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It seems that no matter how far we strive forward within the medium of gaming, there is always going to be those select few with their rose-tinted glasses asking for a return to the good old days. That’s why you see so many repackaged Namco, Sega Mega Drive and NES classics being imported to each new piece of hardware. It may seem like a cheap ploy to get another few coins from gamer's wallets but on the flip side, it can be nice to take a break from the ultra-realism of today’s gaming scene and bring things back to a more simple and primitive time. Dig Dug may be another game that has been repackaged time and time again in this way but that is for a very good reason, it’s a classic.
Dig Dug plays similarly to other retro titles of the time such as Pengo, Canal Chase, Amidroid or Bomberman. These all play with the maze-like stages and the same general control scheme as Dig Dug but none are quite as good at delivering the maze format with as much depth and nuance as this coin grabbing arcade classic.
Dig, Dig, dig!
Dig Dug tasks the player of clearing underground stages of all enemies while trying to not get caught by the enemies that will pursue you from the surface. This leads to a game that is a perfect balance of being attack-minded but with the good sense to know when its time to evade and defend. To kill an enemy you’ll have to use your trusty hose and an air pump to fill them full of air until they burst. It seems like a rather archaic way to do things but you can’t say it isn’t fun.
The game has quite a range of enemies to take out and evade along with environmental aspects that can also end your run but may also be used to your advantage. You’ll have to take out the Pookas which are the non-intimidating and passive creatures you’ll have to pop to clear the level. However, there is also the Fygars which aren’t quite as passive and will breathe fire at you in an attempt to stop you in your tracks. All in all, the gameplay is rather deep for a game of its time and as you progress through the stages you will find yourself challenged.
There are some small issues with the input lag when using your air pump and when the action occurs on the screen which takes some getting used to initially. However, aside from this, the game offers a fair and addictive experience that will have you playing for hours.
A Timeless Classic
This game in the light of 2020 is as good as it ever was. Granted, the visuals have aged and don’t even come close to rivalling anything on the market today. Plus the sound can be repetitive much like an arcade game from this period.
However, the most important part, the gameplay, is still as sound as ever and shows that those at Namco had more than just Pac-Man in their locker. If you have never played this classic title, we see no reason why you shouldn’t invest some time into this one. It may not challenge modern gaming’s standards but it is retro gaming at its finest.
- The gameplay is fun and challenging
- Visuals have aged well considering the time of release
- Music is repetitive
- Input lag can be an issue