This classic GameCola article was originally published in March, 2006.
Dig Dug: Digging Strike is the type of game most people pass over when they’re seeing what titles are for sale at the Burlington Coat Factory. It’s usually lumped together with such Game of the Year candidates as that port of an old game you’ve only barely heard of, that game based on the Nickelodeon characters you hate because they aren’t Ren and Stimpy, and that game about the Olsen twins going to the mall. It just kind of exists, and you just kind of ignore it.
But what happens if you don’t ignore it?
Well, you end up playing a six-hour-long game about digging holes in order to drop spikes in order to sink parts of islands in order to kill giant monsters in order to stop those giant monsters from doing whatever it was they were planning on doing. Which, based on their actions, appears to be little more than just walking in jagged lines and occasionally crapping out baby monsters who are also fond of walking in jagged lines.
While digging tunnels underground in hopes of toppling great beasts, you’re also supposed to be on the hunt for fossils and other collectible items, though you’ll quickly learn to just forget about that. In order to get every single one of these items, you’d have to dig up every single pixel of dirt in every single level, as there’s no obvious pattern to the items’ placements. You’re in luck if you’ve been clamoring for Needles in Haystacks: The Game, but otherwise, it’s best to just avoid this and stick to your destructicity.
Additionally, you’re also out to kill the little baby monsters before they kill you, which you achieve via inflation. Not the reason why Xbox 360 games cost as much as a Congressman, but rather the type involved in blowing up your replica of the Ninja Turtles blimp. You shove a hose into the baby monsters and just keep pumping in air until they’re blown to little baby pieces. Or you could dig under a rock and drop it on their faces, which is an even more satisfying way to cause death, though much harder to accomplish.
If this sounds too complex for you, never fear! Dig Dug: Digging Strike holds your hand the whole way through, making absolutely sure to explain every single new game mechanic to you so there’s no way you’d have to figure it out yourself. The only really challenging part is figuring out which part of the island to sink (or which part is gonna sink), and then making sure the boss is standing on it when you sink it. (It can take upwards of one minute to figure that out.)
There is some story to Dig Dug, which, by default, means there’s more of a story than I’d expected. Though, I can’t really say I know what that story actually is. I don’t know why the monsters are there, though I do know they’re Up to No Good. I don’t know why Taizo, the Dig Dugger himself, was so intent on destroying all the monsters, but I do know he was feeling jealous—his son, Mr. Driller, was the one wanted for the job, but Taizo made sure that wouldn’t happen.
Taking inspiration from Musical Chairs (as great a place for inspiration as any), the gameplay soundtrack of Dig Dug plays only while the Digger is moving. This is about as exciting as the game gets, though that isn’t necessarily a complaint.
Dig Dug has a two-player mode, but honestly: When are you ever gonna find someone else who even owns a DS, let alone a copy of Dig Dug: Digging Strike? If you do, here’s what you’ll be in for: Collecting more coins than your opponent before the time limits runs out. Amazing. It’s as if they just knew the mode wouldn’t get much play.
As difficult as it is to write funny about a game that’s good, it’s even harder to write funny about a game that just exists. There’s only so many different ways you can say “meh”, and I used them all up around the second paragraph. I feel bad about saying that, I really do—I had a fun enough time playing Dig Dug; but it’s just so underwhelming that I don’t have it in me to recommend it. But, hey—this is what happens when you go shopping for videogames at Burlington Coat Factory.