[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Dig_artwork_4692.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:256:This can't be good.]]
''The Dig'' is a ScienceFiction graphical AdventureGame developed by Creator/LucasArts, released in 1995 and based on an idea originally pitched by Creator/StevenSpielberg. Unlike other wackier adventure games by [=LucasArts=], this one has a much more serious tone, in addition to fitting in the "Hard" category of the MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness.

The game starts when an asteroid appears, seemingly out of nowhere, on a [[ColonyDrop collision course]] with Earth. NASA sends a shuttle mission to the asteroid to plant nuclear charges in the hopes of deflecting it into a more stable orbit. The mission is an apparent success, but on a standard EVA to survey the "new moon", the astronauts discover that in reality, the asteroid is an artifact manufactured by intelligent beings, and inadvertently activate a device that transforms it into a starship, [[FasterThanLightTravel whisking them off to a distant star system in the blink of an eye]].

The three astronauts who make the journey: TheStoic Commander Boston Low, OmnidisciplinaryScientist Dr. Ludger Brink and [[IntrepidReporter Investigative Journalist]] Maggie Robbins, find themselves on an alien planet, littered with the ruins of an ancient civilization, with no apparent way to get back home. They must find a way to survive both the hostile alien environment and their own interpersonal conflicts while searching for a clue to the fate of the planet's original inhabitants.

There is a novelization, written by Creator/AlanDeanFoster, which was included in the box with some releases of the game. However, if you're getting the game these days, it's more likely that you'll be getting the game without a box of any kind, since today it is sold by [=LucasArts=] on {{Steam}}.

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!!Tropes:
* ActorAllusion: Boston Low: "Have you seen this boy?" Delivered absolutely perfectly by Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000 in [[Film/{{Terminator}} Terminator 2]].
* AlienGeometries: Judging from their architecture and machinery design, the Cocytans are very fond of the 5 Platonic solids, see SinisterGeometry below.
* AlienSky: The planet's two suns and two moons. [[spoiler: One puzzle requires to manipulate the moons' positions to create an eclipse.]]
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: First averted, later TranslationConvention is used and then played straight.
* AllThereInTheManual: The novelization provides a ''ton'' of background information, to the point where it's required reading to really understand everything that's going on in the game, despite occasional minor inconsistencies. One of the more obvious ones is the name that Brink gives to the planet, "Cocytus", which is never mentioned in the game.
* AlmostDeadGuy: [[spoiler:The Cocytan scientist is so ancient that the life crystals are losing effectiveness and he can only remain "alive" for minutes at a time before "dying" again. Until the crystals lose all effectiveness and he dies for real.]]
* AlreadyUndoneForYou: Averted at first with Maggie in the library, then later played straight with Brink.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: What happened to the original inhabitants of Cocytus. [[spoiler:Subverted in that it is ''not'' a happy, fun place to spend eternity.]]
* BeautifulVoid
* BittersweetEnding: Depending on the choices you make. The best ending baits the player with this before flipping it over to HappilyEverAfter.
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Brink (though he's more insane than evil), contrasting with the dark-haired Low.
* BoxAndStickTrap: A somewhat infamous case, due to its [[ThatOnePuzzle frustrating difficulty]], requires you to catch a scavenging creature so that you can find its nest, by constructing such a trap out of various bones and machine parts that are lying around.
* BrokenAesop: [[spoiler: The story clubs you over the head from two different angles with the message, "'''Abolishing death is a bad thing, m'kay?'''"... Then in the final minutes, your new Cocytan friend's idea of a thank-you gift is to bring your two dead friends back to life with no consequences by mucking around in the extra dimensions of time. You ''almost'' carried the baton all the way, game...]]
* CallASmeerpARabbit: We have "rats", "turtles", "dogs", "birds", "bats", "spiders". Low even {{lampshade|Hanging}}s it by remarking how the bats on Cocytus have evolved to be just as disgusting as the bats on Earth.
* CameBackWrong: [[spoiler: Anyone resurrected with the "life crystals", especially Brink]].
* ColonyDrop: The threat of this provides the initial CallToAdventure for the story. The novelization gives more information about it but leaves unanswered the question of whether the asteroid really would have hit Earth if nobody had come up to stop it. One assumes it simply moves on to the next likely planet; otherwise the Cocytans are [[InferredHolocaust implied genocidal mass murderers]] on a galactic scale.
* CompilationRerelease
* DeadpanSnarker: Low, most of the time, except when his frustration boils over.
