Pathways into Darkness

Pathways into Darkness

Infobox VG
title = Pathways Into Darkness

developer = Bungie Software Products Corporation
publisher = Bungie Software Products Corporation
distributor =
designer = Jason Jones
engine =
version =
released = 1993
genre = Blend of Role Playing Game, Survival horror, and First Person Shooter
modes = single player
ratings =
platforms = Mac OS
media =
requirements =
input = keyboard, mouse

"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. Because of its first-person graphical viewpoint, the game's tagline was "This is the closest you'll get to virtual reality without a helmet!"


"Pathways Into Darkness" casts the player as Sgt. Eddings—though named only in the game's strategy guide, 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 or get lost were your flashlight, survival knife, digital watch, and map. 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. [] As the game progresses, the player learns of a Nazi expedition into the pyramid, as well as a third ill fated expedition by a group that used maps copied from those of the Nazis. Two of its members were able to go to the very bottom of the pyramid where they opened a vial that imprisoned the demon. Most of the story's details are based on bits of raw information and cryptic messages, but since most of these are never explained in the game, they can only be used for speculation.


The game is an unusual blend of first-person shooter and role-playing game, similar to survival horror games. While much of the game consists of fighting monsters, a great deal of time is also spent solving 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.

The game was considered by many to be too hard, and was unfinished by a significant portion of its fans. The player was also generally poorly armed, and would only be armed with a pistol and survival knife for nearly half the game. Ammunition for the various weapons was scarce, especially in later levels. Additionally the player moved no faster than the monsters he was fighting, most of which would respawn after a certain amount of time. The game was also extremely dark throughout and the player cannot see more than a couple of meters with out the aid of a flash light or infra-red goggles.

While the player could regain health with a blue potion, this item was so rare that it was only practical for healing poison, forcing the player to rest to regain health. Resting was risky, since time would move very fast while player was doing so and the player could be attacked while sleeping.

The time limit of 72 game hours added to the difficulty, since the player had to get to the bottom of the pyramid, set the bomb to detonate before the sleeping-god wakes, and get out of the pyramid with enough time to be evacuated before the bomb goes off.

The Dead

Though the only living human character is the player, each of the dead soldiers has his own story, assuming he can remember it. Dead people in the pyramid do not pass on to an afterlife: they remain in their corpses, still perceiving what occurs around them but unable to act as they slowly forget everything about their lives. Using the Yellow Crystal, the player can communicate with the dead, asking questions and receiving answers. However, the dead do not always tell the truth, and some of them appear to have gone quite insane. Most of them will at least respond to "Name" (by telling their name, if they remember it) and "death" (by describing how they died. Most seem to remember that, though not all are willing or able to discuss it.) []

The Germans

*Anonymous German Soldier (Ground Floor): Unable to remember his name, this soldier was killed by Muller for refusing to follow him through a door. []

*Anonymous German Soldier (Lock&Load): This corpse will only state that he is "cold, so cold." He does not remember his name, and asking about his death only prompts him to describe death as cold and lonely. []

*Gunther: Killed when he tried to help a wounded Joachim escape a party of Headless. He was leading a party composed of himself, Behrens, Hans and Joachim. He and Joachim were friends. Though he immediately recognizes the player as a foreigner (i.e. not German) he's friendly enough. []

*Hans: A new recruit, he was used for carrying ammo by the other expedition members because he couldn't shoot straight. Killed by a Phantasm. []

*Walter: Was given a golden key by Muller and sent down to find a room with 12 gold ingots and bring them back along with the cedar box

*Friedrich: Muller's second in command. Never really knew why he was on the mission. Killed on "Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage."

*Muller: the leader of the Nazi expedition. A short, greedy man, he was strongly disliked by his entire team and shot at least one of them in the back. Even after death, he lies to the player about his intentions, mission, and the dangers of the pyramid. If asked about colors, it is discovered that he knew a little something about the crystals too. Despite his faults, he seems to know more about the pyramid than anyone else - though as one of his late underlings put it, "that only makes him more stupid." []

The Americans

You can also talk to your former teammates, who have all died during their mission.

*Greg: The last member of your team to have died in the catacombs below the pyramid. He hid the nuclear device in a purple pod directly to the south of his last stand. Died on level, "Watch Your Step."

*Steven: One of your former teammates. He changed the code on the nuclear device from 2870334 to 6580334.

The Cubans

The last group of dead humans you can talk to are a group of Cuban mercenaries (most likely, this fact is never confirmed, but they are definitely Hispanic) who died while trying to loot the pyramid for artifacts and treasure. One of them cannot be spoken to, as his head is gone.


