What's in a Name

What's in a Name

A section dealing with the possible origin or inspiration behind the level names.

Ground Floor

Since the Pyramid is multistory and we enter at the ground floor the name is pretty intuitive.

In the Demo v1.0 the ground floor level was called Pathways Into Darkness... and in the Demo v2.0 it was called Entrance To Hell.

Never Stop Firing

In the game's credits you'll find:

ALPHA VICTIMS Greg "never stop firing" Kirkpatrick Nick DiCrescenzo Sean Nixon Ed Stelow Meredith Cohen


Believed to be a military term. But if you know the origin and meaning of the term please send it in. Thanks.

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

AFAIK, the correct term is actually "load and lock," which refers to loading a cartridge into your gun and locking it in place. The phrase probably originated with bolt-action rifle, in which you very clearly "lock" down the action after loading.

If so how did the term "lock and load" arise?

Perrin Haley <phaley@cats.ucsc.edu> writes:

You ask the question "...how did the term 'lock and load' arise?" It comes from Stanley Kubrick's film "Full Metal Jacket." Near the end of the first half of the film, before the marines go to war, Pvt. Pile goes crazy and kills his drill sergeant and then himself. At the beginning of this scene he shouts the phrase "lock and load."

I guess the greater meaning here is just more evidence that someone at Bungie is a Kubrick fan, considering the other references to 2001/2010 in the Marathon series.

You can read the scene from Full Metal Jacket that Perrin describes here.

John Zero <jzero@fastlane.net> writes:

I think Aaron Davies is wrong about "load & lock", because the procedure for loading the average combat weapon requires that you >lock< the action so that the weapon will not discharge while you >load< it.

John continues:

I know that the term "Lock & Load" is a common and correct military phrase, and I am positive that it predates "Full Metal Jacket" by a good fifteen years (at least), because it appears in a war-movie parody sketch on the Firesign Theatre album "Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers", which was recorded in 1971 or 1972.

James Klauder <jklauder@excite.com> writes

"Lock and Load" is a normal pre-combat, or danger imminent, procedure, in which you insert a magazine of live ammunition (locking it in place), and then cycle the action to chamber a round (loading).

They May Be Slow...

See below for a possible explanation.

...But They're Hungry

Mauro Braunstein <EllBrau@aol.com> writes:

...the PID level They May Be Slow... and ...But They're Hungry go together. While their names might not mean much apart, they certainly make sense together by linking the ...'s:

They may be slow, but they're hungry!

The ellipsis (...) signifies a break of some sort, and sometimes there's continuation. In this case, it continues with another ellipsis mark at the next level.

This might be related to some monster(s) you meet on these levels...

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

I always figured this was a reference to the large number of Zombies on this level--compared to the Headless, they move quite slowly, yet are much more dangerous.

Evil Undead Phantasms Must Die!

Phantasms feature prominently on this level. If you managed to get past the one on the level below you won't get past the ones on this level. You must kill them i.e. they Must Die!

Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

The level name 'Evil Undead Phantasms Must Die!'

Is probably a play on words of the name of a *really bad* American movie called 'Surf Nazis Must Die!' where a black woman has her son killed by some Neo-Nazi surfers [a total contradiction], and vows and gets her revenge.


According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary "ascension" means:

1. The act of ascending; a rising; ascent.

2. Specifically: The visible ascent of our Savior on the fortieth day after his resurrection. (--Acts i. 9.) Also, Ascension Day.

3. An ascending or arising, as in distillation; also that which arises, as from distillation.

Since this is the upper most level of the Pyramid we can either view the name as presenting the player's ascent to this level or the dreaming God rising. Remember the pyramid is a manifestation of the dreaming God.

Wrong Way!

A Bungie joke? This is actually the right way!

Welcome, Tasty Primate

Richard Edgar <rge21@cam.ac.uk> writes:

Welcome, Tasty Primate is a reference to the player. Humans (chimps and other apes) are members of the primate family (although I'd check that is is a 'family' - biology is not my strong point ;-) ). That Nightmare can't have eaten for a while - and is evidently feeling a little peckish ;-)

We Can See In The Dark... Can You?

A possible clue to solving this level's puzzle. You need to turn off your flashlight in order to avoid the flying rat-things.

Feel the Power

Attempt this without superior fire power and you'll feel the power alright! The death dialog of the Oozes says it all:

Oozes. They're everywhere. Can't stand 'em.

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

...a possible reference to Quiet Riot's "Come Feel the Noise," mentioned in the Marathon level name page.

Dave Loffredo <loffredo@steptools.com> writes:

...regarding the level named "Feel the Power" ... I've always thought it was a pretty clear reference to the movie "The Dark Crystal". At one point, one of the Skeksis says "Now gelfling, you will feel the power of the Dark Crystal!"

