Marble Madness
for Amiga (OCS/ECS)

Mr Creosote:
Company: Electronic Arts
Year: 1986
Genre: Puzzle, Action
Theme: Abstract
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 17777
Review by Mr Creosote (2007-09-18)

Marble Madness was one of the first games on the new and fresh Amiga system. And what a way to get a system started! Although the game was also released for pretty much every other system out there at the time, it was the Amiga version which outshone them all. Closest to the original arcade machine (and even with the two player feature), it showed off the new computer's technical capabilities perfectly. A killer application, especially considering the direct competitor, the Atari ST, only had a greatly inferior port.

So what's the hype about? The player controls a marble rolling its way through an abstract three-dimensional landscape. The goal is always to reach the level's exit before the timer runs out. This turns out to be a toughter task than it sounds. The levels don't just consist of solid ground, but there are thin ramps with nothing but void left and right, going up and down, leaning towards one side or the other, leading to sharp 90° turns and so on. As if that weren't enough of a challenge, even weirder enemies populate the world. Black balls pushing you, vats of acid crawling around and even Slinkies are out to get (and eat!) you. Still not enough? There's more, but see for yourself...

The game can be controlled by a track ball (like the original), but the mouse will do just fine as well. In theory, you can use the joystick, too, but that method lacks the fine-grained nuances of movement, and also, the directions aren't really mapped correctly. Pulling the stick 'down' will not move the marble 'down' on the screen, but rather towards the lower left corner. A common problem with games using an isometric perspective. This doesn't occur using the mouse, of course.

It's hard to describe the attraction of a game like Marble Madness. It doesn't look like much these days (but still quite attractive in its own way), the concept isn't overly refined, and there aren't even that many levels. However, it has the power of a simple and easily graspable (is that a word?), yet highly addicting idea behind it all. And if you don't have an arcade cabinet standing in your living room, this is probably the best version you can get. So what are you waiting for?

Comments (6) [Post comment]

I heard about this title by reading about Ballance. Never tried it...:embarassed:
Mr Creosote:
Only working if you have a Competition Pro - like joystick. If the stick has some sort of 'profile' (to match the hand), this'll become even more inconvenient ;)
Solution for isometric joystick problem, spin the joystick 45 degrees!
Mr Creosote:
Heh - I was actually wondering how long it'd take for someone to mention MAME. Not even four hours, not bad. You see, reviews don't always have to tell the whole truth, they just have to sound good, and so I bent facts a little to get a fitting figure of speech to end with ;)
I don't have an arcade cabinet standing in my living room but THAT doesn't keep me from playing the original. ;) Thx emulation!