Oil's Well

Platforms: IBM PC/Compatibles


Main Genre:
Gameplay Style:


IBM VGA version of Oil's Well
IBM VGA version of Oil's Well
Oil's Well is an action game published by Sierra On-Line in 1990 for IBM and compatible computers. It is a remake of their earlier 1983 game, also called Oil's Well. The updated version recreates the gameplay of the original while adding enhanced graphics and sound along with new animated cartoons between each level featuring Slater, a dinosaur that is frequently inconvienced by a drillbit. As in the original game, the goal is to collect all of the oil found in a maze before time runs out. The game is similar to the arcade game Anteater which came out in 1982.


The game screen in Oil's Well consists of a maze filled with oil (dots). At the top center of the screen is the player's oil rig; from here a drill bit trailed by a connecting pipe can be navigated through the maze to collect oil. The goal on each level is to collect all of the oil before time runs out. The drill bit can only move forward and it cannot cross over the pipe; players have the ability to rapidly retract the pipe which can be used both for navigating to different parts of the maze and avoiding dangers.

Travelling horizontally across the screen are various types of bug like critters; if any of the critterse touch the drill bit they will be destroyed, however if a critter touches the pipe, both the pipe and drill bit are destroyed and players lose a life. To avoid losing a life players can either avoid the critters entirely by retracting the pipe or by destroying them with the drill bit which also earns bonus points. Besides the critters, there are also land mines that travel across the screen; the mines, opposite of the critters, will travel safely across the pipe however if the drill bit touches one it will be destroyed. From time to time a goblet will appear; this also passes across the pipe safely and will earn bonus points if collected by the drill bit.

To help out players, each level contains a bonus 'Petromin' which appears as a larger dot; if this is collected, all of the critters and other moving items on the screen except for the drill bit will temporarily slow down greatly allowing the player to more easily collect oil.

Oil's Well includes eight different mazes each of which increase in complexity. As the game progresses the number of critters and their speed increase as well. Three difficulty levels (labeled as Regular, Unleaded, and Premium) are available. The gameplay in this updated release is very similar to the original version and the level design remains nearly identical as well. The update includes enhanced graphics with support for (at the time) modern display hardware including 256 color VGA graphics and a new stereo soundtrack with support for common sound cards.


Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
Executive Producer: Ken Williams
Creative Director: Bill Davis
Producer: Guruka Singh-Khalsa
Original Game Concept by: Thomas J. Mitchell
IBM Version Programmed By: William Rieder
Art: Nancy Hoffelmeyer, Andy Hoyos
Composer: Ken Allen
Cartoon Sound Effects: Mark Seibert, Christopher Braymen
Documentation by: Marti McKenna


Instruction Manual
IBM PC/Compatibles


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Oil's Well has appeared in.
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Product Catalogs
Sierra 1991 product catalog

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