Dugger logo

Linel
£19.99

In the beginning there was Pacman and the Lord said unto Pacman, 'go forth and multiply!' One of the slightly retarded children this produced was Dugger. A variation on the theme in which your caveman miner, the "best Loved" Herbie Stone, digs his way around a variety of earthy levels bestrewn with unfriendly rockdragons and the like.

But that was ages ago, you're already thinking and you'd be right. The dust has long settled on the Dugger console and it sits neglected in a corner of the arcade, unplayed since West Ham last won away from home. Considering this it is fairly incomprehensible in the first place why the boys and girls from Linel came to decide they really want to convert this (It was cheap - Ed).

So what you can look forward to for your twenty quid is nothing more than a graphically pretty, but otherwise dated arcade converion. As games in this mould go, Dugger ain't half bad, but does the world really need another ancient conversion?

It should be said in its favour that there is an element of addictiveness about this game. If you're thoughtful about where you dig and when you can lure the nasties into positions in which you can destroy them with relative ease. You can do this by pumping them up with what I suppose is a sort of bicycle pump (the less said about Herbie's personal life the better), or by dropping a large rock onto their bonces.

There are only two types of monsters: the fire breathing 'rockdragon', which resembles nothing so much as a parrot, and the 'stonecrusher', a non-descript round ball which doesn't do much. If it was wearing a Kiss T-shirt, I would have thought it was Tony Dillon. They are the only obstacle to your progress and since eliminating them counts for 99% of all points scored, your only object.

This is the point at which we come to the really major fault in this game. Of such a fundamental nature is this flaw, I don't recommend anyone to purchase Dugger. As soon as you get remotely near any unfriendly sprite, you are extremely likely to spontaneously combust. We're not talking close shaves here - we're talking daylight. In other words the sprite detection is bloody awful.

It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it ruins the gameplay and is massively irritating. Equally, when you drop a rock anywhere near your target the sprite will be flattened, although visible distant from the offending boulder. I suppose this evens things up a bit, but it remains an unforgivable fault. A thing which should have been sorted out in the early stages of the game's development.

Dugger isn't awful, just ordinary. Not even a competition for three kilos of Swiss chocolate and a Swatch could persuade me to recommend this. Nor would a free cuckoo clock with every game. All in all, it's not quite the pits - but if you have to dig deep, don't dig for Dugger.