Real World

List of Marathon references in the Halo series

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

The Marathon symbol.

Throughout the Halo series, Bungie have inserted numerous references to their older Marathon series. This is in keeping with their long history of incorporating references and allusions to their previous games in new works. At one point they even revealed that the stories of Marathon and of Pathways into Darkness (their first story-based action game) were connected. Many of the aforementioned Marathon references in Halo are appearances of the Marathon symbol, which in the Halo universe is the Forerunner symbol for "Reclaimer".

Halo universe[edit]

  • There are MJOLNIR Mark IV cyborgs in Marathon, and there is the MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor in the Halo series.
  • The Assault Rifle in Marathon was named the M.75, and its successor in Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity has the designation MA-75B. The Assault Rifle in Halo has multiple variants and multiple designations including MA-5B in Halo: CE, MA-37 in Halo: Reach, and the MA40 in "Halo Infinite".
    • The manufacturer of the Assault Rifle, Misriah Armory, is also named after an event in the Marathon universe known as the "Misriah Massacre."
  • The Master Chief's Spartan tag is 117. In Marathon Infinity there was a hidden multiplayer map called Hats Off to Eight Nineteen (named after fan Hamish Sinclair, H=8, S=19). 819 divided by 7 is 117.
  • The Marathon AI Durandal is named after a mythical sword. Curtana, also spelled "Cortana", is a sword which bears the inscription "My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durandal".
  • The Plasma Pistol is much like the Zeus Class Fusion Pistol from the Marathon series, which also possesses a vibrating over-charged shot.
  • Grunts are similar in design to the generic Pfhor fighters, both being gray-skinned with gangly limbs, with unprotected heads but wearing masks over their mouths (though this is a loose comparison).
  • There is a UNSC ship classified as Marathon-class Cruiser.
  • There are clear parallels between the Hunters from the Marathon franchise and the Hunters from the Halo franchise, especially the Hunters that appear in Marathon 2: Durandal and Infinity. The Hunters from Marathon shoot rapid fire green energy blasts from a weapon attached to their shoulder, feature a shield attached to both arms rather than just one, and after Durandal feature spikes on their back that resemble the ones on the back of Halo's Hunters.
  • The Sharquoi were internally referred to as Drinols during Halo 2's development before they were cut from the game. The name Drinniol was associated with the Hulk enemies from the first Marathon game. There are slight resemblances between early renders of the Sharquoi from Halo: CE and the Hulk from Marathon, but the Halo 2 concept art depictions of the Sharquoi look nearly identical to the Hulks from Marathon.
  • Bastion, a Forerunner shield world, was managed by three ancillas, just as the UESC Marathon was managed by three AIs in the first game.

Halo: Combat Evolved[edit]

Main article: Halo: Combat Evolved
  • The campaign begins with John-117 awakening from cryo-sleep much like the beginning of Marathon 2: Durandal, where the protagonist woke up after cryo-sleep.
  • Carol Rawley, call sign "Foehammer" is named after a level in Marathon: Infinity called "Foe Hammer".
  • Marathon 2: Durandal has a level named "If I Had a Rocket Launcher, I'd Make Somebody Pay," Halo: Combat Evolved has a chapter called "If I Had a Super Weapon..." in the campaign level Assault on the Control Room.
  • On the back part of the Halo rocket launcher it says "SPNKR" which is a reference to the rocket launcher in Marathon, the "SPNKR X-18 SSM Launcher".
  • The boots and chest plates worn by the Marines were inspired by the ones worn by Marathons protagonist.
  • The Covenant light markers seen in the campaign levels The Truth and Reconciliation and Two Betrayals bear a resemblance to Pfhor staffs.
  • The Bumblebee pilot who appears in the ending cutscene of the level The Pillar of Autumn and the beginning cutscene of the level Halo wears a helmet similar to that of Marathon's protagonist.
  • Sometimes Grunts or UNSC Marines will shout "They're everywhere!", similar to the BOBs of Marathon.
  • After killing a Flood combat form, PFC Chips Dubbo on the campaign level 343 Guilty Spark may say "Oh God, I recognized that one. That was Bob!" in reference to Marathon's Born on Boards (BOBs).
  • In the game's tags, Master Chief is referenced as "Cyborg".
  • Alex Seropian once stated in the April 2002 issue of Xbox Nation magazine that the main character of Marathon was the first incarnation of Master Chief. He also said Cortana was linked to the storyline of the AIs from Marathon, though she did not appear herself in the franchise. Afterward Matt Soell discussed the subject with Seropian, who clarified that he did not know the current canon of Halo (having already left the company).[1]

