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    Speed Mode FAQ by JCukier

    Updated: 07/31/01 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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                                                     MR DRILLER 2 
    
                                                   Game Boy Advance
    
                                                    Speed mode FAQ!
    
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    Hello Drillers !!!
    
    In this FAQ we will take an in depth look at how the physics of drilling 
    function and soon you'll be able to breeze through
    the 10 Time Attack levels without any problem! Be warned though. Even with the 
    most detailed explanations the Time Attack 
    is some powerful kung-fu and should not be attempted by the meek. You'll have to 
    be quite confident in your joypad skills
    to win! anyway, I have included all of the teachings and drilling techniques 
    that you may need so all you need now is to 
    drill away!!!
    
    What this FAQ covers: 
    * how to win each of the 10 Time Attack mode in normal AND reversed mode, 
    * advanced drilling techniques that will make you win, 
    * basic strategy for the other modes. 
    
    What this FAQ does not cover is: 
    * what does each of the menu item mean in Japanese. I dropped out Japanese 
    classes just when I could figure out the 
    difference between load and save which was my main cause of frustration as an 
    import gamer! I can just tell you that the
    main characters are SUSUMU and ANNA. 
    * how to unlock the various cards. I don't know! Although through Time Attack 
    you can at least get 2,3,6,7,8,10,14 and 15.
    * basically all the rest about the game. 
    
    Quick note: this FAQ is complete and open to the public. You may use it on your 
    website as long as you keep it intact and 
    that you ask my permission. You must tell me the url where you are going to put 
    it and I will allow you to post it. Thank 
    you. You can find contact information at the end of the document. 
    
    Contents: 
    =========
    
    1.      Foreword
    2.      Time Attack walkthrough
    2.1      Level A
    2.1.1     Normal mode
    2.1.2     Reversed mode
    2.2      Level B
    2.2.1     Normal mode
    2.2.2     Reversed mode
    2.3      Level C
    2.3.1     Normal mode
    2.3.2     Reversed mode
    2.4      Level D
    2.4.1     Normal mode
    2.4.2     Reversed mode
    2.5      Level E
    2.5.1     Normal mode
    2.5.2     Reversed mode
    2.6      Level F
    2.6.1     Normal mode
    2.6.2     Reversed mode
    2.7      Level G
    2.7.1     Normal mode
    2.7.2     Reversed mode
    2.8      Level H
    2.8.1     Normal mode
    2.8.2     Reversed mode
    2.9      Level I
    2.9.1     Normal mode
    2.9.2     Reversed mode
    2.10     Level J
    2.10.1    Normal mode
    2.10.2    Reversed mode
    3.      Advanced drilling techniques
    3.1      Basics
    3.2      Time Bonuses
    3.3      Digging quickly
    3.3.1     Digging rythm
    3.3.2     Digging gambits
    3.3.3     What can you drill and from where?
    3.3.4     Defense 
    3.4.     Physics of the world of Mr Driller 
    3.4.1     How Blocks Disappear
    3.4.2     How Blocks Fall
    3.4.3     The star blocks
    4.      Other game modes
    5.      Links
    6.      Final words
    7.      Contact info
    
    1. Foreword
    ===========
    
    You will see that during the walkthrough, I mention a "normal mode" and a 
    "reversed mode". Normal mode, with these 
    instructions, should be easy. Reversed mode is unlocked when you beat all ten 
    stages of the normal mode. Reversed mode is 
    the time attack courses, but reversed (i.e. everything that was on the left is 
    on the right), which can confuse you, and 
    the time limits are not always very realistic! Reversed mode is for serious 
    drillers only as it is insanely difficult. 
    When you beat normal mode, which you will, press R to go to R-eversed mode. 
    
    It's difficult to use these walkthroughs in levels meant to be completed under 
    10 seconds. But do use them at the beginning
    when you have time to browse the map and come up with a strategy. 
    Usually the directions are meant for the normal mode, unless they are given in 
    the "reversed" mode part, where everything 
    is reversed so right is left and vice versa. All right?
    Also, during the Walkthrough TB refers to Time Bonus.
    
    
    Good luck driller !
    
    
    
    2. Walkthrough
    ==============
    
    2.1 Time Attack A
    -----------------
    2.1.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'24"00
    This level is rather straightforward. You have to slalom between the metallic 
    blocks and grab the time bonus in between each 
    time. Each time you grab a time bonus, the next one can be seen so go in that 
    general direction. 
    To gain time, try to locate the shortest route between to bonuses, that is, the 
    largest blocks that can be drilled at once. 
    It is more efficient to destroy a 5-blocker once than 5 1-blocker 5 times! 
    
