Mr. Driller
Puzzle Preview
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Available: Q2 2000
Players: 1
Written by J.R. Haugen
Mr. Driller is now one of my all-time favorite characters.

Mr. Driller is almost as addictive as Tetris. That's all there is to it. You are the cute little Mr. Driller, and you must drill through hundreds of colored blocks through several hundred meters, picking up oxygen tanks along the way so you don't suffocate, and get to the bottom to rescue little blue creatures whose names we don't quite know yet.

The reason why it's so fun is the reason why many of the greatest games are fun: it's so simple to play. All you need is the D-pad and one button and you're set. Mr. Driller can drill in any direction, and can sort of hop up one level if you press up. When you drill through a block, it disappears. This causes whatever block is on top of it to fall. When falling blocks of similar colors attach to each other, they disappear. The object, though, is not to get rid of all the block, but just to get through them all with enough air left in your tank to breathe. There are also what appear to be little blocks of chocolate strewn about, which take a few hits to drill through, and which sap your air every time you destroy one. All of this creates a frantic experience, with you drilling down while all sorts of blocks are falling on top of you, so you must get into a good rhythm and drill your way to the bottom as quickly as possible.

In addition to the arcade mode described above is a time attack mode, where you must reach the bottom under a time limit, collecting time bonuses nestled in areas you need some strategy to reach. After you complete a few levels, there are many more to unlock.

Mr. Driller is a brightly colored, fun little game (and cheap; it'll be $25) that harkens back to the Metroid games, where you have to bomb your way through all sorts of obstacles to get to the bottom. This is definitely a puzzle game you won't want to pass up.

Images Acquired
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