A group of scientists discovers an asteroid that is on its way to a collision with the Earth. Is there any way to prevent the disaster? Boston Low, a NASA veteran, is sent to command a space expedition on the asteroid. Accompanied by the journalist Maggie Robbins and the archaeologist Brink, Boston investigates the asteroid and finds a strange structure that undoubtedly belongs to an alien civilization. During the course of investigations, the team finds itself on a seemingly deserted planet. They have no knowledge of the planet and no possibility of going back. Will they ever discover the secret of this strange world and find a way to get home?The Dig
is a point-and-click adventure game with a simple one-cursor interface. Most of the puzzles are inventory-based, tending to be somewhat more complex than in most preceding LucasArts' adventure games. There are also a few logic-based puzzles, which require understanding and manipulation of alien technology and life forms on the planet. Traditional branching dialogue system is utilized; however, the game focuses more on puzzle-solving than on conversations to advance the plot.
The game's story is influenced by science fiction literature and movies, and strives to be realistic, departing from the comedy style of LucasArts' adventures. Despite that, humorous elements are present in some of the dialogues and text descriptions. The game utilizes hand-drawn graphics with a few pre-rendered 3D images.
Part of the Following Groups
The Press Says
||Jan 21, 2005
|Coming Soon Magazine
||Jan 13, 1996
||93 out of 100
|PC Player (Germany)
||86 out of 100
||85 out of 100
|Just Games Retro
||Nov 18, 2007
||74 out of 100
|Adventure Classic Gaming
||Jan 28, 2009
||May 19, 2002
||May 01, 1996
||4.5 out of 10
Alien and planet name
The planet and aliens are not given a name, however the credits refer to the "Cocytan leader".
In the novelization, Brink decides to name the planet "Cocytus" from Dante
's Divine Comedy
, Cocytus being the exterior circle of the Underworld and the only way out. The aliens thus are referred to as "Cocytans". However, these concepts are not taken into consideration in the game.
is based on the original concept of Steven Spielberg who originally created the storyline to be an episode in his Amazing Stories tv series. It would have been too expensive to shoot, so Spielberg approached LucasArts in 1989 with an idea of making it a game. The game itself went through several re-writes at LucasArts, so only the main storyline and a couple of puzzles were carried out from Spielberg's original ideas.
The Dig went through three phases of development while in production, each with different project leaders.
The first phase was led by Noah Falstein
. In this version, the game was set upon a jungle planet, very unlike the final version. One major part of this version apparently was that you had to collect and consume food and water to keep your character alive.
The second phase was led by Brian Moriarty
. Moriarty tossed out all of the old art from the first version, as well as the "collecting resources" RPG-style elements.
In this version, there were four characters: Boston Low, Ludger Brink, Judith Robbins, and Toshi Olema, a Japanese physicist. As in the final game, this crew was transported to an alien planet via a ship disguised as an asteroid.
This version was controlled via a standard LucasArts-style interface at the bottom of the screen containing visual icons for the functions Examine, Pick up, Use, Move, and Talk, as well as inventory items. Strangely, the game was not programmed in LucasArts' standard SCUMM engine, but instead something called StoryDroid Development System.
After a long series of internal conflicts, Brian Moriarty left the company and Sean Clark
took over the project. Clark was the one who actually got the game finished. He changed Judith's name to Maggie and removed Toshi Olema from the plot.
In early betas of Sean Clark's version, the characters looked the same as they did in Brian Moriarty's version (with Low and Robbins both having blond hair). These sprites were later changed and made more visually striking.
In addition, though early betas of this new version used an interface at the bottom of the screen with the same icons for interaction as in Moriarty's game, this was later rejected for the final "one-click-does-it-all" interface which the public saw.
Also, the voices in the final game were not the same as those heard in early betas of Clark's The Dig
. Those unused voices lasted long enough to be present in the official demo of The Dig
Some copies of The Dig
came with a free copy of the Trade Paperback version of Alan Dean Foster's game novelization (a $12.95 value according to the box sticker).
Although there's no movie based on it, there is a book based on the game, also called The Dig
, written by science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster.
- Main character Boston Low is voiced by Robert Patrick, who incarnated the evil liquid terminator in the movie Terminator 2. At one point in the game, Boston shows
Maggie a photo of lost comrade Brink, and asks her "Have you seen this boy?", paraphrasing the evil terminator's trademark question in that popular movie. Also, when the player looks at his PenUltimate he's gonna say that it's the "T-1000 Model".
- According to the game's demo, the ship that carries out the Attila mission in the first part of the game is Space Shuttle Atlantis. However this reference was cut from the final game.
Take a look at the PenUltimate communicator and you will notice that there is a geometric shape on it. It is what the plates inside Atilla look like when they are put together.
Even though Michael Land
's score for the game was released on CD (albeit in a very low amount), it suffered from the worst 'disease' of all official soundtracks, painfully well known to collectors of film scores - it was cut, and not all the music appearing in the game was included. However, the tracks can be extracted with external utilities. Details can be found in the tips & tricks section.
After finishing the game, you might start to wonder if the game's title is in any way connected to the over-usage of the shovel item in the game (main character digs holes every now and then, and rather often), because there is definitely no dig site to explore (not assuming half-blasted asteroid).
Information also contributed by
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #3 Top Vaporware Title in Computer Game History