Dig yourself into a hole.
Are you a gamer looking to relive the golden era of cabinet gaming? If so, allow Dig Dug to be a part of this experience. Get your arcade stick out, and make sure you got your square gate ready. Dig Dug is about to take you back to 1982, when games were made to test your reflexes and pattern recognition ability.
It’s hard to judge a game that’s 34 years of age. Where we have to give Dig Dug its props is in the beauty of it not overdoing anything it should. In no way does the game ever glitch or give you a moment of inaccuracy that causes you to experience defeat.
Style and Appearance
If you’re familiar with the pixel art style of modern independent game offerings, you’ll instantly know what Dig Dug offers in the visuals and appearance. The cusp with Dig Dug however, is that the art style is not by choice. This is what gaming used to be. This is what most of us in our 30’s and 40’s remember being some of out first experiences in gaming.
Namco did an excellent job is this department. Their use of colors on stage and strong antagonist/protagonist characters blend extremely well, and gives the game the absolute charm that comes from this era of gaming.
Dig Dug is, to a large degree a game of chase, with offense oriented elements. It’s a bit similar to Pac-Man, but with a strong twist.
You play as the protagonist, once known as Dig Dug, (nowadays formerly referred to as Taizo Hori) who’s mission is to dig through the dirt with the purpose of defeating the enemies that lurk underground. To accomplish this, Taizo can either use his air pump to inflate the enemies (Pookas and Frygars) until they pop, move the dirt under the boulder and lure the enemies into a trap to be crushed, or a combination of both. If you accomplish to defeat the enemies, you move onto the next round. If any of the enemies touch you, it’s a loss of a turn, resulting in another attempt until all enemies are cleared from the stage.
In similar fashion to Pac-Man, the enemies tend to eventually follow you as you dig tunnels. Thankfully, you won’t need gum to rally together an offense, but you’ll have to use good judgement and reflexes to use the air pump in order to clear yourself from danger.
Scoring from each kill will be rewarded on not just the enemies you kill, but also where on the stage you slay them (the deeper on the screen you defeat them, the more points they are worth), as well as how many of them you can kill with one boulder.
The premise is simple in execution, yet extremely easy to subscribe to Dig Dug’s addictive nature.
Speaking of addictive, the theme that plays every time Taizo walks will stay in your head for hours, and in some sick way, you might just fall in love with this.
While Dig Dug was clearly meant to be a solo venture, the version played for this review gets some form of credit in this category. The leaderboard added was a great addition that keeps the competitive aspect of the game alive, as you try to defeat the score of all other players. By no means is it revolutionary, but it allows for a form of silent participation across the community playing the game.
It won’t take much effort to jump in and start enjoying Dig Dug. It’s a pure retro arcade game that has two things in mind: play long, and score high. No insane plot. No complicated game mechanics. the game has potential to suck you in for hours, but if you need to separate yourself from it due to responsibility, it won’t feel like you’re a total stranger to it when you get back (as evident by how much I enjoyed playing it even though I have not touched it in an extremely long time).
If you love games centered on scores, this is going to hook you in. If you’re not into this style of reward, chances are you’ll move on rather quickly.
As mentioned in the involvement section, nothing to see here. It’s a straight 80’s arcade game based on scoring.
Content and Replay Value
Dig Dug officially has 250 rounds, meaning that players that can concentrate long enough can potentially have long, satisfying and challenging bouts. While one would think this could become repetitive, as an arcade game, this is what was expected from this era. Sure, it can strike as mundane by today’s standard, but rest assured it’s done well. The repetition won’t hinder your thirst to want to continue through the game and to post bigger, better scores.
- Graphical Quality
- Style and Appearance
- Content and Replayability
The Final Judgement
Dig Dug continues to be a classic arcade game that offers today's gamers plenty in the realm of testing reflexes and patience. This is Namco at it's finest, giving everyone a nice taste of some of their top efforts from the fundamental era in our hobby.
At a price of $3.99 on PSN, you probably have little room to deny yourself this title, provided it's your kind of thing. Keep in mind, this is a perfect 1982 port, from visuals to sound. The presentation is a deep trip back to the roots of arcade gaming, and one everyone should explore at least once in their life.