MARBLE MADNESS

By Ranza, he who hates complicated ASCII thingies


Buongiorno!  This FAQ is here to help all you who like this game but 
have yet to find any help for it.  Well, I'm here for you mates!  This 
FAQ will highlight the 6 races (Practice, Beginner, Intermediate, 
Aerial, Silly, and Ultimate), the various enemies, and some basic 
information (not necessarily in that order).

Part 1: Basic information

Marble Madness
Copyright 1984 TENGEN
Liscensed by Nintendo of America

Marble Madness is a game where you control a marble as it glides through 
6 mazes in a race against time.  I would recommend this game to anybody, 
as it is totally nonviolent and incredibly absorbing.  You will love 
this game.  Really, you will.

Controls

The controls are quite odd.  The A button and the D-Pad are the only 
things you'll use.  The D-Pad controls your marble and the A button 
moves you to a higher speed (you accelerate automatically with the D-
Pad).  There are two control layouts - 90 degrees and 45 degrees.  90 
degrees controls your marble as it appears on the screen, with down 
moving the marble down and up moving it up.  45, however, requires you 
to move the D-pad 45 degrees to the right, so that the gap between "up" 
and "left" is facing towards the screen for the movements on the D-Pad 
to be accuratly represented by the marble (what a sentance.)

The Fairy: Every now and then (completly random, I think, e-mail me if 
I'm wrong), a wand will appear out of nowhere and bless you with an 
additional 10 seconds on the clock.  Very wrathful.  Of course, on 
course 5, the silly race, the fairy takes time from you, so beware.  You 
can't prevent it.

The Obstacles

Stuffed olives - So named because of their appearance, they slink around 
like a slinky and try to jump on you, eating you.  This kills you 
instantly, but the jump is easy to avoid.
Found in: 2, 3

Acid Pools - The green gobs.  They are evil.  When you touch them, you 
are instantly disintigrated.  They move slowly, but they often bunch 
together.
Found in: 3, 4, 6

Chutes - Run into it and pop out the other end.  Not a threat.  Fear it 
not, for it shall not harm you.
Found in: 2, 5, and a modified version on 6.

The infamous rolling floor - You have to see this once to believe it.  
This green stretch of platform may not see odd at first, mate, but it 
will when you see it sweep up like an ocean wave and toss you over the 
side.  It's not too hard to evade, but if you get caught in it, you can 
lose up to 3 seconds.
Found in: 3

The Black Marble - These black marbles will come after you and ram you.  
The ramming is never fatal unless it launches you off the side.  They 
would be less dangerous if they weren't in such annoying places.  The 
only enemy you can kill normally.
Found in: 2, 6

Piston Floors - Annoying.  They push up and launch you away, often off 
the path.  But their patterns are predictable.
Found in: 4

Vacuums - You have to be REALLY dumb to get caught by one of these.  
They suck you in, piece by piece, in a cool little effect.
Found in: 4

Punchy-Arms - I HATE THESE!  Somebody get a revolver and shoot them to 
death!  They knock you off the side and backwards, typically into 
another one.  They are REALLY annoying and it's almost impossible not to 
die once here.
Found in: 4

The Catapult - Not much to say about this 'un, just run into it and you 
get launched on a predetermined trajectory.  Simple.
Found in: 4

The MicroEnemies - On level 5, the silly race, you'll find mini-versions 
of the Stuffed Olives, Acid Pools, and Black Marbles.  It's payback 
time.  Run 'em down and get an extra 3 seconds.  But why is the black 
marble bleeding. . . ?
Found in: 5

Flying Birds - What the purple onion waxer is this?  If one of these 
flying purple birds rams you, you die.  But their trajectories are 
predetermined and straight, so fear not.  They're not too much of a 
threat.
Found in: 5

The Striped Floor - This floor is striped, and it has something akin to 
thin, yet pronounced speedbumps.  Why this is supposed to slow down your 
wrathful marble is unknown to me, because it's just annoying and will 
throw you off.
Found in: 6

The Blue Floor - This ranks second as the most annoying feature, after 
the punchy-arms.  Once upon the blue floor, you cannot change direction 
and you are forced to move slowly.  One stretch of it even has little 
cones to deflect you!
Found in: 6

The Red Floor – Thank you very much to Homer J Simpson (like that's your 
real name) for enlightening me!  The red floor acts like ice (It reduced 
your traction and makes you slip a lot.).
Found in: 6

The Magic Disappearing Floor! - Okay, I changed my mind.  This annoying, 
wrathful, tricky, 20+ second eating freak of nature will make you scream 
in terror and hate.  This disappearing floor, similar to something found 
in IceMan's stage in Megaman and HeatMan's stage in MegaMan 2, will add 
one new tile and remove another one every bit fo time (something like a 
third of a musical measure).  Fear it.

