|Title: Dig, The
Rom Player: PC
Synopsis: Of all the classic adventure games LucasArts made throughout the 90s, the least known is probably the Dig. This game was created after Full Throttle, and was (or caused?) a long pause before LucasArts started making adventure games again. It's also much more serious than its predeceasing adventure games, there's just a limited amount of sarcastic jokes.
The Dig's manual boldly claims that its story was written by Steven Spielberg, who wanted to make a movie out of it, but then believed the costs would be too high and decided to have it made into a game. It might not be a complete lie, but I think it's more believable that a movie wasn't made because it would've bombed - it's not that original, not thought through that much, and kind of lonesome. The story of the Dig: a giant asteroid, named Attila, is gradually moving towards Earth. A small team is sent to place special charges on the asteroid's surface, meant to break it into bits small enough to burn in the Earth's atmosphere. This is where things start getting a bit incredible. First off, the team consists of two shuttle operators and just three astronauts. Sure, space flight is expensive, but I'd think the fate of the world is important enough to pump a few more bucks into this thing. Next to that, one of the astronauts is a JOURNALIST. Are you really going to care about public relations instead of extraterrestrial competence when a huge rock is about to crush the planet? Well, the team approaches the asteroid, which seems not so much to be moving at Earth as it's serenely hanging in space (WELL in range of the Earth's gravitational pull, if you're curious), and place the charges. Once detonated, the team finds that the asteroid is hollow. The clever team commander Boston Low, played by you, descends into the depths of the asteroid (distorting radio contact with the shuttle) and re-assembles an obviously alien device. What does an idiot like that deserve? To be hurled halfway across the universe and landed on an alien planet, that's what. Here's where the game REALLY begins.
The object of the game, of course, is to try and get you and your two team members off this alien planet and back home. The planet you are on appears to be a kind of post-apocalyptic world with only remnants of an alien society left. As you explore, you discover piece by piece what happened to the alien race. Meanwhile, your female journalist companion (Maggie Robbins) starts pursuing her Pulitzer by abandoning the team and studying things, and your male geologist companion (Ludger Brink) goes crazy. Sweat much?
Controls for this game were rigorously downsized. Instead of the usual "pick up", "open", "pull" or a hand, mouth, eye etc. option, you can now click on things. Yes. That's all. To pick something up, manipulate it, or look at it, you click. If you want a description, there's a magnifying glass in your inventory.
Other negative points to this game would be the graphics; the backgrounds are OK, but the character sprites appear to actually be inferior to those of Full Throttle. There is virtually no facial expression, and if there is, it can't be combined with speech (ie: a character will frown, then look neutral and start to talk). Big downer. Most of the cut-scenes are stylish, but they lack detail. Furthermore, the lack of human interaction gets boring often. Pretty much the only person to talk to is Maggie Robbins, and she has little interesting or funny to say. Consequence is that you tend to spend long periods of time drifting through the same screens over and over again, hearing the same comments over and over again when you're stuck for a while.
But, there's good points. The voice cast is alright. Boston Low, your character, is voiced by Robert Patrick (the T-1000 from T2, and agent Frank Doggett from the X-Files). The music sets the mood excellently. The alien culture and creatures are often interesting. The puzzles are mostly based on geometric shapes and colors, which makes them pretty easy, but I prefer this over the "what the hell am I looking at?" alien puzzles that some games provide. The game is decently long, too. Unfortunately Spielberg's influence is mainly apparent in the ending, which you'll find out.
A lot of bad points to this game, but I'm trying to be objective - if I were being subjective, I'd have nothing but praise. This game was the very first I bought on CD-Rom, making it a huge leap forward in graphics and sound for me. I played it for weeks together with my brother, often helping each other when we got stuck. So it has a lot of sentimental value to me. If you're going to look for this game, don't expect a Sam & Max: Hit the Road or a Full Throttle. It's extremely tough to find nowadays, and your best try is probably eBay.
Best Cheats: You want to cheat, you use a gamefaqs.com walkthrough... wimp! However, if you want to see a slightly different ending: make sure you have life crystals in the end, and you'll know what to use them on.
Game Play: 7
Overall Rating: 7
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