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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

Phil South
Chris Bourne

Isn't this a tune by Michael Jackson? But seriously folks, Driller is actually the first release from Incentive Software based on its Freescape™ system. Freescape™, and yes it IS trademarked, is a new concept in 3D games, where every object in the game can be viewed from any direction. The effect of the graphics is quite stunning, and surprisingly playable in spite of a slight delay between 'screens', as the picture updates itself for a change of view.

The gameplay is actually a sort of arcade adventure, although there are a couple of other levels you can play it on. You are on the mining moon of Mitral, a small meteorite-pitted satellite of the planet Evath. Over the surface of the moon 18 drilling platforms have been raised which join together to form a polyhedral surface. On each surface, buildings have been erected, hangers for the various scout ships and excavators, vehicles used by the miners, and sheds for storing the Rubicon energy crystals. The moon has been evacuated, due to a build-up of gas under the surface, and you have been charged with the task of releasing it. You do this by roaming around the surface, and signalling for drilling rigs to be teleported down to your current position. Then the amount of gas you've released is then shown as a percentage, and your score relative to your performance.

There's a lot in Driller, and the most fun you get out of it is just exploring around the Freescaped™ environment, peeking under, over and around things that present themselves, manipulating switches by firing at them, activating lifts, docking with other vehicles, and seeking out and using Rubicon crystals to replenish your energy. You can just play it as an arcade game, going around shooting things and picking up points, but the best way to enjoy Driller is on all levels at once, as a shoot'em up, as an adventure and as a strategy game.

The graphics are really brilliantly rendered, and the buildings and walls all work in perspective from wherever you view them. The two vehicles you get to drive, the excavator and skimmer, are quite fast considering how much the computer is doing between screens, and the problems you have to solve are quite hard unless you do lots of experimentation.

The game took a year to build, and it shows in the quality of the workmanship and the gameplay. I can tell that people are going to be sending in tips for this for months to come. Superb!

One of the most original 3D games of the year. Beautifully programmed and absorbing problems. Skillo!


Screenshot Text

So you've begun. You've got the first rig positioned, and it's given you 45120 cu. ft. of gas, with a success rate of 84% Your laser is armed and ready, so you could try shooting something... you can shoot the platform at the top of the pole, but it'd wise to see if there's anything useful up there first!

Inside a shed on your start platform, you find a lot of crystals. The inverted pyramids to the left replenish your energy, and the upright ones to the right replenish your shields. To drain the power from the crystals, just shoot at them, and they'll vanish putting all their energy into your power banks.