    2.1.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'18"00
    To complete the reversed level, you cannot afford to lose or hesitate. I think 
    the level can be completed in around 16"50. 
    Here you have 18" so try to make the best use of them! 
    detailed speed way 
    Drill your way to TB n°1. go down, left, down (2 2-blockers). Get TB n°2. Now 
    it's down, right (blue 3-blocker), down and 
    grab TB n°3. Down, right, down, you get TB n°4. Notice that each time your route 
    uses bigger blocks (2-blocker, 3-blocker). 
    Now drill directly down and get the 4 next TBs. 
    Go down, drill that 3-blocker, walk left and drill down the yellow block to grab 
    TB n°9. Down, right, down to TB n°10. 
    down, right, down (cross-shaped 5-blocker) and left - TB N°11. down, down, down, 
    walk to the left a bit, down and get 
    TB n° 12. 
    Now *This part is important.*
    go down, but then left (green block), and down. If you drill directly down you 
    make 6 drills as opposed to 3. 
    So now you have TB N°13. The next part is straightforward, you just slalom 
    between the TBs and get n°14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
    and 20 which are very close one to another. Down, right, down will get you TB n° 
    21. Now go down, RIGHT (blue 2-blocker), 
    right again (big purple block), down, quickly grab TB n°22 and then go back one 
    step on the right, go down, get TB n° 23, 
    then go down , left and get the remaining TBs which again are very close one to 
    another - TB n° 24, TB n° 25 and finally, 
    drill down to TB n° 26 and the finish. 
    
    2.2. Time Attack B
    ------------------
    2.2.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'16"00
    This level is also an easy one. You have to drill the biggest blocks each time 
    and fall down to the next time bonus. 
    Normally, between each time bonus, you need to drill one and only one block, so 
    you should be able to fall down this course
    pretty quickly. There are a couple of traps, ie a large block that leads you 
    away from the time bonuses. So, try to locate 
    them at the beginning or in the map. 
    
    2.2.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'10"00
    To gain time, try to avoid drilling any unnecessary blocks on your way down. One 
    bonus, one block. 
    Reversed level note: Once again you cannot afford hesitation. You must drill one 
    block per TB and that's it. That being 
    said, since so few drills are required, it is easy to ace this level and it can 
    be done in less than 9" without problem. 
    
    2.3 Time Attack C
    -----------------
    2.3.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'46"00
    The most challenging of the first courses. This is your introduction to special 
    blocks that tilt and twist the course. 
    First drill your way down to the first row of indestructible blocks. You will 
    notice an odd brown block. Walk towards it, 
    the course will tilt. Now go to the star block. It will turn one of the metal 
    blocks into a star which you can drill to 
    escape. 
    In the second "room", drill also your way to the brown block and touch it. Then 
    fall to the yellow triangle. This one flips
    the course upside down! 
    In the next room, go to the star block, and take the "middle" way. Go down to 
    the star block. Here you'll have to wait for 
    the star blocks to disappear. Then the block you are sitting on will fall and 
    you can continue downwards. Again use the 
    star block, but this time go left. 
    You'll arrive at a "room" with two yellow triangles. Go to the left one (ie not 
    the one in a notch) and then go right so 
    you won't be crushed by the ceiling. The other yellow triangle will fall 
    directly on you. 
    You arrive at the final leg of the stage. Drill the largest blocks you see, you 
    can grab the time bonus on your way down. 
    The time limits of this course are generous to allow you to "think" at the 
    different rooms. Also, a lot of the time in this
    stage is consumed by waiting for blocks to fall, or by the room rotating or what 
    not. 
    
    2.3.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'40"00
    There's no special hint for the reverse course either. The time limit is still 
    fairly large. 
    
    2.4 Time Attack D. 
    ------------------
    2.4.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'16"00
    This one can be done extremely quickly but the best way is to memorize by heart 
    the most efficient route. 
    The main topic in this stage is that you often fall on a star-block, which 
    disappears quickly. Oftentimes, if you let the 
    star block below you disappear, you are trapped and have to start over again, so 
    beware. 
    
