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Hottaman no Chitei Tanken
Box artwork for Hottaman no Chitei Tanken.
Japanese title ホッターマンの地底探検
Developer(s) Use
Publisher(s) Use
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) NES
Players 1
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Hottaman no Chitei Tanken is a Famicom game developed by Use in 1986. Hottaman no Chitei Tanken translates roughly to "Hottaman's Underground Expedition," but Hotterman itself is a play on words. The Japanese word for dig is ほり or horu, and the past tense of horu is ほった or hotta. Therefore, Hottaman can be seen as a play on words, and loosely translated as Diggerman.

At first glance, the game appears to be a clone of Dig Dug or Boulder Dash. While some game play mechanics are similar, Hottaman no Chitei Tanken contains a number of unique concepts. The goal of every stage is to locate 4 keys that will make the stage exit appear, and reach the exit. There are 15 unique stages which repeat. A variety of enemies spawn in the dirt, some of which can breath fire. Hottaman is equipped with a flame thrower of his own which he can use to defeat enemies. Power-ups can be obtained from eggs and treasure chests. The ground is not one consistency, but rather composed of several different types of dirt and liquids, some of which is dangerous for Hottaman to enter unprotected.

Hottaman no Chitei Tanken was never released outside of Japan. Translation group Six Feet Under released a patch that will translate the game into English, which can be found here. However, another clever patch changes the game to "Dig Dug III," replacing all of the unfamiliar looking sprites with a variety of Dig Dug and Namco themed enemies, while leaving the game play entirely the same.

Controls[edit]

  • Neutral dpad: Use the direction pad to direct Hottaman throughout the underground. You can direct Hottaman in the four cardinal directions (Hottaman cannot dig or move diagonally).
  • A button: Press the A button to fire your flame thrower. Without a powerup, this flame will travel roughly four squares ahead of Hottaman.
  • B button: Press the B button to activate the currently selected powerup in your powerup meter (provided that you have any in stock).
  • Start button: Press the Start button to begin a new game, or to pause and unpause the action mid-game.
  • Select button: Press the Select button to cycle through the six selections in the powerup meter.

Player[edit]

Hotterman player.png

Hottaman has one and only one goal: Locate the four hidden keys of each stage, and use them to escape to the next stage. To accomplish this task, Hottaman must dig through 15 underground terrains, and locate the treasure chests that contain the keys. Along the way, he will encounter underground monsters that seek to destroy any intruders they find. To protect himself, Hottaman is armed with a flame thrower which he can use to clear enemies out of his path. Hottaman will lose a life if he is ever hit by an enemy or by an enemy's fire breath. He will also lose a life if he is hit by exploding dynamite, or if he is caught in lava without a fire proof coat. Hottaman can collect a number of power-ups and tools to help his exploration. He must also utilize underground pits that connect to other pits in the terrain, although he has no control over where he will appear. After defeating the fish boss at the end of Stage 15, the stages loop over again from the beginning.

Scoring[edit]

Action Points
Dig through Dirt 10
Dig through Rocks 20
Blast Block with Dynamite 50
Collect a Power-Up 100
Collect a Key 300
Destroy an enemy 500
Destroy a giant crab 2000
Destroy the fish boss of Level 15 5000

Stage Features[edit]

There are a number of objects that you will encounter while digging through the dirt. Some are optional while others are key objectives that you must locate to complete the stage.

Object Description
Hottaman Treasure.gif Treasure chests are scattered throughout each stage. Four of them contain keys, which you must find in order to escape the level. In the remaining chests, you may find enemy attracting fruit, or enemy repelling garlic. Items that you collect from chests are added to your inventory immediately.
Hottaman Egg.gif Like treasure chests, eggs contain items inside, but they may also contain enemies. To open an egg, you must walk over them. Once you touch them, they will complete one full color cycle before hatching. Among the items that you can obtain from eggs are fire range extenders, and fire proof coats. Items that appear from eggs must be collected once the egg hatches.
Hottaman Shovel.gif A shovel is the only power-up that activates immediately upon collecting it. Once you touch a shovel, you will gain the ability to dig twice as fast through terrain as you normally would. This ability will last for only a few seconds, so take advantage of it.
Hottaman Key.gif Four keys are required to make the stage exit appear, which will advance you to the next stage. They are always hidden in four of the stage treasure chests. Some treasure chests will require finding a pit, or using dynamite, in order to access them. These chests usually contain keys, but not always.

