Sega's 1980 Digger
The premise: you're trapped in a spider/bug infested maze. Your only weapon is a shovel... and no, you can't bash'em, you can only dig or fill holes on the ground. The idea is to make some holes around, wait for a bug to fall inside it, and fill the hole before the bug manages to climb out, sort of an overhead perspective Space Panic or Lode Runner. There's a special red spider that gives 2000 pts. and increases score for other spiders if captured first. There's a timer in the form of a sliding fence that, after some time, unleashes dozens of creepy bugs all over the maze.

The premise of vanquising the bugs with just a shovel is interesting, and the layout of the mazes gives some room for streategic maneuvering, like positioning in a corner and blocking the two corridors leading to it wiht holes. When a spider falls, ypou quickly fill it, dig another, and run back to the other hole, which by this time is likely to house another bug. This "got-to-bury-it-in-the-nick-of-time" feeling was a thrill when succesfulyy attained. The sound effects (unfortunately not yet in MAME) had a thumping background beat and a really creepy scream when captured by a spider.

Missing Ingredient
However, the overall pace of the game is somehwat clunky, the controls weren't as responsive as they should, and the fact that a spider could pass over an ocuppied hole seriously upped the frustation factor. A faster dig/fill action would have made quite a difference for the game, as well as some kind of power pill/stunt mode for giving you a breather during the frenetic gameplay. After two or three rounds, the bugs move way too fast for the digger to do anything but run away, so you end up squished under many spiders in no time. EEeeekk...

Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade


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