SummaryDon't get confused, The Dig is a TRUE classic
The GoodThis is one of the last Lucas Arts's adventures that I had it left to play. Due to opinions and comments that I had read about it since long ago, I always thought perhaps it's not a great adventure. I imagined it was a good one, but not enough in order to consider it a classic. Well, my imagination (and much people) couldn't be more wrong: The Dig is amazing and should be an unforgettable classic. The key in The Dig is its atmospheric and intriguing story, unlike most of Lucas Arts's adventures, in which hilarious comedy and crazy-but-sidesplitting puzzles constitute their cores (Monkey Islands, Sam & Max, etc.). But The Dig has a gameplay with excellent puzzles and dialogues too…
In The Dig we take the role of Boston Low, a commander in charge of an expedition toward an asteroid which is on trajectory of collision with the Earth. Needless to say, all isn't what it seems to be, and together with his crew, the journalist Maggie Robbins and the geologist/archaeologist Dr. Ludger Brink, he initiates a fascinating adventure in a mysterious alien world. The story is full of surprises (but don't worry, I'm not going to reveal anything), and the involved-in-mystery ambience remains throughout the game. There is no moment to be bored. There are always something to explore, try and talk. Since the emphasis of the game is put in the story, and this, in turn, emphasizes the relationship between the protagonists, one would expect the dialogues offer more than some clues of puzzles and simple comments in order to "advance" through the plot: sure enough, the writers did a surprising job which surpasses any expectation. Conversations with our co-protagonist and thoughts of each one are excellently written, adding personality, emotion, humor and credibility to them and to the story. The adopted style for dialogues is similar to the one in George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's adventure movies such as Indy, and Jurassic Park, that is, with enough seriousness to be convincing in dramatic moments, but also with lots of funny and unconcerned comments in order to make the adventure relaxing and amusing, without to be a comedy. Although The Dig's tone is some more serious than above films (Indy, especially), I think they serve like an example. Besides, the whole storytelling looks like directed by Spielberg, and not only dialogues, so such movies should give you also a general idea of how is the story's unfolding in The Dig: astonishing at every instant!
The gameplay is as engrossing as its story. Although the game's mechanics is similar to other LucasArts's adventures (something good by itself), it's surprising how the designers accomplished that every action were truly an important and convincing part of the story. Puzzles are very diverse, and they require exploring, talking and combining items. They are challenging (but intuitive), clever and gratifying. There is no frustration; here, there is a story to tell first, by means of a perfectly integrated to the story and its world gameplay. "To play" The Dig is a pleasure.
The audio-video aspect is an essential part in The Dig: not only it helped to sell a few more copies, but also to create an atmosphere as immersive as very few games (independently genre and age) could reach. Its graphics are simply fabulous. The exquisitely illustrated and animated landscapes, characters' animations like cartoons, and the excellent cut-scenes join to make a cinematographic experience from beginning to end. Together with Full Throttle, The Dig originated the "movie style" in graphic adventures. Equally grandiose is the audio side. The entire game is enriched by an highest quality (artistic and technic) audio labor: clear-cut environmental sounds, characters' every action are recreated with proper sounds, etc. Continuing with "cinematographic experience", the speech work is first class as well, and it's not a simple accessory as in other adventures. This task was performed with a professionalism and quality comparable to any movie which I referred to before. And I don't mean only professional actors (which certainly are professionals, like Robert Patrick), but also the whole team behind this aspect (director, editor, etc.). The musical selection is outstanding, and it couldn't be more appropriate: whether you ear the subtle music-sounds tunes that accompanies us on the outer space, which convey the infinite and intimidating greatness of space, or relaxing and reflexive melodies at the seashore, or emotional choral compositions, your ears (and your spirits) will be rewarded at every moment. Definitely, this point of the game is a strong one.
The Bottom LineIt's a shame that much people ignore this game because it was underestimated and forgotten by others with absolute injustice. The Dig is a brilliant experience that dives us masterfully in a strange, but beautiful alien world, full of secrets and surprises. Believe me, it's truly worth it.