Marble Blast Gold
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|Marble Blast Gold|
|Engine||Torque Game Engine|
|Release||May 2, 2002|
Marble Blast Gold is a 2002 3D platformer game. It was pre-installed on some Apple Inc. computers like the iMac, iBook and Mac Mini. It is also available for Windows operating systems as well as various Linux distributions. The sequel, Marble Blast Ultra, was released a few years later for the Xbox 360 platform, and features improved graphics and new features. Marble Blast XP, a version for the Net Jet online game system, has updated graphics and a marble selector. Marble Blast Gold was also ported over to the Microsoft Xbox through the Xbox Live Arcade service.
Modifications were also created for Marble Blast Gold by the Marble Blast community, such as Marble Blast Platinum, Marble Blast Emerald, and Gerson's Level Compilation.
Basic gameplay involves moving a rainbow-colored marble from a start pad to an end pad, without falling out of bounds. Levels may contain hazards to make this more difficult. The player controls the marble spin, and therefore movement, and can also make the marble jump. There is a variety of power-ups available to the player, which are collected by touching them with the marble. Some levels must be completed within a Qualification time, to increase difficulty. Each level also has a "Gold Time", an additional challenge to complete the level in a specified time-frame. Each gold time is always possible, but usually involves finding hidden powerups and/or taking shortcuts. Some levels require a number of gems to be picked up before the level can be finished. There are 100 levels, divided by difficulty: 24 Beginner, 24 Intermediate, and 52 Advanced.
Beginner Level Information
Level 1 teaches the player how to move the marble (default movement controls being the W, A, S, and D keys). Level 2 is the first level in which gems appear. The player must collect them and head to the finish. Level 3 introduces jumping. Level 4 introduces the super jump powerup. Level 5 introduces moving platforms. Level 6 introduces the Super Speed Powerup. Level 7 introduces elevators. Level 9 introduces the Gyrocopter. Level 10 introduces a Time Modifier and qualify times. Level 11 introduces the super-bounce powerup. Level 12 introduces Gravity Modifiers. Level 13 introduces the Shock Absorber Powerup. Level 15 introduces different surfaces such as mud, grass, and space. Level 16 introduces round bumpers. Level 17 introduces duct fans. Level 18 introduces mines. Level 19 introduces trapdoors. Level 20 introduces tornadoes. Level 21 introduces gaps in the floor. Levels 22-24 are tests to get used to the hazards and power-ups that have been introduced to the player
There are 7 power-ups available to the player. Non-inventory power-ups are activated automatically on acquisition, and inventory power-ups are activated by the player. Only one inventory power-up can be held at a time, although multiple power-ups can be in effect at the same time, if acquired and activated before the previous power-up expires.
- Super Jump: Gives the marble an instantaneous upwards boost in velocity.
- Super Speed: Gives the marble an instantaneous horizontal boost in velocity, along the direction that the camera is facing and the last surface that the marble hit.
- Shock Absorber: After activation the marble cannot bounce for a set period of time. While active the marble is surrounded in a semi-transparent sphere.
- Super Bounce: After activation the marble bounces much more than usual for a set period of time. While active the marble is surrounded in a semi-transparent sphere.
- Gyrocopter: After activation the marble can jump much higher, and falls much more slowly for a set period of time. While active the marble appears to hang from helicopter-like spinning blades.
- Time Travel: On collection, the in-game timer is frozen for a set amount of time (usually 5 seconds), allowing lower finish times to be achieved.
- Gravity Modifier: Instantly changes the direction of the gravity in the level so that down is wherever the arrow on the power-up points.
Hazards are scattered throughout levels to make it more difficult to stay in bounds, and to finish levels. Most hazards can also be used by the player to their advantage, usually to launch them upwards, or increase their velocity. Hazards in Marble Blast Gold include:
- Trapdoors: As soon as the marble touches a trapdoor, it swings down letting the marble fall out of bounds, unless the player moves away quickly enough. After a set period of time the trapdoor swings back up.
- Bumpers: When the marble touches a bumper they are knocked away quickly. There are two types of bumpers, triangular and round.
- Tornadoes: The tornado pulls in the marble and spits it out the other side.
- Mines: When the marble touches a mine it is knocked back in the resulting explosion. After a set amount of time mines respawn.
- Fans: Fans push the marble away in the direction that they face.
- Oil Slicks: Oil Slicks are small slippery areas on the ground.
There are various friction surfaces through the game, increasing or decreasing traction of the marble rolling on them. Higher frictions allow the marble to start and stop rolling, and change direction more easily, and also allow the marble to climb steeper slopes. The marble rolls slightly slower on higher frictions. Lower frictions make it more difficult for the marble to start, stop, and change directions. Frictions in Marble Blast Gold include:
- Normal: Medium traction.
- Mud: Low traction.
- Space: Very low traction.
- Grass: High traction.
- Ramp: Very high traction (only appears in Three Fold Maze and Escher's Race).
- Oil: Low traction (same as mud, but appears in the form of an oil slick)
Marble Blast Gold allows support for user created custom levels, which may be shared between users. To date there are over 1,850 custom levels for Marble Blast Gold.
Marble Blast Gold received critical acclaim from critics upon release.
On GameRankings, Marble Blast Gold received an 8.4/10 rating, "Addictive gameplay and sweet levels lead to some of the best fun that $14.99 can buy". On Gametunnel, the game was rated 9/10 overall, "Marble Blast Gold is another great entry into the marble genre and a showpiece for the Torque engine. Highly recommended!". On GamersInfo, the reviewer noted "The game can be a lot of fun, especially if you are the type that likes to challenge your hand–eye coordination."
January 31, 2011, GarageGames lost the distribution rights of several of its games, including MBG, to InterActive, Corp. MBG was eventually taken down from other sites also, such as RealArcade. This also caused the direct sequel, Marble Blast Ultra to be delisted from Xbox Live Arcade later in 2011. The next day, Marble Blast Gold was removed from the GarageGames store and is no longer available to purchase; however, demos for Windows, Mac, and Linux are still available. The license to the MarbleBlast franchise is retained by IAC. It is unknown if the Xbox version is still avaliable. The only known source is a video on YouTube which shows the original Xbox Live Arcade with Marble Blast Gold on it.
- Charlie Sinhaseni. "Marble Blast: Great balls of fun!". Gaming Nexus. Archived from the original on December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Kyle Nau. "Gamepage: Marble Blast Gold". Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Velea Gloriana. "Marble Blast Gold". GamersInfo. Retrieved 2007-04-02.