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Mini-Review: Dig Dug

Namco - 1982 - Arcade 

Dig Dug is a maze styled arcade game, and on of Namco’s flagship series. In it, you must venture deep underground and defeat the beasts that lurk below. Armed with your trusty, and unnecessarily violent, air pump, you must inflate and pop all the creatures to proceed. 



The gameplay is rather straight forward. Tazio Hori (your main man) can dig into the ground and create tunnels with the joystick. Once a path is cleared, Taizo can walk through them, but so can the enemy characters. The games enemies are the tomato like Pookas, and the Dragon like Fygars. While both will chase you, the Fygars will also occasionally use a blast of fire from their mouth to attack. It only takes one hit to make Tazio crumble, so be careful.The enemies usually travel in tunnels, but will occasionally turn into faces and travel through solid ground. They can still attack you while doing this, but you can attack back if they come near a tunnels edge. Also, when only one enemy remains, or when the music changes, the remaining enemy will make a break for the surface. You can try to track them down, but letting them escape has no negative consequences; beside a few less points. You can either attack by inflating the enemies till they burst, or by using one of the boulders that appear in the level. You don’t have to kill the enemies once you attack though, and can use the pump for more strategic purposes. It usually takes 3 pumps to kill each enemy, and with each pump it takes a little bit longer for the enemies to return to normal. Using this, you can either stall enemies while on the run, or try and catch them in an area before dropping the boulder on them. After 2 boulders are dropped, a bonus food item will appear where Taizo starts from. The bonus points of the item increase with each level. 


Dig Dug is a retro classic, and another great example of simple yet challenging game play. The game is easy to get into, and difficult to master. The games difficultly increases sharply, making concentration and thinking ahead a must. The colorful cute graphic and fun core game play draw you in quickly. It’s easy to see why this remains one of Namco’s most popular titles. Lucky for you, Dig Dug has been on almost, if not, every console to date, so its easy to pick up a copy. This is a definite must play for retro nerds.


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