Brandon Boyer

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Also included in the update from yesterday’s Weekly Famitsu, which revealed that a downloadable DS Katamari Damacy block game would be released in March, was news that another cult Namco hit was on its way to both current Nintendo downloadable services.

The magazine brought news that both Mr. Driller World, a new WiiWare game with 24 new stages, and the frighteningly named SekuttohamureruHoriHoriAction Mr. Driller, a new DSiWare exclusive version of the game with a 17-stage mission mode, time attack mode, and Dristone mode, will be released next week on February 24th and 25th, respectively.

The Driller series, which is by all rights actually quite fantastic, has never caught on in the west as much as it has in Japan, but with good reason: the U.S. has been chronically deprived of all of the advances the franchise took throughout the early ’00s, from the Game Boy Advance’s Mr. Driller G and its first stirrings of story behind the madness, to Mr. Driller A, with a morphing virtual pet fed by the blocks you drilled, to all of the various plays on the standard arcade drilling seen in its Japan-only theme-park styled GameCube version, Mr. Driller: Drill Land.

Even Namco’s first opportunity to introduce just the Dristone mode to the U.S. (which, instead of continually counting down your oxygen level, drains it on a per-drill basis, for a vastly more strategic and less arcade-like game) was unceremoniously stripped from DS title Drill Spirits in order to have it ready for the hardware launch (the later European and Japanese releases retained it).

Instead, the first the U.S. had seen of Driller since the DS launch was the Xbox Live Arcade version, Mr. Driller Online, which, while retaining some of the excellent multiplayer race modes first introduced in the import-only Game Boy Advance versions, was crippled by buggy network code, with a patch that fixed the online play coming too late to avoid further sullying the Driller brand.

But there’s still hope that Namco might be ready to fix its prior mistakes: copyright/linkedin super-snoop blog superannuation recently noted that the publisher recently filed a trademark for Mr. Driller W, which would seemingly line up nicely with the WiiWare release, and will hopefully start to course-correct its reception in the west.

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