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*** SPOILERS! *** Go to Marble Madness now if you don't wish to know about the Water Maze....

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The "Water Maze" was the secret level mentioned in the advertising of Electronic Arts' home computer versions of Atari Games' Marble Madness. It does not exist in any other version of the game, including either of Rare's two conversions. In addition, it may only be in the C64 version. It was probably the brainchild of young Will Harvey, the programmer of the Commodore 64 conversion of the game and also the person behind Music Construction Set and, much later, head of the team which produced The Immortal, but then again, it might not be. From one report I have heard, Harvey was 14 when he wrote MCS and still a teenager when he programmed C64 Marble Madness.

To find the Water Maze, the player had to use the banked corners of the trench near the end of the first level, the Practice Race, to jump over to the left-hand platform. There, in a spot a little up and to the left of the bonus numbers in that section, was a place where, if you happened to be there when the game clock hit 13, would become an elevator going down. Once it started, you had to wait until the time ran out, at which time it would reset to 98 and warp you to the "Water Maze," which was really a secret new section of the Practice Race.

The Water Maze was very unforgiving. In ordinary Marble Madness, you had as many marbles as you wanted, but when time ran out the game was over. In the Water Maze, it was more the opposite: when you ran out of time you simply restarted the level, but if you died the game ended. Right at the start of the area was a river you had to ford, an insanely difficult puzzle that seemed to rely more on luck than skill. It took me several dozen attempts to pass that the first time, after which it only got worse.

I have never completed the Water Maze. Eventually you get down to a place where a Steelie (a black marble) was on a flashing platform, but could never figure out how to make the jump from the elevator to that, and I have no idea what to do afterwards.

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