What the hell is Mr. Do! all about? How do you even pronounce it? What is going on? All these questions and more flood my brain upon first checking out the title. Mr. Do is a clown, I gather, with a particularly lethal ball and a fascination with cherries. Obsession, perhaps. Can't get enough of them as you navigate the ball bouncing, dinosaur bashing buffoon around the stage, picking up points from all manner of places.
Oh, and it looks and plays like Dig Dug too.
If Dig Dug was ever slow and plodding, Mr. Do! is frantic. Slow and frantic. It's neither, let me elaborate.
You can't move fast, you don't move slow, but the enemies that spawn in and hunt you down catch up to you faster than you want them to. Panic sets in, you go the wrong way, you make the wrong decision and you lose a life.
There was an instruction screen that I wished I paid attention to, but onward! We can figure this out for ourselves...
So, Mr. Do wants to gather up a whole lot of cherries, buried underground and watched over by monsters. Obviously.
Being the rational minded individual that he is, Mr. Do has brought with him a ball with which to bounce through the tunnels and into the faces of his foes, some bright red dinosaur looking things. They might be more like ducks. The point is, you better be thoughtful about your ball. If you use it, it'll bounce around a bit until it hits something, or it'll bounce too far, you'll lose it and need to pick it up.
If it hits something, namely a monster, it will - in a short amount of time - rematerialize in your hands ready to be used again. Hit another monster with it, and this takes longer and longer, meaning you need to think about whether to use it or not even more.
Providing, of course, you have time to use it in the first place. These guys are fast, almost deceptively so. You'll get an idea of where they are, only for them to zone in on you over the next few seconds and that'll be that, try again next time.
Eh, no bother, it's all about the cherries anyway. Mr. Do bloody loves them, especially when he manages to collect 8 in a row for bonus points. The audio cues of a musical scale will keep you entertained and on track - do re mi fa so la something something... It's a simple little trick to help players out and it works. You'll know why you didn't get bonus points by those notes resetting.
Also present from the fruit stand are apples. Working like the rocks in Dig Dug, you can strategically drop them onto the heads of pursuing enemies, or get caught up in your own tunnels and find yourself on the receiving end - it's not just you who can bump into an apple and push it down a hole.
Where the hell was I? What is the Cookie Monster doing here? Where has the 'T' from 'EXTRA' gone? What does it all mean?!
Even with an instruction screen, I'm at a loss to working out the details of Mr. Do!. The Wikipedia article on it goes some way to clearing the confusion, but it still reads like complicated strings of 'if this then that'. What we can take away from it is that you can finish a level in a number of different ways, some being simple (collect all cherries) and some being more of a hassle (defeat all five Alphamonsters - don't even get me started).
I'd imagine that hassle would lead to more points and bragging rights at the arcade, but it strikes me as a little bit of unnecessary difficulty for those who know how to play, and complete confusion when sprung upon the unsuspecting players who don't.
Having said that, it's not like I was put off. I found Mr. Do! more interesting than Dig Dug, even if I didn't have a clue what was going on. Found myself dying an awful lot while learning what I can and can't touch, but that's trial and error at work. Easy to not get irked by when your credits are virtual though.
It's bright, it's happy, both audial and visually. It's a little time sink as you learn more and more with each passing level.
Just keep an eye out for the instructions.
A hacked arcade version known as Yankee Do replaces Mr. Do with Uncle Sam, monsters for middle eastern men riding camels and apples for oil barrels.
Mr. Do!, developed by Universal, first released in 1982.
Version played: Arcade, via emulation.