Your #1 source for Atari Lynx news and information!
Atari GamerAtari GamerAtari Gamer

We are moving all Atari Lynx related content over to Atari Lynx Vault and all our shop content over to K-Retro Gaming. Please update your bookmarks!

As a result of this change, the following will no longer be available: Online Lynx Emulator, Collection Tracker, Game Ratings, News. If you are interested in contributing content to Atari Lynx Vault, we are seeking editors and maintainers.

Why is this happening? First - the Atari Gamer branding is changing to K-Retro Gaming to allow us to expand to providing games, replacement parts, and mod services to other game consoles. And second - The content management system running Atari Gamer is out of date and Google AppEngine (where the website runs) will no longer allow it to run after the 30th January 2024, so in order to preserve all content we switched to a new and modern content management system and chose a website domain that better suits the subject matter. Since we are operating this website in our spare time, on top of full time family and job committments, some features had to be dropped.

  1. Home >
  2. Game Database >
  3. Game Reviews >
  4. Marble Madness
Marble Madness
Players (ComLynx)
1 (N/A)

Many of you will be familiar with 'Marble Madness': there appears to have been a number of iterations of this game, across several different consoles and handhelds, such as the Sega Game Gear (and it has even been on the PC). But never before has it been seen on the Atari Lynx! Well, thanks to Matthias Domin, we have a free playable ROM available on the Atari Gamer website interface (and as a download). And I can definitely say, it is well worth your time checking it out, either to play on the PC or to download for your own Lynx handheld. Let's have a ball with this review! (groan)

It's story time. You are a marble. You want to roll toward four flags. Those flags are at the end of dastardly, hilled courses full of ramps, pits and steep drops. One fall, and you start back at the beginning (or a requisite save point in the level). It's tough being a marble, but someone has gotta do it, and you have to do it throughout 7 distinct and colourful levels of fun and tense action. Let's roll!

The first thing you'll notice in 'Marble Madness' is how authentic this game looks to the original. I mean, this is a really good job of creating an authentic looking port. The lights, the shadows, the cute little foes (slinkies) are really, really nice. The screen scrolls nicely as you roll your ball from one side to another, often navigating tricky paths and even (gasp) fans that will blow your ball right off the edge! Thankfully, everything is bright and pleasing to the eye. IT's actually a fantastic "all ages" kind of game, where even kids will get into the visuals of the game.

And you'll be concentrating on the in-game visuals a lot, because… there is no sound. Admittedly, this is not such a bad thing. After all, the intense concentration this game takes is well worth the peace and quiet! However, there is no doubting that a nice soundtrack (preferably digitized) would have really set this game apart from the crowd. As far as I am aware, there aren't any current plans to add to this game, but if this should ever occur, I would love to see some music tracks in the background, and maybe some sound effects as the marble hits a wall - "bink!"

Control-wise, things are going to take a little bit of time to get used to. The game is in an isometric format, which means that you will need to remember carefully which part of the direction pad will take you to specific directions. There is no "jump" or special movements to remember, which keeps things nice and simple. It's just you and the marble. The physics are really well done, however, so you will need to think about how to 'tap' the directional pad, or hold it down, at the right time. This is because the differing ramps and bends can take your ball to unexpected directions! It really is a lot of fun finding out what is going to happen next.

As far as playability and challenge stakes go, I must say that 'Marble Madness' really is short and sweet; you desperately want it to go on! There are only seven levels, which means you can finish the game in a couple of minutes. But you'll have a ball in that brief time (literally). The only real challenge comes from getting the fastest time possible, and then comparing your score with other players. But there's sadly no progress saving mechanism here, so it's not possible to see what score you got last time. The original game was a race against the clock with six levels, so getting an extra level actually seems a nice bonus here. But 50+ levels would be epic!

All up, I must say I that left the Lynx interface feeling so impressed by 'Marble Madness'. It is a completely unique experience on the Lynx, and it is a LOT of fun. At this point, it seems fair to give this game an "8" overall, due to a lack of music and shortness of the adventure. But if this game had more levels, some nice soundtracks, and a way of saving your best scores… I tell you what… I think it would EASILY hit the "9" score for me, and be right up there with new classics like 'Zaku'. Yes, EASILY… it's an absolute cracker. In my mind, 'Marble Madness' is a relentlessly enjoyable ROM download that you must try. Really talented work and a recommended play: great stuff!

Score Card


This review was submitted by Jon Mc from JMac Productions

Last updated on 25 November 2019
See Game Review Standards and Ratings for scoring details.
Did we get something wrong or you have something to contribute? Please tell us about it!
You can find Atari Gamer on...
Be sure to follow for the latest Atari Lynx news, updates, stories and photos!
[ Don't show again ][ Dismiss ]
We have an online shop that has lots of Atari Lynx related goodies - including LCD mod kits, flash carts, display stands and other fun things for your Lynx! Check it out here.

If your download doesn't start automatically after 10 seconds, please click here.
Cookie Consent
By continuing to browse or by clicking ‘Accept’, you agree to storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience and for analytical purposes. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.
Accept and Close