Mr. Do!

by Mark Nobes, chief editor

This popular game was originally released by Taito into the arcades during December 1982. It was then ported to many video games systems and home computers including the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit computers, Colecovision, Commodore 64, MSX and Apple II. There was also an LCD handheld version released by Tomy in 1983. 

Mr. Do! is a circus clown (for whatever reason!) and the main object of the game is to dig tunnels in order to collect a harvest of cherries from the orchard. If he collects 8 cherries in a row then a 500 point bonus is given. 
The arcade cabinet game was hugely successful, selling around 30,000 units in the United States. It was one of the top 15 highest-earning arcade games of 1983.


The game plays rather like a Pac-Man and Dig Dig hybrid, although it is still distinctive enough to earn its classic status. Red monsters (called Creeps) spawn at the centre of the screen (they're sort of like dinosaurs?) and continuously chase Mr. Do!, in a similar fashion to those ghosts. One way to dispose of them is to dig under the apples at the right moment so they fall and crush a monster (as in Dig Dug). However, Mr. Do! himself can also be crushed by an apple.

Sometimes the red monsters become multi-coloured, and this gives them the power to tunnel through the ground. Mr. Do! also has a bouncy power ball which can be aimed towards the monsters. It's a useful projectile to have in your arsenal, for sure! 

In the original Japanese game, Mr. Do! was actually a snowman. I suspect that the seasonal nature of the character forced a rethink for marketing purposes.

Mr. Do! Atari 2600 box

Atari 2600 cartridge box 

Cherries are scattered around the screen in groups of eight. To complete a level, the player needs to do one of four things; either gather all of the cherries, kill all of the Creeps, collect a diamond, or spell out the word "EXTRA" at the top of the screen - each letter appears after accumulating 5,000 points. 
Dropping an apple will reveal a diamond on very rare occasions, but I found it much more rewarding destroying all the creeps and gathering all the apples to complete a level, and, of course, you accumulate more points this way, too.

As with many games from the first half of the 1980s, memory restrictions didn't allow for a high number of levels. There were just eight screens in the Atari 2600 version, and this was pretty normal back then. Other similar 80's games were Dig Dug and Boulderdash, the latter being released in 1984 and featuring a level editor. 

The video at the top of the page compares twelve different versions of the game, starting with the arcade version. There's even a version for the Sharp X68000, a computer that was only ever released in Japan.

You can play an excellent online version of Mr Do! at Arcadespot
Mr. Do! Gameboy Cartridge

Nintendo Game Boy cartridge 

Reviews and Ratings

I actually remember Computer and Video Games magazine (which I bought quite regularly) giving a very favourable review of the game, and viewing it as an improved version of Dig Dug.
The Super Famicom version released in Japan received less positive reviews, with the magazine Famicon Tsushin giving just 25/40. Critics in many publications noted that the game looked dated (it was ten years old by the time it was released for the machine) and needed extra enhancements to make it worth the asking price.
Peter Parrish reviewed the arcade version of Mr Do! on the website Eurogamer and gave the game a rating of 8/10 on Oct 24th 2007.
Corbie at gave an overall rating of 7.5/10 for the Neo-Geo version, stating that "if you like the original Mr Do! you should definitely give this one a try".
Mr. Do! Instructions Leaflet for Atari 2600 VCS by Coleco

This instructions leaflet came with the Atari 2600 game manufactured by Coleco. 

Mr. Do! Arcade version

Arcade version screenshot

Mr. Do! Atari 2600 screenshot

Atari 2600 Screenshot

As you can see, the graphics are pretty inferior to the arcade version due to the hardware limitations of the 2600 

Mr. Do! Colecovision screenshot

Colecovision Screenshot