    Grab the first TB. Dig, turn at the star, and drill the large purple block for 
    the next TB. Then go to the very right and 
    fall. Be quicker than the blocks that are falling already. Then go back left and 
    try to get the 4 TBs. Continue downwards. 
    Go towards the 2-block hole, fall, go right, fall, go left and zig-zag to get 
    the 6 TBs. 
    Don't let the star disappear below you, continue right and get the next TB. Go 
    down towards the right edge of the level. 
    Some indestructible blocks and a TB have started to fall. As you arrive on top 
    of the wooden box, immediately go left and 
    drill a block that would block the TB from falling at your level. If you're not 
    quick enough, you'll have to wait for the 
    TB to fall another time which defeats the purpose of the Time bonus. Now go to 
    the left of the level and down. 
    You'll see 4 TBs on the same level. Go right and be quicker than the 
    disappearing stars. Try to drill just as you touch 
    each block you cross, do not wait until you hug the wall to drill. Go down, left, 
    down, don't let the star trick you, go 
    down, get the TB, and then just drill the biggest blocks you see on your way 
    down, grab the last TB and you're all set. 
    
    2.4.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'12"00
    The 12" limit on this one makes it an interesting challenge. I feel it is 
    possible to complete it in less than 11" but I 
    haven't been able to. However following these instructions will make you 
    routinely complete this stage below 11"50. 
    
    
    2.5. Time Attack E
    ------------------
    2.5.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'28"00
    The idea behind this level is that you drill, get a block to fall and to unlock 
    a passage below. If you pull it right you 
    can get every TB in this level although you don't have to in the normal mode. 
    Here's how to get them all anyway. 
    Drill directly down until you reach the metal blocks. Go left and slip under the 
    wooden box, drill down, turn at the star, 
    and continue to the right. The wooden box you've just drilled under will fall, 
    merge with the 7 other wooden blocks, and 
    disappear, releasing a TB which you will get below. All of this takes time and 
    while it happens, you've already drilled 
    down the long green block, turned left at the star, and drilled the purple block. 
    Drill the green block on the left but 
    do not go there yet, wait for the abovementioned TB to fall. Then go left, drill 
    the big blue block, then go right quickly,
    get the TB as it falls, go right, now drill very quickly downwards, climb on the 
    wooden box on the left and wait for a 
    wooden box above to fall and make the structure you were waiting on disappear. 
    Go left,now drill left and down, go between 
    the metal blocks, now you must quickly drill down to grab the TB on the very 
    left of the screen, there are star blocks and 
    if they disappear you won't be able to get this TB. Now the metal block above 
    you will fall, wait for it to fall - do not 
    try to slip under it or you'll miss a TB! It makes a kind of bridge with the 
    other metal blocks. So follow it and go right,
    then down until you touch wood. Continue to the right until you reach the metal 
    block, go down until you reach a wooden 
    structure, right to the edge, then go down to the metal block line, then go left 
    and grab the 2 falling TBs. Drill the 
    large purple block and go right. Fall on 4 lined TBs. Go down and right, now 
    drill down quickly, once again try not to be 
    trapped by the star. Stay where you are and again you'll fall on 4 TBs. You're 3 
    drills away from the goal, just destroy 
    the larger blocks and you're home free. 
    
    2.5.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT 0'23"00
    follow the instruction and you will find the 23" time limit generous. 
    
    2.6. Time Attack F
    ------------------
    2.6.1 Normal mode
    
    This level is the one I found the hardest in the whole Time Attack mode. Not 
    only do you have to figure it out but you have
    to complete it quickly. The 37" time limit in the normal mode may be very hard, 
    but the 34" one in the reversed mode is 
    completely insane. Fortunately, there is a "how". Stay tuned -
    
    First even for the normal mode it is very important that by now your drilling 
    speed is optimized because during the whole 
    level you'll be on a real drill-a-thon. So don't lose the rythm. 
    Second you'll see how stars blocks can help you not die. But you must understand 
    that the star blocks start to disappear 
    from the moment they appear on screen. So you must hurry from the very first 
    moment they appear, it's no use drilling fast 
    if you slacked while walking and falling. Whenever timing with stars is the 
    issue, you must drill ASAP that is from the 
    very start of the block, and you can't just wander around, you must progress 
    very fast! 
    
