|Review By: Siou
Creator of such popular home and arcade
games as Soulcalibur and Tekken, Namco seems to have taken a different tack with their
most recent foray into puzzle gaming, Mr. Driller. While not quite on par with the
excellent Super Puzzle Fighter II, it still proves a worthy contender, and a worthwhile,
if secondary, purchase. Bright, colorful, and in glorious 2D Mr. Driller manages to catch
the eye right away with its retro stylings. Looking somewhat akin to a monkey in a
(somewhat garishly colored, in pink and blue) space suit, Mr. Driller is armed with.what
else, but his trusty high powered drill to clear away the blocks that have covered the
city of Downtown (clever storyboard, eh? No one accuses Namco of having put a lot of
thought into the background, but what the hey, it's a puzzle game, not an RPG).
Mr. Driller has 3 modes of play, Arcade, Survival, and
Time Attack. The arcade mode offers your choice of Easy or Expert level. In easy you have
to drill down 2500ft; in Expert, this becomes 5000ft. Only in the expert mode, however,
will you find what is causing the blocks to cover Downtown. In Survival mode you are only
given one life as opposed to 3 in the Arcade mode. You have to drill as far down as
possible without running out of air or getting crushed by falling blocks, collecting
capsules of air along the way to survive. You will also run into (and have to maneuver
your way around, when possible) Brown X-Blocks that cause you to lose 20 % of your air
supply and take more time to drill than a normal block, so you have to be creative to
remove them. This is where chain reactions come into play: once the supporting blocks are
removed, the blocks sitting on top of them fall; and you have to form a group of four or
more of the same type of blocks to make them disappear. So by connecting a few falling
Brown X-Blocks to the ones below, you can easily remove them without having to waste
valuable time and air. This not as easy as it sounds, however, since you still have to
watch out for falling blocks that didn't find anything to attach themselves to, or Mr.
Driller will get squashed. After completing 500ft in arcade mode the scene shifts and the
blocks change in style and colour, the puzzle increasing in difficulty as they do.
Controlling Mr. Driller is not always as easy as it could
be. I found that at times he would jump on top of blocks I wanted him to drill and when I
actually wanted him to climb on the blocks, he would have trouble doing so. This makes it
more difficult than necessary to escape the falling blocks.
Page 2 of 2-->