Published: December 7th, 2021
Author: Caitlynn Joann
Mr. Do is a maze-based game that was developed by Universal in 1982. It was created by Katzutishi Ueda and inspired by Dig Dug’s gameplay, released earlier that year. This was the first arcade video game to be released as a conversion kit. Publishing rights were given to Taito for conversion kit production in the United States and Japan. A conversion kit replaced the circuitry inside existing cabinets. Arcade operators were able to offer customers a wider variety of games through conversion kits and they were offered at a lower price. Mr. Do became wildly successful as a cheap alternative to more expensive competing titles and kicked off the popularity of conversion kits in general. Mr. Do went on to sell 30,000 units in the United States.
Companies saw the love for the game and sought out the rights to port the game to home consoles and computers. Coleco released it for ColecoVision and the Atari 2600. Datasoft brought the game home on diskette and other systems in North America and Europe. Mr. Do was one of the last titles on the SNES and the Sharp X68000. It later became available on Game Boy. Universal went on to release Mr. Do’s Castle, Do! Run Run, and Mr. Do’s Wild Ride.
Mr. Do appears simple and nearly identical to Dig Dug, but it requires considerable strategy. In this game, the player is a circus clown who must clear each level of cherries or monsters. The screen is filled with tunnels and graphics resembling soil, visually similar to Dig Dug. The soil is to be dug through to create tunnels in order to escape enemies and reach all of the cherries.
There are two main enemies to look out for, and they appear to be the same. There are red dinosaurs and blue dinosaurs, or creeps. The red are unable to dig tunnels but can turn into blue, which are able to make new paths. If it digs through a cherry, it leaves less for Mr. Do to collect. Creeps will spawn at the center of the screen and after they have appeared, the generator will turn into a food item. When this is picked up, bonus points are awarded and the creeps are frozen. Creeps stay frozen until the three blue dinosaurs are defeated or the Alphamonster is defeated; in this case, the remaining blue dinosaurs will turn into apples.
Another enemy is the Alphamonster. They appear to be television, but with small feet and an alphabet letter on their body. Lastly, there are munchers, which are blue with large mouths and large eyes. They arrive in threes and tend to stay away from Mr. Do, but are to not be trusted. Munchers cannot be defeated individually; either the Alphamonster or all 3 munchers need to be taken out at once. Neither will appear often, but both are capable of ensuing chaos. They will work together to prevent Mr. Do from earning extra bonus points and destroy the precious golden apples.
Apples are also scattered about the levels and they can be pushed to block or kill enemies. If you dig a tunnel beneath, they can drop onto the heads of enemies. If it falls on Mr. Do, a life is lost. Mr. Do is given a weapon, a bouncing power ball, that ricochets throughout the tunnel. Mr. Do is defenseless while the ball is on its way. After the ball hits a creep, it returns to Mr. Do, similar to a boomerang, and he can fire it again. The delay in return to Mr. Do increases with each use.
When a player’s score increases by 5,000 points, a letter from the word “EXTRA” appears on the playfield as an Alphamonster. For this enemy, it is defeat or be defeated. Defeating the monster leads to gaining the letter; when all five are collected, the level is clear and you are awarded another life. A unique trait the game offers is the ability to clear a stage if you consume all eight cherries randomly placed throughout the level. You may also spell out “EXTRA” by killing Alpha Monsters, collecting a diamond, or killing all enemies to clear a level. Rarely, dropping an apple reveals a diamond which, if collected, completes the level and awards a bonus credit to the player. This game cannot be “defeated” but rather a high score can be obtained. When all 10 rounds are completed, the game will continue in the same pattern.
Mr. Do was one of the top ten highest-grossing games in Japan in 1982. It was also a success in North America, becoming the best-selling conversion kit until 1984, selling 30,000 arcade units. Computer and Video Games magazine shared, it takes the best from Dig Dug and improves on it.