Way back in 1982, Namco released Dig Dug in arcades everywhere. More than 20 years later, the game has truly stood the test of time; it is regarded as a bona fide classic. Were it not for Pac-Man, the hero of Dig Dug, Taizo Hori, would undoubtedly be the official mascot of Namco. Dig Dug: Digging Strike takes the basic concepts of the original arcade game and adds a few gameplay elements that, ultimately, don't fit together all that well. The game plays well enough, but anyone accustomed to the simplicity of Dig Dug might turn their nose up at this one.
Over the course of the game's 15 stages, you're tasked with ridding an island of its boss. Simple enough, as you're armed with your trusty digging tools and handy harpoon to take out any enemies in your path. The catch here is that you never fight the boss directly. By digging underground and creating holes under the pillars placed conveniently around each of the maps, your goal is to sink the big monsters into the water by breaking off the chunk of island that they are standing on. Throughout the course of each stage, you'll switch between traveling both above and below ground, taking out enemies, collecting power-ups and playing minigames based on other classic Namco arcade games.
One of the things that made the original Dig Dug games so great was their simplicity. With Digging Strike, though, the simple things are really only here as a reminder of what the original games were like. Sure, while you're underground you're using the harpoon to blow up enemies, but when you clear out the screen, the stage doesn't end. In many ways, the bad guys down below are merely there to slow you down from sending the boss creature into the drink. After getting used to the fact that the Dig Dug gameplay you might expect really only appears in the game in spirit, and after you've completed several levels, you realize that the concept gets old very quickly. While it certainly can be challenging to figure out exactly how you're going to make the bosses take a bath, Digging Strike does little to offer much more of substance. Aside from the collection elements of the game, Digging Strike also sports a thin wireless multiplayer mode for up to two players, where you and another spelunker race to gather 20 coins before the other.