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Mercury Meltdown Revolution
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Rayman Raving Rabbids: 24.99
Resident Evil 4: 22.99
Mercury Meltdown Revolution: 19.99

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05/07/07 Scarface Hands-On
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Mercury Meltdown Revolution - Review
Written by James Hobbs

A considerable amount of hype has been built up around Mercury Meltdown Revolution, ever since it was announced that the developers were bringing the much-acclaimed PSP title to Wii. Despite the seemingly natural move to a motion-based control system ( indeed, the developers had a propensity for motion-based controls even whilst developing the PSP game ), games like Wing Island have shown that it's all too possible to completely ruin what should be a gloriously instinctive control system.

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On the blob.
Rather marvellous, then, that what initially feels like a clumsy, plodding gaming experience is actually one of the most intuitive and clever puzzle games I've played in quite a long while. Mercury Meltdown Revolution is one of those titles that really doesn't grab you by the nuts and shake you around at least it didn't with me. Initial impressions pitch the game as a demented hybrid of Super Monkey Ball and Tetris, lacking both complexity and speed. It's not a good beginning, and whilst the tutorial is helpful it does nothing but stagnate the first impressions of the game further.

However, once you get into the main game it begins to become apparent just how obscenely clever Mercury Meltdown Revolution actually is. It's a testament to the creativity and sheer blood-minded dedication of the game designers that almost every single level presents you with a new challenge, a new game dynamic, or just something so absurdly difficult it takes a few minutes to even comprehend how you will tackle the problem. It gets very, very hard, almost to the point where you feel like giving up, but there's such a great deal of satisfaction to be gleaned from actually completing one of the harder levels that it's never enough to put you off playing the game.

The game is based around a series of laboratories, each with an assortment of levels. You use the Wii remote to manipulate a blob of mercury to the exit of each level by tilting the level itself. However, it's not always quite that simple - there is a menagerie of enemies and obstacles to navigate past, and very often you will have to split your mercury into smaller blobs, or even paint it different colours in order to progress. Controlling 3 blobs at the same time is absurdly hard, and as the game goes on more and more difficult challenges are plonked in front of you, always with a time limit. It's clever, but very hard.

Thankfully the game is not strictly linear in terms of progression, and so it's often simple to skip a difficult level and move on through the game. However, completists are rewarded if all of your Mercury makes it to the end of the level and you beat the clock, you are rewarded with unlockable party games and other extras, including different Mercury skins. The pace of the game is such that the timer runs out before you've realised, and the last ten seconds or so are often fraught. It's surprisingly tense for a game that revolves around moving a blob around, and the unlockables exacerbate this by providing you with an incentive to replay levels.

Graphically Mercury Meltdown Revolution is strange. It's incredibly stylised, exhibiting a cute and quirky look that generally suits the game perfectly. The Mercury itself is modelled incredibly well, and whilst most of the levels are graphically fairly simple they never look rushed. However, the menus are terrible, and don't do the rest of the game justice. After a nice 'Ignition Entertainment' skit the quality descends horribly, and whilst the menus are fairly easy to use and often rather helpful, they just look poor. It's not such a big deal once you've got into the game, as so much effort has clearly been poured into making the gameplay itself as excellent as possible, but it's still a bit of shame. Don't let it put you off, however.

Alongside the main game there are also a variety of 'party games' present. As you might expect, some are more entertaining than others, and some do not even utilise the Wii remote, which seems somewhat suspicious as the remote is so integral to the rest of the game. However, even games like Metrix which do not use the Wii remote are still quite entertaining in a columns-esque way, and the Mercury racing game is good fun, if a little short-lived. Without a doubt the main game is where the bulk of the entertainment lies, but the party games do provide a nice diversion when the main game gets a bit too much.

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