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Oil's Well

Moby ID: 1416
Included in Original See Also

Description official descriptions

Guide your drilling bit through the underground tunnels and collect the dots of oil. Be sure to avoid the underground pests in the eight levels and beyond. With each completed level you get to see a small movie of Slater the "Petrosaur" in his antics in this remake of the original.

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Credits (DOS version)

11 People

Executive Producer
Creative Director
Original Concept
IBM Version Programmed By
Art Director
Assistant Art Director
Cartoon Sound Effects



Average score: 47% (based on 3 ratings)


Average score: 3.0 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings with 2 reviews)

Run an oil-drilling operation – from your own home.

The Good
When the Eighties drew to a close, Sierra started remaking their old games. Most of them were adventures that were made around 1986 or 1987, but there were only a few of their arcade games that got the remake treatment, and one of them was Oil's Well.

It is an addictive arcade game where you control a robotic arm trying to mine oil in the underground tunnels, but stopping you from doing this are bugs that roam around the tunnels. Before any of these come in contact with the arm, which will result in a loss of life, the arm must get back up to the level and destroy these bugs with the drill. The gameplay is similar to Pac-Man, in the way the oil is laid out.

The first thing that drew me into the game was the music. Starting from the title screen, soundtrack is brilliantly composed by Ken Allen, and blends in with the game's overall theme. There are cartoon-like sound effects that just sound good on the Roland MT-32. I can understand why there is no background music while you're busy drilling; with it, you would not hear the sound of your drilling machine. Besides, it is consistent with the original game, made at a time where you just don't hear background music.

The graphics are excellent. The oil rig at the top of the screen is well designed, and each underground tunnel is laid out nicely. There are many tunnels, and once you get to the bottom most tunnel, it's hard to come back up if the critters are about to come in contact with a piece of your drill. There are also patterns within the underground tunnels, instead of them just being a solid color. For example, level one contains a pile of rocks surrounded by brown dirt. The creatures are animated nicely and are drawn nicely.

In between levels are humorous cartoon sequences starring a dinosaur-like creature called Slater, and he was popular enough to star in his own game, Slater & Charlie Go Camping. There are eight cartoons, and they basically show the oil drill interrupting one of Slader's daily activities. I enjoyed watching each cartoon, and I wish that there was more than eight. It is also a coincidence in the last cartoon that the limo has the words “Oils Well That Ends Well”, which happens to be my review's summary for the original game.

Controlling the arm is really simple. You don't use the up arrow key as well; all you need to use the down arrow to move the arm through the tunnels, and space to retract it. The space bar is perfect for dealing with some creatures that are crawling at a previous depth than you.

The Bad
Why do the creatures change color? It looks really strange.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Oil's Well is an excellent update to the original 1983 classic, with great sound, graphics, and the same gameplay that made gamers have “just one more go”. There's even a high score that allows them to see what the scores of their previous games were, then try to beat them.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2013

nothing special here

The Good
It was, uh, kinda cute. The graphics were very nice for the time, one of the earliest VGA releases from Sierra On-Line. Same goes for the Adlib sound. And the box looks nice.

The Bad
It's nothing special. The eight levels aren't different enough that you'd want to keep playing just to see the next one (although the cartoons in between are nice), and it's not that difficult. I beat it in a day, and God knows I'm no arcade expert. Also, Sierra billed the game as "Arcade Action for the Whole Family" - I'm having trouble picturing my wife playing this game.

The Bottom Line
Well, I bought it for $1 on eBay because I collect Sierra originals. It doesn't actively suck and amused me well enough until I beat it, but doubt I'll revisit it very often. I don't know why Sierra chose Oil's Well to make a remake of and not something else. Nowadays you'll get better shareware arcade games, and even for the time being there was better stuff, especially on the Amiga, so I can't really recommend it. The box looks really nice on my shelf, though.

DOS · by Gothicgene (66) · 2002


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  • MobyGames ID: 1416
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Will D.

Game added May 11, 2000. Last modified May 27, 2024.