By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
Jill herself has the gritty, tooth-clenching readiness of a working-class hero. As Jill, you're trying to find the evil Skulkers, a team of baddies who've kidnapped your father along with a rare red diamond. You'll also be drilling through a lot of policemen, at which point the game somehow reminds me of The Village People mugging and singing "YMCA." To save Dad, you'll get behind the wheel of a clunky but powerful drilling machine. The Drill Dozer has a sharp corkscrew device on the front to bore through the baddies, and pretty much anything or anyone who gets in the way.
As you move through the levels in the quest to find Dad and the diamond, you'll discover several items that will pimp up the Drill Dozer. There are gears that make it more powerful and special gizmos to let you fly and swim. You'll have various drill bits and drills, and you'll collect chips along the way to buy upgrades like a megabit, which pretty much drills through the toughest substance you'll encounter. Tip: If you see a cracked wall, go ahead and drill. You'll likely find a treasure inside.
For a handheld game created for a system that isn't considered cool anymore, Drill Dozer is packed with attitude and emotion, and cut scenes that are full of adventure. With Jill's pals Gearmo, your grease monkey, and Grutch, a crusty old geezer with lots of wisdom to offer Jill, you'll have a lot of helpthe tough guy kind à la Monster Garage (Could Jill really be Sandra Bullock, longing for a tough guy like Jesse James-like Gearmo to marry?). No matter how much help you've gotten from the macho men, you'll have a heckuva time beating the mysterious Croog, the unhinged megaboss of the Skulker gang.
The Japanese developer, Game Freak, has had huge success with its Pokemon games. Here, they've taken pride in putting together a package which includes a small comic book and a cartridge that incorporates rumble feature (which even seems to work when you play the game in the DS's Gameboy Advance slot). The only thing I don't like about the game is its incessant, frenetic soundtrack. It's supposed to pump you up with energy to play. But it's so loud and speedy, the music distracts and annoys me to occasional migraine status. That's the price one pays for gaming. Fun + Pain = Rush for Tylenol.
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