|Platform(s)||Arcade, Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, MSX, Super NES, Tomy Tutor|
Mr. Do![a] is a 1982 maze game developed by Universal. It is the first arcade video game to be released as a conversion kit for other arcade machines; Taito published the conversion kit in Japan. The game was inspired by Namco's Dig Dug released earlier in 1982. Mr. Do! was a commercial success in Japan and North America, selling 30,000 arcade units in the US, and it was followed by several arcade sequels.
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The object of Mr. Do! is to score as many points as possible by digging tunnels through the ground and collecting cherries. The title character, Mr. Do (a circus clown—except for the original Japanese version of the game, in which he is a snowman), is constantly chased by red monsters called creeps, and the player loses a life if Mr. Do is caught by one. The game ends when the last life is lost.
Cherries are distributed throughout the level in groups of eight. A level is complete either when all cherries are removed, all creeps are destroyed, "EXTRA" is spelled, or a diamond is found.
Mr. Do can defeat creeps by hitting them with his bouncing "power ball" or by dropping large apples on them. While the power ball is bouncing toward a creep, Mr. Do is defenseless. If the ball bounces into an area where there are no creeps to hit (such as behind a fallen apple), Mr. Do cannot use it again until he has retrieved it. When the power ball hits a creep, it then reforms in Mr. Do's hands after a delay that increases with each use.
Mr. Do or the creeps can push an apple off the edge of a vertical tunnel and crush one or more creeps. If an apple falls more than its own height, it breaks and disappears. Mr. Do can also be crushed by a falling apple, causing a loss of life.
Occasionally, the creeps transform briefly into more powerful multicolored monsters that can tunnel through the ground. If one of these digs through a cherry, it leaves fewer cherries for Mr. Do to collect. When it digs under an apple, it often crushes itself, other creeps, and/or Mr. Do.
Each time the score passes a certain threshold during play, a letter from the word "EXTRA" appears on the playfield as an Alphamonster, and the player can defeat or be defeated by this monster in the same way as a creep. Defeating an Alphamonster awards that letter to the player, and collecting all five letters of the word completes the level, plays a cut scene playing the theme to Astro Boy, and awards the player an extra life. Alphamonsters attempt to eat any apples they encounter, which makes them difficult to crush.
The creeps spawn at the center of the screen. After they have all appeared, the generator will turn into a food item; picking this up scores bonus points, freezes all the creeps, and calls out an Alphamonster and three large blue monsters. The latter can eat apples as well. The creeps stay frozen until the player either defeats all three blue monsters, defeats the Alphamonster (in which case any remaining blue monsters are turned into apples), loses a life, or completes the stage.
Rarely, dropping an apple reveals a diamond which, if collected, completes the level and awards a bonus credit to the player.
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Mr. Do! was created by Kazutoshi Ueda. It was inspired by the gameplay in Namco's Dig Dug game, similar to how many of Universal's other games took license from other companies' more successful games; i.e. Lady Bug (also designed by Ueda) being similar to Pac-Man. The idea for the power ball, came from Mr. Ueda observing a Super Ball stuck on the roof of a home near the Universal office in Japan.
In the ColecoVision adaptation, the Alphamonster and sidekicks are unable to eat apples, making them easier to crush, but the blue monsters eat the shrubbery and cherries. Also, if an Alphamonster is over a letter that has already been acquired, the dinosaur monsters just freeze for a few seconds.
The Apple II and Atari 8-bit computer versions were released in May 1985.
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In Japan, Mr. Do was one of the top ten highest-grossing arcade games of 1982, on the annual Game Machine chart. Game Machine later listed Mr. Do on their June 15, 1983 issue as being the 21st highest-earning table arcade cabinet of the month.
The arcade game was also a commercial success in North America, where it became the best-selling conversion kit up until 1984, selling approximately 30,000 arcade units in the United States. On the Play Meter arcade charts, it topped the street locations chart in May 1983. On the RePlay arcade charts, it topped the software conversion kit charts for five months in 1983, in June and then from August through November. It was among the thirteen highest-earning arcade games of 1983 in the United States, according to the Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA).
Computer and Video Games magazine gave the arcade original a positive review, stating that it "takes the best from" Dig Dug "and improves on it." Computer and Video Games later rated the ColecoVision version 81% and Atari VCS version 77% in 1989. Computer Games magazine gave the ColecoVision and Coleco Adam conversions a B+ rating in 1985.
Famicom Tsūshin awarded the Super Famicom version of the game 25 out of 40. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it 4.875 out of 10. All but Dan Hsu felt that Mr. Do! has fun gameplay, but they criticized the lack of enhancements to what was by then over a decade old game, and recommended that players only get it if it were released at significantly less than the normal retail price for an SNES cartridge. Their later feature on 16-bit games reported that, contrary to their hopes, the game was priced at over $50.
Mr. Do! was followed by three sequels: Mr. Do's Castle in 1983, Mr. Do's Wild Ride, and Do! Run Run both in 1984. An expanded 99-level version of Mr. Do! was released in arcades by Electrocoin in 1988.
Neo Mr. Do!, was developed by Visco and licensed by Universal for SNK's Neo Geo system in 1997. Mr. Do! was adapted to Nintendo's Game Boy and Super NES with some new gameplay features. A rebranded adaptation of the game was released for the Game Boy Color in 1999 as Quest: Fantasy Challenge (Holy Magic Century in Europe). It was developed by Imagineer.
Mr. Do is credited as the first arcade game to be released as a conversion kit. Multiple clones of Mr. Do! were released for home systems, including Magic Meanies (ZX Spectrum), Henri (Atari 8-bit), Fruity Frank (Amstrad CPC, MSX), and Mr. Dig (TRS-80 Color Computer, Atari 8-bit).
The game's creator Kazutoshi Ueda went on to work at Tehkan (now Tecmo) and then became a co-founder of Atlus, where he worked on the Megami Tensei series. Ueda's work at Universal, particularly Mr. Do, inspired the game design style of Tehkan's Michitaka Tsuruta, who went on to create Guzzler (1983), Bomb Jack (1984), Solomon's Key (1986), and the Captain Tsubasa game series.
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In 1982, Universal Sales made arcade history with a game called Mr Do! Instead of selling dedicated Mr Do! machines, Universal sold the game as a kit. The kit came with a customized control panel, a computer board with Mr Do! read-only memory (ROM) chips, stickers that could be placed on the side of stand-up arcade machines for art, and a plastic marquee. It was the first game ever sold as a conversion only. According to former Universal Sales western regional sales manager Joe Morici, the company sold approximately 30000 copies of the game in the United States alone.
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