Mr. Driller X, known in Japan as Mr. Driller Extreme (ミスタードリラーエックストリーム Misutā Dorirā Ekkusutorīmu ), is a 2003 platforming game developed by Drillimation Studios and published by Namco. The game was released on home computers and consoles in June of 2003, with the exception of the Island of Sally, where it was released in October of 2004 due to it taking a long time to translate.
The game was built using the same engine as Pac-Man World 2, but with additional features added. The game was developed at the Drillimation Studios California and the Florida subsidiary, making this the first main series Drillimation game to be developed outside of Japan.
- "Team Ankoku is on the loose again!"
- - Official attention grabber
It's been a good six years since you defeated Dr. Manhole, and Princess Konata was held captive by the evil group you've dealt with. Think again. Team Ankoku's admins have captured Princess Konata inside a floppy disk and it's time for you to take back the damsel-in-distress but this time in an alternate universe. A cast of new enemies and mechanics will introduce you into a whole new world to explore. But forge on, if Lord Soujirou asked you to save his princess, venture at your own risk!
- Over twelve worlds and more than 50 levels to explore.
- All of Susumu's moves from Drill Spirits are back but with new powers and twists.
- New Driller Engine technology will take your machine to the next level.
Mr. Driller X puts players in control of Susumu Hori who must rescue Konata Izumi from Fred Fuchs through a series of platforming, jumping, and solving statue puzzles. Combining gameplay elements from Super Mario Sunshine and Pac-Man World 2, Susumu can pull off some special moves upon pressing certain button combinations - such as being able to jump farther and higher as well as attacking enemies in unique ways.
Mr. Driller X is divided into twelve worlds with four levels each and visual novel-style cutscenes between levels.
World 1: Valley Lane
The first world, set in a grassy plain, introduces the game's main mechanics and enemies. The main gimmick of the first world is to evade pits like in previous installments and the world boss is Susumu Hakai, the evil version of Susumu Hori.
After defeating the hacked clone, Susumu tries to find the undergrounders so they can stop the blocks and to see if Konata is there but finds a note that reads "The princess is in Brazil".
World 8: Dr. Manhole's Fortress
The eighth world, based on the Lucky Star games, is based around Dr. Manhole's former fortress. In the world, the player must reach Dr. Manhole's Fortress and rescue Konata from there. Upon entering, Susumu tries to find Konata but ends up seeing hearing a voice from another person, who is a Konata look-alike, but with a darker hair color and is dressed in maid attire.
When the clone asks Susumu to guess her name, he responds with "Marisa", but tells him he is wrong and escapes the fortress. Susumu then chases the clone all around the fortress, until she goes back in Dr. Manhole's main room, where she asks him to guess again. He responds with "Mayuki" until the clone goes into huge shock after her name was guessed. After a fierce battle, the clone disintegrates into blue smoke and leaves Konata behind.
Development of the game immediately began after the release of Mr. Driller Online in 1998. Takajima wanted to reinvent the franchise to be a launch title on Drillimation's upcoming Driller Engine 4. The game was originally titled Mr. Driller W in development before the name X was chosen. Mr. Driller X took five years to develop. Driller Engine 4 was still in alpha testings at the start of development and had to shift the technology in order to port the game to the upcoming sixth generation consoles, which included the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube.
By the time Driller Engine 4 hit beta testings in 2000, the game was 10% complete. The game was close to being canceled after two employees left Drillimation. After seeing the upcoming Super Smash Keyboards 4, which came out the following year, Takajima decided to use the models from that game into Mr. Driller X. Despite this, Namco hesitated to have Drillimation make it an arcade game. Drillimation declined and the game was made into a standard action-adventure game instead.
After Driller Engine 4 was finalized and released, development of the game progressed rapidly. After the game completed development in the spring of 2002, the game was unveiled at E3 2002 as an upcoming game for all three platforms. The game was planned to have a January 2003 release but was delayed after playtesters found a game-breaking bug. During the time Driller Engine 4 was in support, Driller Engine 5 was in development and the new version was the only way to correct the bug. Drillimation hastily ported the game to the new engine using their assets, while making a few changes to the game's core engine.
The game was planned for a spring 2003 release, but Takajima got married to Kagami Ochiai before the game was scheduled for release and planned the Drillimation Honeymoon Matsuri on top of the game's release. The game was delayed again and would not be finally released until June of that year.
The cutscenes for Mr. Driller X were animated by Kyoto Animation, who would later become Drillimation's animation department in 2006. Critics noted the game for its numerous audio issues. The lip-synching doesn't match the voices and characters would frequently interrupt each other before the finish speaking. Drillimation was used to editing the lip-synching to match the English dubs of the Drillimation anime. Drillimation Studios California was unable to do it due to time constraints. This issue was fixed in the 2017 remake of the game.
Behind the Scenes
- This is the first Mr. Driller game to:
- Be released on an Xbox console.
- Not have Hiroshi Takajima's involvement.
- Be made outside of Japan
- This is the last Mr. Driller game to:
- Be published under the Namco brand. All future releases from Mr. Driller X2: Underground Humiliation onward would be published under the Bandai Namco brand.
- Receive an E rating from the ESRB, all future releases would receive E10+ ratings.