Dig Dug XBL Arcade Review / Preview for Xbox 360 (X360)

Dig Dug XBL Arcade Review / Preview for Xbox 360 (X360)

Another Namco release, another classic disappointment.

Has anyone thought about the plight of these poor subteranian creatures that this man “Dig Dug” needlessly slaughters? What did these Pooka and Fygars ever do to deserve such horrifying retribution? If this jerk, Mr. Dug, isn’t crushing their heads in with giant boulders, he’s inflating them until they explode. Just imagine that for a second; how would you feel if all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a Smurf lookalike in a white jumpsuit came into your house and popped you like an over-inflated birthday balloon?.

Dig Dug XBL Arcade screenshot

But I digress. NamcoBandai has decided to grace Xbox 360 owners with yet another arcade classic by releasing Dig Dug on Wednesday. Armed with a shovel and an air pump, players head underground to eliminate the Pooka and Fygars where they sleep. Does this guy get hazard pay for his exterminating gig? Who cares, in 1982 gamers didn’t need a reason or plotline to distract them from the action. That’s the beauty of a game such as this. It’s so damn simple that even your 78 year old grandmother can pick it up and play.

Part of the old-school charm is the hidden complexity beneath the simple controls and premise. How do you kill a baddy? Blow him up with your harpoon and bicycle pump or crush him with a rock. If getting through a level is your only goal, then that’s all you really have to worry about. If you are looking for the best score possible, however, you have to pay attention to the little nuances involved. Dropping a rock on as many monsters nets the greatest score, but setting them up for the kill can often take minutes and will tax your patience. It may be very tempting just to pop a dude when you have him hooked up, but leaving him to recover and continue the chase will often set up better scoring.

This formula is completely and utterly addictive. The risk/reward aspect of trying to setup bigger points will often have you losing lives a little quicker than you’d like, but improving and pulling off that huge drop onto four monsters at the same time is completely and utterly worth it. And looking at some of the scores that have already been posted on the Xbox Live Leaderboards, there are plenty of people going to town on those underground fire-breathing heathen beasts.

Dig Dug XBL Arcade screenshot

As addictive and fun as this title is, it suffers from just about the same problems as previous Namco XLA releases. Controls on the Xbox 360 controller, for whatever reason, is iffy. Moving with accuracy isn’t as tough as it was in Pacman, but there will be more than a few times that you will turn into a monster when you meant to go in another direction, even when using the D-Pad instead of the analog stick. Part of the problem for some may be that levels are built pretty strictly and that you can’t turn between the widths of tunnels you create.

Worse than the controls is the complete and utter lack of any content beyond single-player action on the original arcade machine. The original arcade release allowed for multiplayer. Why can’t we get some multiplayer action in the year 2006? Splitscreen, alternating, on the same stage, whatever; anything would be enough really. Why can’t we get the updated levels that have been released in the arcades and different compilation games over the years? This game was released in 1982 and we actually lose features from the original when it releases nearly 25 years later? This is unacceptable NamcoBandai. Just a little content goes a long way for a game like this, but instead we get zilched.

Dig Dug XBL Arcade screenshot

For a game that costs five dollars to download, Dig Dug is as old as it gets. The gameplay that was established in 1982 is archaic, but it’s as addictive as it ever was and will keep many players busy trying to top their friends on the Leaderboards. That’s the only place they can compete with one another unfortunately since there is absolutely no multiplayer to go along with a disappointing lack of additional content. Download this one if you’re a fan of arcade classics, but don’t expect much else than the game you grew up with.


  • Dig! Propel Dig Dug through underground tunnels as he hunts down monsters. The more dirt you move, the more points you get. Watch out for treacherous rocks and use them to your advantage.
  • Just because your enemies start in tunnels doesn’t mean they have to stay there. Watch out for them sneaking up on you and make them pay!
  • Drop more than two rocks and look for icons to start appearing in the center of the map! Collect these items, including the ship from the Xbox Live Arcade game Galaga, to drive your score higher.

    Rating out of 5 Rating Description


    Looks as goofy and ugly as it did in 1982..


    The analog stick is inaccurate at best and just plain useless at worst..


    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Old-school games have old-school sounds. .


    Play Value
    Dig Dug is as classic as these XLA releases gets, but a lack of additional content hurts big time.


    Overall Rating Fair
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
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