The Dig

Moby ID: 354
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

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.

Spellings

  • 异星搜奇 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 디그 - Korean spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

235 People (207 developers, 28 thanks) · View all

Designed by
Directed by
Based on a Concept by
Dialogue by
Additional Story by
Additional Additional Story by
Art Style
Creature Concept
Lead Artist
Background Art
Supervising Animators
Animators
Special Effects Animators
Additional Animation
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 82% (based on 38 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 236 ratings with 21 reviews)

Whoa, I am gonna meet some Extra-terrestrials man

The Good
Interesting graphics. A good blend of hand drawn graphics, FMV-sequences and animation. I must say they still look good and were kind of superior for it's time.

The Bad
It's repetitiveness. most of the time I was spending time going here and there, going back, going back and going back some more. I would like to see some variation here. Too many times I was wasting time unlocking doors and putting pieces back together.

The story is the biggest let down here. Since there is some budget and possibilities I would expect to be impressed with creative aliens but instead of that I was treated to the same old mystery crap, where aliens don't show up until the very last seconds of the game. The story isn't actually that original. There are worlds that look identical to ours, with beaches, blue skies and mountains. There are rats that look like rats, birds that are birds, dogs that are dogs, bats that are bats and even a ginormous spider. On top of that as some sort of final insult that alien leader says: "those creatures haven't evolved yet". Oh dear...

Also there is one part I simply can't get over with, how on earth is it possible to learn (and speak) a complete alien language just by analysing a few samples in a library?

The Bottom Line
The dig: I rather leave this one buried

DOS · by tante totti (14) · 2007

Semi-good(ish)

The Good
This came out at an odd time for Lucasarts - after 'The Secret of Monkey Island 2' had been criticised for being too easy, they released this and 'Full Throttle', two solid adventures that, whilst pleasant enough, seemed to add little to the genre, and were not particularly hard. 'The Dig' is less cartoony and more 'serious' than their other games - it's a pulpy sci-fi adventure with the voice of Robert Patrick, the evil Terminator from 'Terminator 2'. It scores highly in terms of presentation - the animated intro is highly professional, and there's a constant, impressive score ('Wagnerian' according to the box) too.

The Bad
The puzzles veer from being utterly, utterly obscure (a sequence in which you manipulate a hovering drone in order to reactivate a power plant), to dull 'try every object with every other object' fests. Furthermore, what appeared to be a bug in my version of the the game rendered it unfinishable. Nonetheless, it's typically competent, and even when it's being dull there's the music to listen to.

The Bottom Line
Decent, solid adventure that won't tax you for more than a few days. With Robert Patrick!

DOS · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2000

So so

The Good
This game has some interesting and not so interesting but nice qualities. I liked the cool cinematic sequences and the sort of Spielberesque movie music. The story manages to be intriguing and the atmosphere also works for me. The puzzles are a little atypical but I'd say they were difficult enough and kind of refreshing. The tone of the game is between dramatic and facetious, something that I thought was well handled (I did laugh, I did smile, and I was surprised at the level of cynicism in the game). The voice acting is competent.

The Bad
I think it lacks something. It lacks more adventure gaming. The inventory possibilities were not so abundant and some puzzles didn't make any damn sense and were silly too.

I also noticed plot holes in the story (like how the first ghost managed to give the team the crystal rod if the ghosts supposedly can't cause anything in Spacetime 4 but little energy disturbances?). The game ends too abruptly and the happy ending was cheap.

The inflated music turns monotonous eventually.

The Bottom Line
An atypical and sort of interesting Lucasarts adventure game.

DOS · by Czar Husk Qi (27) · 2007

[ View all 21 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Messy credits chirinea (47510) Jun 16, 2007
How did you like the voice acting in this game? LepricahnsGold (142761) Jun 8, 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) – #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

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Related 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

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 354
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by robotriot.

Linux added by click here to win an iPhone9SSSS. Windows added by MAT. Macintosh added by Jason Savage.

Additional contributors: Mickey Gabel, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Apogee IV, G J, CubbyKatz, CaesarZX, Picard, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added November 1, 1999. Last modified February 16, 2024.