'Driller Engine Grand Prix' (Japanese: ドリラーエンジングランドプリー; Hepburn: 'Dorirā Enjin Gurando Purī') is a 1992 go-kart racing game developed by Drillimation Studios and published by Namco for the arcades and home consoles. The arcade version was released in May 1992, followed by a release on home consoles and computers in Japan on August 27, 1992, followed by a North American release on September 1, 1992, then a PAL version on January 21, 1993. It is the first game in the Driller Engine Grand Prix series.
Driller Engine Grand Prix received critical acclaim, and went on to become one of the greatest video games of all time. It was nominated for a Game of the Year Award For Best Arcade Game in 1993, but lost to Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
- "Let's Drill Away!"
- - Official attention grabber
Namco and Drillimation Studios invite you to the greatest go-kart arcade racer and it's time to cross the finish line in this state-of-the-art cult. Ryou Gakuen High School and the Driller Institute open their doors to the Pole Position circuit for tons of racing fun. Many Drillimation favorites, including Susumu Hori, Wataru Hoshi, Konata Izumi, Kagami Hiiragi, many tough hard-hearted drillers such as Leopold Slikk, Chuta Bigbang, and Ataru Hori, and even light-weight racers such as Anna Hottenmeyer and Eguri Hatakeyama will mix up the mayhem in an all-out quest for the gold medal. Race head-to-head with a friend or challenge the computer in great split-screen in brand new Mode 7 graphics specifically designed for Driller Engine.
Need less speed or more strategy? Why not try out the bumper cars in Battle Mode? The races and battle modes will give you weapons such as shells, bananas, and even Lucky Stars to attack your opponents and send them to the back of the pack.
Somewhere on Team Ankoku's secret base on the moon, Dr. Manhole thinks of a plot to hold the main Drillimation heroes captive. After Leopold Slikk, Wataru Hoshi, Konata Izumi, and Susumu Hori hear the news about Dr. Manhole attempting to capturing them, Susumu strongly disagrees and challenges Team Ankoku to a game of Mario Kart to win back their freedom.
Driller Engine Grand Prix started development in 1990 as a competitive two-player game called Bumper Car Smash. The original concept was actually put into the game's battle mode. The game had several names before it was given its final name. During development, the game was collectively titled Pole Position: Drillimation Circuit. Takajima shot down Namco's idea as he did not want to ruin the Pole Position franchise. The name Driller Engine Grand Prix was suggested by Hiroshi Takajima's son, Susumu Takajima.
The game was unveiled at Daytona Beach, Florida in the fall of 1991 with a playable demo. In the spring of 1992, advertisements for the arcade version of the game were shown on US television with the song Let's Go Away playing in the background.