Marble Madness (NES)

Marble Madness was developed by Rare and published by Milton Bradley Company for the NES in 1988.


Marble Madness for the NES was developed by Rare in 1986. It is a port of the arcade game of the same name, published by Atari Games in 1984. While simple, its unique gameplay and pseudo-3D graphics were ground-breaking for its time.

Along with the NES port, the game was ported to a wide variety of platform, such as the Amiga, Apple II, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Gear, Master System and many other platforms of the era.

After choosing the number of players, the game allows the player to enter his or her name .Right after, you can choose two controller configurations. In the horizontal 90o mode, the marble will go into the direction of the arrow you have press (including diagonal). In 45o mode, the player will hold the controller in a diagonal position. Instead of moving diagonally by holding 2 arrows, you will move diagonally with the regular arrow and move horizontally or vertically with the diagonal.

While moving, you can use the turbo charging features. By holding the “A” button, you will go faster. This can help for risky jumps as well as to avoid ground traps and air traps.

The goal of the game is to bring your marble, from the starting zone, to the end of it before the times runout. It is possible to fall from the high ledge or fall down the screen, costing precious time. It is also possible to be hit by enemies that wander around the maze. After only one hit, you will either shatter or disintegrate, and you will respawn not far from where your marble was destroyed.

There are 6 levels in the game, with increasing difficulty. They each have their own music and are getting more tense and tense toward the end of the game. Time that remained in the previous level is retained in later level. This is especially crucial in the last 2 levels, as the extra time they give is low and is actually impossible to complete them in time if the player doesn’t have extra time he has kept from the previous level.

Each level but the first one has enemies, obstacles. Along the moving enemies, there is the Marble Munchers that will swallow your marble if too close. There is also the Steelie, a black marble that will try to push you down of the maze. Lastly, there is an unnamed bird enemy that will fly in a diagonal way, instantly destroying your marble.

The obstacles are varied and different in each level. You have wavy platform, acid pool, pushing blocks, ice path and many other elements that make the game more challenging. Beside the acid pool, most of the obstacles try to push you down of the maze.

There are shortcuts in some of the level, which can be handy in order to save time for the hardest level. These shortcuts are shown as an alternate path and are harder to cross by than taking the long, but safer path.

If you have a high score, you can enter the high score list of the high rollers, prompting the game to ask you your initial.

Marble Madness Playthrough

The playthrough using the USA version of Marble Madness. The goal is to clear the six levels as fast as possible. Some emphasis was put to gather extra point, but without losing speed to clear that level. Shortcuts were used when possible. Safe fall was used as well, since it doesn’t waste any time or destroy the marble. Extra time was found in some of the level.

TAS tools were used in this playthrough.

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