Perhaps this refers to the crystal ladder, or just to your weapon crystals.

A Plague of Demons

The level where you meet the invisible Wraiths... and there's alot of them about. Without the infra-red goggles you might be convinced that there was a plague of demons on this level.

Chris Huth <sherwinh@interlog.com> points out that this is a title of a sci fi book by Keith Laumer.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, London: Orbit, 1993 (ISBN 1-85723-124-4) has this to say about Keith Laumer's novel "A Plague of Demons":

A Plague of Demons (1965), in which a tough human is biologically engineered into a sort of superman so that he deal with a threat to Earth and finds - after a long, remarkably sustained chase sequence ending in his capture by some singularly efficient aliens - that for centuries Earth has been being despoiled of its best fighting men, who, like himself, are taken off-planet and surgically transformed into command centres for gigantic armed fighting machines embroiled in an eons-long interstellar war. In this cyborg form, he regains autonomy, organizes a revolt of his fellow cyborg-supertanks, and prepares to carry - fabulously armed - his message of freedom to the stars.

Thematically associated with this novel are the Bolo books.

Amazon.com has a short reader review of the book. It goes as follows:

A reader from Orange Park, FL , June 21, 1998
Great book... Fascinating concept!

I was totally immersed in this novel from beginning to end. The concept of placing armour beneath the skin is not new to "Terminator"... it was done by Laumer years before. Only he put armor under the skin instead of putting skin over a robot.

Keith Laumer's Bolo series may have inspired the name for the classic Bolo tank game for the Apple Macintosh. To quote the author Stuart Cheshire:

"Bolo is a 16 player graphical networked real-time multi-player tank battle game. It has elements of arcade-style shoot-em-up action, but for the serious players who play 12 hour games with 16 players working in teams in different networked computer clusters around an office or university campus, it becomes more of a strategy game. You have to play it to understand."

Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> points out that the Bolo FAQ by Stuart Cheshire has this to say about the origin on the game's name

"Why is it called Bolo?"
Bolo is the Hindi word for communication. Bolo is about computers communicating on the network, and more importantly about humans communicating with each other, as they argue, negotiate, form alliances, agree stategies,. etc.

So no connection between the Bolo tank game and the earlier Bolo tank books by Keith Laumer.

Beware of Low-Flying Nightmares

As the name suggests this level has its fair share of Nightmares.

The title may have its origins in the phrase "Beware of Low-Flying Planes" or the deer warning road sign which is sometimes jokingly referred as the "Beware of Low-Flying Deer".

The Labyrinth

The ultimate maze level since it changes every time you revisit it. Most likely named after the Labyrinth of Minos, a great maze built at Cnossos by Daedalus, to house the Minotaur. Theseus with the aid of Ariadne's thread killed the Minotaur and solved the maze puzzle to escape.

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> points out that Bungie's game before Pathways was called Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete.

Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage

A Ren & Stimpy reference? From the Ren & Stimpy Show: FAQ:

The "Happy Happy Joy Joy" song

"Hello, boys and girls. This is your old pal, Stinky Wizzleteats. [*]
This is a song about a whale. No! This is a song about being happy!
That's right! It's the Happy Happy Joy Joy song!

Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy!

I don't think you're happy enough! That's right! I'll teach you to
be happy! I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs! Now, boys and
girls, let's try it again!


If'n you aint the grandaddy of all liars! The little critters of
nature... They don't know that they're ugly! That's very funny, a
fly marrying a bumblebee! I told you I'd shoot! But you didn't
believe me! Why didn't you believe me?!

[chorus without last line]
Happy Happy Happy Happy
Happy Happy Happy Happy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy!"

* Stinky's last name debate is over.  The calendar of R&S and
the flood of fall 1992 articles about our twisted twosome
(including U.S.A. Today newspaper) has supported "Wizzleteats."

Need a Light?

Whether you need one or not the Big Blue Meanie will try to give you one! The death dialog associated with this guy reads:

Well, if you needed a light, I guess you got one.

Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'Intrate

The Official Hint Book offers the following translation:
It's Italian and translates to, "Abandon Every Hope, All Who Enter Here." It's the inscription above the gates of Hell in Dante's Inferno.

However back in Aug 11, 1996 David Coufal wrote to the Marathon's Story page saying that he has been informed by Claudio Cataldo <claudio.cataldo@usa.net> that the correct citation from Dante's "Divina Commedia" is Lasciate ogni speranza Voi che entrate.

Columbia University spell it a differently again - Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate. The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1895) translation of this line is All hope abandon, ye who enter in!

Watch Your Step

Don't step on those pods. Watch Your Step. Actually the pods explode by walking over them rather than steping on them.

I'd Rather Be Surfing

Ben Riley <Benhotep@aol.com> writes:

Wouldn't you rather be surfing than...