    Anyway, off we go! 
    Drill and stay on the right. Drill the star blocks series and drill quickly 
    downwards. Drill the lone star block. Now 
    continue drilling. Notice that the purple block which was next to the star block 
    is just starting to fall - it has not 
    disappeared. You must let it fall, do not drill it! just continue downwards as 
    fast as you can. Now that you have reached 
    the bottom go left and drill the star block. The falling purple block is now 
    disappearing, but it has slowed down the huge 
    metal block so you can slip through! continue down now destroy the star block 
    line. Drill down four times, then go left 
    inside the wooden wall. Since you've seen the star block below, it will start to 
    disappear, so the blue block will fall and
    disappear, and the metal block above it, too. 
    After that you arrive in a long room with again a metal block above a line of 
    star blocks. Drill down as fast as you can, 
    hug the wall, and when you are down drill the wooden box to your left and 
    continue. I know, you're losing 5 seconds, but 
    you have to. Continue falling and that's about the last part of the stage. 
    Again a metal block is falling and you have to drill fast. Stay close to the 
    wall. Drill directly down. After your second 
    line of stars dug, go towards the opposite wall, so the next times you see a 
    line of stars, you can go down the hole and 
    not drill it - this will slow the metal block more. 
    At the very end of the level, you may grab time bonuses, but only if you've 
    drilled very quick. If you've pulled it right 
    with the star line just above, you actually have time to take both! 
    
    Reversed mode notes: 
    Even if you do everything correctly, you will still find the 34" limit extremely 
    hard to score. Here are a couple of risky
    optimizations on the route above. 
    Towards the beginning of the level, at the second falling metal block, dig until 
    the big field of star blocks then CLIMB 
    back to safety. It's tricky, and in order to pull this out, you must have dug 
    very quickly on your way down. The bonus is 
    that the big metal block will fall in two steps instead of three, which is like 
    one second gained! 
    Also, to have a remote chance to finish within the time limit, you MUST grab 
    both TBs at the finish line. Here's how: 
    at the final leg of the course, drill into the first line of stars. You'll 
    arrive at the second line of stars which you 
    won't have to drill, since you're all lined up with the hole. Now that's 
    important because these stars are slowing down the
    big metal block. When you pass these stars, go towards the opposite wall, but 
    not exactly next to it - you want to pull out
    a "drilling gambit" by staying about a third of a column away from the edge of 
    the screen. When you reach the third line of
    stars, the game will line you up with the hole, and these stars will hold long 
    enough for you to get both TBs. 
    The main cause of loss of time on this level is the big finale. Don't fumble 
    while climbing these metal walls! 
    
    2.7. Time Attack G
    ------------------
    2.7.1. Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'28"00
    This course actually feels a lot like the normal game of Mr Driller. The main 
    theme is that there are many small blocks, 
    lots of wooden boxes and many star boxes that disappear, causing everything 
    above you to just crumble. But stay alert, 
    focus on surviving, watch out the falling blocks and you should be ok. 
    Just be sure that you play in a well-lit place as it's super frustrating to be 
    crushed by a wooden box you didn't see 
    because it's so stupidly brown. 
    
    2.7.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'20"00
    The time limit is strict but very possible. You have to get each and every TB, 
    which you could completely overlook in the
    normal course. If you study the map look for larger blocks, they actually 
    connect the TBs to each other. The route is not
    as clear as, say, Time Attack B, but between 2 TBs there is almost always at 
    least 1 big block. 
    At one point you will reach a large block of star boxes. It is important that 
    you drill it directly above the uppermost TB. 
    Then, walk towards where the other TB is falling and continue drilling down. 
    
    2.8 Time Attack H
    -----------------
    2.8.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'43"00
    The main theme here is metal blocks that you use as elevators of sorts. 
    First dig the large yellow block and enter the metal structure, grab the TB. 
    Fall along the block. Exit as soon as you can
    and drill -sideways- the star line (slightly quicker :) ). Then go right and get 
    the TB, go back left and quickly climb on 
    the smaller metal block, grabbing the TB while you are there! Let the block fall, 
    exit, go directly for the TB, then fall
    to the next TB using the two larger blocks. Continue left. Enter the metal block, 
    fall, go inside the wooden block and fall
    again.
    The next part is tricky. Go inside the metal block, grab the TB, drill right 
    then try to slip below the metal block, fall, 
    then once you are down climb on the next metal block! Then drill directly down. 
    DO NOT leave the left edge of the screen. 
    Go pass the 100 meters mark. Continue down. Zig zag, grab the 4 TBs, do not get 
    trapped by the star blocks. Then enter a 
    metal block. 
    During this last part when you will enter a metal block, another block will 
    start to fall on the other side of the screen 
    so you'll have to hurry and dig whatever is in the way to get inside that other 
    block as soon as you can. In the normal 
    mode, it's ok if you miss these "elevators" a couple of time, the 0"50 bonuses 
    that are inside are worthless anyway! 
    
