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Mr. Driller (Dreamcast) artwork

Mr. Driller (Dreamcast) review


"I enjoy a good puzzle game every now and then. Games like Tetris, Chip's Challenge, and Snood have all wasted a lot of time for me. That's what good puzzlers are - time wasters. They are easy to pick up and play, they're fun, and they're addictive. Mr. Driller (for the Dreamcast) is another example of such a game. Mr. Driller is a very simple game, but it is still incredibly challenging at the same time. "



I enjoy a good puzzle game every now and then. Games like Tetris, Chip's Challenge, and Snood have all wasted a lot of time for me. That's what good puzzlers are - time wasters. They are easy to pick up and play, they're fun, and they're addictive. Mr. Driller (for the Dreamcast) is another example of such a game. Mr. Driller is a very simple game, but it is still incredibly challenging at the same time.

So who is this Mr. Driller guy anyway, you ask? Well, he's a driller (obviously) and he has a huge task ahead of him. You see, a city (creatively named Downtown) has been plagued with blocks as of late. Large blocks have been popping out of the ground all over the city. The whole place is pretty much buried. It's up to this Mr. Driller fella to drill through the blocks toward the earth's core to see if he can solve why this disaster is occurring. Are you a bad enough dude to save Downtown? Okay, so maybe it's not the best story, but it's not like puzzle games need groundbreaking stories anyway.

In the game, you start off on top of some blocks. By pressing any one of the face buttons (A,B,X,Y), you can drill a block. You can drill blocks in any non-diagonal direction. Your goal is to get to the bottom of the screen without getting smashed by falling blocks. There's no time limit or anything, but it is important to be fast since our buddy Mr. Driller can run out of air. Thankfully, there are some oxygen bubbles scattered around the blocks. However, these bubbles come in limited amounts the farther down you go. Heavier blocks that take five hits to break guard most of these bubbles. Drilling those heavy ones takes a lot out of Mr. Driller, so it is best to avoid them whenever possible.

Mr. Driller does require some strategy. You can't just mindlessly drill blocks and still successfully complete the level. If you don't pay attention to what you are doing, you will most likely fall suspect to falling blocks and/or complete lack of oxygen. You must be thinking at all times. ''What if I drill this block here?'' ''Will I be safe on this block?'' You don't have to be a rocket scientist to play the game, but you do have to be able to think about what you're doing, at least if you want to have any chance of winning.

The game has three different modes of play to offer. The first one is the arcade mode, which is exactly what you would find if you went out and played the real arcade game. Basically, you choose between 2500 feet and 5000 feet and dig that far down while racking up as many points as possible. You get points by getting air bubbles, breaking blocks, and destroying a large combination of blocks of the same color. The arcade mode also shows you the ending of the game if you so happen to beat it.

The second mode is ''survival''. In this, your goal is to drill as far down as possible without dying. While arcade mode offered the player a few lives, you only get one in survival. This is the mode that will probably garner the most replay value out of the three since you may want to try and beat your highest score from time to time.

The third and final mode is time attack. In this one, you are sent through a variety of levels in which you need to get the fastest time possible. Little clocks that are buried beneath some blocks will help subtract time from your total, which is a good thing considering the levels have ridiculously short time limits (i.e. 15-20 seconds). Time attack is fun, but the other two modes are better.

The problem with Mr. Driller is that there isn't a whole lot of replay value. Sure, it's fun to play the survival mode and try to beat the top score every now and then, but you're not going to want to do that all the time. Mr. Driller is nothing more than a quick diversion from other, bigger games. It's an excellent time-waster for sure, and it can become downright addictive at times, but there's no real long-term interest in the game. Mr. Driller is best when played in short spurts.

I would have really liked it if Mr. Driller were online compatible. Playing Mr. Driller online would be killer (no rhyme intended). As long as the lag didn't get out of hand, the game would be a blast. I would have even settled for offline multiplayer play, but that's not included in the game either. It's single player or bust. If you are looking for a fun multiplayer puzzle game, Mr. Driller is not the game for you.

Visually, Mr. Driller is just as simplistic as its gameplay. Everything is in a 2D perspective. The items on the screen are small, but they are big enough that you can see. The game is very colorful, which is a plus, but it is also a bit too ''cutesy''. There is certainly a distinct Japanese feel to the game, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.

I hate to use the word ''cutesy'' again, but that is perhaps the best way to describe Mr. Driller's music. It's your standard puzzle game music affair. Some tracks get repetitive after a while, but none become too irritating. Unlike some people, I didn't have any problems with the game's sound effects. Some of the more common effects include a siren that goes off when your air supply runs low, and of course the usual drilling and dissolving sounds. Nothing extraordinary, but in a game like this the sound doesn't need to be.

In the end, I enjoyed my time with Mr. Driller. If you are a puzzle game fan, then by all means check out Mr. Driller. Just keep in mind that you won't be getting much depth or any multiplayer play at all from the game. If you have any interest at all, pick it up and let the time waste away.

7

Best Feature - FUNTASTIC.
Worst Feature - Lack of depth; no multiplayer/online.

Rating: 7/10

shady's avatar
Community review by shady (January 28, 2004)

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