"Pathways into Darkness" features 5 usable weapons, though the crystals could also be considered weapons as all but one of them causes damage. Some weapons have multiple ammunition types. They are quickly equipped using their assigned number key.
*Survival knife: This is your starting weapon. The survival knife is one of the few items that didn't break or get lost during your failed parachute drop. It is especially useful in the game's early portions for conserving ammo.

*Walther P4 pistol: First found on "Ground Floor" near the first German body. It causes minor damage, fires about once a second and has one type of ammunition. Magazines hold 8 rounds. []

*MP-41 Submachine gun: First found on "Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage" in the trap room near the dead Germans. It does slightly more damage then the P4, but more significantly it can fire longer and faster. One ammunition type. Magazines hold 32 rounds.

*M79 Grenade launcher: First found on "Need a Light?" with second marine. Massive damage, but fires single shots and reloads slowly. Three ammunition types: HE-standard ammunition type, it is unknown if it has any benefits over the other two ammunition types. Fragmentation-Kills/Damages multiple enemies at once. Projectile/Slug-Does massive damage and can kill greater nightmares.

*AK-47 Assault Rifle: First found on "I'd Rather Be Surfing" Fires slightly slower than the MP-41 but does twice the damage. Magazines carry 30 rounds. Three ammunition types: Standard- The basic AK-47 ammunition. Sabot-Able to kill greater Nightmares HE-Does slightly more damage.

Note: Your weapon proficiencies also display an M-16 Assault Rifle and a Colt .45 as being Expert. You can find M-16s in the game; however, the few M-16s found are described as having the "muzzle bent just enough to render it useless." You begin with a Colt .45, but you never get any ammo for it. If you use a cheating program to give you a working Colt .45 or M-16, the game crashes due to the fact that there is no model for these weapons.


Throughout the game, players encounter successive waves of monsters, presumably all created by the Dreaming God. They include:

*Headless: Weak orange bipeds with olive-shaped bodies atop froglike legs. On top of the body is a round mouth filled with sharp teeth and a long tongue. They spit a quantity of green goo as an attack. Headless mostly occupy the levels above the surface and are the first enemies encountered in the game. Though they're quite weak and feel pain (they flinch and scream when injured) they are often found in groups.

*Zombie: Skeletons in headdresses who throw bones at the player. Unlike the Headless, they do not feel pain, so the only way to stop them from firing is to kill them. When they die, they dissolve into small piles of dust.

*Phantasm: Also known as Shades or Banshees, Phantasms are black, translucent cloaklike shapes with glowing red eyes and attack with a loud sound that causes significant damage. They are immune to all conventional weaponry; only the Crystals have the power to harm them. Phantasms are invisible in the infrared spectrum. They simply disappear upon death.

*Ghoul: A Ghoul is a pale, hulking, hunchbacked humanoid. Their distinctive posture is probably necessitated by the small corridors of the pyramid. Ghouls deal a lot of damage by throwing rocks at high speed, but are not very tough for all their size and can be quickly dispatched with a knife. Like the Headless, their firing can be interrupted by harming them.

*Nightmare: Bloated, dark brown fishlike monsters with yellow eyes, Nightmares float through the air firing orbs of electricity. On death, they explode with some force, hurting or even killing their attacker. Presumably they are full of some kind of lighter-than-air, combustible gas (hydrogen?) but they seem to contain a fair amount of liquid as well. Greater Nightmares are blue with red eyes, and are far more dangerous. Their electricity orbs home in on their targets, and they only take damage from armor-piercing rounds or grenade slugs (projectiles).

*Ooze: Roughly humanoid monsters that hurl bits of slime. They resemble humans covered in a thick coat of orange/tan mud, with no visible facial features but a vertical, tooth-lined opening in the chest. It's unclear whether a more solid body exists beneath the mudlike exterior. They often travel in threes.

*Green Ooze: Green Oozes are indestructible monsters that also travel in groups of three. For some unknown reason, they will ignore intruders who are poisoned. These Oozes are only found on the level, "Warning: Earthquake Zone."

*Rats and Lizards: Small, rapidly moving, flying creatures that which attack in swarms and gnaw the player to death. The Lizards additionally are capable of following the player between levels.

*Invisible Wraith: Bizarre enemies that are completely invisible to the naked eye Wraiths can only be seen with aid of Infra-Red goggles, attacking at such great speeds you may well be dead before you get the chance to see what hit you.