Part 3: The levels

Level 1: The Practice course.  60 seconds

Ahh, the practice course.  The only course with area that is useful only 
as scenery.  Seriously, there is ground you can't visit in this level.  
Anyway, we start at the top, with a beautiful cascading Q-Bert-like area 
leading down until we flat out and enter a little tunnel that resembles 
a bobsled track and you slide into the finish.  Although you get points 
for this course, you don't carry time into the next level.

Okay, my dear friend Robert A Pollack showed me that the area on the 
side is NOT scenery, it is a place you can visit, and you can get up to 
5,000 points depending on the number you land on.  Grazie!

Level 2: The Beginner Course.  65 seconds

The first level that counts.  You start at the top and fight past 
rectangular areas until you reach a short flat area with a Black Marble.  
Then, you take a slope down and left until you reach a short, flat area 
with two paths leading down, one going down-left and one going down-
right.  When you land, there are some stuffed olives there.  Just cruise 
past them.  Then, you'll find a little bridge that changes position 
occasionaly.  Wait for it to change, then charge across it.  From here, 
there are two paths: The easy long path and the short hard path.  The 
short, hard path is my preferred.  You slide down a chute, and go over 
bumpy ground, first encountering a gap on the left, then the right, and 
then you follow the path to the right.  There is very little to tell 
about the easy, long path, as it is straightforward.  You will go down 
another chute and into the game's first truly hard area, which I refer 
to as The Reach.  It is indented in the middle, and will drive you off 
the right side or into a hole on the other side of The Reach.  You have 
to take this on the extreme left edge or you'll curve right and fall 
into the pit.  It takes practice.  Then, turn right and finish the 
level.

Level 3: The Intermediate Course.  +35 seconds

Having fun yet?  One of the shorter levels, it's more intense than the 
previous level, but shorter.  Go down the ramp, and through the little 
maze.  Then, slide down.  You might miss the slide.  Avoid the stuffed 
olives, and keep following this path,  Dodge past the acid pools, this 
is one of the worst places to encounter them because they clump 
together.  Go down the chute, and swing left, then right.  Now, it's 
choice time.  The easy route, or the hard route?  The easy route is VERY 
straightforward, but it has the game's first uphill path.  The hard 
route consists entirely of the Infamous Rolling Floor.  Tactics for 
defeating this floor are detailed above.  Then, it's just down a curved 
ramp and finish the level!

Level 4: The Aerial Course. +35 seconds

Oooh.  An odd shade of red and a haunting musical track.  This level is 
scary and unique, in that it makes you jump and it has unique features.  
First thing, WAKE UP!  You have to catch your marble here.  You begin on 
a major slide that will send you to oblivion unless you stop it.  Then, 
groove on past the vacuums and go across a tricky little slide (one of 
the few times in this game where one side has an advantage, Player 2 
gets the luck here.)  Then, head for the catapult.  Let it launch you, 
it won't hurt you.  According to Robert A Pollack, sometimes there's a 
black marble above the catapult area, but I've never found this.  Oh, 
also according to RAP, if you get fairy'd while on the catapult, you get 
stuck there…  Pick from two paths, once again the long and easy vs. the 
short and difficult.  As always, I prefer to do things the hard way.  
Avoid the pistons.  You have to gain up some speed for both jumps, and 
you should wait until right after all the pistons pop up to jump the 
first time.  The easy path is tricky and angular, but still easy.  
Either way, you end up facing off with the punchy-arms.  With the 
rightmost one being 1 and the leftmost being 4, this is the order they 
follow (I think)

1 2 3 4 34 12 34 12 13 24 13 24

The best option is just to fling yourself across just as it does the 34 
motion.  Don't fling yourself off too fast, mate, or you'll go flying 
off the side.  Turn left, then left, and finish this stage!  You earned 
it!

