Mr. Do! series

Mr. Do! series

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

He’s a little bit Dig Dug, he’s a little bit Obnoxio the Clown. In fact, Mr. Do! had a little bit of a lot of things, fused together into a satisfying and highly successful whole.

Universal Games (not affiliated with the movie studio) first brought the digging, powerball-throwing clown named Mr. Do! to video arcades in 1982. By the end of that year, the little clown had become the franchise character of the upstart company, leading to three arcade sequels and video game immortality.

The original Mr. Do! game played a lot like Dig Dug, but with several added features and twists. The title clown dug through an underground maze, pursued by monsters, while picking up clusters of cherries from all around the screen. But Do could do much more than simply avoid the monsters—he could strike back.

For long-range attacks, Mr. Do! launched his explosive “powerball,” which bounced randomly along the pre-dug tunnels until it detonated on contact with a beast. For a more up-close-and-personal assault, Do could move the heavy apples that were scattered about the playing field. Once the ground underneath the apples was dug out, the fruit would tumble to the ground, squashing any monsters that happened to be in its path.

Levels were completed in one of several ways. The two easiest involved clearing the screen of all its fruit or destroying all the monsters. Another method was to collect the right letters to spell “EXTRA.” Once all the monsters had appeared on a level, the center space turned into a special treat. If Mr. Do! grabbed that morsel for bonus points, the “Alphamonster” would appear, flanked by four blue baddies. By blasting or squashing the Alphamonster, Mr. Do! got one letter closer to spelling “EXTRA” for a level jump and a bonus life.

The crème de la crème of the Mr. Do! prize stash, however, was the ultra-rare diamond. Every once in a while, a falling apple would crack open to reveal a hidden diamond. Collect this, and not only would Mr. Do! get a free ride to the next level, he’d get a whole new free game.

Mr. Do! may have had several obvious influences, but the combination was new and different enough to turn the game into a major hit. Universal carried the character over into a follow-up, Mr. Do!’s Castle, in 1983. The new Do adventure had little to do with the original, setting the clown in a multi-level castle rather than underground.

Using his new weapon of choice—a large mallet—Do tried to knock the floor blocks beneath him on top of a gang of unicorn-like enemies. Only by knocking out all the cherry-labeled blocks could Mr. Do! move on to the next level.

Mr. Do!’s Wild Ride, a 1984 sequel, changed the game’s premise yet again, this time sending the title character into a bizarre roller coaster world. Running against the clock, Do scrambled across the coaster tracks, dodging enemy cars while picking up cherries for bonus points.

The Do series came to a close at the end of 1984 with Do! Run Run. This installment sent the clown back to his cherry-picking days, but in an all-new 3-D environment. Each of the field’s multiple levels was filled with yellow dots, which Mr. Do! had to enclose with a line trail that ran behind him (a la Qix).

Once a section of dots was completely encased, the dots turned into cherries, which Do could then collect. The clown got his powerball back, but instead of dropping overripe apples, Do now unleashed rolling logs, which tumbled down to flatten anyone in their way.

Mr. Do!’s impressive run came to a close after 1984. A few graphics-enhanced updates and home system conversions appeared in later years, but Do himself faded away into history. He may not have had the longevity of a Mario or a Pac-Man, but for a brief span in the early 80’s, Mr. Do! was as big as they came. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving clown.

Arcade Machine Release History

1982 - Mr. Do!
1983 - Mr. Do!'s Castle
1984 - Mr. Do!'s Wild Ride
1984 - Do! Run Run

Arcade Game Sub Categories

platform
other

Machine Manufacturer

Universal

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