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December 14 2018

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  Diggerman - 1994 Face Prototype

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

Puzzle game (Boulderdash clone)

11 Megs
Japanese Name:


Released On:

MVS (Prototype game, never released officially)

Reviewed By:
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Very little is known about this mysterious game. The first I saw of it was at an auction on Ebay, where it was being sold at a ridiculously high price. It seems that many collectors didn't hesitate to shell out huge amounts of money for a rare game like this one, even if they didn't know much about it! Bits of information have come my way about this game since then, so here is the lowdown: From what I can work out, this game was made by Face in 1994, but wasn't released until Aruze bought out SNK in early 2000. Since then a few early prototype games have been sold off to third party distributors including this one. I found one place on the Internet that was taking pre-orders for the game but said that it was only going to be released if demand was high enough. It seems that demand wasn't high enough and the appearance of emulator ROM's onto the Internet put the nails in the coffin. However, I have since then found places that have been selling it. According to what I've read, it is actually part of the same series as the game Gururin, also made by FACE.


Having played the game, it really seems like a game that somebody probably programmed over a weekend. If you ever played the old game Boulderdash on the 8 bit systems like the C64, then you will have a rough idea of what this game is like. You have to collect a certain amount of gems to be able to exit each level. When you have enough, the exits open up. Your energy bar is constantly ticking down, so you must collect various items to top it up so that you don't die. There are also monsters on each level that kill you if you touch them. These monsters don't actually chase you, but rather they follow a set path around the level. By walking through the mud underneath items like rocks you can make them drop down killing anything in its path. This includes you, so you have to be extremely careful when moving around, otherwise you will find yourself being crushed!

There are explosive red blobs that take out anything in their vicinity if they drop down. You also have a small amount of dynamite that you can drop, which has the same effect. More dynamite can be collected and is scattered around each level. Very useful for getting rid of any enemies that get too close.

Graphics & Sound:

As you can see from the above screenshots, this game is more "Amiga 1990 public domain game" than "Neo Geo 2000 game"! Diggerman is pretty drab and boring and all the stages look the same. The characters also only have about 2 frames of animation, although this isn't surprising for a game whose cartridge is only 11 megabits (roughly) big. There's a little bit of speech when you insert a coin, but other than that the sound effects are very sparse and the music will force you to turn the sound down (or off) before long.


I couldn't bring myself to play this game for too long. I never played Boulderdash in the 8 bit days either and this game doesn't interest me much, aside from the fact that its quite cool to play a rare game like this especially as no-one is quite sure where it came from. I think that if this game was improved, with better graphics, sound and also some changes to the controls (which I found very stiff and awkward) then it would actually be a decent game and a nice addition to the Neo Geo's puzzle game ranks. As it stands, if you are considering getting hold of a copy of this game for your MVS, then you would have to be a die-hard collector or have more money than sense.

Graphics: 3/10
Sound: 2/10
Game play: 4/10
Replay Value: 3/10

Overall Rating: 3/10

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Neo Mr. Do
The closest thing to this game on the Neo Geo.

Also made by FACE, apparently Diggerman was meant to be part of the same series.

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