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Drill Dozer
  opened by paleface at 19:28:36 02/26/06  
  last modified by paleface at 03:13:28 02/28/06  
  paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Platformer; loc=NA]
I was excited by the screenshots I saw of this game way before it came out in Japan--had a peppy look to them somehow. So I marked it on the list, eagerly awaited the US release, and snapped it up, big brown vibrating cart and all.
The vibration gimmick doesn't do a whole lot for me; you just wind up with an ugly brown GBA cart that protrudes out of the GBA, and sort of shakes weakly when a "drilling" thing is going on in the game.
The drilling in-game is yet another gimmick, of course, and they sure milk it for all its worth. Beneath the drilling, though, is a pretty standard platformer, although some of the boss fights are decent.
Your character clanks around in a robotic suit with drill arms. The drill can spin clockwise and counterclockwise. Certain passages require that you spin the drill a certain way to get through; and other areas require that you drill into something, then reverse gear to flip backwards. As you go through the levels, you get additional gears, up to three. You shift gears on the fly: hold the button to rev up the first gear, release and push again at the top of its spin to kick up to the next gear, and so on.
But, you really aren't doing much in the way of interest with that drill; sure, sometimes you take a wall or boss out with it, but mostly you just spin it to take out the inevitable bad guys who come skipping along. The really annoying parts for me are the complicated platform bits, like the ones where you have to drill into a moving widget to have it carry you along, or where you have to do the reverse-gear backflip maneuver. Shifting and reversing gears all the time is just kind of a pain.
The whining drill sound isn't exactly music on the ears, either. I'm not sure what developer Game Freak (yes, Pokemon) was thinking with that; you're basically listening to a power tool spin for much of the game.
So far I'm unimpressed. Oh, and the bosses are too easy, really--I've been able to screw around on my first meeting with them, get taken down to almost zero health before I realize what their weak spot is (I'm sort of slow that way, I guess), and then, once I've found it, just take them down without being in much danger of being hit again, because their pattern is so simple and easy. Hopefully they get tougher later on.
  paleface 02:35:11 02/27/06
Ooh, another reason I was initially interested in the game was because of the Japanese version's name: "Screw Breaker." I guess they decided that name wasn't quite suitable for America's heroes. But to this day you can still go to to catch the sneaky Flash preview for the US release--and hear that damn annoying drilling sound (what *were* they thinking?).

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