Power Ups[edit]

Color Z Z Z Z
Items 0 1 2 3 4

Power-ups can be collected and stored. You may have up to four of each item. Power-ups do not transfer from stage to stage; you will always have an empty inventory at the start of a new stage. The color of the letter as it appears in your power-up meter indicates how many of a particular power up you have, according to the table on the right.

Object Letter Description
Hottaman Firecoat.gif Z The fire proof coat provides you with temporary protection that is required while tunneling through lava. If you intend to tunnel through lava for an extended period of time, you must be sure that you have enough coats, and reactivate them as they are about to wear off, or you will die. Fire proof coats are typically found in eggs.
Hottaman Range.gif R The range item extends the range of your flame weapon to the ends of the screen. Like all power ups, it wears off after a period of time. It is best to use it if a large number of enemies are about to gang up on you down a long tunnel. Range extenders are typically found in eggs.
Hottaman Blockade.gif S This blockade will prevent enemies from passing beyond and following you. It can also be useful when a large number of enemies are bearing down on you, but you don't have enough time to turn around and fire at them. Blockades are the only item which you must dig through terrain to find.
Hottaman Fruit.gif F If Hottaman lays down one of these fruits, the enemies will be attracted to it, and approach it as best as they can while ignoring Hottaman completely. Use this to lure enemies away from a particular location in the ground that you wish to reach. Fruit is typically found in treasure chests.
Hottaman Garlic.gif N Garlic has the opposite effect of fruit; it repels the enemies from a particular location. Use it when you need to chase enemies away from a desired destination, or just to get them off your back. Garlic is typically found in treasure chests.
Hottaman Dynamite.gif D Dynamite is the most easily found of all the power ups that you can store. It is plainly visible in the terrain. Dynamite is used to destroy otherwise impenetrable blocks that may be blocking valuable treasure chests and other items. Typically, a pit can be used to reach the interior of blocks, but when this is not the case, or when in doubt, use dynamite by placing it as close to the intended block as possible. When dynamite explodes, it sends found blasts of flame in each direction, so you must stand clear of the explosion or you will lose a life.

Terrain Types[edit]

Terrain Name Description
Hottaman Dirt.gif Dirt This is the normal terrain that Hottaman digs through. While digging through this terrain, he digs at normal speed, and with the shovel, he digs at double speed.
Hottaman Rocks.gif Rocks Rocks slow the pace at which Hottaman digs. While digging through rocks, he normally digs at half speed. If he has the shovel, his pace will increase to the normal speed at which he digs through regular dirt.
Hottaman Pit.gif Pit Pits can be found throughout each stage. Hottaman can pass through them with no effect whenever he moves left, right, or down. However, if you press up while standing on a pit, you will drop down the hole, and reappear at any other pit, which is chosen at random. You have no control over where you will appear, but you may need to try consecutive times to reach a particular location.
Hottaman Block1.gif Blocks
Hottaman Block2.gif
These two kinds of blocks are completely impassable. Hottaman has only one method of removing these blocks from his path, and that is to use dynamite. By placing dynamite very close to a block, Hottaman can clear the block and proceed beyond it.
Hottaman Water.gif Water Hottaman can swim through as much water as he likes. The process of entering the water is easy, but getting out requires that Hottaman drag himself out of the water and catch his breath. This causes him to pause for a brief moment. Water will always stay in the position it starts in; i.e. you can't redirect the water through any new tunnels.
Hottaman Lava.gif Lava Lava is the only terrain that poses a threat to Hottaman's life. If Hottaman enters the lava without wearing a protective fire proof suit, he will lose one life. Even if Hottaman wears a fire prood coat, he must be sure to leave the lava before it wears off, of apply another coat before the first one wears off.