Again I plunged into the depths of the bargain section of the store, and like a younger and sprier Indiana Jones I wrested the ancient treasure from the dusty plinth of wonders. Okay, maybe that’s a little too much exaggeration, the shelf wasn’t that wondrous, pretty sure I saw almost the entire FIFA back catalogue on there, but the treasure was most certainly ancient, dating back to the mysterious times of 1995. So what was primitive man able to muster up in the point and click age with The Dig?
I’m probably too young to be a proud card-carrying member of the point and click appreciation society, but regardless of that, there are several games within the genre which I remember playing (and also liking), such as Broken Sword, Discworld and Day of The Tentacle. The Dig was released somewhere between these two games, and developer by the same people as Day of Tentacle, LucasArts.
The game sees you playing as Commander Boston Low, an astronaut leading a space mission onto a giant asteroid near Earth that could potentially cause catastrophic damage if it hits. Your first job is to secure nuclear explosives on the asteroid causing it to avoid the Earth, I know, it sounds familiar but this predates Armageddon by three years. Unsurprisingly the mission takes a turn for the worse, or it would be a pretty short game, and you find yourself transported to a distant planet.
One of the first things I noticed about this game was that it was paced very different to modern games in that it kept the progression of the story very slow at the beginning whereas it seems games today feel they have to hook you in the first five minutes and as such tend to start with a whole lot more bang for your buck.
Whilst the graphics were very noticeably dated, the game play was still solid after all these years proving that the old ways of point and click are still enjoyable and I hope we get more ports like the current Broken Sword release on the DS to show this generation how it’s done.
It is unfortunately cheesy, and not always in the good way, taking a sharp turn from the humour LucasArts instilled in many of their other titles, and often feels like it is taking itself far too seriously. Great voice acting, from talent such as Robert Patrick (or T-1000 if you prefer to call him that) and Steven Blum (played the part of everything from Wolverine to Batman, Halo‘s Brutes to Naruto‘s Orichamaru, and apparently was the pre-release voice of Marcus Fenix) does little to help what appears to be a poorly written script which comes as a shock when you find that acclaimed novelist Orson Scott Card was responsible for the dialogue. On top of all these big names, as the box will proudly tell you, Steven Speilberg is also responsible for this game’s creation.
From the credits alone you would expect this to be the best point and click you will ever play, and that notion will leave you disappointed. Despite that sentiment, this is still an awesome game, and I urge everyone to head on down to their local games emporium, whether you remember this game, or just remember other LucasArts games, or even if you are too young to know of this style of game you should check it out. If you are unable to find this gem, there are no doubt a dozen other titles there that you will be dazzled by, sticking to the genre you could also look for any Broken Sword or Monkey Island game. If not, you probably spent less than a dollar, at that price, how can you afford not to give it a try?