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Pathways Into Darkness is a video game created and published by the Bungie Software Products Corporation (now Bungie Studios) in 1993. It was released for the Apple Macintosh. Its tagline was "This is the closest you'll get to virtual reality without a helmet!"

StorylineEdit

Pathways Into Darkness casts the player as a member of a US Army Special Forces team on a mission to prevent an ancient godlike being from awakening and destroying the Earth. In order to succeed, the team has to enter an ancient pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula, reach the bottom level, and detonate a low yield nuclear device in an attempt to stun the Dreaming God and bury it under millions of tons of rock. However, before the game begins, during the team's deployment, your parachute fails to open, you plummet to the ground, and are separated from the others who presume you to be dead. Eventually, with most of your equipment lost or broken, you reach the pyramid. The only items that didn't break were your flashlight and survival knife. The team entered several hours previously, leaving in their stead a stream of horrific monsters, created (like the pyramid) by the slowly waking god, who will fully awaken in five game days.[1]

GameplayEdit

The game's style is an unusual blend between that of the first-person shooter and an RPG with several conventions associated with a survival horror game. While much of the game consists of fighting monsters, a great deal of time is also spent solving difficult puzzles, and conversing, via a magic yellow crystal, with dead men (mostly from an ill fated Nazi expedition), who know a few of the pyramid's secrets.

ConversationsEdit

Conversations are a big part of Pathways into Darkness, all of which are with dead people. The main purpose of conversations is to give the player puzzle information, usually by stating the circumstances of the person's death. Conversations will also provide the player with strategies to defeat certain monsters and bits of story information.

Rather than relying on a conversation tree, players are able to type keywords into a dialogue box. When a certain keyword (these are usually found in a previous statement by the dead person in question) comes up, the dead person will give a response. If there is no response to a keyword, the dead person will ask what the player means by this. All dead people will respond to the words "dead" and "name".

Combat Edit

Much of Pathways Into Darkness requires the player to fight various monsters. Unlike most of it's contemporaries, a player cannot "run and gun". Not all monsters can be killed in conventional ways, monsters will respawn over time, ammo is rare, players usually are under equipped, and players move roughly the same speed as monsters. While a player can usually take a considerable amount of damage, health can only be regained by resting or by drinking a blue potion. Resting is risky, as it speeds up time by a considerable amount and leaves the player open to attack. Blue potions are excedingly rare, and are the only way to cure poison, which makes it extremely important to save them for later levels when even basic monsters can poison the player. To top it all off, the player is equipped only with the walter p4 and the survival knife for roughly half the game.

ItemsEdit

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Pathways into Darkness gameplay

Over the course of the game, the player is able to find several items in the pyramid which they can make use of. Picking up certain objects will give the player a point. For every two points a player receives, they will gain one health point. Items can be divided into five categories.

  • Weapons

Weapons are the main method of combating monsters. Some weapons use multiple types of ammo, including HE and Sabot (armor piercing.)

  • Crystals

During the course of the game the player acquires several different crystal], each of which has a separate special power. After equipping a crystal, it takes several seconds (the exact duration varies from crystal to crystal) to charge before it can be used. After each use the crystal takes longer and longer to fully charge up, after a while the crystal would shatter into a fine powder and be removed from your inventory. The only exception to this limitation is the yellow crystal (which allows the player to talk with the dead), which can be used an unlimited number times.

  • Potions

Occasionally one will encounter a potion in a bottle, affecting the player in different ways when consumed, depending which type of potion. Effects can range from making the player invincible to slowing time. The effects of a potion only last for a short duration.

  • Miscellaneous Items

Certain objects are used at certain times in order to solve puzzles (such as the red cloak), are required for a feature of a game (such as the map), will hold other objects (such as the canvas bag), or serve a unique role (such as the tinder box).

  • Treasure

During the game you will also encounter a variety different and very valuable treasure items. Treasures will usually increase the player's score and health points.

Connections with other Bungie gamesEdit

Pathways Into Darkness is considered by many to be the beginning of the "Bungie Mythos", a large timeline which connects this and later Bungie games.

The most salient of these connections is the nature of the "waking god" and the helpful aliens who inform the United States government of its nature. The "waking god" is believed to be a — or the — W'rkncacnter, a race or singular entity in the Marathon series which shares similar properties, primarily ancient origins, incredible power and the capacity to cause destruction on a global or cosmic scale simply by existing.

Also, the aliens who inform the US of the "waking god" are the Jjaro, an ancient alien race that is featured heavily in the Marathon and (as some fans believe) Halo series, although they are never mentioned by name in the latter.

There are also connections which are not directly spoken, but many believe. Although it is never directly stated, the Marathon character is rumored to be a cyborg, formed from the dead bodies of soldiers. This character feels as if he has done certain things before, or as if he has dreamed about them. These 'certain things' match up well with nearly identical events which the main character from Pathways experienced.

The most subtle of the connections between Pathways Into Darkness and Marathon lie in a single computer terminal in the latter game. While seemingly there to provide proof that a human AI is distorting human history data (to prevent invading aliens from knowing of Earth's location) the text is actually a highly corrupted version of the original Pathways Into Darkness story.

The original story Edit

The original plotline for Pathways Into Darkness focused on a group of semi-immortal humans, who had maintained immortality since the time of the Roman Empire, owing to a Fountain of Youth. Every seven years, the leader of the group would have to go down into underground caverns to retrieve the water for the rest of the group to maintain immortality. The player would represent a member of this group, who has been randomly chosen to do this, since the last leader did not return. [2]

Other influencesEdit

Many fans have noted similarities between the dreaming alien god of Pathways Into Darkness and the terrors of H.P. Lovecraft fiction. In particular, the description of the god as an ancient entity, from outside of known space, involved in wars beyond history, and affecting reality with its dreams, are reminiscent of Lovecraft's Elder Gods or the Great Old Ones.

TriviaEdit

  • If the player is killed by an Ooze, he receives the message: "Oozes. They're everywhere. Can't stand 'em". This is similar to a comment from The Tick about ninjas.

External linksEdit

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