Level 5: The Silly Course.  +20 seconds

Everything you know is wrong...  Where have I heard that...  Oh yeah!  
Weird Al Yanchovick!  Thanks, Homer!  Anyway, the worst thing about this 
stage is the pathetic time-up you get (20 seconds).  Get used to it.  
This level has a silly, happy, psychotic song, and the walls have polka-
dots.  Well, this is a tricky stage.  Can you get used to your marble 
moving uphill, cuz that's what it does?  Charge uphill.  Now, you see 
some MiniEnemies.  Show no mercy and make them suffer.  Get three 
seconds each time.  Then, charge up the little ramp and into the silly 
chute.  Here, one side isn't definitly better, but it's different.  
Player 1 gets a path that concaves (it goes in), player two gets a path 
that convexes (it sticks out.)  I don't know which one I like better.  
Anyway, once you're past there, you head up to a strange area.  The 
birds fly from bottom right to top left, and will ice you if you touch.  
So avoid them (just blaze past them) and head up a ramp.  Now, something 
difficult appears.  You go down a ramp, but because physics along the Y-
axis (up and down) have been inverted, it will try to push you up wen 
you get on it!  So gain some momentum for this one, then slink over a 
bridge (or dive off the right side, it won't kill you, thank you Robert 
A Pollack) and ram into the goal and head for the ultimate challenge: 
the Ultimate Race!  Ooh, my loins quiver with anticipation...

Level 6: The Ultimate Race.  +20 seconds.

+20 seconds!  WTF!?!  Anyway, you'll end up with under a minute, 
usually, and at worst case about 35 seconds.  You really have to hurry 
through the silly race.  There's a neato space background and a cool 
song here.  Well, get some momentum and charge up that ramp into the 
modified chute. You'll come out in a different area for each player, but 
they're the same, except player one starts with a striped surface and 
ramps down to a red surface, while player two gets vice-versa, but the 
floor is the same shape.  Anyway, head inwards over a small stretch of 
blue surface to reach a larger spread of blue surface.  Go right at the 
top, and go straight down.  You'll have to dodge the marble instantly, 
and the screen will scroll down to reveal the disappearing floor, your 
final challenge as a player.  

Anyway, the first leg, going to the left side (this is shaped like a 
diamond) is a straght line composed of three panels.  The second leg, 
going to the bottom is the hardest, is only 2 tiles wide and from above 
it looks like this:

  
     _
    | |_
    |   |_

The third leg, going to the right side, 4 tiles wide, has a ramp, and 
looks like this:

                        
       / /           
     _/_/            
     / /             


The line denotes the apex of the ramp.  This part is dangerous because 
of the fact that pieces of it dissappear.  The fourth leg is striped 
floor, and looks like this:

   _
     \    
      \   
       \   

Well, this area is only two tiles wide.  It lead to the finish line.  
Congratulations!  You've won!

SCORING

Very easy.  After every race, add 2 zeroes to the number of seconds you 
have left.  For example, 51 seconds becomes 5,100 points.  You get a 
bonus for each completed race, but I forget how much that is.  If you 
feel like hunting it down for me, please inform me!  I know that it's 
1000 for the first race, but that's it.  Also, you seem to get points 
added to your score slowly for no reason...  Why is that?  I think you 
get 10 points every second.

If you're playing 2 player, every time you fall a screen behind your 
opponent, you lose 5 seconds, and the winner of each race gets an 
additional 5 seconds at the beginning of the next race.

At the final, it measures up your current score, adds 1000 points for 
each second, adds 20,000 points (I found that out), and detracts 1000 
points for every time you die (ouch...)  Today, my final score was 
62,500.  Can you beat it?

Okay, as of 10/31/00, My new high score is 118,250.  Can you beat THAT?  
I had almost a minute left at the end of the game, that's what did it.



Updates:

10/31/00

-	Fixed the Ultimate race disappearing floor map.
-	Added a bunch of stuff both Robert A Pollack and Homer J Simpson told 
me about (Thank you!)
-	Found out about the extra points for finishing the game (20,000)
FINAL WORD

Thanks for reading my FAQ!  If you want to e-mail me, e-mail me at

ranma1o2@bellsouth.net

Please e-mail me if you have anything to say about my FAQ, feel the need 
to complement me, or just wanna chat with me about something, don't 
hesitate, I like getting e-mail!

And thanks again!