* DeathIsCheap: Especially when you can be quickly and easily resurrected by "life crystals"... [[spoiler:[[CameBackWrong except...]]]]
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Brink (twice) and Maggie before their revival.]]
** One of the earlier versions that never got released averted this. Instead of the first death among the astronaut crew being [[spoiler:Brink falling down a hole and bloodlessly breaking his neck]], it happened when a Japanese astronaut tried to cross the hard, encrusted top layer of a suspiciously steaming lake. He broke through into the acid pool below, thrashed his way to the other side while ''literally melting to death'', and ended up a bloody skeleton on the other side of the acid lake. In full view of the other [[WhatCouldHaveBeen three]] astronauts. Naturally, this was the version that introduced the HandInTheHole puzzle.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:Brink (though he only technically became a villain as he became further insane) before his revival.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Maggie, if you try to bring her back with a life crystal.]]
* DrugsAreBad: Ludger Brink and the life crystals, 'nuff said.
* EldritchAbomination: The giant "spiders".
* FantasticDrug: [[spoiler:The life crystals, in a way. They make you feel so good you become addicted to them.]]
* FishOutOfWater: Guess who?
* {{Foreshadowing}}: During the mission to the asteroid early in the game, Low can speak to the rest of his crew and hear things like "For all we know, Attila (the asteroid) could be a giant bubble." and "It could be a trap. Why? To catch some mice?"
* ForScience: The reason Brink gives for wanting the crystals. He explicitly [[spoiler:demands them from Low]] with these exact words.
* FreudianTrio: Low, of course, is the leader archetype; Robbins is the id; and Brink is the superego. Played almost perfectly straight until Brink [[spoiler:starts going nuts]].
* GhostPlanet
* GoneHorriblyRight: What happened to the Cocytans.
* GoryDiscretionShot: The camera cuts away right when Low starts to [[spoiler: saw off Brink's [[HandInTheHole trapped wrist]].]]
* GreenRocks: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The "life" crystals]].
* HandInTheHole: ''[[WhoWouldBeStupidEnough Yeah right. Like I'm going to stick my hand in some crack in the rock on an alien planet.]]'' ...Brink, you dope!!!
* HardLight: The "light" bridges. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d amid a HurricaneOfPuns by Low and Maggie.
* HisNameIs: Subverted. When Maggie [[spoiler:is captured]], she is about to reveal [[spoiler:what it is that she's reading]]. However, [[spoiler:if you ask her about it after you rescue her, she states that it wasn't actually important]].
* HumansAreBastards: Played with. The Cocytans invite humans to come visit and study. Maggie warns the Cocytans that not all humans are as nice as them. The Cocytans just laugh it off, saying all young species are like that and if any human tries to pick a fight they can just squash them like bugs.
* HumansAreSpecial: A strong will is apparently the defining trait of humanity. That and they lack the "blind spot" that the Cocytans have in Spacetime Six.
* HumanPopsicle: Not human but [[spoiler: the Cocytan scientist, when "dead" is kept in stasis in a pyramid under the tomb.]]
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: As told in the novelization, "Cocytus" is the deepest circle of Hell in ''TheDivineComedy''.
* InsaneEqualsViolent: [[spoiler: In addition to being more violent, Brink becomes a more capable fighter as he becomes more paranoid.]]
* InsufferableGenius: Brink, even before [[spoiler: he goes crazy]].
* IntrepidReporter: Maggie Robbins.
* ICantUseTheseThingsTogether: {{Trope Namer|s}}.
* KillItWithWater: Not so much the water itself but [[spoiler:Low's plan to get rid of the "spider" is to divert water into a strategically placed drain, thus knocking it off its perch and washing it away.]]
* LateToTheTragedy: The Earth astronauts missed the Cocytans by a undefined length of time that's stated to be at least a few million years, and they are far from the first to judge by the collection of abandoned rusting spacecraft they encounter.
* LetsSplitUpGang
** {{Justified|Trope}} by Maggie when she argues that since [[spoiler:Brink died]], sticking together isn't necessarily any safer, and that therefore logically they are twice as likely to find the answers they're looking for by splitting up. It seems to pay off at first, when Maggie discovers the Library through means which could have killed Boston had he followed along, but [[spoiler:their separation eventually comes back to bite them in the ass when Maggie is captured by a giant spider]].
* LostTechnology: From the protagonists' point of view, certainly. Once [[spoiler:the Cocytans come back]], everything gets fixed up pretty quickly.
* LoveInterests: Maggie and Low.
* MiniGame: "The Eagle has landed!" Well, at least it justifies the PDA being a PDA, not just a portable videophone.