    2.8.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'38"00
    The stricter time limit makes it an interesting level. It's roughly the same 
    except you can't afford to miss a move. 
    You must manage to slip below the metal block and you cannot miss any "elevator" 
    in the last leg of the course. You will 
    find that 38" is not that tough but it is very difficult to go significantly 
    below that number. 
    
    2.9 Time Attack I
    -----------------
    2.9.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'36"00
    This is a 2-color level. You will drill very large blocks and will have a hard 
    time controlling your course as you will be
    always falling. In the normal mode you don't even have to worry about Time 
    Bonuses, just drill down as fast as you can, try
    to get maybe one or two TBs along the way and you should be fine! 
    
    2.9.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 0'30"00
    This is the only course, with the possible exception of Time Attack J (not sure), 
    where you don't even have to get all of 
    the TBs to win! On the map try to figure out where the TBs are and try to devise 
    a way to go through most of them. Most of
    the time, it's quicker to fall very fast than to make a detour to grab a TB. 
    I completed this level in both modes on my first try. What's wrong? I feel it 
    can be completed in less than 25", maybe less
    than 20". 
    
    2.10 Time Attack J
    ------------------
    2.10.1 Normal mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 1'45"00
    This level is a medley of all of the traps you've experienced so far. The 
    biggest problem is that it is 300 meters long and
    that you can very easily die along the way. In the normal mode however, time is 
    not too much of an issue. 
    The first part of the level is similar to level F. A huge block of metal is 
    falling and star blocks are key to avoiding it. 
    Right at the beginning of the level as the block falls towards you cross the 
    level to the left to avoid it. The lone star 
    block in the middle will help slowing the big block. 
    Then you have a short part like level D - just don't get trapped by the falling 
    star blocks.
    The next leg is after level E. You can get the wooden boxes to combine to unlock 
    time bonuses but in normal mode, the risk
    is just not worth it. 
    There is a short part like level B where you have to drill larger blocks to 
    advance fast. 
    That's the first 100 meters so far. 
    Then you arrive at the first annoying part, which is similar to level G. Lots of 
    small blocks, star blocks that make it all
    more unpredictable, and wooden boxes that can crush you anytime. 
    Shortly after you arrive at a part like level I. There are only two colors and 
    some interesting TBs to grab. My only advice
    on this part is to always drill and try to keep in control. During these 100 
    meters tons of block will fall on your head 
    and if you fall on a blinking/disappearing block, you can get crushed between 
    the falling blocks and the disappearing block
    so try to avoid falling on blocks that are in the process of disappearing, 
    instead grab that driller and drill your own
    path. 
    You should arrive at the 200 meters post. Also, do not try to go for the TBs. 
    You don't need them in normal mode and it's 
    fairly risky to get them here due to the falling blocks. 
    There's a short part like level A where you have to slalom between metal blocks 
    to grab some TBs, then it's like in level H
    with metal "elevators" and you must switch from one to another. Be careful, if 
    you miss one you may be blocked. 
    
    Then you're ready for the final part. 
    They must have asked a female level designer to do Time Attack J because you 
    really have to be vicious to put the most 
    deadly part of the level at the very end. Just so you know this last part is 
    logically like level C. Which means it's full
    of rotating or flipping blocks. 
    First you'll enter a tiny "room" with a rotating block. Try to make the wooden 
    boxes around it disappear (you can unite 
    the 5 wooden boxes in the room fairly easily). But, cover your escape by digging 
    a couple of blocks on the side because
    else you will be mercilessly crushed. In the next room, make your way towards 
    the flipping triangle. Again make your way
    towards it. Try to make the wooden boxes connect. 
    In the final room, try to fall towards the left and the star switch, so you can 
    reach the final flipping triangle. You must
    dig so that you don't have to break the wooden box. 
    And... That's it! 
    
    In the normal mode do not try to be as fast as possible as 1'45" is ample time. 
    Instead, focus on surviving and you should
    be all right. 
    
