Marble Madness

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Marble Madness
Title image from the game
Game No. 457
Voting 6.79 points, 19 votes
Developer Will Harvey
Company Ariolasoft
Publisher Electronic Arts
Musician Jim Nitchals
HVSC-File GAMES/M-R/Marble_Madness.sid
Release 1986
Genre Skill, labyrinth, arcade
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick
Media Diskette Datassette
Language Language:english
Information The version by Nostalgia supports 4 player simultaneously and has further features.

Description[edit | edit source]

The first level...

Marble Madness, whether the game is going to drive the player to madness remains to be seen...
You need to steer a small marble through a mad world, either alone or in pairs. Here you need to avoid plunging into abysses, because his leads to penalties. Similar to Spindizzy there are not lives but a time limit. Catapults, vacuum cleaners, tubes and trenches give some diversity in the marble life. To not let it get too boring, the marble sucker and eater join in. And there is more...

Aim of the game

You need to reach the target area and collect as many bonus points as possible on the way.

Design[edit | edit source]

Another scene from the first level...
Level 2: bonus points for pushing the enemy aside.

The marble that is steered by the player lives in a 3D world. The marble first needs to gather monumentum, so speed up, and it can also only break slowly. Bumping against walls causes a more or less strong rebound. Plunging into an abyss or a collision with some of the enemies are punished with a penalty. Pushing other marbles into the abyss gets you bonus points. Next to that there are also special level effects as ice areas or mechanisms that transport the marble into the air. In single player mode, the player's marble is sometimes deflected by marbles that are steered by the computer. Altogether there are six difficulty grades in the game: Practice, Beginner, Intermediate, Aerial, Silly and Ultimate. In the first level, the player merely makes himself familiar with the controls and can gain some points. In the penultimate level, the laws of gravity are turned upside down, also the rules are different: The player's marble chases miniature version of the enemies and runs up ramps by itself. The 3D view is isometric. Designer of the game was Mark Cerny who was only 18 years old when the game was released. The hardware of the arcade original was the Atari System I, which had already been successful for the game Gauntlet.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • By pressing the fire button you get an extra thrust of speed.
  • With the key RUN/STOP  the game can be paused.


Tunnel and black opponent marble in level 2...
Level 3 with "starting ramp"...
Fall hazard in level 4...

Solution[edit | edit source]

There is not really the right solution for this game. You need to get a marble from start to finish, not collect any penalties and work your way through the level rather quickly. Finding the right path should not be a problem. In the meantime you can also scoop up some bonus points by pushing down the computer opponents into the abysse several times. However, there should be a lot more joy coming up if you can tussle with human opponents.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

There are no cheats known, the version by the group Nostalgia (see Links) , however, contains amongst others a trainer menu and also the Secret Level can be chosen.

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
6.79 points at 19 votes (rank 512).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 10 4th December 2013 - 10 out of 10 points - 19058 downs
Lemon64 7 4th December 2013 - 7,2 out of 10 points - 65 votes
The Legacy 8 4th December 2013 - "very good" - 17 votes
Kultboy 8 4th December 2013 - 8,34 out of 10 points - 53 votes 7 22nd October 2014 - 6.5 out of 10 points - 7542 downs
Ready64 8 22nd October 2014 - 7,5 out of 10 points - 12 votes
Commodore Force 3 Issue August 1993 - 31% - p.16
Commodore User 9 Issue November 1986 - 9 out of 10 points - p.17
Your Commodore 8 Issue January 1987 - 8 out of 10 points - p.44
Zzap64! 4 Issue December 1986 - 40% - p.170

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Level no. 5 ...

Jodigi: "Also one of my first games. Actually, I find the game interesting, but the controls were rather complicated so that I hardly played it at all."

Shmendric: "Marble Madness was for me no more than a small pastime in single player mode. And there it is really nothing special. The real fun probably only arises in the multiplayer mode and I have never tested that.
Addendum: In the meantime I also know the multiplayer mode. My expectations were probably too high. As much as Nostalgia has tried, it is just too slow for me. I miss real hectic situations."

