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THE DIG

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela


Steven Spielberg made two of our all time favorite sci-fi movies, so when we saw that this game is based on one of his stories, we had to play it.  And we were not disappointed!

As the story begins, an asteroid the size of a small moon (nicknamed Attila, as in 'Attila the Hun') is on a collision course with Earth.  We can't blow it up because even the fragments would be devastating, so our only viable alternative is to try to knock it into a stable orbit.  A team of scientists is sent via shuttle to plant nuclear charges on it... which they successfully do, free-floating outside of their shuttle, during the early part of the game.

But after they finish this rather routine work, three of them decide to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a closer look at an asteroid. To their surprise they discover that it is hollow, and that there is evidence of alien technology inside!  With the natural curiosity characteristic of all humans, they try to figure out what it is for... when suddenly it is transformed into a crystal-like spacecraft and they find themselves hurtling through space at warp speed, across the galaxy to the planet of origin.

Where are they now, and why were they brought here?  And more importantly, how will they ever figure out a way to get back home? Wherever home is now.

They find themselves on a planet that was obviously once inhabited by a highly evolved civilization. Yet now it is a hostile world, desolate and abandoned with no sign of anyone anywhere, and none of the artifacts make any logical (human) sense. They realize that they've got to stay calm and keep their wits about them. They know that somehow they're going to have to learn how these aliens thought, and maybe even why they're gone now, in order to be able to understand their technology and get back home. So they split up to increase their chances of finding something helpful...

In this 3rd person point & click game, you play Boston Low, veteran NASA scientist and all round good guy, who is accompanied by an award-winning journalist, Maggie Robbins, and an internationally renowned geologist, Dr. Ludger Brink. The beautifully hand painted world in which you find yourself is fascinating to explore. You never know what you may run into next (we loved that threatening sea creature), and the variety of atmospheric sound effects add to the mood (whistling wind and slapping ocean waves, the crunch of your footsteps in the sand, the sound of alien birds).  And the beautiful musical score (which is based on Wagner's Overtures and Preludes and was written by Michael Land, who wrote the great Monkey Island music) adds to the portentous feeling. It is well worth listening to all by itself.

The puzzles start out fairly simple but soon become more difficult, with a few that are very complex and challenging, and some that require convincing your colleagues to help.  Most are inventory based.  Almost all of them are logical, and if you look at everything and pay attention to details in both the environment and story, you should find ample clues.  But because the story is linear, you may not be able to solve a particular puzzle or find a needed item until something else is done. Try everything... anything that happens to you as a result is supposed to happen.

For us good story is paramount in a serious adventure game, and this one is both suspenseful and engrossing, with the addition of occasional moments of humor to lighten the mood (we practically fell off our chair laughing when they told us that "It really isn't necessary to 'arm' your flashlight!").  Although it is primarily a game of solitary exploration and puzzle solving, there is also a lot of dialogue.  But the voice acting is good (you feel like shaking that insolent and stubborn geologist at times) and besides, dialogue is the only way to elaborate on the story!  We only wish they had seen fit to elaborate even more on the ending.

An excellent adventure game. Definitely recommended!


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Developed (1995) and published by LucasArts Entertainment.

This game was, at one time, also available with 5 other CDs ( Full Throttle;  Monkey Island Madness - includes full version of the Secret of Monkey IslandMonkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge,  and a playable demo of the Curse of Monkey Island;  Dark Forces;  Afterlife; and a Super Sampler ) in The LucasArts Archives, Volume III.

Rated:   K-A   for Kids to Adults  (Animated Violence)

Minimum System Requirements:  DOS

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"Walkthrough" available here!

"Walkthrough" available here!


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