Pump up the Jam
This week’s trip back to the golden age of gaming, guided by the retro-lovers over at Hamster Corporation, sees us take a look at the much lesser-known sequel to one of the most beloved coin-op classics of all time — Now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, its Namco’s Dig Dug II!
Released to the arcade market in 1985, before later being ported to the Famicom platform, Dig Dug II features all of the sounds and visuals of the seminal 1982 original, but chooses to set the action on the surface, forgoing the mine-based gameplay of the original and somewhat removing both the “Dig” and the “Dug”. Hero Taizo returns, once again armed with his trusty harpoon pump with which he must fend off iconic enemies including Pookas, and Fygars.
In addition, Taizo is now equipped with a jackhammer, and is able to partition areas of each stage to sink into the ocean, destroying all nearby enemies, and perhaps Taizo himself if the player is careless with their jackhammering activities. You can check out the cutesy action for yourself in the gameplay video below, courtesy of YouTuber Replay Burners.
While Namco should be congratulated for at least trying something a little different, Dig Dug II just doesn’t have quite the same compelling nature of the original, with the top-down maze style a poor replacement for the original game’s strategic tunneling system. The sequel would not receive an official home release outside of its native Japan, only appearing in the form of latter-day Namco compilations and retro re-releases. It’s perfectly fine, of course, as is the case for almost all Namco classics, but simply cannot hold water when compared to its exceptionally well-designed forerunner.
Dig Dug II is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.