Marathon symbols[edit]

The Marathon-shaped Control Room as seen in Assault on the Control Room/Two Betrayals.
The Pillar of Autumn with the Marathon symbol seen in the gray circle.
  • The symbol of the game has the Marathon symbol between the "a" and the "l" of the word Halo. The symbol appears in roughly the same place in relation to the word "Halo" on the front cover and spine of several books published by Tor Books including Ghosts of Onyx, Contact Harvest, The Cole Protocol, and Halo: Evolutions. More recent reprints of these books however have not included the symbol.
  • When selecting a difficulty in campaign mode, the Marathon symbol is visible on the shield.
  • If one brightens the gamma significantly on Halo: Combat Evolved for PC, one can see what looks like the Marathon symbol etched in the background of the first loading screen.
  • The Marathon symbol can be seen on both sides of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.
  • Captain Jacob Keyes has the ship's emblem of the Pillar of Autumn on his uniform, which is the Marathon symbol.
  • Captain Keyes' pipe also has the Marathon symbol on it.
  • The Marathon symbol can be seen on the Warthog's dashboard panel.
  • The main chamber of Alpha Halo's Control Room, when viewed from the top, is shaped like the Marathon symbol.
  • 343 Guilty Spark has the Marathon symbol on his eye in the first and third game.
  • The center of the island that houses the Cartographer is shaped like the Marathon symbol.
  • The Marathon symbol is on the front of the Spirit's cockpit.
  • The Marathon symbol is visible on the orange part of the Plasma Grenade.
  • When viewing the map Infinity from above (or the topographical map in the MCC loading screen), one can see the "infinity" shape is comprised of two Marathon symbols. The name of the map itself adding to the reference.

Halo 2[edit]

Main article: Halo 2
  • The opening cinematic of the level Cairo Station, Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood mentions the "United Earth Space Corps," Marathon features the Unified Earth Space Council, and both of them share the UESC acronym.
  • The Elite rebellion against the Covenant parallels similar events in the Marathon series. In Marathon, Durandal convinced a group of S'pht to rise up against the Pfhor who enslaved them; and after Durandal's disappearance in Marathon 2, the rebel S'pht found themselves stranded together with a group of humans on a hostile world (similar to the Elites' predicament on Delta Halo).
  • The player's main goal in Halo 2 is to stop the Covenant from inadvertently destroying all life in the galaxy with the Halo installations; in Marathon Infinity, it was to prevent the Pfhor from inadvertently releasing a galaxy-destroying chaos being.
  • There is a chapter in campaign level The Great Journey named "Delusions and Grandeur". Marathon Infinity has a network level named "Delusions of Grandeur".
  • Sometimes Marines say "Thank God it's you!", which is what the Simulacrum BOBs say in Marathon.
  • Some Marines can be heard saying "Eat it, boy!", possibly referring to the Marathon 2 level named "Eat it, Vid Boy!"
  • The multiplayer map Foundation is based on the Marathon "Thunderdome" level.
  • The multiplayer map Gemini is based on the Marathon level Duality. This is supported by the map's description, mentioning the "ancient duality of the Covenant..."

Marathon symbols[edit]

  • Once again, the difficulty shields have the Marathon symbol.
  • The Marathon symbol can be applied as a 'decal' to the multiplayer emblems or flag.
  • The Marathon symbol can be seen on various doors located in campaign levels and multiplayer maps that take place on Delta Halo.
  • The Forerunner Enforcers' shields make up a Marathon symbol.
  • A Marathon symbol can be seen on the M90 Shotgun's silver casing.
  • The Oddball skull has the Marathon symbol in its eye socket.
  • If one gets outside the multiplayer map Burial Mounds, the rubble by the "ribs" has a large piece of debris engraved with the Marathon symbol.
  • On the multiplayer map Midship, the Marathon symbol can be seen on Africa (best viewed with scope).
  • On multiplayer map Headlong, in the building which houses mostly human weapons, if one looks at the second floor from above it resembles the Marathon symbol.
  • When the multiplayer map Ivory Tower is viewed from above, the circular courtyard and water channel make a Marathon symbol.
  • When the Halo 2 saved games are viewed in File Explorer, they have the Marathon symbol over the basic file icon.
  • When opening the "About Sapien" window in the Sapien world editor, a Marathon symbol with a nerd's head can be seen.

