Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Dec 11, 2004
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Who wants to go dig-dugging today?

The Good

Dig Dug is a nice little game from Namco, and like its games from the 80s, it has a simple objective: dig your way through the earth, destroying two monsters called Pooka and Fygar by inflating them with your pump. After a few seconds of play, they will start chasing you, either by traveling on the paths you make, or turning into ghosts and going through the earth. There are rocks scattered throughout the levels, and these are useful for crushing Pooka and Fygar if they are behind you. While tunneling the earth, I always enjoy looking at the series of paths that I create – not only because they look rather interesting, but you score a few points for creating them in the first place.

The further your progress, the more difficult the rounds are, with later ones having multiple Pookas and Fygars all in one territory, meaning that it is more likely that one group will follow each other too close. And it is these difficult levels where you really must decide which method you will use for killing them, by crushing or by inflation. Inflating them wastes a few seconds of your time, as it requires about four slow pumps to make them explode, and there is the likely chance that while you are doing this, another group of enemies will get you. Crushing them would be the more effective way of destroying them, especially if you are within close range of a rock. Besides, you get more points for crushing than than for inflating.

The enemies have different characteristics. All monsters have different shapes and colors, so that you can tell them apart. Out of all these monsters, Fygar is the most dangerous. He can blow out fire at you from quite a distance and can run much faster than the other monsters. He is also the most ruthless as he is able to blow out fire every two seconds if he wants to. Also if you have two Pookas together in one territory, it is really hard to tell whether there is one or two of them, until they turn as ghosts and go their own separate ways.

In my opinion, the NES version of Dig Dug is very close to the coin-op version, especially the graphics. Pooka, Fygar, and your character are drawn the way that they should, with nice animations. The levels are structured well, with one or more flowers at the top to indicate the level you are on. The earth lies underneath, and Pooka and Fygar in their separate territories. The music and sound effects are the same.

The Bad

I didn't like the way that the music stops when you stop moving, and continues when you start again. As far as I know, no games from the early eighties were like that – either they did it properly or not at all.

The Bottom Line

The NES version of Dig Dug looks and plays exactly like its coin-op counterpart. The object is to blow Pooka and Fygar up using your pump, or crush them under rocks. Both monsters follow you after few seconds of play - mainly by turning themselves into ghosts, traveling through the earth, and walking on the paths you make. Once you kill all monsters, you proceed to the next level, but the further you progress, the more difficult the levels are, with more than one of each monster for you to deal with. The primary objective of the game could be to see how many monsters you blow up and how many levels you pass without losing all your lives.