* MrExposition: [[spoiler:The Cocytan scientist.]]
* MultipleEndings: The game has a few extra scenes in the end depending on whether or not [[spoiler:you choose to revive Maggie with a life crystal]].
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Averted with regards to food, as the humans debate and ultimately decide against trying to eat any of the plant or animal life they encounter. Fortunately (or not), starvation ends up being the least of their worries, although [[WhatCouldHaveBeen the game was originally supposed to have an additional survival mechanic where the player would have to keep searching for food to stay alive]]. The life crystals, on the other hand, are [[JustifiedTrope explicitly stated]] to work on almost any organic -- and some inorganic -- systems.
** Also played straight with Cocytus' atmosphere, although the humans first use their suits to check if the atmosphere is breathable, concluding that it's "at least as breathable as the air in L.A.". Low also mentions the possibility of airborne infectious agents, but Brink shrugs it off by assuming that they haven't evolved to take advantage of their cellular structures.
* {{Novelization}}: There are several differences between the game and the novelization, such as the state of the alien ship. In the game, it simply disappears after bringing the trio to Cocytus (which is also only named in the book). In the novel, the ship becomes inactive. When [[spoiler:the Cocytans return]], they [[spoiler:build another ship in the game and reactivate the same one in the book]]. There is also considerably more going on between Low and Maggie in the book, which ends with them kissing. In the game, she either slaps or hugs Low (depending on player choices).
* {{Omniglot}}: Maggie, with the assistance of an UpgradeArtifact (the library teaching device), manages to become passably fluent in Cocytan in a matter of hours. It's said in her {{Backstory}} that she's "good with languages", being an IntrepidReporter. It's also justified in that the language was deliberately tailored to be easy for newcomers to learn. That Maggie learns to speak it perfectly by merely reading it for a few hours is still a stretch.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent: [[spoiler: They aren't even dead to begin with.]]
* OutOfContinues: Implied; the Alien Inventor exposits that the life crystals can't be used an infinite amount of times, and their effect wears off gradually with each use, until they fail to resurrect the target at all. This is never actually seen in the game proper, however.
* PixelHunt: The programmers went out of their way to make the game pretty. They were decidedly lax on making it obvious which parts were objects that can be interacted with.
* PlotlineDeath: [[spoiler:Brink (twice), later Maggie]].
* RagnarokProofing: At one point, Low comments on how Cocytus is completely unpopulated, but all the machinery seems to be working fine. Brink agrees, saying it feels like the aliens just stepped out.
* RecycledSet: Several of the cave locations reuse locations from the caves you wander in the darkness through in ''VideoGame/{{Loom}}'' down to the last ledge and stalagmite, just with a graphical update and in a different order.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler: The Cocytan scientist claims that the only way he can atone for his mistakes is for the life crystals to lose effectiveness entirely and for true death to take him.]]
* SaharanShipwreck: Of the crashed-alien-starship kind.
* SceneryPorn: And how! Entire gorgeous multi-screen rooms filled with... a door... or maybe that little stick that you have to pick up. And nothing else that you can even examine. But very pretty visuals nonetheless.
* ScienceIsBad: [[spoiler: The Cocytan scientist is in self-imposed exile for his work, and tries to convince the heroes [[TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow not to go messing with his inventions.]]]]
* SeenItAll: Low is a Type 2 in the novelization, explaining why he is TheStoic.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Brink when distracting the giant "spider". Lampshaded by Low, who is briefly distracted from the rescue by trying to figure out what Brink just said.
* SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong
* ShownTheirWork: You might think that all the Spacetime Six stuff is [[AssPull pulled straight out of the writer's ass]]. You'd be wrong.
* SinisterGeometry: The starship that takes the astronauts to Cocytus is shaped as a crystal dodecahedron.
* StarfishAliens
* TheStoic: Boston Low. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d ''several'' times by the other characters.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens: The Cocytans, of course.
* TheyCalledMeMad: How MadScientist Brink deflects the accusation.
* [[spoiler: TimeTravel: How Brink and Maggie are eventually saved.]]
* TrappedInAnotherWorld: [[CaptainObvious The astronauts]][[spoiler: ...and the Cocytans]].
* WhatTheHellHero: [[spoiler:After seeing the [[CameBackWrong effects of the life crystals]], Maggie tells Low not to use one on her if she dies. After she's killed reactivating the Eye, you can use one to bring her back to life, but she commits suicide to stay dead. Later, when the Cocytans bring her back properly, she slaps Low in the face.]]
* WhoWantsToLiveForever
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