Dig Dug Digging Strike is Namco’s latest revival of a classic arcade franchise on the DS. It’s classic Dig Dug action with a dual screen twist. Monsters are coming out from the underground and your role in Dig Dug is to send them to a watery grave by sinking them into the sea. To do this you’ve got to watch both screens very carefully as you play classic Dig Dug on the bottom screen while trying to get the boss on a piece of land that is sure to sink. It’s tricky, challenging, and familiar to anyone who has played the original Dig Dug, but its formula of old school arcade action with a new school is just cool enough to warrant a look at.You could say that in the 20 years since the creation of Dig Dug, a whole lot has changed in the video gaming scene. That being said, Dig Dug Digging Strike stays true to its roots and really doesn’t change much in the visual department. Oh, sure the graphics are cleaner looking, but that aside the in-game action looks virtually identical to its arcade parent. In between stages you get some cool looking stills of some very cartoony looking stuff, but nothing that could make Digging Strike stand out above some of the other DS games currently available.
Where Dig Dug could use a little more work is in the audio department. For whatever reason there’s just not much going on in the game. There’s music played whenever you move your character, and it’s going on in the background very quietly, but it’s rather plain and dull. Sound effects are boring and rather than helping to elevate the gameplay they are just there and nothing more.
Interestingly Digging Strike doesn’t make very much use out of the touch screen, but it makes up for it with some pretty clever usage of the dual screens. You really need to keep your eyes on both screens at the same time so that you know where the boss is at all times. While you’re playing on the bottom screen what is essentially traditional Dig Dug, the boss is walking around and your job is to drop him into the depths of the ocean. You’ve got to contend with monsters and giant spikes on the bottom screen to do this and get your timing just right so that the boss is right where you need him to be when you drop that last spike that will send him to his doom. It’s fun, but it wears out rather quickly. Even the mini-games that play on some of Namco’s other famous franchises don’t help much and they actually slow down the gameplay because they all cause a break in gameplay and have instructions before each play. The game does boast some 80 areas to explore, so if you’re a Dig Dug fan or just a fan of the old school arcade game, there may be plenty to enjoy here.
There is a two-player versus mode in case you want to challenge a fellow DS owner to a game, it’s more or less the same as the regular mode, but your goal is to collect coins and try to sink your opponents’ island. It’s interesting, but that’s all there is to it, just one mode no other types of challenges or otherwise. It’s a bit lacking in the replay department, but in retrospect it could have been worse and not have included any at all.
While Dig Dug Digging Strike is a long game and offers up plenty of play through making you want to get every single item and high score you possibly can, sometimes even that’s not enough. After the first few stages the game gets so repetitive that at times it’s difficult to continue playing, and that is a bad sign. It’s not addicting, every stage has you trying to sink a giant monster into the ocean, and the gameplay never deviates from this. That might be perfectly fine for huge Dig Dug fans, but for anyone who hasn’t a clue what the original Dig Dug is even about there’s not much to enjoy here. It’s just not as original as some of the other games on the Nintendo DS right now, and that’s a shame because after playing the very creative Pac Pix one might have expected a lot more from this game.
Now, maybe I’ve been spoiled by some really good games since the original Dig Dug came out, but this just didn’t do it for me. Of course if you’re a big fan you’ll absolutely love what’s here because it’s Dig Dug and it’s updated with some pretty cool new features. Some more creative stages and less repetitive gameplay would have made this game easier to swallow, but otherwise it may be another game you choose to pass up on. You’re best off trying before buying.
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