Flodder: "I have played Marble Madness on the A1000 choke-full at that time, the game was sensational then. As already mentioned, the fun in the game is disproportionally higher in the two-player mode, especially if you do not cooperate but meanly push your opponent down the ramp at every opportunity. Due to this game youth friendships broke apart. The C64 versions does of course not fully keep up concerning the graphics but what was made out of the possibilities of the significantly older hardware is nevertheless very remarkable."

TheRyk: "Knowing only the single player mode, I remember hardly anyone could play it really well, but everyone had the game and somehow liked it. Loading times and the somewhat terrible psychedelic two-channel music could go on your nerves a little, but the game physics and graphics are really great. On the EasyFlash without loading times it's big fun, because it is so fiddly to play. Marble Madness aged really well, 7 points."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Versions[edit | edit source]

The Marble Madness 101% +3DHRJ version by Nostalgia is recommended.

The sixth level...

The game was beefed up well by the cracker group:

  • Three or four player mode (simultaneously), an adapter to connect further joysticks is required
  • Trainer menu
  • Highscore list (saveable)
  • REU support
  • The secret level can be chosen directly via cheat
  • If you have an EasyFlash you can find this version also in the Arcades Compilation #2 for Easyflash [pal/ntsc] by Nostalgia and play completely without loading times.

Other conversions[edit | edit source]

The arcade version (MAME screenshot)

The Amiga version was highly praised due to the graphically lossless conversion. Small deductions in speed and music were unavoidable. Of course, also controls via trackball as with the arcade machine were not possible. All other versions of the game, however, had much more deductions compared to the original.
The magazine Power Play gave 91 of 100 points to the Amiga version, the editors did not stint with praise:
Heinrich Lenhardt: "Marble Madness was for me a typical case of love at first sight. When you have seen the multicoloured 3D graphics and heard the stereo music, you instantly fall for the programme. The enormous gaming value has two causes. Graphically the game is really top. You need to have it seen to get a picture of it. Furthermore, there is this fantastic two-player mode, where two marble artists can go for a score chase at the same time. If you also try to push each other down, all hell breaks loose. It is only a pitty that this great skill game has no highscore list. This slip has cost the game three or four points in the total evaluation."
Boris Schneider: "I would never have thought that I would still play with marbles at the age of 19. But then the Marble Madness fever got me in an arcade hall. Since then I have financially supported Atari-Coin-Op, the producer of the arcade machine with the many a mark-piece. Therefore I am all the more happy about the successful conversion, because now I can also spend my salary on food and clothes again. The conversion is not totally identical with the arcade machine, of course, as it has e.g. six audio channels (the Amiga has four), a great trackball and an ultra-high graphics resolution. However, the differences are so small, that you do not notice them when playing. Concerning the game techniques, you cannot make an arcade machine version more perfect. Apart from that is Marble Madness a fantastic skill game. This is one of the few cases when even editors dedicated to word processing stayed in the office until two at night for exciting competitions. The only question is, how the 8-bit versions that will follow, are going to succeed."

Video[edit | edit source]

The first four levels in a fast run...

Cover[edit | edit source]

The cover (front)
The cover (back)

The cover (tape version)

Disk[edit | edit source]

The disk with sleeve
The disk without sleeve

The disk label (variation)

Manual[edit | edit source]

The quick guide (version 1)

The quick guide (version 2)

[edit | edit source]

Advertisement for Marble Madness

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Ivanpaduano
  1. Ivanpaduano - 13.340 - 5 (09.03.2019)
  2. TheRyk - 12.120 (22.06.2014)
  3. Keule - 8.300 (25.10.2016)
  4. Werner - 7.540 (26.12.2013)
  5. Shmendric - 6.420 (08.12.2013)

#2 TheRyk #3 Keule
#2 TheRyk #3 Keule

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Marble_Madness