Instant Review: Mr. Driller Online XBLA Demo

Serviceable yet disappointing.

The Subject: Mr. Driller Online Demo on XBLA

The Hook: Fun arcade/console game is turned into a Hi-Definition XBLA game

The Good: Mr. Driller is still fun and fast, and only $10, which is cheaper than other ports have been.

The Bad: This looks the same as the game they already released on the Dreamcast, then re-released on the DS.

The Ugly: No, really. It looks – and sounds – exactly the same. The menus, meters, and other material on the outside 2/3 of the screen got the HD treatment, but the actual game in the middle 1/3 of the screen is the same resolution as it ever was, and it looks blurry by comparison.

Likewise, the soundtrack seems to be a clear 5.1 mix, but the sound effects are the same old flat effects – again, all the flatter by comparison with the new material.

The Caveat: I only played the Single-Player demo, which only goes for a few minutes… but I can’t imagine that they pull out new HD material later on.

The Verdict: I may yet pick up the full game if I get a real hankering for Mr. Driller, but this isn’t an exciting redux like Rez HD, so I’m just as likely to go on playing it on the DC and DS. If you don’t have HDTV and 5.1 Surround Sound, though, you might not even notice. Also, if you haven’t played Mr. Driller, this is a good time to give it a try for a low price.

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