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Diamond Digger (DOS)

Diamond Digger DOS The mine objects.


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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40955)
Written on  :  Feb 11, 2014
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
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How one ghost can give the player hell

The Good

Diamond Digger is an action game created by Keypunch Software, which is a company that I am not familiar with, but they also developed Block Five and Maze Runner, with both games appearing on compilations by Scott Miller, together with games that were created by Miller himself. Miller re-released the game under the title Raiders of the Forbidden Mine.

The object of the game is to get a key somewhere in the level and get to the elevator shaft. The ghost that appears out of the shaft at the start of the level homes in on your location, and you must find some way to reach the key without coming into contact with it. Along the way, you can also collect diamonds. Collecting all of them results in some bonus points. Your score multiplier will increase the more levels you finish. This means if you collect all the diamonds in every level, your chance of getting an extra life will improve dramatically.

Getting the keys should be easy, but there are two problems. As you navigate each screen, your food supply is running out, but you can replenish it by collecting icons marked ‘F’. Also, you must create passages at some point to get to the key, but this takes a long time, long enough for the ghost to catch up to you. So you need to find the quickest way to get to it, and this is done simply by using the passages that were created for you, those that are in close proximity to the key. When you run out of food, you die and respawn at the same spot where you died instead of starting where you entered the level.

Diamond Digger utilizes CGA graphics and uses the same two color palettes used in Pharaoh’s Tomb and Arctic Adventure, respectively. Having different color schemes doesn't make the graphics look boring, and there is enough variety to them. There is quite a bit of movement as the ghost makes its way towards you. The ghost can move in all directions, even through walls. The animation of the player dying is quite impressive. The amusing thing about it is that the grave that takes their place looks like a television set, complete with static.

The sound effects are minimal, but for a game like this, released in the Eighties, they are not required. Nearly everything that happens in the game, from moving around to exiting the level, produces a sound effect of some sort, with the most notable one being heard when you collect a diamond. The more diamonds you collect in the one level, the higher its pitch. The sound effects are quite good even through the PC Speaker.

I have no idea how many levels there are, nor do I know whether you can gain extra lives. As far as I'm concerned, the game only serves as a “score attack” game, meaning that you are trying to beat your previous score every time you play. The objects (player, ghost, gold nuggets, etc.) are placed in different locations in each level, and as I stated earlier you receive a bonus for each diamond you manage to collect without running out of food.

The Bad

Whatever your food supply is when you leave the level, it gets carried over to the next. Not only is this annoying, but it also makes it difficult. For instance, if you start the level with only two units of health and an ‘F’ icon is quite a distance away from you, you are forced to lose a life.

The Bottom Line

Diamond Digger is a nice action game where you need to collect as many gold nuggets as you can before time runs out, and avoiding ghosts whenever possible. It contains basic graphics (with two color schemes) and animations, along with basic sound and gameplay. It would have been nicer if a save game feature was added so that you can save the game between levels.