Archer Maclean's Mercury
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|Archer Maclean's Mercury|
North American boxart
Archer Maclean's Mercury is a video game for the PlayStation Portable, first released in April 2005 in North America. In Japan, the game was released under the name [Hg] Hydrium. Mercury is a puzzle game developed by the eponymous British game programmer, Archer MacLean. In Mercury, the player tilts a level in order to get a drop of mercury to its appointed destination, in a similar fashion to Marble Madness. Differences include newer obstacles and the ability for the mercury to morph, split and transform around the levels. The game was originally designed to use a tilt sensor that plugged into the PSP's USB port, but this was never released.
Mercury takes on similar gameplay to that of Marble Madness. The player can move the droplet of mercury around the floating stage by tilting the stage using the PSP's analog stick. The player can use the up and down directional buttons to toggle between focusing on all mercury droplets or a single droplet. If focused on a single droplet, the left and right directional buttons can be used to switch focus between individual mercury droplets. The objective of each level in the game is to guide the Mercury around the level, activating beacons using switches. The mercury droplet can split up, change color, or change shape.
Each stage has hazards meant to reduce the player's amount of liquid. In some levels, for example, there are no walls; if the Mercury gets too close to the edge of the stage, parts of it may drop off the level, detracting from the Mercury count. The mercury can also be split into two separate parts by a variety of means; the two droplets may then be moved around (and rejoined if they touch). The primary method of splitting the mercury is by using a splitter, a triangle-shaped object. Pushing the Mercury against a splitter will split it into two droplets.
In most levels, the mercury starts out as a silver color. However, by moving under Paint Shops, the color of the Mercury can be changed. Some doors (called filters) only allow matching-colored Mercury to pass through; some switches are also color-coded. If the Mercury is split up, the two droplets can be colored differently; if the two then merge, they form a new color. Color mixing is based on the RGB color model. For example, a red droplet and a green droplet can be merged to form a yellow one.
There is a total of six worlds. Each world is split into twelve levels. Of the twelve levels, there are three Race levels, three Percentage levels, and three Task levels. There are also two Combo levels, and a final boss level. However, if the highest score is achieved in all levels of one particular world, a secret 13th level, called a Dreamscape, is unlocked. After all secret levels are discovered and themselves have the highest scores, a secret 7th world (Orbit) is unlocked, although this is very difficult to accomplish.
Each level has a time limit (in seconds), Mercury limit (as a percentage), and a beacon count. To clear a level, all beacons on the level must be activated within that level's time limit. Beacons are usually activated by switches or pads, and light up when activated. Each level also has a Mercury limit, which determines how much Mercury must make it through the level. If the amount of Mercury on the level drops below the limit, the level must be restarted.
The level types are:
- Race: In race levels, the Mercury limit is very low (usually ranges from 1-10%), as well as the time limit. The objective is to simply reach the finish pad, without losing all Mercury. Time is the most important thing in race levels. Also, there is only one beacon, which is activated by reaching the finish pad.
- Percentage: Percentage levels emphasize preserving Mercury over quick completion (although the levels still have a time limit). Percentage levels may have more hazards than others, requiring the player to be careful in guiding the Mercury around, to keep it above the limit (which is usually 60% or above).
- Task: Task levels will have 1 to 6 beacons that must be activated to clear the level. Besides that, they have no other unique qualities.
- Combo: Combo levels combine the qualities of Race, Percentage, and Task levels. There are two in each world played before the boss.
- Dreamscape: Levels full of psychedelic flashing colors, where the player must guide your mercury through an otherworldly dreamscape.
- Boss: Boss levels are the last levels in each world in Mercury. Completing this will result in the next world being unlocked.
A sequel to Archer Maclean's Mercury has been released, entitled Mercury Meltdown. The game features new puzzles and modes, as well as a more vibrant and cartoony style of graphics. Another sequel was released only for the Wii called Mercury Meltdown Revolution. In September 2011, a retooling of the original Mercury games launched, titled Mercury Hg, released for download on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.