Hints for Game Play :
1) Get many monsters to follow you. Then dig a long vertical tunnel up to a rock.
2) Drop the rock by digging right or left.
3) Dig Dug may take extra time to turn. It is better to start turning early than to wait until the last second.
4) Destroy monsters at bottom dirt level for more points.
5)Use the Pump button to stun monsters. Then you may escape or walk through them.
6) Don't stop next to Fygar when he is in a cave. His fire can go through a thin layer of dirt and destroy you.
7) A prize appears after two rocks have been dropped. So be sure to drop two rocks in each round.
When you start the game, Dig Dug will dig a downward vertical shaft into a chamber. The floor of this chamber is the top of the third layer. It is your job to dig tunnels and keep the monsters busy. This won't be an easy task since the monsters will attempt to surround Dig Dug and permanently end his mining career. You will have a two second delay before the round starts. It shows Dig Dug digging his vertical tunnel down to his starting area. Take this time to see where all the monsters are and figure out the best course of action to take them out.
Knowing the behavior of the monsters is a crucial element of this game. Pookas travel a bit faster then Dig Dug and tend to run him down. Fygars don't have the speed but they make up for it with their fiery belch.
Dig Dug travels slower when he is busy carving tunnels.
Know the rules of dropping rocks :
1) Rocks will wobble for about a second before they drop.
2) Rocks drop immediately when you cut a horizontal tunnel under them.
3) In vertical tunnels, the rock will stay in place as long as Dig Dug is facing it and moving.
4) When you drop two rocks, the prize will appear.
Don't waste your rocks on only one monster. Try to get as many monsters crushed as possible. The best way to accomplish this is :
1) Try to dig long, vertical tunnels under the rocks. Don't dig all the way to the rock or you will waste it.
2) Try to get the monsters to follow you. Sort of a ''follow the leader'' type thing up that vertical tunnel. This will be especially important in the later rounds.
3) If the monsters are spread out a little, do a couple of pumps on the monster that is close. This will only stun it and allow the others to catch up.
4) Right before they get Dig Dug, dig the rest of the way then head off left or right. The long, vertical shaft will prevent their escape and get you big points.
There are a total of 15 unique layouts in the game. After Round 15, layouts 12-15 repeat over and over in waves of four. There are patterns for these levels. Also, after Round 36, all of the enemies will speed up. The game does not award extra man after 900,000 points; the score will simply flip over at 1,000,000. It is very easy to get a score of 999,990 by eating dirt for ten points per section. Round 256 begins with a Pooka on top of Dig Dug. Since there is no way to escape, the game is basically over, no matter how many lives the player may have left.
Avoid killing the monsters by bursting them. If you don't have a choice, try to do in the lower layers since you get more points that way.
The pump is better utilized as a delay mechanism. Inflating a monster with two pumps will immobilize it for about two seconds. With two monsters, you can pump one up, move back a little and pump the other one up.
Monsters can be released from their pens in one of two ways :
1) You open up their pen by digging it open.
2) They turn into 'ghosts'. While they are ghosts, Pookas appear only as goggles, and Fygars appear as a set of evil eyes and a mouth. They will rematerialize as soon as they get into a tunnel.
Watch out for the fiery breath of Fygar. They not only can let loose down a horizontal tunnel, they also can send their fire through thin layers of dirt. The best defense when caught in a horizontal tunnel with a Fygar is to immediately go up or down to avoid their breath.
The Pookas have a tendency to try to surround Dig Dug. Usually they will try to trap him from the front and behind. Watch the Pooka 'ghosts' to make sure that they are not heading toward an area that you are currently tunnelling in.
It is possible to find patterns for the different levels, but it also is difficult since there isn't a well-defined maze to work with (like in "Pac-Man").
When there is one monster left, it will attempt to escape rather then continue to pursue Dig Dug. You can chase him to get the points or let him go. Regardless, the game will advance to the next round.
In the later rounds, it is much more profitable to collect the prizes, then try to drop rocks on the monsters since they move so quickly.
'Eat Dirt' secret : You should try this before round 36 since everything speeds up.
1) Get the game down to two Pookas. If you only leave one, it will escape thus ending the round.
2) This works best in horizontal tunnels under the rocks.
3) Get a Pooka to follow you, inflate as necessary to delay him a little.
4) Right when you are next to the rock, inflate the Pooka once to just delay him. When he moves at your character again, move under the rock.
5) Quickly turn around and start pumping the Pooka up. Using the delay of the rock dropping, you should be able to cause the Pooka to burst at the same time the rock drops on him.
6) If you are successful, then the other Pooka will disappear and you can amuse yourself digging out tunnels all day long in the dirt. To return the game back to normal, drop another rock and you will go into the next round.
Ender's loop: To beat any round of Dig Dug, one must take advantage of the artificial intelligence. One way to do this is to dig out either left or right from the starting position, dig up a short way from your starting position, turn around and continue digging out your initial tunnel, then go up again (this time further away from your start position) until you are higher than the end of your first vertical tunnel. Continue from here in the opposite direction of the direction you went at the beginning of the level, until you have almost reached the vertical tunnel that exists before you start any given level of the game. Create a thin wall between you and the vertical tunnel, and pump the enemies up as they pass by - but watch out, as the Fygars can still burn you.
Score: As with most of the other early Namco 8-bit arcade games, once you have made it to 999,990 points, your score will roll over to 0. No additional extra lives will be awarded now.
Flowers: The flowers that indicate the rounds on the surface of the ground will stop updating at round 69, but the indicator at the bottom of the screen will continue updating until round 99 before rolling over to round 0. At this point there will be no flowers. Once you have made it to round 101, the flowers will update again until you reach round 256 (is the "kill screen").
Slow enemies: In the original arcade versions of the game by Namco, the Pookas and Fygars will slow down once you have made it to round 124, and again once you have made it to round 136. This reduction in speed will continue every twelve rounds, until you reach round 256 (which, as mentioned above, is the "kill screen" - and is described in full detail below).
Kill screen: In the original Namco versions of the game, the game has a "kill screen" on round 256, which is registered by the game as round 0. The round starts with a Pooka directly on top of Dig Dug, which will cause the player to lose all of his remaining lives very quickly. The Atari revisions of the game (which changed the logo on the titles) correct this problem.
Easter Egg :
1) Enter service mode.
2) Keep B1 pressed and enter the following sequence : Up(x6), Right(x3), Down(x4), Left(x8).
3) '(c) 1982 NAMCO LTD.' will appear on the screen.