    2.10.2 Reversed mode
    
    TIME LIMIT: 1'23"00
    This level, like reversed level F, is for joypad ninjas only but if you've made 
    it this far you should be OK! 
    Most of the time you'll lose will be at the very end of the level (where it 
    looks like "level C"). Besides at this part 
    you've always have blocks falling on you so it's very easy to die. In this part 
    if you play well or no could very well mean
    a difference of up to 20". Hard to believe huh?
    For the rest of the course, you'll have to apply the techniques we've learned in 
    the other levels. Compared to the normal
    mode, pay special attention to the following parts: 
    In the part like "level F", try to optimize your drilling rythm. At the end of 
    the pit, if you're too slow, you won't have
    a chance to drill the final blue block. It will blink and disappear, which will 
    slow you down. 
    In the part like "level E", you must grab those two TBs. Here is how. Approach 
    the first wooden box from the left edge of
    the screen. Dig the 2-blocker green block next to it, then go below and dig 
    quickly until you reach the star, which of 
    course you must not dig (or else you die right away). Head immediately right and 
    go below the other wooden box, and again
    dig down very quickly, then left. This one is difficult. Sometimes you will get 
    crushed, sometimes you will slip with a 
    gasp. If you manage to walk away from the falling box without any difficulty, I 
    recommend you pause for like a tenth of 
    second - I know it's counter intuitive but here's why. Shortly afterwards you 
    will fall on a metal block in order to grab
    one of the falling TB. There's a star block in one of the walls, through which 
    you must escape. If you've come to fast, the
    star will disappear to quick and you won't have time to get the TB AND escape 
    and most likely you will be crushed. 
    After you exit through the star block you are all lined up to get the next TB so 
    do that. 
    In the part like "level G", towards the start of the level stay on the right of 
    the screen, you will notice a succession of
    3-blocker blocks, which you can use to go faster downwards. Then, when you reach 
    the part that's like "Level I", it's very
    important that you know where the TBs are so you optimize your path. Avoid at 
    all costs to find yourself on a blinking 
    block. Make your own path by drilling, you'll be quicker and safer. Note that 
    there is a TB on the far left of the screen
    which is hard to get, do not try because it's only 0"50 seconds so it's 
    definitely not worth it. 
    For the last part, like "level C", you must find out which itinerary best suits 
    you... Bear in mind you'll have to think
    fast and since the room flips and all it's not convenient to plan your way on a 
    map. 
    Due to the nature of "level E" and "level C" parts, it's difficult to know to 
    what extent the path can be optimized, but I 
    believe it should be possible to complete the level below 1'10"00. I've scored 
    1'15"12 so far. 
    
    3. Advanced drilling techniques
    ===============================
    3.1. basics
    -----------
    
    The key to time attack is time. In order to gain precious seconds you've got to 
    dig fast. This is not an art: it is a
    science. First, you have to understand what takes time. 
    
    * falling is quicker than digging, 
    * steering while falling is quicker than falling then walking, 
    * turning in any direction takes time, 
    * climbing takes time, 
    * dodging a falling block takes time (the little animation where the characters 
    gasps)
    * waiting for a block to fall takes time
    
    3.2 Time Bonuses
    ----------------
    
    In Time Attack mode, there is no air but some time bonuses (TB) are scattered 
    around the level. Depending on the course you
    may absolutely need to grab each and every of them, or not. (usually not). 
    Usually, they show the shortest route. So be 
    aware.
    While some bonuses give you up to 9 extra seconds, some only yield 0,5 seconds 
    and actually cost you time as you need to 
    take a slower route to get them. 
    In the REVERSED mode, unless otherwise specified, each and every TB must be 
    obtained. 
    
    
    3.3. Digging quickly 
    --------------------
    3.3.1 Digging rythm
    
    The quickest way to dig is to understand the rythm. If you press the button 
    while the character is falling, that is, 
    before s/he hits the ground, it won't do anything. 
    So you must press the button at the exact time when the character enters in 
    contact with the block. 
    In other words, mashing the button is counter efficient since many presses will 
    be done at a time when the character cannot 
    dig. You have to keep in sync with the cycle of the game - try to not "miss a 
    beat". 
    
    Mastering this technique can make you gain several seconds on a course. 
    
    When you have to drill several individual blocks, there is a very particular 
    rythm that you must acquire. When you drill 
    larger, taller blocks, try to press the button right when you touch the block. 
    The sounds might trick you into feeling you
    fall slower but in fact if you do it right, you will move extremely fast. 
    
