Marble Blast Gold
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|Marble Blast Gold|
|Engine||Torque Game Engine|
Mac OS X
|Release||April 13, 2001 (Marble Blast)
May 2, 2002 (Marble Blaster)
May 9, 2003 (Marble Blast Gold)
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 with new features and improved graphics. 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 the following year with enhanced graphics.
The game was originally released in 2001 as Marble Blast and then rereleased in 2002 as Marble Blaster and then in 2003 it was once again rereleased as the most well-known Marble Blast Gold.
Modifications have also been created for Marble Blast Gold by the Marble Blast community, most notably Marble Blast Platinum.
Basic gameplay involves taking the perspective of an autonomous marble moving on its own 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, categorized by difficulty: 24 Beginner, 24 Intermediate, and 52 Advanced.
List of Beginner Levels
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 8 introduces the ability to move while in the air.
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 14 does not introduce any new features.
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 instantly activated when touched, 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 used by stacking their effects in a certain way.
- Super Jump: Gives the marble an instant upward boost.
- Super Speed: Gives the marble an instant speed boost in the direction the camera is pointing in.
- Shock Absorber: Disables the marble from bouncing for 5 seconds. While active, the marble is surrounded by a semi-transparent sphere.
- Super Bounce: Allows the marble to bounce much higher than usual for 5 seconds. While active, the marble is surrounded by a semi-transparent sphere.
- Gyrocopter: Gives the marble the ability to fly for 5 seconds. The marble can also jump much higher, and falls much more slowly.
- Time Travel: Freezes the in-game timer for a varying amount of time, usually 5 seconds, allowing for lower finishing times.
- Gravity Modifier: Instantly changes the direction of gravity in the level to the direction of the arrow on the Powerup.
Hazards are scattered throughout levels to make it more difficult to complete challenges. Most hazards can also be used by the player to their advantage, usually to launch them upwards or to increase their speed. The hazards in unmodded Marble Blast Gold are:
- Trapdoors: Acts as a solid surface, but flips open when the marble rolls on it. Reset after a short period of time.
- Bumpers: Violently bump the marble away when touched.
- Tornadoes: Suck in the marble and vigorously shake it around before spitting it out.
- Mines: Explode on contact and are like high-powered bumpers. Regenerate after a short period of time.
- Fans: Blow the marble away in the direction they are pointing.
- Oil Slicks: Small patches of oil that cause the marble to slip around.
There are various friction surfaces through the game, increasing or decreasing traction of the marble rolling on them. Higher frictions allow the marble to change speed direction more easily. Steeper slopes are easier to climb if their surfaces are high in friction. On the other hand, lower frictions make it more difficult for the marble to do these same things. The frictions in unmodded Marble Blast Gold are:
- Normal: Medium traction.
- Mud: Low traction.
- Space: Extremely little to no traction.
- Grass: High traction.
- Ramp: Very high traction (only appears in the levels 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 has support for user-created custom levels, which may be shared between users. To date, there are over 1,850 downloadable 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 Marble Blast Gold, 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 for purchase. However, the full game can still be downloaded for free at Marble Blast. Demos for Windows, Mac, and Linux are still available as well. The license to the Marble Blast franchise is retained by IAC. It is unknown if the Xbox version is still available, the only known source is a video on YouTube showing the original Xbox Live Arcade with Marble Blast Gold on it. After Marble Blast Gold was removed from sites and Marble Blast Ultra being delisted from Xbox Live, many fans reacted negatively towards its discontinuation. 
- 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. Archived from the original on March 18, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2007.