Some of my favorite gaming
experiences do not include running down hallways, blasting away with a rocket launcher, or
storming a beachhead at Normandy; they center around a small black console with blocky
game cartridges. That small console was an Atari 2600, and I was in love. There was
something about blasting away at the big, fat pink bomber with my sleek little jet fighter
that just seemed to be so cool, especially when it was my younger sister trying to force
that ungainly monster to get away from me. Indeed, the old classics from Atari were some
of the best and still rank, in my opinion, as some of the greatest games of all time.
This being the case,
you can imagine my excitement to actually get my hands on Infogrames new release,
Dig Dug Deeper. From all appearances, Infogrames seemed to have been able to take one of
my favorite old classics and revamp it with new 3D graphics and a sleek new feel.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. While the developers did include 3D graphics and
some nice effects, the overall impression I had was that the older version was much more
The premise is
still the same: you control Digger Dan (or whatever the name of the character actually
) as he tries to clear various planets of an underground infestation of walking
balloons with goggles and miniature dragons. Each planet contains various levels, each of
which must be cleared before moving onto the next planet. Unfortunately, unlike the arcade
or console version, there is a limited number of planets to conquer, so the actual length
of gameplay is a bit limited. The various difficulty levels can also be a bit misleading,
as the only real difference between difficulty settings is the speed at which the monsters
move, so essentially, the replay value is not all that great.
At the same
time, there are a few modifications to the original Dig Dug. In addition to the rocks,
which can be used offensively by clever diggers, Dig Dug Deeper also includes lava, poison
gas, ice vapors, and other environmental hazards that can be used to kill those pesky
monsters. While it is an interesting idea, the actual implementation seems to be a bit
limited in its scope and doesnt really enhance gameplay to any great degree. Since I
had to spend more time making sure I wasnt killed by the same hazard that I tried to
use to kill off my opponents, I found it easier to just depend on the traditional pump and
pop method of extermination.
feature that I found interesting was what would happen if a single creature were to escape
the tunnel after Dig Dug began his work. The chase would be on the top of the 3D modeled
world. While the perspective was a bit difficult to work with, it did seem nice that at
least one aspect of the game did allow for recent progressions in gaming technology.
However, this 3D mode only lasted for the time it took to hunt down the escaped monster
and was actually a limited part of the game.
enough, even while working with 3D models, the game still proceeds on a very limited 2D
scale. All tunnels must be dug either horizontally or vertically, which seems to be
ludicrous considering the developments in programming that allow for much more complex
gaming options. More interactive tunneling options, or at least a diagonal once in a while
would have been a nice feature to see in the newer release of Dig Dug.
In spite of these shortcomings, I have at least one opinion about Dig Dug Deeper that
explains the 3 star score: it appeals to multiple ages. Dig Dug was a favorite of my
younger years and hence holds a great deal of nostalgic value for me, even if the newer
version does not really live up to the ideals the original established in its days. It
also holds a lot of appeal to me in that I was able to play this game with my 2 year-old
niece and not need to worry about gore settings or game complexity. She was able to sit on
my lap, and with a little help she was bursting frygars with the best of them. She would
get so excited when one of them popped that it made the entire gaming experience
worthwhile for me.
Non-violent, or at least non-graphicly violent, games that actually can cross age
barriers are rare and deserve some recognition. I think that Dig Dug Deeper does deserve
some consideration for its offering in this genre; however, the lack of technological
development in Dig Dug Deeper is very disappointing. I would highly recommend that gamers
interested in Dig Dug should consider looking in a pawn shop/antique store for an old
Atari console or consider looking for a game emulator the classic version gained
its reputation for a reason.