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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Dig - DOS

The Dig is a 1995 2D graphical adventure game by LucasArts. It is a notable exception from other titles in their library as it is a serious title, and this is mirrored in all aspects of the game: the dialogue, story, art, music, and puzzles. The game was created by many talented and famous people; Including the well known science fiction write Orson Scott Card, creator of the Ender's Game series, and Steven Spielberg, the almost legendary film director and creator; And The Dig almost feels like a triple A film, with an amazing long and involved story, great dialogue and voice acting, attractive visuals, and atmosphere setting music.

The Dig has been criticized by fans of LucasArts adventure games because of its serious atmosphere, too challenging Myst likely puzzles, and pretty much every other aspect of the game; calling it the weakest in the developers library. Personally, I do not know what game these naysayers are playing; And I can only come to the conclusion that they are blinded by it being different from the many other wonderful LucasArts games. And it is a very different game; But no matter how great The Secret of Monkey Island's witty humour was, every game cannot use humour; And no matter how stylish The Curse of Monkey Island looked, every game cannot just copy those graphics and hope to catch some of the magic that was in the game. So yes The Dig is different and unique, but that is where the potential for greatness comes in.

The Dig is a epic science fiction tale of mortality and immortality, of aliens and humans, of technology and ruins, and ultimately of life and death. In the story a team of three astronautics are sent to save the earth from a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with earth. The team saves the earth, but gets transported to a seemingly abandoned alien world filled with mystery and danger. They must then explore the planet looking for a way home, or at least for a way to survive. They soon discover the ruins of a ancient, technologically advanced, race of aliens. With nothing showing where the aliens went of what happened to them. The team must delve deeper into the alien world to discover what happened to the long absent civilization and if they can ever get home to earth.

What really makes the game great in my opinion is how well all the parts are fit together. The story, as mentioned previously, sets the over arching tone of mystery and wonder. This feeling is compounded by the graphics, particularly the alien environment and technology. The interesting gameplay and puzzles help to draw the player into this world. The great music grows this atmosphere, with a sometime eerie, sometimes alien, sometimes mysterious, and always epic score. And it is the superb and believable dialogue and voice overs that really solidifies it. It is rare to see all of a games attributes come together and work in concert to create such a great atmosphere and ultimately incredible game.

And now to the gameplay. The gameplay is mostly divided between three main types: logic puzzles, inventory based puzzles, and exploration. The logic puzzles revolve around the alien technology; Figuring out how specific control panels and devices function, sometimes how to fix them, and then how to use them. The inventory puzzles are a pretty recognizable fair, similar to other classical adventure games, but particularly well done; Staying logical and entertaining throughout. The third and arguably the most entertaining aspect of the gameplay is the exploration. Exploring the alien landscape and discovering the alien technology and hidden chambers is just awe inspiring in its own right.

The overall feeling of mystery and wonder created by the captivating and profound story, extended by the alien and mysterious graphics and environments, nourished by the epic music, and cemented by the solid and interesting dialogue and voice overs.
The overly happy ending slightly distracted from the seriousness of the game prior to that moment.
A great classical adventure game that is almost perfect in all categories.
Release Date:
November 1, 1995
System Requirements:
  • OS: DOS, Mac OS
  • CPU: 66 MHz
  • RAM: 8 MB
  • Video: 256 colour VGA
  • Hard Drive: 1 MB
Re-release: (
  • OS: Windows XP or Vista
  • CPU: Any 2002 era PC or better
  • RAM: 32 MB
  • Video: 2 MB - PCI Graphics Card
  • Hard Drive: 650 MB
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.5
  • CPU: 1.8 GHz
  • RAM: 128 MB
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB

Associated Blogs:

CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog
Jonathon Wisnoski - Game Reviewer and Commentator

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, awesome game! I loved The Dig. About time a DOS game was mentioned... will have to write about a couple myself.