Halo 3[edit]

Main article: Halo 3
  • The story begins with John-117 awakening from a massive battle in an enemy space station, in the presence of his allies, near a water treatment plant. This mirrors the beginning Marathon 2: Durandal where the Protagonist awakens from a massive battle on an enemy planet to continue fighting with his allies in the Waterloo Treatment Plant.
  • The first level shares its name with the first level of Marathon.
  • The way the Brute holds Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds captive on Sierra 117 is possibly a reference to the L'howon chapter screen.
  • The personnel in Crow's Nest wear uniforms like those of the BOBs from Marathon.
  • On the last cutscene of the level Floodgate, when the Arbiter is bringing human weapons, a Flamethrower and a Rocket Launcher are held in the same position as the Cyborg's picture from Marathon Infinity.
  • A fictional company, Traxus Heavy Industries is introduced. Traxus IV was the name of a famous rampant AI in the Marathon universe. Additionally, in the level The Storm, "Traxus IV" can be seen etched on the glass panels in the warehouses.
  • The Brute Mauler was probably based on the shotgun from Marathon, which was also dual-wieldable.
  • Marines sometimes say "Thank God you're here!" (see Halo: CE section).
  • Grunts scream "He's/they're everywhere!" (see Halo 2 section).
  • Flood Combat Forms occasionally say "Melancholia, anger..." as a reference to the three stages of Rampancy, a reference to the error with AI in Marathon.
  • The three stages of rampancy are again referenced by in one of Cortana's messages, in a quote lifted straight out of the Cortana letters: "There will be no more sadness, no more anger, no more envy!"
  • The design of the golden hologram on Epitaph was inspired by the S'pht Compilers from Marathon 2: Durandal.
  • The level editor in Marathon: Infinity is called Forge. Halo 3 shares that name of its map editor.
  • There is an achievement for accessing all the Terminals in the campaign, called "Marathon Man".
  • On July the Fourth, the phrase "B-B-Q at BOB's Place!" which can be seen on the Forerunner wall of Valhalla which is a reference to the Marathon level "Bob-B-Q".

Marathon symbols[edit]

343 Guilty Spark's "eye".
  • Just like the previous two games, the campaign difficulty shields have Marathon symbols on them.
  • Just like in Halo 2, players can use the Marathon symbol as his/her multiplayer emblem.
  • In the settings menu, the picture of the Spartan has the Marathon symbol on its shoulder when it is highlighted.
  • On the Spartan Insignia, there is a gold Marathon symbol.
  • The Marathon symbol appears on the sides of all of the Covenant Ket-pattern battlecruisers.
  • There is a distorted Marathon symbol on the table of the Shadow of Intent's bridge.
  • The elevators on The Covenant and The Ark have the Marathon symbol on their control panels.
  • Just like in Halo: Combat Evolved, the Control Room of Installation 08 resembles the Marathon symbol.
  • Weapons are often decaled with Marathon symbols.
    • The MA5C Assault rifle has a Marathon symbol on its butt plate. This is already confirmed by Kevin Paul when the MA5C Assault rifle appeared in the Halo 3 Announcement Trailer[2]
    • The BR55HB SR Battle Rifle has the Marathon symbol on its optical sight.
    • The M6G has the Marathon symbol on the grip near the back.
    • The Brute Mauler has the Marathon symbol on its hilt over where the character holds the weapon. One may need to look down in light to see it properly.
  • Forerunner monitors, including the one located on the ceiling of the multiplayer map Cold Storage, have the Marathon symbol on their eyes.
  • The Security Helmet in multiplayer resembles the helmet that the main character of Marathon (a security officer) wears. It also has a Marathon symbol on its forehead.
  • The Recon helmet in multiplayer has Marathon symbols on its sides.
  • The yellow hologram on the multiplayer map Epitaph has a Marathon symbol on the circular part.
  • On the multiplayer map Snowbound, the Marathon symbol can be seen imprinted on the planet in the sky.
  • The center of the multiplayer map Guardian is, when viewed from above, similar to the Marathon symbol.
  • On the multiplayer map Heretic, Marathon symbols reflect off the surfaces of the interior walls. They are also visible on the side-of-the-room walls' shield.
  • The body bag, a deleted material, has the Marathon symbol imprinted on it.

