#635 Drill Dozer

Posted: 27th February 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

126th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo

Whilst there are many things that we love about this list there are also a large number of obstacles and annoyances along the way.

Today’s game, Drill Dozer (designed by Pokémon’s Ken Sugimori), is the first example of an irritation that we had to overcome; localization. For whatever reason this game was not made available in the EU with only Japan and America getting all the drill-based fun.

I have no idea why this never made it here but thanks to the magic of eBay it arrived.

Our Thoughts

How has it taken us this long to reach a GBA game? There are many Jeroen has thanks to the 3DS Ambassador and it still took us this long to get to a GBA game… and what an unusual one it is.

I can discern no real reason why Japan has a thing about drills but when one of the most popular anime series in recent years (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) revolves around people in mecha-suits wielding progressively larger drills you know that there is something there. I don’t want to go down the road of drills and drilling being the hallmarks of sexual repression (since I really do not know enough about Japan to make such a generalisation) so let’s just leave it there.

The premise is very simple, you lead a group of thieves (not unlike our friend Sly Cooper) and use your Drill Dozer to enact revenge on the behalf of your injured father and it is your job to retrieve the Red Diamond that has been stolen by a rival gang. It’s a pretty tropish storyline when you are trying to make heroes out of thieves… but it works out when well executed so screw it (pun unintended).

To be honest the story is pretty unimportant, the game’s charm lays in it’s sense of humour and the ingenius use of a drill to provide a large variety of controls. You can simply drill through walls but also use rubber bricks to throw yourself across the room, open doors, travel through screw tunnels, swim and operate all manner of winches. Also there are many enemies with holes that need to be drilled into submission… they really are not helping those with a dirty mind now are they?

Moving away from some dirtier thoughts (I’m sorry, that just didn’t feel like a train of thought I wanted to interfere in), the game itself is an entertaining semi-platformer (though we classed is as an action game – the platforming isn’t always as much of a focus) that makes great use of the drills.

First, they allow for a lot of additional exploration. There’s mostly still a straightforward route through the level (although some upgrades can create shortcuts) although these twist and combine throughout, but because the drill allows new paths to be hidden everywhere, there are plenty of nooks and crannies with bonuses hidden.

Second, the drill plays a large part in the major and minor bosses you encounter. These are mostly the usual type of thing – hit the boss when a specific weak part is visible or open – having to use and place the drill in the right point adds a bit of a challenge and sometimes has it make more sense. It’s also simply more fun to be able to undo the one screw holding the enemy robot together.

The drilling adds a few other nice things as you play through – each level you collect gears so you can make your drill go faster and last longer, which requires some related gameplay skills as well to switch gears on time and keep that going. Nothing too complicated, but a small extra challenge. You also gather credits as you play, which allows you to upgrade your HP bar, give you additional level and, most interesting when playing through, allow you to break through more materials and get to more different areas.

Final Thoughts

 Having gone through this, the game is a lot of fun. It’s got a lot of possible exploration through some quite interesting levels with some nice scenery.

It’s not the most brilliant action game, too, but the sense of humour and the use of the drill make for a charming and interesting game that’s quite a lot of fun to play through.

  1. […] of the batch needs some more time to play), Mr. Driller has always reminded me of early list game Drill Dozer – drilling through coloured blocks to advance through a level. Mr. Driller, however, is a […]