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The playfields in Marble Madness, which look as though they were designed by M.C. Escher, are composed of 3D mazes with narrow raceways. Your job in each level is to maneuver a marble around the raceways, trying to reach the Goal before the timer runs out. If you make it to the Goal with time remaining, you get to advance. When your marble falls of the raceway or gets captured by an enemy, you must wait a few seconds for it to reappear. You are given an infinite number of marbles, but losing marbles wastes precious time.
To help you avoid enemies and jump over chasms, you are provided with a turbo boost which gives your marble an extra burst of speed. Enemies and traps include: Marble Munchers, who will chase you when they get close to you; Steelies, which are marbles that bump into you; Hoovers, which can pull you off the raceway; Acid Slime, which can dissolve your marble; Terrordactyls, which fly into you; Hammers, which try to knock you off the runway; and Imwams, which are pistons that can pop up at any second.
To score bonus points in Marble Madness you can find shortcuts, defeat certain enemies, finish a level in a short time and make successful jumps. After you clear a level, any remaining seconds are added to the next level. In the two-player competition mode, the winner gets five extra seconds on the next level. ~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide