Review: Dig Dug (Atari 5200)

In this review, we round out our experiences with the Atari 5200 game Dig Dug. We find out if this survival game is worth playing again.

This game was released in 1983. Earlier, we reviewed the Game Boy version and found it to be a missed opportunity. We then reviewed the Atari 7800 version and thought it was a very good game. Se, we decided to give this version a try.

Since this game is very similar to the Atari 7800 version, we decided to focus on the differences between the two versions.

In this version, you are given a mere three lives instead of four. Still, for every 10,000 points, you earn an extra free life.

One annoying element is the fact that you don’t really have a high score system. This means you have to quickly glance at the score to know how well you did before the game over screen appears.

Beyond that, this is largely the same game.

What I still like about this game is the fact that if you lose all your lives, you are given the opportunity to continue on the level where you left off (with all enemies respawned). You get your three lives, but your score resets to zero. Because of this, it’s as if the game tells the player, “hey, you lost, but this is just a game, so go nuts!”

Graphically speaking, this game does dial things back somewhat given the lower capabilities of the system. Still, for the time, I thought it was great.

The intro music and the in-game music work very well for this game. The sound effects also works nicely. So, the sound was quite good.

Overall, this game has a nice difficulty curve, an interesting level system, and even allows you to venture further into the game even when you lose all of your lives (sacrificing the score in the process). Probably the only real complaints I have for this game is a lack of a high score system. The graphics are pretty good for the system and year and the audio was a joy to hear. An overall great game to play.

Update: This game is the 1983 game of the year.

Update 2: This game now shares the title for the 1983 game of the year with Vanguard.

Furthest point in game: Played to level 24.
High score: 16,420

General gameplay: 23/25
Replay value: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 88%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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