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Dig Dug (NES) artwork

Dig Dug (NES) review


"How would you feel if your lovely garden was wasted by a bunch of alien bastards? Yeah, you would go into your shed, pick up your favourite bicycle pump and forcefully evict the little cretins from your backyard paradise. Thatís precisely what has happened to Dig Dug, the misplaced spaceman (He really does look like an astronaut!). Without a thought for his personal safety, he goes down on a digging expedition to pump these invaders bodies full of air and clean his garden from these alien scum..."



How would you feel if your lovely garden was wasted by a bunch of alien bastards? Yeah, you would go into your shed, pick up your favourite bicycle pump and forcefully evict the little cretins from your backyard paradise. Thatís precisely what has happened to Dig Dug, the misplaced spaceman (He really does look like an astronaut!). Without a thought for his personal safety, he goes down on a digging expedition to pump these invaders bodies full of air and clean his garden from these alien scum.

Dig Dug is a depressingly repetitive and painfully awkward puzzle game. It starts rather pleasantly as you dig through the ground and attack your first monster. DD can dig in for directions: up, down, left and right. The misplaced spaceman can even walk directly up and defy the laws of gravity. He can even go back down as well, amazing! Armed with his trusty and rusty bike pump, he can kill any creatures that he comes across. Unfortunately, it takes an age to actually kill any enemy with the pump and often leaves you wide open for another enemy to come up and kill you.

You see, the bike pump releases a cord that shoots forward and impales the enemy rather viciously. With the press of a button, DD fires the cord out and traps the enemy and then you have mash the same button endlessly until that enemy pops open like a balloon. However, this becomes a major problem in later stages of the game because it can take ages to do. Later on, when four enemies are chasing you at once, it is immensely tedious to stop and try to pump an enemy up. By the time you have the guy hooked, his friend will ram into you and you will lose one of your precious lives. (Precious as in you only have three throughout the entire game.)

Speaking of enemies, we have a grand total of two types. One is a bespectacled red ball that hops towards you at a brutal pace and the other is a dragon-like creature that occasionally pukes out fireballs to fry your misplaced cosmic arse. When you first begin, the monsters will be in separate caverns on various parts of the level. You can go and dig them out if you wish but occasionally, they will teleport towards you. They turn into an invisible state and hover across the earth towards to your area, refilling as they enter. You can pump them up just before they enter your cave but if two are coming at once then your horribly flawed attack will be your downfall as the other enemy reappears next to you and cleans your misplaced spaceman clock.

If youíre lucky, you can use rocks to kill multiple enemies. If you tunnel under a rock, it will start to shake and will eventually fall. Thankfully, if any cretin is chasing you when you go under the rock, it will land on top of the creature and squash it flat. This can be a godsend if youíre being chased by three merciless creatures at once but you have to be very lucky to get the damn thing to work. Most of the frigginí time, the creatures chasing you will run under the rock before it hits the ground. The little creep running into your spaceman ass and robbing you of one of your very valuable lives usually follows this.

To clear a stage you must blow all of the enemies up with the pump. At stage one itís quite fun, despite being a little bit awkward to actually use the damn thing. When you get to level five, you realise that youíve just repeated the same task five times and the appeal has just been stabbed in the face with a butcher knife. When you get to level ten, youíll realise that itís not going to get any better and hope to God that youíll come across a much-needed life, which will never happen. If you manage to get past round 12, youíll be thrown all the way back to round eight, which leads on towards a vicious circle until your NES burns out or when the game automatically resets at level 250. Thatís what Iíve heard, I havenít actually been sad enough to play it that long.

Dig Dug starts well but weighs its fun factor down by piling on the repetitive action, the awkward way to kill enemies and the long and ongoing circle of replayed levels. Itís fun for about ten minutes or so but after that you start to realise that their is next to no variation in the levels and the game simply keeps on going in same direction. The use of the pump on enemies was rather amusing at first bit itís so frigginí slow and leaves you wide open for an attack by another enemy. Itís worth getting it for cheap, you like puzzle games and such but otherwise, it remains as an awkward and repetitive puzzle game that isnít worth the hassle.

Rating: 3/10

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Community review by goldenvortex (July 02, 2005)

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