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game: Mercury
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Ignition Entertainment Ltd.
developer: Awesome Studios
ESRB rating: RP (Rating Pending)
date posted: 12:00 AM Tue Mar 1st, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Tue Mar 1st, 2005

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Click to read.Ever since the discovery that mercury can have extremely detrimental effects on your health, playing with the goopy metal has lost a lot of its appeal.  But, with the help of the PSP, renowned game creator Archer Maclean is hoping to make playing with mercury less toxic and more fun than ever.  Mercury, a launch title for the soon-to-be-released PSP, is a puzzle game in which players must maneuver their little blob of liquid metal through a multitude of different levels.  Think of Marble Madness, only with multicolored mercury, Jacob's ladders, conveyor belts, and teleporters.  Looking to be as addicting as it will be visually stunning, Mercury may keep you from ever wanting to take your hands off of Sony's new toy.

The object of the game is to, without spilling too much, maneuver a glob of mercury through a series of obstacle course/maze-like levels.  In order to move the mercury, you must tilt the level itself, which is a floating platform, by simply using the analog stick.  After a brief training ground to help you get acquainted with the gameplay, the game progresses on a smooth learning curve.  As you guide your blob of mercury through each level, you will encounter an ever-growing number of switches, platforms, gates, predators, and countless other hazards.  As you work your way though all 72 levels, the difficulty not only increases via more complex levels, but also through the tightening of time and spill limits. 

When you first see it, your first thought may very well be, This is on a handheld??  The smoothly animated mercury ebbs and flows seamlessly around corners, down slopes, over edges, and through every other situation you can manage to get your little blob into.  The mercury itself is brightly colored, and the way it reflects light just makes this game a wonder to behold.  The detailed levels also add to the bright and festive atmosphere.  Varying in size, shape, color, and complexity, rest assured you won't get bored of seeing the same thing over and over.
As is the case with nearly every game, debates will arise as to which player is the true master of mercury. 

Thanks to the wireless capabilities of the PSP, those arguments will easily be put to rest.  Included in Mercury will be a Wi-Fi/Wireless battle mode in which you will be able to play head-to-head on all 72 levels. 

Come March, if you plan on dropping the large chunk of change required to get your hands on a PSP, Mercury will probably be a worthwhile pickup.  All indications suggest that this game is going to be the perfect time killer.  So whether you just want to entertain yourself for a few minutes in between classes (just say you're studying chemistry), or if you're on a three hour plane ride with nothing to do, just pull out your PSP and let the mercury flow.

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