A.) Lying dead but still conscious in a dark pyramid with horrific monsters wandering around,

B.) Running around, trying not to be killed by said horrific monsters, talking to dead people, and trying to detonate a nuclear device, or

C.) Sitting around for days making Pathways Into Darkness maps at Bungie HQ.

Simon Foreman <dah_man@silentubiquity.com> writes:

The level name "I'd Rather Be Surfing" to me references one thing, and one thing only: THE SUFFOCATION CHAMBER. I'd rather be surfing than waiting for an three hours in a small room!

Warning: Earthquake Zone

There is a large gathering of Ghasts at the end of this level. If you're not careful the whole place will quickly turn into an Earthquake Zone.

Don't Get Poisoned!

Good advice but difficult to accomplish since this level is full of Venomous Skitters. Don't get poisoned!

Please Excuse Our Dust

Kill a Ghast and they leave a pile of dust, kill seven and they leave a circle of dead Ghast dust? Lots of Ghasts on this level.

Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> writes:

Stores that are undergoing some trauma like inventory or remodeling put up signs that say "Please Excuse Our Mess".

Richard Edgar <rge21@cam.ac.uk> writes:

I believe

Please Excuse Our Dust

Is a Dorothy Parker reference. When asked to suggest an epitaph for herself, she came up with 'Excuse my dust.'

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American poet, writer and well-known wit. Infamous for always having something to say about virtually all her contemporaries among the literati. Here's one of her many short poems. It's called "Frustration":

                      If I had a shiny gun
                   I could have a world of fun
               Speeding bullets through the brains
                Of the folks that cause me pains.

                  Or, if I had some poison gas
                  I could make the moments pass
                   bumping off the numbers of
                   people whom I do not love.

                 But I have no lethal weapon --
              Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
                So they still are quick and well
               Who should be, by rights, in hell.

Jonathan Bahamon <jbahamon@earthlink.net> writes:

I noticed while watching the Toonami programming block on Cartoon Network a short collection of clips from the block's shows (Dragon Ball Z, Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo!, etc.). The clips show the various explosions, energy blasts, gun fire, and hyperkinetic hand-to-hand combat that anime is famous for. At the end of the clips there are the words: Pardon our Dust.

Dragon Ball Z is the only anime on Toonami that predates PID. At least the only one I can remember off the top of my head. Technically Gundam Wing doesn't predate Pathways (it came out in Japan in 1995) but the Gundam universe it is set in is more than twenty years old.

Daniel <cristofd@hevanet.com> writes:

-The Dorothy Parker joke about "dust" was based on the store-remodeling usage, naturally. The remodeling use is more widespread and is probably the direct source of the level name. The "dust" in the store-remodeling use is often plaster dust or other powdered building material.

But Wait!- That's Not All!

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

This reminds me of the classic informercial phrase "But Wait!--There's more!" (generally followed by "It's not sold in any store!") used in the old ads for the Pocket Fisherman, Vegematic, etc., marketed by Mr. Popeil (sp?), and the subject of a song by Weird Al, whose brand of humor probably appeals to Bungie people quite strongly.

Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> writes:

If you've ever watched US television, you're quite familiar with this term. "[...] But wait! That's not all! When you buy a Regex Pro, you not only get a processor-intensive call that's GUARANTEED to cause you grief, but we'll throw in this FREE bogon collector for NO additional cost!!!"

Where Only Fools Dare Tread

The penultimate level though if you die on the last level you end up back here.

The level name seems to be a variation on the famous line:

"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

by Alexander Pope from his poem "An Essay on Criticism" which dates from 1711.

xcalibur in a Story forum post pointed out that the name of this level changes between Pathways v1.1 and v2.0. In v2.0 the name becomes Where Only Fool Dare Tread. Below is a comparison pic from both versions.


Why this name should change to an incorrect version between game versions is unclear.

Ok, Who Else Wants Some?

The final level and one where it's you against all the monsters in the game one after the other... no holds barred. If you survive this you might be tempted to ask "Ok, Who Else Wants Some?"

The level name is similar to that used in a number of films. A leading contender is Sam Raimi's "Army of Darkness". After surviving the Deadite in the Pit the hero (Ash) emerges and says to his would-be protagonists:

All right now. Who wants to be next? Who wants some.

You want some more? Huh?!

Army of Darkness was released in the United States on Feb 19, 1993 around the same time as Pathways was in development (the game shipped in Aug 1993).

Another contender is undoubtedly James Cameron's Aliens (released in 1986). Moments before his death PFC Hudson screams as he fires at the aliens coming up through the floor panels:

"C'mon! C'mon you bastards! C'mon, you too! Oh, you want some of this? Fuck you!"... "Fuck you!"... [Hudson is dragged under the floor screaming]

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair
Last updated Dec 3, 1999