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Dig Dug: Digging Strike Package Art

Dig Dug: Digging Strike

Dig Dug was and remains a strong concept defined by unique gameplay mechanics. The game works best when those mechanics are pushed to their limits, implementing concepts to their fullest potential.

Dig Dug updates have been few and far between since Dig Dug Arrangement, which featured an overworld map, multiplayer, and the occasional giant boss to topple. Dig Dug: Digging Strike takes cues from both classic Dig Dug and Dig Dug Arrangement for some new twists on the Dig Dug series.

The story begins with Taizo (Dig Dug), in a huff to prove himself, comes out of retirement when government officials call on his residence in search of his ever popular son, Susumu (Mr. Driller). Taizo rushes to save his island nation from the rampaging monsters that have begun to appear mysteriously.


Cutscenes are flat, minimally animated comic elements; yet, they function well in telling the story. The story is humorously engaging, enriches the characters, their world, and ultimately, justifies gameplay elements.

You and all enemies, except for bosses, are 2D sprites. Bosses are rendered romping and stomping about overworld in flagrant 3D. All animations are lively and add character, especially those of bosses. You'll find yourself watching them, not just for their position, but because each is different and moves in a unique and endearing way.

Each island stage is color matched in theme; a typical example are the cool blues and purples that adorn the level, enemies and the boss of the ice stage. This type of attention to visual detail succeeds in enriching the look of the game world.


Digging Strike has noticeably great music all around. Sound effects are varied and memorable, from the earth-shattering rumble of a driven spike to the roar of a sinking boss. According to Digging Strike's sound test there are over 50 tracks of background music and near three times that in sound effects, all of which enrich the game.


Focus has shifted from the traditional destroy all enemies objective to sinking the boss roaming overworld. Unless you're going for the monster medal, you'll only blow up those enemies that get in your way while sinking spikes. I started out blowing all of them up out of habit, but stopped when I learned that after you blow them all up you don't have free reign of the terrain: undefeatable ghost Fygars haunt screens emptied of monsters.

The main game (Story Mode) is fairly short: 12 island stages on which to sink a different boss. After you've beaten Story Mode, another version opens up which is, as far as I can tell, exactly the same as the first except that the stars marking each stage on the world map are red instead of yellow. There are incentives to go back and play, mainly in the form of high score setting and collecting pieces of fossil and pump upgrades.

In addition to story mode, Horivalou and Hori X minigames are just that--minigames that allow you to take to the overworld in various machines including a race car, helicopter and jet fighter. While fun and refreshing contrasts to digging gameplay, they are little more than a fun diversion. The most strategy you'll find yourself exercising is where to split the land, and then waiting until the boss is in the right spot.

I had hoped to see more integration of the DS's unique features in Digging Strike, besides a minigame at the Namco title screen where you can tap Pookas to blow them up. Why not incorporate this logical meeting of Dig Dug and touch screen more fully into the game?


Taizo squares off against rogue Ataru. Depending on who initiates the game, you play as one or the other. Two players choose a multiplayer stage and then try to collect the most coins while hindering the other from doing so. If you sink your opponent by splitting the land, you get their coins! Unfortunately, multiple game cards are required for multiplayer play.


Dig Dug's debut on the DS, while stellar in concept, stops short of following through to its fullest potential. The fleshing out of the Dig Dug world in story mode was enjoyable, I only wish that the gameplay was a bit deeper, or at least more challenging. At the end of the day, this game is for die-hard Dig-Dug fans looking to get down and dirty again or younger gamers for whom the strategy will be more challenging.

final score 7.0/10

Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"

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