MR DO is a straight conversion of the arcade game of the same name.
Having been slightly disappointed by the Atari version of DIG-DUG
(though an improved version of the 16K ROM is apparently available in
the States) I was anxious to see how well this version of MR DO from
Datasoft compares with the arcade original.
The game is a long loader - well over 15 minutes, in fact - and quite
obviously uses every single byte of the specified 48K. Whether it's
worth the wait or not is another matter!
The action takes place in a field, of all places, during cherry
harvest time. The idea is to guide MR DO around the screen collecting
the cherries whilst defending yourself against the inevitable
monsters. MR DO's main weapon is his magic powerball, which he throws
at the monsters in order to destroy them. It takes a little while for
the ball to return to his hand though, so you will have to seek out
alternative ways to dispose of the monsters. Dotted about the field
are several giant apples. These can be dropped onto the monsters for
large bonus points. Boss monsters appear at various stages during the
game. The Boss monsters carry letters corresponding to the word
'EXTRA' at the top of the screen. If you knock out all the individual
letters making up the word 'EXTRA' you gain a bonus MR DO. A nice
little animated sequence accompanies this event and gives you a short
break from the proceedings. Time to catch your breath before returning
to the action again.
Other types of monster you will encounter are henchmen - these appear
along with the Boss monster and can be turned to harmless apples by
knocking out the Boss monster - and diggers. Any monster can turn into
a digger and these are particularly dangerous as they can dig tunnels
through the soil to get at MR DO.
for the lucky diamonds which spill out of the apples on very rare
occasions (make that extremely rare as I never came across one). These
are worth a massive 8000 points, but, more importantly, they enable
you to exit that particular screen without having to kill the
The sound effects are excellent in this game and the tunes are
sufficiently muted so as not to annoy you too much. In any case, they
can be turned off altogether by pressing the `S' key. There is also a
facility for left-handed players, which involves pressing the 'L' key
and revolving the joystick a quarter turn clockwise. A good idea this,
and one which other programmers may like to copy.
Sadly, the graphics just aren't up to scratch considering the amount
of memory used. My main criticism concerns the garne characters which
are rather poorly defined. Colour choice could also have been better,
I feel, and joystick control is awkward and sluggish. I found myself
getting caught out far too easily, mainly because MR DO wouldn't
respond quickly enough to the controls. The fact that the monsters
move at almost twice the speed of MR DO doesn't exactly help
matters! I found this a difficult game to get to grips with.
Considering that Microdeal first made their name releasing software
for the dreadful Dragon 32 computer, and having had first-hand
experience of one of their previous efforts for the Atari, namely
'Danger Ranger', you could hardly blame me for not expecting a great
deal from MR DIG. However, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. MR
DIG is a splendid implementation of MR DO and is far and away the best
Microdeal game I've ever seen.
fairly authentic to the arcade original, although there are one or two
minor differences which may or may not be due to copyright reasons. MR
DIG is much easier to play than the Datasoft version. It allows you to
select from ten levels of difficulty ranging from 'Big Baby's Level'
(easy) through to 'Masochist's Level' (impossible). During the course
of the game itself you must complete a combination of several screens
on the one level before advancing onto the next level, so you are
given a better than even chance of getting the hang of the game early
on before things start to get tricky.
On the whole the graphics are excellent. The various game characters
are colourful, detailed, and easier to make out than their Datasoft
counterparts. I particularly like the diggers in this game - they are
very reminiscent of the 'snapjaws' in DONKEY KONG JNR. One tiny
criticism concerns MR DIG's powerball. It is dull blue in colour and
also a bit on the small side. Consequently you cannot always see if it
has returned to MR DIG's hand unless you have bionic eyesight!
Joystick response is faultless though, and gives the Datasoft game a
proper showing-up in this department.
Sound is generally good, if rather brash at times. Unfortunately,
there is no way you can turn it off from the computer, so I'm afraid
you're stuck with it unless you turn it off altogether via the TV set.
doesn't have the fancy animated sequences of its American rival, but
it does have a 'Hall of Fame' high score table which the Datasoft
Purists may well prefer Datasoft's MR DO as the gameplay more closely
follows that of the arcade original. If you're a hotshot at the arcade
game you will certainly find MR DO more of a challenge than MR DIG.
Personally, I felt that MR DO wes a little too hard and I think MR DIG
will appeal to a wider range of computer gamesters.
In a game versus game comparison, I must plump for MR DIG. At £6.50
it is one of the cheapest good quality Atari games on the market.
Incidentally, MR DIG was programmed by a lady programmer, Rita Jay.
She deserves ten out of ten for this effort. Let's hope we see more
games of the calibre of MR DIG for the Atari from other British
software companies in the near future.