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Dig Dug II – NES

Dig Dug II – NES

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco in Japan, Bandai in US

Release Date: Japan: April 18, 1986; North America: December 1989

Genre: Arcade-Style

Reviewed by Flagostomos

Dig Dug 2 Boxart

I love the original Dig-Dug. But to be honest, I actually had my first Dig-Dug experience with this game, Dig-Dug 2 for the NES. Growing up I had a Super Nintendo, but my Dad’s best friend had a NES. Even though it was the older system, the new games I had never experienced enthralled me, and so I began playing as many NES games as I could. This was one of the most memorable for me.

Mixing it up from the first Dig-Dug, the game utilizes an overhead view, and your character is now on an island. He still has his trusty pump, and the same bad guys are attacking him. However, the new mechanic in this game is that you can use a jackhammer on certain spots in the ground to drop sections of the island. Disposing of the enemies in this fashion nets you more points than just using the pump. However, using the pump is much easier, especially as there is a bug that lets you inflate and destroy enemies in seconds flat. Other than that, the objective of the game remains the same from the first: dispose of all enemies.

Dig Dug 2 gameplay

If there is any story as to why the character blows up other critters, it isn’t explained in game. I had to do some research just to uncover this information: Your name is Taizo Hori. He would make a comeback in some other games, yet as a stand-alone title, this game has zero story. What do you expect from a SNES game?

Seems as there’s no story for the game, I will go over a little about the actual game itself. It was originally released as an arcade game in 1986 in Japan, and wouldn’t see North American shores until 1989. Following on the success of the original Dig-Dug, this game didn’t do as well in terms of sales. There are actually 2 versions of the cartridge, the first being a slightly harder version than the second release. There’s also 2 player Multiplayer to give yourself a little challenge versus a friend.

The controls are okay for 8-bit. There are times when you would like for the controls to be tighter, but mostly due to hardware limitations, the controls are what they are. If you are walking in one direction, for example, you cannot quickly turn the other direction. You have to make an almost circle to get turned around. The drill is cumbersome and you will find yourself just drilling away at bare ground because the controls are slippery and didn’t get started where you wanted it to. This makes the drill the least efficient option for laying waste to your enemies.

The much better way is to exploit a bug in the pump. The pump is supposed to work like this: once attached to the enemy, it remains attached and you must pump away until the enemy is disbanded. However, if you hit the pump button once, move slightly towards the enemy, and pump again, you skip the entire pumping sequence and are able to dispatch the enemy in two seconds. The only drawback to this is there are times when the enemies overlap, and you go to blow up one bad guy only to notice that one or more additional bad guys are right in front of you.

There are 72 levels, and to be quite honest, the game gets easier once you get past level 20 or so. The game goes until all lives are used up, and then that’s your final score. Just like any other arcade style of game, the objective isn’t to beat the game, rather to get as many points as possible. For a gamer like me, this is no problem. I will play until I have max score!

It is what you would expect from a NES title of an arcade port. The characters look like their original Dig-Dug counterparts, the animations are kind of bland, and the most excitement is when you succeed in dropping the island with all the enemies on the screen. The music is repetitive and has very little variation. The sound effects are stock, and not even the victory jingle is catchy. I wish they had done better with this.

Gameplay: 7
Controls: 7. Take it for what it is – a NES arcade port
Story: I’ll pass on a grade seems as this is an arcade game.
Replayability: For any arcade fan, this game can get a lot of play. 7
Graphics/Audio: 5
Overall: 7

Is Dig-Dug 2 the best arcade game in existence? No. However it is memorable to me as being one of those multiplayer titles on the NES that gave myself and some friends endless hours of fun. Carts for this thing are cheap, and would make a decent addition to any serious collection.

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon


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  1. That is so cool you covered this game, well done. I remember this one just barely, when I was really little.

  2. Nice review. I remember playing the original Dig Dug in arcades… Of course you had to be careful going to and from because of the dinosaurs.


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