DISCLAIMER:This Story is True, with some added twists for fun, I am not afiliated with Doug Zartman, or any of the original Marathon Dev team.
...As the bullets silhouetted the red-dawned sky, I saw it flash toward me, tearing into my flesh, and dropping me to the ground effortlessly, I knew only one thing...I had to seek vengeance.
Of course this is a video game I am talking about, Marathon to be precise. Similar to Halo, it’s one of the Wolfenstein-esque games, like a Run-’n’-gun game. Get ammo, blast the crap out of everything in visible range. I was using my ancient Mac OS, that I has gotten from my Aunt at the age of 5, and popped in a disc that had came with the game, it had other games such as Pathways into Darkness, Bachman, and an odd paper airplane one called Pilot. I had noticed a game called Marathon 2: Durandal. I opened it up, and the nostalgic theme music played. I had hit new game, and saw a futuristic soldier holding a dismembered spinal cord, with a (human?) brain still attached. Being the age of 5, I didn’t notice it, really. I kept playing. Instantly I was hooked. I grew up playing this game.
Up until recently, I had played Marathon only on the PC, until my birthday, that is. My dad had bought a beat up copy of Super Marathon, containing the original Marathon, and Marathon 2: Durandal for the Mac Pippin. Obviously, since the game is so rare, condition I could care less about. I started it up, and found it odd at first, no theme music, only 3 selection options. “Marathon”, “Marathon 2: Durandal”, and “H is for Hel…” With the last letter being a barely legible “P”. I chose Marathon first, and played it for awhile, and then Marathon 2. I never really cared about the H is for Hel(p) Until recently.
It dawned on me one day, that this was a Kiosk demo version, a Marathon 1 and 2 were the demo versions, only going 3 or so levels. Since my Pipin lacked a memory card, it didn’t save. I was into “Beta” stuff at the time, and thought H is for Hel(p) may have been an unreleased game. I was eager to try it out, so I fired up my Mac Pippin. I selected the H is for Hel(p), and pressed start. A hellish (gurgle?) emitted from my TV...this wasn’t unusual, OnMarathon, when you pressed “Start New Game”, it had an eerie, warbling tone that played. The game, being Lo-Res graphics started out with a man carrying a knife. Beside his bed was a book, I took a look. It was his Diary.
“May 2nd, 199X:”(I’m guessing the X insinuated that he had lost track of time) “I’m still a prisoner in my own home, to it. It is becoming me...I have to end this before it gets into my mind and takes over…”
“May 3rd, 199X: It’s beginning to take over my family, I mustn't let it take me as well! I will barricade myself in my room, I have enough supplies to last a week...By then it will have left…”
The next few entries were highly illegible, but it looked like help scrawled across the one after May 3rd, the next, a moon, attached to a pentagram, with three drops of blood coming from it, followed by thirty or so blank entries...This began to intrigue me. Bungie didn’t normally make (Demonic?) games, due to it would be plagiarism from ID with their series, Doom. It was odd...I closed the journal, and pressed what would have been the Attack, and he took the knife up, and jammed it toward his (throat?), and died, slowly, not like the comical deaths from Marathon...It seems that was the point of the game...to commit suicide. Or was there another option? I had rebooted my Pippin, and selected H is for Hel(p) a second time. It loaded just the same, but no (gurgle?) this time. It loaded to a third person cutscene, as if I was playing Halo...but I wasn’t. It showed my character banging his head off walls, taking massive amounts of what seemed to be pills. These graphics were unheard of in the 90’s, as if it were a PS2 game all of a sudden. Finally, it panned to the front of him, holding the knife, his eyes seeming glazed over, and white. He raised the knife...and said “Damn you Doug…” and sliced his own throat...The image was disturbing, Marathon had blood, but it wasn’t this graphic. I did some research on “Doug” by googling “Doug from Bungie”, and a name came up, Doug Zartman. It came up with, “Doug Zartman worked at Bungie during the Marathon days as the head of PR, and the voice of BOB in Marathon. He is the one who developed the famous 'Frog blast the vent-core' phrase.” From the Bungie wiki site.
I did some more rooting around, and found out there was a series of developer pics from the game, but one of them isn’t listed...he had the exact same look as the picture...I prefer not to say his name...it still haunts me to date...but is this his revenge? It turns out he went missing a few weeks later after Doug took credit for his work….maybe it was destined to be that his message be shared...perhaps Doug killed him...Maybe he was possesed by whatever it was? I did some more research to find out Doug had been brutally murdered, by an unknown assailant....it still haunts me to date...but is this his revenge? I still have the copy of Super Marathon...and it’s a constant reminder, where in the most obvious places, but the least noticed...evil, and revenge lurk, waiting to slash your throat...