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Melbourne House
John F. Cain
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

Other Links

Phil South
Chris Bourne

Wow! At last... something even those rarified air type Amiga owners want but cannot have... a blistering boll from the sky blue sky... Atari and Melbourne House link hands and swan dive into your Spectrum with a Marble Madness game creator! I don't believe it!!! (It's true!) Okay, I'll take it seriously if you will.

What a brilliant game! Not only can you build a megasuperb and straight-up Marble Madness game of your very own, but you can play it too! Unlike so many game creation programs this is a very playable game, making even Gyroscope (itself a very addictive and tricky MM clone) look as exciting as a drawing pin spinning on the table.

MM has the look of it's coin-up original with all your favourite baddies; green worms. acid slime, goals, red catapults, vacuum cleaners, all ready to chase you around the Marble Madness terrain. The baddies are all preprogrammed to react to whatever circumstances you care to put them in, and will surprise you in the amount of movement and intelligence they're capable of. You might think you can put them out of the way and cheat by positioning them so they can't get you, but they'll find a way!

The Editor (No, not Ed, the MM Editor!) is a dream to use. You simply position items, like floor sections, baddies and extra points, using a pointer, and press the fire button to place them. Any position you choose isn't final, as you can reposition and erase any section whenever you feel like it. You can also alter the colour schemes, and although the choice is limited to two colours (as individual items are the same colour as the background), having different colour schemes for successive screens is very effective. The most useful thing in the Editor's repetoire is the Free Ram indicator. This tells you how much memory you've got left for screens and other data. Having put 15 screens in and still having mounds of memory left, I can see that the possibilities truly are endless! After you've finished designing your worst MM nightmare, the Speccy computes the movements for you and the baddies. plus it also fills in the light and shade on the side of the platforms.

Is this the definitive Marble Madness on the Speccy? It's tough, it's changeable, it's addictive, it's cheap (it could have been £15 and still be value for money!), and you'd better buy it, or you'll never forgive yourself!


Screenshot Text

Here's the editor screen. Using your fancy pointer (expensive 68000 computers eat your mouse!) you indicate the function you want, and place the game element on the screen. Just click the pointer on the picture of the thing you want and position whatever it is where you want. (Psst! You can even change the size of your ball. Now there's a thing you don't see every day!)

Having designed your mega-amazing screen, you then have the (dubious) pleasure of playing your own design. Beware! Even if you think you've made it easy for yourself , the game components (baddies to you) will find a way to get you. And don't be so sure that you've made it easy on the positioning of platforms, either. You'll discover that in most cases you've still painted yourself into a corner.