Review by Rottenwood

Reviewed: 12/10/04

Clowns Are Scary

Mr. Do! is a tricky game to review. On the one hand, it's a shameless Dig-Dug clone. On the other, it features some pretty interesting little gameplay quirks, including an odd bouncing-ball attack and a charmingly convoluted method for earning extra lives. Hardcore Dig-Dug fans who want a little variety might find Mr. Do! fairly enchanting. For everyone else, it'll be a minor diversion at best.

In any case, you control a weird little clown as he battles the forces of evil. Considering how evil most clowns are, these villains must be EXTRA vicious to qualify as the bad guys in the game. Your objective is to gobble up all of the fruit on each board to move on to the next one. The bad guys will try to stop you, of course, but you're not completely defenseless. You can toss your ball at the bad guys, which will bounce around until it hits and destroys one of them. (Worry not - the ball will return to you after a short while.) You can also drop heavy objects on the baddies by digging the dirt out from underneath them, Dig-Dug style. In a nice little touch, the enemies can inadvertently drop the objects on themselves or their pals as they dig to chase after you, which is always entertaining.

Like most old-school games, Mr. Do! doesn't have an ending, so your only real objective is to get a high score. Eating an entire batch of fruits without stopping nets you a nice little bonus, as does smashing one or more enemies with falling objects. I've always been fond of the high score system, as it leads to much more replayability than 'see the ending and put it away' games. Of course, considering the relative obscurity of Mr Do!, it's not likely that you'll find a lot of people battling you for the high score slot. But hey, it's always fun to see your name (or at least, your initials) in lights.

Mr. Do! solves the gradual difficulty problem in an interesting way. The enemies slowly file out of the portal in the center of the screen. In the first moments of a level, you're basically alone and can munch on fruit quite safely. But soon enough, more and more baddies have spilled out onto the playing field, and their only mission is to destroy any clowns in sight. When all of the bad guys have entered the fray, the portal becomes a bonus item. Grab it, and the TRUE weirdness begins. The normal enemies freeze in place, and weird mobile beasties suddenly burst onto the scene, along with one of the five letters of the word EXTRA walking on his little legs. If you take out the letter monster, you'll add that letter to your count - get all five, and you gain an extra life. The odd quasi-world you enter when you grab the bonus item is pretty interesting, and it gives Mr. Do! what little majesty it has.

The game was released in the early eighties, so a detailed discussion of graphics and sound seems a bit pointless. I rather enjoy the game's odd mish-mash of colors, although a cleaner game like Pac-Man will probably rub more people the right way. I question the wide-spread appeal of a bizarre little clown with a rubber ball of death, but hey, it's a unique choice for a protagonist.

Mr. Do! isn't a bad little game - it's just a poor man's Dig-Dug, and considering the fact that Dig-Dug is both better and far easier to find in an arcade, Mr. Do! lingers in obscurity. The game has a certain underdog appeal, though, and old schoolers should probably give it a look.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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