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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!