Snail Maze is a relatively little known easter egg game hidden in early versions of the Sega Master System. It has never been available on cartridge or card, it is a hidden game that can be accessed when the Master System’s BIOS screen starts up, simply by holding up and 1+2 together on the controller.
It can be found on the original ‘wedge’ styled Master System consoles that shipped with games such as Hang On and Safari Hunt built in to the console, It had to be removed though from later revisions of the original Master System that included Missile Defence 3D, Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd in Miracle World due to these games taking up too much space on the ROM, so Snail Maze had to go!
The game consists of 12 maze levels where you simply play as a small snail. You have a start point, a goal and a really short, looping piece of jaunty music to keep you occupied! I didn’t have a clue this existed on my master system until I genuinely found it by accident by mashing the controller buttons when booting up the system, it totally took me by surprise and then took me a dozen more attempts to get it back a second time!
There’s nothing much to shout about here in terms of the game, but this is a great example of Sega at the time being different to the competition. My memories of the Master System was that it was the perfect entry point to arcade conversions, and a leap up in performance from the likes of the ZX Spectrum.
My time with the Master System only lasted a couple of years until I moved on to the Mega Drive, but I still fondly remember Snail Maze – Just hearing that song looping over and over bring back some great memories!