Publisher: The Hit Squad
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #73


Mitral, a moon of the planet Earth, has been heavily mined for generations by an outlawed race called the Ketars. But now Mitral is only hours away from disaster because a meteor is about to hit it. Not a lot to be worried about there, you may think, but the Ketars have done a runner and so gas has built up under the surface of Mitral. If the pressure isn't released pretty darn pronto Mitral will explode and knock Evath out of its orbit. You have been chosen as the brave soul who must roam the eighteen sectors of Mitral, placing a drilling rig in each to release the gasses.

Plenty of brain-bending puzzles and danger, in the guise of Laser Beacons and Skanners, stand between you and success. Sometimes 'X' literally marks the spot for setting down the drilling rigs (they are teleported from Evath - you don't carry such huge things around), but most of the drilling has to be done by trial and error. So hurry, you don't have a lot of time left before Mitral goes boom!!

The first Freescape game, C64 Driller receive a massive 96% in Issue 33, with Julian Rignall proclaiming it "a superb piece of software... adds a whole new dimension to computer gaming". Looking at the game today, it seems to have lost some of its sparkle to its successors, Dark Side, Total Eclipse, etc.

Luckily, the infuriatingly slow movement doesn't spoil enjoyment of the game too much: brain power is much more important than speed. And don't forget the moody 15-minute long soundtrack which adds a lot to the atmosphere.

The Amiga game (89%, Issue 44) is inevitably a lot faster but the polygon graphics in no way push the machine to its limits. The lack of at least a title tune is annoying, but the sound effects go some way to redressing the balance. In short, both versions of the game have weathered the storms of time pretty well, and are good value for anyone who missed them first time around.