    3.3.2 Digging gambits
    
    Sometimes, digging quick is not enough. You have to dig at a supernatural speed. 
    A common problem is digging laterally. Naturally, you will walk towards a block 
    and dig. If you do that you'll find out 
    that during several hundredths of seconds you are in fact hugging the wall 
    instead of digging. So what you must do is right
    before you reach the block to press the dig button. You will be sucked towards 
    the wall and dig it in one swift onctuous 
    move. The problem is that if you push the button too quick, you will miss the 
    wall, and lose a bit more than a tenth of 
    second as the drilling animation cycle is launched. So it's a bet. 
    A variation of that is when you have to walk then drill down. To gain a couple 
    of hundredths, you can walk not completely 
    above the block you wish to drill, only your drill proper needs to be on the 
    column you need to go to, so like one third of
    your character sprite can still be on the block before. Anyway, when you drill, 
    you will be automatically lined up. Again 
    this quick teleport can make you gain a couple of hundredths and make you lose a 
    couple of tenths if done to late. 
    
    3.3.3 What can you drill and from where?
    
    To drill, you must be standing on firm floor and in contact with a drillable 
    block. You can drill a from a falling platform
    and you can drill falling blocks, but only sideways. 
    
    3.3.4 Defense 
    
    Susumu and Anna can also drill upwards. This has its uses but they are limited 
    in Time Attack mode. You can drill a block 
    which is in the process of falling (that is, shaking) but not block which is 
    currently falling towards you! that's when
    you have to escape. 
    
    3.4. Physics of the world of Mr Driller 
    ---------------------------------------
    3.4.1 How Blocks Disappear
    
    As you probably know, when you drill a block no matter how big it disappears, 
    unless it is made of special material - more 
    on that later. 
    When a block has nothing underneath, it falls. But larger blocks which are stuck 
    to other blocks by any part will not fall. 
    Likewise, when a block falls and touches a block of the same color or material, 
    it sticks to it, and both blocks merge. If 
    the resulting block is for boxes big or more, it will disappear, unless it is 
    made of undestructible blocks. 
    When a block disappear, what's above it falls. 
    
    It's important to understand when blocks disappear. Just because a block is 
    bigger than 4 boxes doens't make it disappear. 
    One of the following three things must happen: 
    * you drill it,
    * a block of the same kind falls on or right next to it, 
    * the block below disappear, that block falls, and on hitting the ground it will 
    disappear. 
    
    When you drill a block, it disappears almost instantly. In all of the other 
    cases, it takes almost a 0"50 for the block to
    blink a few times then disappear completely. During that time, the block still 
    exists. This means that you can drill left
    or right standing on that block. You cannot drill the block (i.e. downwards) to 
    make it disappear sooner. 
    It also means that if anything falls from above while you are on a blinking 
    block, you are crushed and you die! 
    
    3.4.2 How Blocks Fall
    
    Block fall when there is nothing underneath, i.e. there is nothing below any 
    square of the block. The block still take 
    approximately 0"50 to fall, during which time it starts shaking. You can use 
    that time to escape. However, try to figure 
    out whether a falling block will hit you or not. Remember that if it falls next 
    to a block of the same type, it will stick
    to it so you don't have to worry.
    To ace in the longer time attack levels (and in the other game modes too) you 
    must know intuitively when you have to 
    actively dodge falling blocks and when you can safely continue drilling. 
    Also, when you pick up items (Time Bonuses or Air) the block above it can fall. 
    It's as if you dug.
    
    In several of the levels a good portion of your time will be consumed by waiting 
    for blocks to fall. In this case, it is 
    very important to make them fall just once, and not in several steps. 
    
    3.4.3 The star blocks
    
    Stars are special blocks which disappear after a set period of time. If you hit 
    them with your drill, they'll disappear as well. They can be extra helpful like 
    they can 
    stop a huge block from crushing you and all, or they can slow you major time as 
    you'll sometimes have to wait for them to disappear to continue your progress. 
    In many places they act as some kind of fuse so you have to be careful with them. 
    
    4. Tips for the other modes
    ===========================
    
    Now that you've completed Time Attack mode and Time Attack reverse, I can tell 
    you between you and I that Time Attack is the
    king of modes. It's like a thinking man's Tetris. The other two mode can seem to 
    rely much more on reflexes and stuff like
    that that we puzzle-solvers tend to frown upon. 
    
    It's not completely true, but the fact is that mastering Time Attack mode will 
    make you "unlearn" how to play regular 
    Mr Driller. So now that we're through with TA techniques here's how to switch 
    back to plain old boring Driller. 
    
    First in the two other modes, you must not drill fast. You must focus on 
    surviving and dodging blocks which is something
    quite secondary in Time Attack. The important skill to build is to be aware as 
    to when you are safe and when you must dodge
    blocks. It's important not to panic when a blue block in coming your way but you 
    can see the block that will stop it.
    
