SummaryThis game proves that above all, adventure gamers are nothing but prissy bitches.
The GoodThe Dig, is above everything else, a good game. It may not be THE adventure, but it's a great one that delivers plenty of puzzle-solving and classic point-and-click goodness. It features a posh b-movie like sci-fi plotline updated to our time's sensibilities, and has truly stellar production values, with first rate voice actors, an incredible soundtrack, and fantastic graphics (I remember hearing somewhere how the pre-rendered stuff was done on silicon graphics workstations).
With a hands down truly interesting story that has save-the-universe elements, suspense a-la Pet Cemetery (he came back... but he wasn't the same! ;)), a great setting (a world that has the key to immortality, yet everyone is dead...), great classic-adventure gameplay, a streamlined interface, a refined inventory system and one of the best "Fangoria" moments in the story of videogames ("Hey dude, my hand is stuck!!! :))") The Dig comes out as yet another great classical adventure.
The BadThe only problem with The Dig is that it just "isn't good enough" for some people. I mean, look at the criticism that is leveled at this game, not only here on Moby, but take a stroll around the web and check other reviews, they are all the same: No one says this is a bad game, but "ohh, I didn't like it when this character did this or that, or the setting sucks to me, or that puzzle ruined everything" geez, what morons. LucasArts got to where they are because they were a coding house that took chances, like with Loom, the story-driven Outlaws, etc. etc. But what most people don't seem to get is that taking gambles is exactly that, Taking Gambles. They don't try to cash in on the same thing over and over, instead they try to move on and incorporate new stuff to their gallery of games. That means of course, that you have the same amount of chances to love it as to hate it, and wheter you do love them it's just a matter of chance really, not a testament to their genius. Loom for instance was a game that was shorter, easier, and in many ways much more stupid than The Dig, yet it struck a chord with everyone and it is to this day hailed as a masterpiece (and rightly so). The Dig on the other hand, somehow managed to single handedly piss off every "serious" adventure gamer, just because it was original and not Monkey Island XXXVII. I mean, blood in a LucasArts game??? Horror!!! Zounds!!! Be gone thou foul heathen!!!
Look, adventure gamers are always talking about how "serious" their games are, but if you look around the only types of games they condone from LucasArts are comedy-relief ladden or the wacky flat-out laugh-fests they were so fond of making. Nothing wrong with that of course, but when Lucas DARES to make a game that actually takes itself seriously all the shit hits the fan! I had the feeling that the guys at Lucas were aware of this, and threw in the 50's b-movie angle mid-game to ease up on things. What's the answer they get from gamers? Blasphemy!! How dare they try to mix something so serious with stuff so cheesy??? (Nevermind that they were getting the comedy relief they wanted so much, and nevermind the fact that the Indiana Jones adventure games did the exact same thing)...geez. Oh! But what about the puzzles?? Seeing as how the market had evolved, the guys at Lucas decided to throw in some Myst-like color sequencing puzzles and the like. What's the answer they get?? Horrors!! Zounds!!! How dare they taint my beloved point-and-click adventure!!! Oh, and the freaks that love Myst do nothing but scream "There isn't enough of them in the game!! Buuuh!!"
The music is too serious and doesn't fit the game!! There are too few npcs (nevermind the fact that the game takes place on a desert world) and their dialogues are too repetitive!! (like that isn't one of the primordial problems of adventure games) There is too much trial and error!! (like the swordfights on Monkey Island were completely logical affairs, right?), The graphics are too high-rate! Were are my cartoons???, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla...
Want to point out some REAL flaws about The Dig? There's a little bit too much wandering around, which causes the "oooh... were are my plot revelations?? This game is too slow!! I want to have a shocking revelation every 10 seconds!!!" on bitchy gamers, and the fact that there's nothing completely spectacular or absolutely end-all-be-all in it.
The Bottom LineThe Dig is a perfectly well crafted adventure game that just so happens to be "not quite right" for some people, there isn't enough of this, or that I don't like, or that color is all wrong, or that puzzle was too frustrating, AAHH! Shut the hell up!!! If you got out of your self-righteus shells for a minute and tried the game without any prejudices you would be rewarded with an absolutely solid adventure game deserving of nothing but praises. This game belongs to the time when LucasArts actually took chances with it's games, and it shows. Of course, the Lucas of today does nothing but churn out Star Wars games and sequels to Monkey Island, and the average adventure gamer is completely satysfied with that. For as "cutting edge" and "serious" as they label themselves, they can't take something that even remotely deviates from what they are used to, to those people I have only something to say: Take your unhappy, never-satisfied arses out of here and SHOOT YOURSELVES. And do try not to make us all look bad in the process, 'kay?