Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Marble Madness is a direct arcade copy featuring all six levels and the same annoying gameplay as EA’s MD version, so now all you 8-bitters can experience as much hair-pulling frustration as the rest of us. The basic (and I mean, basic) idea is to roll a marble along a course, usually downhill, to the ‘GOAL’ marker at the end. The courses are filled with obstacles, from acid pools to big, black balls out on a sabotage mission and some levels have different routes to the end, so it’s up to you to negotiate these and find your way through!
Easy, huh? Well you’ve got a time limit too! Each level’s limit gets smaller as you go on, but at least you can carry leftover time to the next level. If you’re smart, you’ll succeed!
To add to the confusion, it’s viewed from a 3D perspective and the control system doesn’t half take some practice before you master it!
You won’t finish this one easily, the levels are very intense, starting from easy and working through to damned near impossible and you don’t get any continues, so if you make mistakes early on you’re gonna run out of time!
Virgin have done a good job of reproducing the coin-op and experienced Marble Madness fans will go ape over this for the simple reason that it’s so close to the original.
Unfreaks should think before getting this one though, Marble Madness is very samey and after a few plays, I can get to Level 5, only to die every time on Level 6. Sure, some people thrive on this type of frustration, but others’ll find its got the lifespan of a Wayne Dobson joke!
Check it out, Marble fans, but interested passers-by - pass it by!
Sorry, but games like this just leave me cold. I mean, what’s the point?! Sure, I admit guiding that fragile blue sphere round the paths is a touch challenging and the ever-decreasing time limits add a little urgency to the affair. Sadly, that’s about it. There’s nothing pretty to look at, no dynamic sounds and about the most exciting piece of action is where the little brush comes along to sweep away yet another disastrous piece of ballplay! As Paul says, If you liked Marble Madness the first time around you’ll probably love this. Otherwise, look elsewhere for your games action.
For hardened fans only.