    Beware the wooden boxes. They are evil. 
    
    When you reach the big blocks every 100 meters, everything above you will 
    disappear, air and blocks alike. Good if you were
    about to be crushed, but be careful. 
    
    In the 1000 and 2000 modes, I try to get all the air bottles in the first levels. 
    This is because every bottle you get 
    gives you the number of bottles you've found x 100 points (100, 200, etc.) so if 
    you get, say, 50 bottles you already have
    127,500 points in bottles alone. Now why is it important? because every 200,000 
    points you get an extra life and you tend
    to die easily in these modes. As oppose to Time Attack. 
    That's also why when possible try to drill very big blocks for high scores. 
    
    Towards the end of the level air is an issue. Each time you see a bottle on the 
    screen try to plan a way to get it. If it 
    seems to hard forget it and continue downwards. Sometimes it's better to 
    sacrifice a life and progress downwards than die 
    trying getting air and not have advanced in the level. 
    
    The rest is skill and practice. 
    
    5. Links
    ========
    
    In this section I can only point towards Namco's web site. 
    Namco.com is terrible. Like somebody in Tokyo must think, "haha stupid 
    westerners, they suck at Pacman so they deserve no
    information whatsoever! bwahaha!" 
    You'll find a meager Mr Driller homepage. 
    (http://www.namco.com/games/mr_driller.html)
    Among the games to be released, there's no mention of Mr Driller 2. Like we 
    don't care or something?
    
    Namco.co.uk is even worse. Like you have to email them to know about the games 
    they might release in Europe. Bah!
    
    Now where you really want to go is on the namco.co.jp site. 
    You don't speak Japanese? me neither! But altavista.com does. Kind of. You can 
    sort of ask him to translate the site 
    directly. 
    
    Anyway the page is http://www.namco.co.jp/home/cs/gba/mrdriller2/index.html
    You'll find lots of useful information. 
    Says altavista: 
    
    "(4)  You break " the x sign block " of brown, ? ? useless! When you break, the 
    air minus 20%! You will pay attention! 
    (The picture photograph is place t Shaun edition) "
    
    "Don't you think? small it meaning that also the record which is done is 
    retained, you can play forever pleasantly."
    
    "When play is advanced, the " ???? secret card " enters into 1 hand in every 
    some condition. At all 20. This way in 
    pleasure. " 
    
    We love you altavista.
    
    6. Final Words
    ==============
    
    First of all I will like to express my deepest gratitude to the game developpers 
    at Namco. From a gameplay point of view 
    the game is flawless and suits the GBA format perfectly. My only regret is those 
    stupid brown "wooden boxes" (or x signs 
    so they are officially known). Brown is the forbidden color on the GBA. You are 
    excused since it's a launch title but if
    Mr Driller 3 is ever ported to the system, PLEASE do not have any brown blocks. 
    Or call it Castlevania so people will know. 
    
    Thanks Fanny, Mike, Sonia, Isabelle, Julia and Denis for moral support. Tons of 
    love.
    Thanks Ade for telling me the exact spelling of hundredths. A most useful, 
    widely underused word.
    
    Thanks to CJayC, the Lance Armstrong among the web site editors, and go Texas!
    
    Kudos go to the RATP for providing the most perfect GBA playing environment. The 
    lighting conditions are ideal. I've had
    my most glorious Mr Driller moments on the line 12. It's like the Paris subway 
    has been designed by Nintendo just for the 
    gameboy or something. 
    
    Thanks Lik Sang and visoly for everything you are doing. 
    
    Now a word to everybody who plays the game on emulators: you have to play it on 
    the GBA to know what it's like. Please buy
    the game when it's released in your territory. While you're at the videogames 
    store, buy every Monte Cristo game you can so
    I can get some royalties and visit us at www.montecristogames.com
    
    
    7. Contact information
    ======================
    
    This FAQ has been written by Jerome Cukier, you can join me at 
    jerome.cukier@laposte.net, please put "driller" somewhere in
    the subject which makes it easier for everyone. Well for me at least!
    I'm not a native speaker of English either so don't hesitate to tell me if there 
    are spelling or grammar mistakes. 
    If you found a more efficient way to complete a level please let me know, I'm 
    interested. I'm convinced that they must be
    some counterintuitive ways to blast the Time Attack time limits! 
    
    
    This document copyright Jerome Cukier july 2001
    

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