Review by Jeremiah the kitsune

Reviewed: 05/01/05

Let me inenerate: This is a port.

The first word that may come to your mind regarding Mr. Driller 2 is “misleading”. Despite the sequel moniker that this title carries it is indeed not a sequel but a port of the original Mr. Driller first released on Dreamcast. And besides that just the appearance of this game’s characters and theme tends to hide the deep and challenging, even immensely frustrating game that is packaged with its cute box. Maybe it’s just me but a little kid in a pink diver’s helmet saving the world from colorful blocks by drilling through them isn’t exactly what would easily represent a deep puzzler, but regardless Mr. Driller2 does offer a fun experience although being a nearly complete rehash of an earlier game.

Gameplay
The interesting thing about this game is that the deep complexity of this game’s mechanics can be completely bypassed and turned into a mad dash to the bottom in a straight line. Even when this is done the game is pretty difficult and fun despite but eventually players will have to take their time more as they move on to deeper depths. As you’ve probably gathered by now the goal in Mr. Driller is to drill your way down through a barricade of colored blocks and reach the bottom without running out of air or being crushed by falling debris. As simple as this sounds… things get really complicated as you delve deeper into the mess of blocks. The main reason is for the air capsules, which will eventually become surrounded by strong blocks. These blocks take more effort to break and once broken they subtract your current supply of oxygen which defeats the purpose to go for the air. The solution to this is to break the normal blocks surrounding them in order to knock them out of place so you can grab the air, however you also must take into account that doing so may cause more debris to fall on you taking one of your three lives. While this is where the real depth and complexity shows itself in this game the great amount of aggravation and frustration comes around too especially when you are being pressured to do a lot so quickly in an extremely short matter of time… it just tends to get overwhelming.

Another issue is that all three (yes, only three) are pretty much exactly identical with the only differences in the easy, normal, and hard stages are the depths in which you must reach, and of course that makes things get really repetitive and may cause many to either grow bored with the game or throw it at the wall. In the event that this does happen you are given other option besides the normal mode, these modes are the endless drill and the times attack which although are different modes still pretty much feel like the same thing. Endless drill is what is sounds like: An on going drill only to test how far you can go adhering to the normal rules in time attack however things get a little more interesting. In this mode the object is to reach bottom of a smaller stages by freezing the timer with little clocks that you find on your way down. To do this you will have to figure out which timers you will have to get to and which you will have to pass in order to satisfy the stage’s requirements. Unfortunately the same problems the present in the normal mode apply in these modes as well and often will provoke aggravation; especially when there are time that you simply can’t avoid losing a life which oddly enough tends to happen right when you get near the end…

In short, be sure you sure not one to be fooled by this games cute looks for it is not a push over by any means at all. In fact I can personally say that this is one of the most brutal puzzlers I have come by and I would recommend that you try to keep in mind that Mr. Driller 2 will defiantly test your ability to keep a cool head.

Visuals
Despite having a rather unsavory cute look about it the colorful look about the game serves it well, with the color of blocks distinguishing themselves from others to help let you know which blocks to break and which to leave alone. The cut scenes in this game fit the game rather well, despite the fact many won’t really care much for it, but in concern for the game’s theme they are nicely done… it’s just likely that many won’t have a taste for them given the earlier mentioned cuteness that covers this game.
Audio
Although not completely bad the soundtrack is limited to three tracks which are over used to a ridiculous extent making many turn their sound off on their gameboys. However there have been voices implemented into the cut scenes and once again, not sounding too appealing to anyone above age eight, sound good and fit well along with the game. And even if you don’t care for them you can’t really deny that it was a nice touch to add full blown voice acting into these things… of course with so little stages it probably wasn’t that hard to pull off either.

Overall
This game tries hard to be a sequel by offering a new playable character, cards that can be collected that explain things about the games characters, and goofy cut scenes that are new entirely, but in the end this game is a simple port and nothing more which isn’t entirely a bad thing just make sure you aren’t trick by the large 2 on the front of the box. Being so, it’s recommended that you skip this if you have already played through the original versions unless you want a portable Mr. Driller game that badly, others new to the series who are looking for a fast paced and complicated puzzler can do themselves a favor by picking this up, but before warned: this game easily can frustrate you by the nature of the game itself and is recommended that you take this into consideration before purchase.

Overall score: 7.6

Pros
+ Challenging gameplay
+ Nicely done cutsecnes despite being kiddy
Cons
- Can be extremely frustrating
- There's not a whole lot to do in this game
- Repetitive soundtrack as well as levels


Rating:   3.5 - Good

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