In Mr. Do!, players control an evil circus clown who tunnels underground in search of innocent, soil-dwelling creatures to steal fruit from. If these hapless beings attempt to cross his path, he crushes them with apples or throws a power ball in their supple faces. Some might spin this tale in a more positive way, but that just makes them deviant clown sympathisers.
Whether hero or villain, the antics of Mr. Do! are uncannily similar to those of the chap from Dig Dug. However, where Mr. Dug largely concentrated on pest control (disturbingly bike pumping his enemies to death), Do is more of a health freak. As well as diggin’ an’ killin’ he has to get his five-a-day. Well, two-a-day at least.
The game adds a novel twist by having two distinct "layers" to each level. When monsters have ceased spawning, a delicious treat appears in the maze's centre (in classic Pac-Man style). If grabbed and munched, this triggers a second set of weird sprites with huge teeth, accompanied by a walking letter. Players with moderate spelling abilities can gradually collect the word "extra" for (surprisingly) an extra life. It's also possible to discover blood diamonds, providing an additional credit.
Amidst the frantic fleeing from foes and hoarding of cherries, certain strategies must be employed. Rudimentary gravity means the apples dotted around the arena can be turned into deadly, comic weights. This kind of trap may pay off with several flattened opponents, but being too meticulous about its construction can be fatally distracting.
Such endeavours are highly entertaining, but for the player to succeed he must first come to terms with aiding a scary clown. Fortunately, the gnawing desire to progress is likely to trump morality.
8 / 10