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Step Three: Online Play
Apart from an awesome campaign, Marathon comes with a great online multiplayer mode. Setting up and playing is easy enough, and with the variety of gametypes and maps, it never gets old.
If you want to play online, the best game to use is Marathon Infinity, because it has all the maps and gametypes Marathon 2 has, plus some great additions.
Joining a Game:
Joining a game is easy; simply click join network game in the main menu, and then click find internet game. In the screen that comes up, the left box on the top half of the screen shows all the players which are currently online. The right box on the top half of the screen shows hosted games currently in the lobby stage. These may be joined by clicking on them, then waiting for the host to start the game. The bottom half of the screen is devoted to messages exchanged between players, which you may contribute to if you wish.
Hosting a Game:
Hosting a game is more complicated, but nonetheless entirely simple. First off, you have to have the correct ports open on your router; to find out which to open and how, go to this site. After you have configured your ports, click gather network game in the main menu of Marathon Infinity. Here, you will be presented with various game options, most of which are self-explanatory. Don’t change the map option unless you know what you’re doing – to change which map you play on, change the level option. Popular maps include Thunderdome and Duality, although the others are great too. There are seven (coincidence?) gametypes included with Marathon, selected (amazingly enough) by changing the game type option. Here’s a rundown of each of them and their rules (all can be changed to team games by switching the teams option):
* Every Man for Himself: Probably the most popular gametype, this is an all-out run-‘em-down fragfest. The winner is the person with the best kill to death ratio at the end of the match.
* Kill the Man with the Ball: The progenitor to Oddball, the object is to take possession of the ball for the longest period of time. Running and firing are disabled while carrying the ball.
* Capture the Flag: If you don’t know what this is, you have problems. The only difference here is that the ‘flag’ is actually a skull. Oh, and the object is to steal another team’s skull and return it to your base, for the dense.
* King of the Hill: Simple. Defend a point on the map and gain time when you control it.
* Tag: Sort of like Juggernaut, the first person to be killed is ‘it’. The other players earn points for killing ‘it’, and whoever kills ‘it’ becomes ‘it’.
* Rugby: In this game, you must take the red skull to the other team’s base to score.
* Cooperative Play: Probably the least played but most fun gametype, cooperative play lets you play Marathon Infinity campaign levels with players across the world. The difficulty option only applies for this gametype.
There are two ways to end the game: points, and time, switched by changing the game ends at option. Points ends at a set score, whether it be flag captures or kills, while time ends when the time runs out, and the player or team with the highest score wins. Both these ways are variable and can be changed according to tastes.
The rest of the options are pretty simple to understand; aliens puts AI-controlled aliens on the map (which are more annoying than anything), and you can control whether killed players drop their weapons. The one option you really need to turn on is the advertise game on internet option, which will let people who don’t know your IP address (i.e. everyone) to see and join your game.
Before you click OK, go to the top of the screen, where you will see an option called section. Change this from general to more stuff, where you will be presented with a number of options, ranging from whether or not to allow zoom to whether or not the motion sensor is allowed.
Now that you have your options sorted out, click OK to advertise the game for others to join. After as many players as you want join, click play to start the game. After a short (or long, depending on the connection) wait at a black screen, the carnage will begin.
Tips & Tricks:
Marathon multiplayer is extremely fast-paced – those without Neo-like reflexes need not apply. Coincidentally, anyone without the always run option (found in the controls menu) turned to on will get totally and completely owned.
Which team you’re on depends on your secondary color. In team games, the only way to tell friend from foe apart from seeing their color as they speed by is to use your motion sensor. Those on your team will show up as a different-colored dot than those that aren’t.
To type a message to other players, press /. After you’ve typed the message, press return-carriage to post it. Note that you can’t move or shoot while typing, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to do so when a player with double-WSTE-M’s is bearing down on you.
Marathon is one of those games that is just too much fun. After a round of rockets in Thunderdome, you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing. Or shaking uncontrollably, depending on how you did.
[Edited on 01.22.2009 8:11 PM PST]