Mr. Driller was initially conceived as a third entry in the Dig Dug series, however somewhere in development Namco decided to release the game as a stand alone title. Although from the very start the series were confirmed to take place in the same world with the main character Susumu Hori being the son of Taizo Hori the protagonist from that series.
Mr. Driller is a take on the falling-block genre where you control a character rather controller than the blocks directly. As Susumu Hori, you must constantly dig downwards through a vertical shaft at a rapid pace. While doing this you have a limited air supply which counts down every second. While digging, you must dodge blocks falling overhead, as well as collect as many air pellets as possible in order to survive long enough to reach the very bottom of the stage.
List of Releases
(1999) Mr. Driller (multiple platforms)
The very first Mr. Driller title was an arcade game released in 1999. It was ported to Playstation, Dreamcast, Windows PC, and Game Boy Color. In Japan, it even came out for WonderSwan Color.
The Playstation version was eventually made available on Playstation Network as a PSone Classic, but for Japan only.
Mr. Driller for iPhone is updated with touchscreen controls, and Susumu's in-game sprites have been redrawn to resemble the artwork in later games.
(2000) Mr. Driller 2 (Arcade, GBA)
Mr. Driller 2 was originally an arcade title, but is more widely known as the Mr. Driller title for Game Boy Advance. Despite being a Game Boy Advance launch title in Japan, a USA version was not released until 2005, by which time the Nintendo DS had already launched.
(2004) Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits (DS)
Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits (or Mr. Driller DS), released in 2004, is the Mr. Driller title for Nintendo DS and utilizes both screens to show the player more of what is happening above him/her. You also can unlock up to six characters to play as, each with unique strengths and weaknesses.
(2008) Mr. Driller Online (XBLA)
Mr. Driller Online, released 2008, is the Mr. Driller title for Xbox Live Arcade. It was critically panned for the fact that its online play was so poorly programmed to the point of being non-functioning.
(2009) Mr. Driller W (WiiWare)
Mr. Driller W is the Mr. Driller title for Nintendo Wii. It is only available on WiiWare.
(2009) Mr. Driller: Drill Till You Drop (DSi Ware)
Mr. Driller: Drill Till You Drop is a 2nd Mr. Driller title for Nintendo DS, but whereas the previous one was released as a game cartridge, this one is a downloadable DSiWare title and therefore can only be played using a DSi or 3DS. Drill Till You Drop makes use of DSi's improved audio capabilities and its soundtrack even includes song.
A new mode is the "Dristone" mode in which the player must collect single-use powerup items in the form of colored gems. The player can access these any time from the menu. Their effects will be needed in order to finish each level.
Mr. Driller titles not released outside of Japan:
Dig Dug: Digging Strike is based on Dig Dug games rather than being a Mr. Driller series game. However it takes place in the Mr. Driller universe and features characters from it.