There’s nothing wrong with the old Marauder if you ask me. It’s a perfectly good Berzerk rip-off with an interesting line-of-sight mechanic. That means that any enemies or objects the main character can’t “see,” because they’re behind him or on the other side of a wall, don’t appear on screen. Unfortunately, it also means that to anyone who doesn’t understand what’s going on, it just looks like things are blinking off and on and the game is a broken piece of junk.
The gist of the game, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is to guide your marauder through an alien base, locate the power center and destroy it before the timer runs out. Each alien base is made up of six rooms, viewed from an overhead perspective, that are randomly shuffled every time you destroy a power center.
So along comes More Work Games with their “new” Marauder. As with the old Marauder, you guide your character through six randomly arranged rooms of an alien base to find and destroy the power center before time runs out, avoiding or destroying enemy robots along the way. The line of sight gimmick remains intact. Even the box art is the same. The player and enemy graphics have been changed and the room layouts are more intricate, but overall there doesn’t appear to be that much really “new” about A New Marauder.
Until the next time you power on your 2600 and it’s a different game.
The gimmick to A New Marauder is that it’s actually four new Marauders and one is chosen randomly every time you turn on the game. The manual gives each of the four a name, but it’s much easier to think of them as The Red One, The Yellow One, The Green One and The Flying One. The Red One is the most straightforward. It plays exactly like the original game. The Yellow One adds dark rooms where the walls can’t bee seen and “secret passages,” walls that can be passed through when moving in certain directions. The Green One adds doors that open and close based on enemy movement. The Flying One, at least visually, is the most different. In that one you pilot a space ship flying over an alien planet, but the control and gameplay remains the same as the other versions.
As with the original Marauder, success in A New Marauder is a matter of systematically moving through the six rooms that make up each level until you find the power center. The room designs in A New Marauder make this more difficult by blocking parts of rooms off from each other. Not only do you have to find the right room, you have to enter it through the right door. On the surface this seems like a small thing, but it adds a lot to the challenge. The old Marauder let you plow blindly from room to room. A New Marauder forces you to think about how the rooms are laid out in relation to each other and how they connect.
More Work Games has taken what was a good game and turned it into a great game. Four great games, actually. A New Marauder is available from the More Work website for $59.00 plus shipping. That price includes the game (in a new, custom made cartridge shell, not a recycled Pac-Man shell), box, a 12-page full-color manual in Portuguese, a four-page English translation of the manual text and a four-page score log for tracking your games.