Halo 3: ODST[edit]

Main article: Halo 3: ODST
Marathon promo art hidden in Halo 3: ODST.
  • The avatar used to represent the Pfhor from Marathon was added to the list of emblems (under the name as the AI Tycho). It is also the second emblem to be added to Halo with affiliation to Marathon.

Marathon symbol[edit]

  • Around the game, scraps of paper refuse can be found bearing a painting by Craig Mullins used as promotional art for Marathon.
  • The difficulty shields, yet again, have the Marathon symbol imprinted on them. Halo 3: ODST is the last Halo game by Bungie to have the Marathon symbol-imprinted difficulty shields.
  • At the very start of Uplift Reserve, the Marathon symbol can be found.
  • In the HUD Menu, the Marathon symbol is behind the Triad symbol.
  • Before entering the elevator in the campaign level Coastal Highway, if one jumps above the circular structure near the door, it has the shape of the Marathon symbol.
  • The Marathon symbol is visible on Veronica Dare, Avery Johnson, and the Rookie's backpack.

Halo Legends[edit]

Main article: Halo Legends

The Babysitter[edit]

Main article: The Babysitter

A Marathon symbol is seen on a rock when the whole waterfall is visible, as well as inside the waterfall at the base.

Halo: Reach[edit]

Main article: Halo: Reach
The symbol found on the Wraith's gunner seat.
The symbol in gold, on the right-most Spartan. (Click to enlarge)

Bungie avoided the use of the Marathon symbol in Halo: Reach, presumably due to property rights issues with Microsoft. The symbol has been removed from the emblem gallery, the difficulty icon shields, the hull of the Pillar of Autumn and replaced with the Seventh Column on Captain Keyes' ID patch. The symbol in the eye of the Forge Monitor has also been changed.

  • At the end of the level Long Night of Solace, ATC 1 shouts, "They're everywhere!" This is an iconic line of the BOBs in the original Marathon.
  • On rare occasions, enemy NPCs known as "BOBs" may be encountered by the player. This name is a reference to the BOBs of the Marathon series, humans who were born onboard the titular colony ship.
  • A symbol that resembles the Marathon symbol can be found on the seat of the Wraith's plasma cannon turret.
  • While not appearing fully in the actual game itself, the whole symbol can still be seen in early concept art owned by Microsoft. In a scene depicting UNSC forces on the move, the golden decal is located on the rightmost Spartan on his/her upper left chest plate.

Halo: Evolutions[edit]

Main article: Halo: Evolutions

In the short story "Human Weakness" written by Karen Traviss, we see a new perspective on Cortana's interrogation and imprisonment by the Gravemind. This story makes the reference to the three stages of rampancy in the dialogue from Halo 3 much more explicit and seemingly canonizes the concept of three progressive stages to rampancy within the Halo universe for the very first time.[3]

Halo: Glasslands[edit]

Main article: Halo: Glasslands

Some Sangheili believe that "Demons" are actually corpses reanimated through artificial means to continue fighting as supersoldiers. This is reminiscent of the battleroids from the Marathon trilogy, who are built from the bodies of dead soldiers to serve as physically and technologically augmented supersoldiers. The player character is possibly a Mjolnir Mark IV battleroid.

Halo 4[edit]

The symbol found on the Promethean Watcher's midsection.
  • The Reclaimer symbol has been visually retconned, though it still clearly resembles the Marathon symbol.
  • In the opening cinematic of the Spartan Ops episode Invasion, a Marine yells "They're everywhere!" (see previous Halo sections).
  • The original Marathon symbol is seen on holographic panels in the final Spartan Ops chapter of Key.
  • The midsection of a Promethean Watcher has a symbol closely resembling the original Marathon symbol.



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