*Electric Sphere: Found throughout the ever-changing "Labyrinth" level, large spheres of electrical energy. While incapable of ranged attack, due to their ability to both travelling at incredible speeds and rapidly "sensing" an intruder at a great distance they can surround a player in seconds, making them a very formidable enemy. When attacking they tend to attack in groups cooking their target with powerful electric fields.

*Purple Pod: Purple mines found on one level that explode when stepped upon. They are also capable of concealing hidden items within them.

*Sentinel: Strange sitting "humans" who generate a forcefield. They are dressed similarly to that of Zombies and Ghasts yet look like a normal human. Can only be killed with the Green Crystal

*Skitter: Large carnivorous spider like monsters who spit sticky projectiles that form their web to trap prey (eg. the player in) of whom they then eat. They come in two varieties non-venomous which are a cyan color found on the upper lower levels of the pyramid and the magenta colored venomous variety on the lower levels of who shoot toxic projectiles that poison the player. The poisionous variety are so frequent later in the game that the game can become nearly impossible without an ample supply of blue potions.

*Ghast: Skeletons with a similar headdress to that of the weaker Zombies but in blue instead of red. Ghasts wander the lower levels. They are capable of causing small "earthquakes" damaging those nearby, though the player can interrupt the Ghasts before they attack with an AK-47 round. In groups their damage is greatly increased causing far more deadly quakes. Like the Zombies when Ghasts are killed they disintegrate into a pile of dust.

*Greed: Better known as the Big Blue Meanie. A massive blue creature, simply a face surrounded by two arms and chicken-like feet. The arms end in tubes that can spray bursts of fire. Greed single handedly kills most of the player's team and must be killed in order for the player to progress. Due to its extreme stamina and the confined quarters of "Need a Light?", a player must make effective use of weapons, potions, and crystals and possess good maneuvering skills to survive such an encounter.

*Malice: Known more colloquially as the Giant Purple Mutant Hellbeast, or Barney on Steroids, this purple serpentine monster cannot be killed. It belches clouds of toxic gas to attack. There is some controversy among players whether the Gas Mask item is useful in reducing or preventing this damage. Though the player will only encounter one Hellbeast at first, two others appear near the first one towards the very end of the game.

*Deceit: A floating, gaslike creature, known to some as "Flaming Smokey Dude." Deceit is a unique enemy encountered near the end of the game. It never attacks, but is found in the company of a large number of monsters. After all of its companions have been killed, Deceit itself is easily defeated and leaves behind an Alien Gemstone. Deceit's nature is never explicitly stated: whether it is somehow a representation of the immortal Dreaming God itself, or one of its creations, possibly the (formerly) imprisoned demon mentioned by certain characters. This monster is also seen in the unofficial port of Marathon to the Aleph One engine as part of the protagonist's opening flashback/dream.


Throughout the game, the player will encounter many objects that can be picked up and used for some purpose. For every two items necessary to complete the game or items of high value the player will gain one point of health potential (sometimes known as vital items). They can be placed in one of four categories:

*Crystals: Very similar to weapons, though their use is often more varied. Every crystal has a different effect, these can range from causing earthquakes to allowing the player to talk to the dead. Once a crystal is picked up, it can be selected in a way similar to a weapon, and used with the tab key. Each crystal (with the exception of the yellow crystal) is extremely limited in its number of uses, as a crystal will take longer to recharge with each use till it ultimately shatters. The number of uses and recharge times vary from crystal to crystal.

*Potions: Potions are found in glass containers and can be only used once. Like crystals, each potion has a different effect such as slowing down time or making the player invincible for a short amount of time.

*Treasure: Treasure is not usable, but it will give a player a higher score at the end of the game and sometimes counts as a vital item. Some treasure, such as a ring, can be equipped.

*Other items: A large number of items in the game are too varied to be put in a single category, but most of these items are made for a very specific purpose or for solving a puzzle. Some items will often appear useless (the lead box) or even harmful (the red cape) but will save the player's life, others are required for basic game functions (the player's map and watch can be dropped, thus greying out the map and time respectively).

Connections with other Bungie games

"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) , although they are never mentioned 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.

Original stories

During production, Pathways into darkness had several different story lines.

One of the original plotlines 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. []

External links

* [ Pathways Into Darkness on]
* [ Pathways Redux] - a "PID"-inspired mod for Doom 3
*moby game|id=/macintosh/pathways-into-darkness |name= "Pathways Into Darkness"
* [ Marathon: Pathways into Darkness] - Pathways into Darkness for Aleph One
* [ Pathways Into Darkness] on Traxus Project, a Marathon universe wiki

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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