Name: The Dig
Format: PC CD-ROM
The early 1990s was the golden era of LucasArts with Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and my favorite, The Dig.
Based loosely on a plot by Steven Spielberg, the Dig is one of the finest adventures games ever to grace the PC. Spielberg had a concept for a monstrous space epic drawing inspiration from the films Forbidden Planet and the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He originally wanted it to be a movie but after seeing the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade videogame he decided that the Dig would be better served as a game and he pitched the idea to George Lucas.
The original plot had little to do with the final plot. The original characters were two characters a man (engineer) and a woman (biologist). As part of a crew of a spaceship they find an abandoned planet and begin to explore it.
The final plot is set in the present and starts when a space-object tracking station in Borneo picks up a large asteroid heading toward Earth. NASA scientists figure out that the possibility of impact with Earth is 99%. The only way to stop the asteroid is to place nuclear explosives on it to adjust its orbit.
Once the crew finishes the mission they set down on the asteroid (dubbed Attila) and discover that it is not an asteroid at all but an alien spaceship. They discover this only as it activates and zips off into deep space.
The ship takes them to a planet that appears to be deserted. There is evidence that where the spaceship lands was once meant to be a greetings center but all that is left is strange plants and dead machinery.
"That'll teach you guys not to mess with Boston Low...Space Commander."
Boston is the hero. He is in charge of the mission to save Earth and has been on numerous shuttle missions before. He isn't the smartest guy you'll meet and he has almost no sense of humor, but he isn't dumb and he will carry out his goals no matter what stands in his way.
"You don't know anymore about surviving on an alien planet then I do."
Maggie Robbins is a reporter. She managed to get herself assigned to the mission either using her strong connects in the government or by using her sex appeal. Boston doesn't trust her, she doesn't like Boston, and so once they are stranded on an alien planet she gets irritated quickly which only complicates matters.
Dr. Ludger Brink
"Where ever Attila came from there were people there."
"You're the hero Low. Go do your "hero" activities and leave the science to me."
Brink is a noted German scientist who is in charge of analyzing the placement of the nuclear devices during the mission. He is supportive of Boston right up to the point where he winds up dying by falling down a hole on the alien planet. After being brought back to life with a piece of alien technology called a life crystal Brink becomes on of the major obstacles in the game. He develops an addiction to the crystals and gets progressively crazier as the game goes on.
Boston: "Ken do you copy?"
Ken: "Like carbon paper boss."
Ken is NASA's most experienced shuttle pilot and a close friend of Boston's. When the asteroid takes Maggie, Brink, and Boston away he is left behind.
"Well, my opponent is demanding equal time in space."
Cora is the crew's payload specialist. She also is running for congress and figures that a mission to save the Earth is a good way to one-up her opponent.
The Alien Creator
"Help yourselves by giving up."
"What raises the dead can debase the living."
"My only consolation is that true death comes closer with each dying."
The only alien left on the planet is the Alien Creator, an inventor who was responsible for all the aliens' achievements. He is sealed inside a glass pyramid under a tomb. He isn't interested in helping Boston and company get home and he speaks cryptically. He created the life crystals to give his people eternal life. His people wanted to share this science with others and so they sent spaceships out to bring others to their world. But the crystals had side effects and the spaceships could not be called back. He then created an even greater technology to replace the flawed crystals. This technology destroyed his people and so he hid himself away in a hidden tomb where Boston finds him centuries later.
The Dig has some interesting things to say about the obsession with staying young and living forever. The alien society is destroyed by it and Brink is driven mad by the same technology. It also has clever dialogue and interesting puzzles. It plays much like other LucasArts games of the time and offers a neat and beautiful world to explore. All of the environments are detailed and the ambient sound is wonderful. The graphics are dated by today's standards, but for its time the Dig was fantastic. Couple this with excellent voice acting and you've got yourself a very enjoyable game.
The Dig Computer Game (of course)
http://dig.mixnmojo.com/museum/dig.html (You also can purchase the game from here.)