Random Game Wednesdays: Arcade Game Series: Dig Dug (Xbox One)

I’ve done a lot of Random Game Wednesdays posts about old games. That wasn’t my intention today when I decided to do an Xbox One game. But, the random number generator decided to give me a “4”, which just happened to be the port of Dig Dug from a couple of years ago. So, here we go again. Let’s talk about an old video game.

LIke many games from its time, Dig Dug largely revolves around getting a high score. I’ve never been much of a high score chaser, always preferring to just see how many levels I can get through. Thankfully, the core gameplay is pretty fun and is actually surprisingly unique even today.

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You play as Dig Dug, or Taizo Hori in other games that he’s appeared in, and it’s your goal to kill off monsters that are hanging out underground. Why? I don’t know. I guess they’re attacking or something? But whatever, you need to take them out, and your weapon of choice is some kind of weird air pump. You simply get yourself in front of an enemy and shoot the pump into them, then rapidly pump them up until they explode.

All levels take place underground with enemies going back and forth in small chunks that have already been dug out. You can dig any of the ground around you just by walking through it. This lets you go basically anywhere, but digging is much slower than walking through a tunnel that had previously been cleared out, so if an enemy is on your tail, digging isn’t always the best option.

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If you’re looking for a way to kill enemies that doesn’t involve inflating them, you can dig underneath rocks. This will cause the rock to fall straight down to the bottom of the screen, killing anything in its path. This is great for stopping enemies that are chasing you, and it can rack up a lot of points if you take out more than one enemy with a single rock.

Speaking of enemies, they come in two different varieties. First, there’s the Pooka, a round red ball wearing goggles. These guys just try to kill you by running straight for you. The other kind of enemy is the Fygar, a fire-breathing dragon. As you’d expect, he spits fire that makes it a lot more dangerous to get in close for the kill.

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If you don’t kill the enemies fast enough, they’ll take the fight to you. Although they can’t actually dig new paths, They can travel through the dirt. They’re represented by a pair of eyes and can move diagonally when doing this, although their speed is greatly reduced. Once you’ve killed all but one of them, the last enemy will run to the surface and try to escape. From what I can tell, they only thing you miss out of by not killing this last one is some points, as you’ll still advance to the next stage even if he gets away.

The Xbox One version is a solid port, but there doesn’t seem to be too many bells and whistles thrown in. You get some cool art that surrounds the screen, and you have a couple of options to choose from. You can also zoom in and rotate the game screen, but a simple “stretch to fill screen” button would have gone a long way.

All in all, Dig Dug is and has always been a fun little arcade game. It’s not something that I see myself going back to too regularly, but it’s always a good time.

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