Marble Madness (NES) Retro Review

Marble Madness is a 1984 arcade game for the NES developed and published by Atari Games. In the game the player is tasked in controlling a marble through stages filled with holes and obstacles before your time runs out. The original arcade version is known to be the best as it uses a trackball but since I don’t have one there’s no point playing that version.


Marble Madness (E) [!]-1


Kinda weird that is had a credits screen before the title and the silence was a bit awkward. At least the logo looked quite cool.

Note I cannot play 2 player for obvious reasons although from what I’ve seen the game can get frustrating as its the kind that forces both players to stay together or risk dying.


Marble Madness (E) [!]-0


The graphics seem good enough for the game itself and the variety of music is nice (even if you are rushing through levels and can’t really stop and appreciate it). Controls started off seemingly impossible although you got used to them surprisingly quickly with the 2 options (45 and 90 degrees) being really helpful. I managed to get 22,330 on the first try of the review session for example.

What really gives the game the challenge is the obstacles and a few anti-rush mechanics. Not only is there weird leaping things, moving acid puddles and even what seems like hammers to get past but you can’t fall from very high without the marble smashing into pieces (unlike a real marble). People could find that annoying but ultimately the game is already short and doesn’t need to be any shorter.


Marble Madness (E) [!]-2


What I like about the game is just how quickly you can improve and the satisfaction of beating a previous score. For example I netted 29,360 points 2nd attempt of the session. One thing that I didn’t like about the game though was the fact that the time carried over from each level and you are only given some extra time on top of it. This meant that to even have a chance to get to the last level you have to practically be an expert at the earlier stages.

Sadly for me though I could never get past the “Silly” stage although I can easily say the fact i kept trying proved that the game is quite enjoyable and makes a good time waster.

Overall I think its quite a good game, its sad how overlooked this game was although the main reason was how late this was released.


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