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Interviews

Mercury Meltdown

We join Ignition's Ed Bradley to see how the puzzler sequel is shaping up and melting down

Archer McLean's Mercury was an intriguing little puzzler which scored pretty reasonably on initial release and bought a whole new world of moveable blobby madness onto the Sony PSP.

With work on a sequel now well underway, we thought it was high time to slide on over a question salvo to Ed Bradley, producer for Ignition studios, to see how work's progressing on the slip slide-a-way sequel.

Ed had much to impart during our chat including the motives behind the game's change in visual style, details on the new game modes and challenges awaiting, as well as offering a less-than-subtle hint that the series may be eyeing up a move onto Nintendo consoles.

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So without further ado, here's the SP from the man who knows how to make the mercury soar.

What spurred your decision to work on a Mercury sequel? How do you think you can improve upon the first game?

Ed Bradley: With the first game, for a number of reasons, we were on compressed deadlines. Having acquired the hardware and understanding all the nuances it became a case of ensuring we hit the release date and the final process in creating a game; the polish and all the tinkering was a slightly rushed thing. Don't get me wrong; we were proud of the game as the sales figures and acclaim for the game showed. Like in any game you can always make more changes but you have to draw the line somewhere. We had lots of ideas that we wanted to implement and with the feedback from the gaming public and some of the editorial in mags/websites and forums we will ensure Mercury Meltdown hits the right spot and of course this time we have had the perfect amount of time to create what we believe is the perfect Mercury product!

Essentially Mercury Meltdown remains true to the core game values of Mercury but there are a number of new features and some honing of the game; the long loading times of the first game are no more and there was no auto save but many elements like that have now been implemented. The menus of the first game have been redone and in effect we have worked on all the feedback we received, it is more 'friendlier looking, more up to date!

We've noticed a subtle change in the game's visual style. What inspired that?

Ed Bradley: We believe that the new look really accentuates some of the finer detail of the level design and is more appealing on the eye. We spent a great deal of time on this and we believe once you play and see the game live you will be bowled over by its new graphical look. Screenshots and even trailers do not do the game justice but once you start playing the game you will understand what we mean!

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You say there are four new 'states' in Mercury Meltdown. How do they work and what kind of cool stuff can we do with them?

Ed Bradley: There are 168 levels in the game which is double the first game!! There are eight themed science labs, each comprising 16 levels, along with a bonus level; and don't forget some hidden ones! The Mercury blob itself as you know has now been given an overhaul and has four varying 'states':

Normal - which is essentially the same as that used in the first game.
Slow - is similar to normal but is less prone to breaking up - great for when you have to get across a thin ledge.
Fast - makes the Mercury 'runny', which in turn makes it harder to control and difficult to keep it all together.
Solid - this turns the Mercury into a solid mass - a ball bearing, which allows access to awkward parts of the level via tram lines.

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