Archer Maclean's Mercury
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|Archer Maclean's Mercury|
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 guides a colored blob (called Mercury) around a floating stage. The objective of each level in the game is to guide the Mercury around the level, activating beacons using switches. The nature of a liquid is also utilized in Mercury: the blob can split up, change color, or change shape.
Many hazards also exist in each level of Mercury, meant to reduce the player's amount of liquid. In some levels, for example, there are no walls; if the blob of Mercury gets to close to the edge of the stage, parts of it may drop off the level, detracting from the Mercury count. The blob can also be split into two separate parts by a variety of means; the two blobs may then be moved around (and rejoined if they touch). The primary method of splitting a blob is by using a splitter, a triangle-shaped object. Pushing the Mercury against a splitter will split it into two pieces.
Color plays a large role in Mercury. In most levels, the blob 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 blobs can be colored differently; if the two then merge, they form a new color. Color mixing is based on the RGB color model, as opposed to the color rules of paint. For example, a red blob and a green blob merge to form a yellow one.
There are seven worlds in the game:
Each world has its own theme and symbol:
- Neon Theme: Towers floating in the sky, in the middle of a thunder storm.
- Neon Symbol: Sideways lightning bolt
- Quartz Theme: An underground diamond mine, with a huge clock in the distance.
- Quartz Symbol: Diamond
- Xero Theme: A snowy plain with towering ice mountains and a cliff.
- Xero Symbol: Snowflake
- Aqua Theme: An area at the bottom of the sea.
- Aqua Symbol: Three wavy lines
- Helios Theme: The ruins of an ancient city.
- Helios Symbol: Sun
- Nano Theme: An empty space filled with giant atoms
- Nano Symbol: Atom
- Orbit Theme: A scene in deep space
- Orbit Symbol: Saturn
The Seven 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.
At the start of the game, a tutorial world is played (Neon), which teaches the player about the various aspects of the game. After the Neon world's twelve levels are beaten, Subsequent worlds are unlocked in a linear fashion.
Getting the highest score on every level in Neon, Quartz, Xero, Aqua, Helios or Nano results in a secret level being discovered in that particular world. 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.