, June 15, 2020, 11:26

http://macintoshgarden.org/games/the-ultimate-doom

Ultimate doom was the first 'retail' version of Doom, with an extra episode so it is correct when it says it's the first retail version for Macintosh, but was not the first release. Doom got a mac release as shareware, just like the DOS version.

So Doom, Doom II, then Ultimate Doom.

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