Amiga Games Marble Madness
Now we're talking! Marble Madness was an excellent arcade game from Atari that was converted to home computers. The Amiga version was released by Electronic Arts in 1986 - and was a faithful rendition of the original game.
The original Atari arcade game was released in 1984 and had been a huge success with it's unique design, stereo sound and superb trackball control. It was only a matter of time before it was converted to home machines, and the version for the Commodore Amiga was very, very good.
Anyway, in Marble Madness you were basically a heavy metal ball - a marble. Your task in life was to roll around the 3D isometric platform levels and basically find your way to the exit. En-route to your escape you would encounter all manner of nasties and enemies; fiendish black balls, sweeping brooms, patches of ice, oil slicks and spinning hoops to name but a few.
The game played very nicely on the Amiga and managed to re-create the 'feel' (gravity and inertia effect) of the arcade original, and included all the humps and bumps faithfully from each screen. The fact that the Amiga had a mouse control as standard made this version stand out from it's 8-bit counterparts - controlling the marble with the mouse was almost as good as using the trackball control of the arcade version.
That was the only thing missing in this conversion: The lack of trackball control did detract slightly from the overall playability. The trackball control had made the arcade game stand out from the crowd with it's novel method of controlling your little ball.
Apart from that the arcade game had been richly soaked in colour - and we all know that the awesome Commodore machine could handle these sort of graphics in full colour - whereas the likes of the ZX Spectrum could not (see ZX Spectrum Marble Madness to see what we mean)
The catchy theme tune was in there too, but it had a habit of going from catchy to downright annoying when you fell off the same ledge for the 57th time.
Once you got the hang of the controls (nice and simple only; up, down, left and right) the game really opened up. The mouse was good for moving the marble around and responded to the inertia and gravity effects better than the keyboard did.
Playing against the clock, you had to complete each screen before the clock counted down to zero or it was game over. Colliding with an enemy did not kill you directly - it merely delayed you for a few of those all important seconds.
The game could be completed if you managed to make your way through all of the screens which was a task for expert players. I never managed to complete this be it in the arcade, on the Speccy or on the Amiga. Maybe I'm just crap at it - but even so it I played it again and again.
This was another arcade conversion that had been hotly anticipated - and it did not disappoint on release. The Amiga conversion really did the original justice - EA did well with this one. The playability was there and each screen was faithful to the original. Due to it's popularity in the arcades it was a big hit - even though it retailled at £29.95.
Marble Madness is still playable, still frustrating and still pretty addictive. It was always pretty simple in concept anyay and stands as a classic of mid 80's gaming. You could even say that this classic game directly influenced more modern hits such as Super Monkey Ball, which uses a similar inertia effect and gameplay style in certain stages. Here in Amiga Games we reckon you should play Marble Madness again - it's a modern classic and was totally innovative when it came out.
Steel your balls and give it a go - but prepare to be frustrated!
We recommend getting hold of the real Commodore Amiga hardware but if not then download an Amiga emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other Amiga retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: 1986
RELEASED BY: Electronic Arts
DEVELOPER(S): Larry Reed
PRICE: £29.95 - UK
Nice ball play from Bri in Marble Madness - Amiga Games:
Arcade Games, Classic Games and Amiga Games