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The Dig (DOS)

83
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

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.

Screenshots

The Dig DOS Boston Low and Maggie converse with the alien inventor late in the game
The Dig DOS Can you even see where Boston is?! Such views impart well the monumental, majestic style of the game
The Dig DOS Discovered another cavern beneath the Museum Spire. Demonstrating how items are used in the game (just as an example - this is not a puzzle solution!)
The Dig DOS The apparition of another ghost

Alternate Titles

  • "๋””๊ทธ " -- Korean title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

lahum stchiadnak tresto luum *Katakis* (37744) unrated
Don't get confused, The Dig is a TRUE classic jorgeabe (14) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
A beautiful game; a breathtaking adventure. Halleck (383) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
Under-rated game that never did as well as it should have. Digital Arse (14) 4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars
Different; and neither a masterpiece nor a bad game. Shazbut (158) 3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars
Worst game I have ever played. doo (5) 1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars
This game proves that above all, adventure gamers are nothing but prissy bitches. Zovni (9367) 3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
Perhaps the most underrated, misunderstood computer game. lechuck13 (309) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
LucasArts...You couldn't ask for more! Hilary Richardson (15) 3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars
A beautiful, touching game G J (5) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars

The Press Says

Adventure Europe Jun 22, 2005 95 out of 100 95
Coming Soon Magazine Jan 13, 1996 93 out of 100 93
Joystick (French) Jan, 1996 90 out of 100 90
PC Games (Germany) Dec, 1995 89 out of 100 89
Power Play Feb, 1996 85 out of 100 85
Gamers.at Jul 07, 1995 84 out of 100 84
Just Games Retro Nov 18, 2007 78 out of 100 78
PC Gameplay (Benelux) Jan, 1996 76 out of 100 76
PC Joker Jan, 1996 74 out of 100 74
Adventure Classic Gaming Jan 28, 2009 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Messy credits 7 Foxhack (12474)
Jun 16, 2007
How did you like the voice acting in this game? 4 LepricahnsGold (74313)
Jun 08, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Dig appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

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.

Development

The Dig 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.

Extras

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).

Novel

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.

References

  • 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.

Shapes

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.

Soundtrack

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.

Title

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).

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) โ€“ #3 Top Vaporware Title in Computer Game History
Information also contributed by ATMachine, Boston Low, ClydeFrog, Daniel Albu, Dirk Struan, G J, Jaromir Krol, MAT, Swordmaster and Trixter

Related Web Sites

  • GJ's Dig Site (Character profiles, images including ads, screenshots, backgrounds, etc, humour.)
  • Hints for The Dig (These won't spoil the game, but will give you just what you need to solve the game. Final solutions are included.)
  • ScummVM (Get "The Dig", as well as many other adventure games, to run on modern systems by using ScummVM, a legal and free program.)
  • The Dig - FAQs & Guides (Several walkthroughs and other files on GameFaqs.com)
  • The Dig Museum (Includes interviews with creators, creation information, and "Ask Yoda" section.)
  • The Dig Soundtrack (Music from the game)
  • The Dig Walkthrough (Start to finish solution for The Dig)
robotriot (8637) added The Dig (DOS) on Nov 01, 1999
Other platforms contributed by MAT (70534) and Jason Savage (38)