So it’s no secret that I am a big fan of the original Darkseed but had never been able to play the second game for the longest time.
I currently don’t have the money or the room to buy a Windows 3.1 PC, so I had to make do with a VM or something, but I couldn’t get any of that working, either, no matter what I tried.
For the longest time, I didn’t let it bother me, since thanks to the likes of Retsupurae, the game was seen as a joke, mostly because of the new actor who played as Michael Dawson making him look wimpy compared to the first game. (I found out the reason for this. More of that later)
But then I decided to watch a playthrough, and actually really wanted to play it, as I was engaged in the story.
So after a while, I finally found a working version of Darkseed 2 that boots up a Windows 3.1 VM and starts the game, so I now had access to this game.
So… is it actually as bad as people make it out to be?
For starters, it was much more straightforward than the first game in the sense that you’re not stressed in trying to get things done in a specific order or within a time-limit, except for one point near the end, which I won’t spoil here.
The story goes that Mike Dawson had a mental breakdown after the events of the first game, and went back to his home town in Texas to live with him mum again. He went to a high school reunion, after which his high school crush and local librarian, Rita, was killed.
A lot of people, myself included, for some reason, thought Rita was the librarian from the first game, but that isn’t the case. The librarian in the first game wasn’t given a name.
The game starts with Dawson having a nightmare in the dark world with some… laughable animations.
Then Dawson wakes up, and a police officer enters Dawson’s rooms and asks him some questions, and seems adamant that Dawson killed Rita.
Mike Dawson is the number 1 suspect of the murder, since he was the last person to see her alive. However, Dawson doesn’t remember a thing.
Afterwards, Dawson goes out, gets tickets for a carnival opening that day, and meets with Jack, the only friend he’s made since returning to Texas, on his front porch.
Then he goes to see a psychologist he’s been seeing to treated his PTSD, Dr Sims, and he convinced Dawson to hypnotise him, and he starts to recall events from the night Rita was killed, and agreed to do more.
He eventually finds the Dark World through the carnival, and that’s as far as I’m going to go at the risk of spoiling anything.
The game did a good job at keeping me hooked to the game, and playing it longer than I intended, just to find out what happened next!
The game I think the normal world very 90s charm. I love the crumbly sounds and the awful CGI renders. It all gives the game charm!
I think the dark world looks even creepier than the first game, and the lack of music, replaced by creepy ambiance sounds, really adds to that effect!
The game has much, much more dialogue than the first game, too. You meet loads of interesting characters throughout the game, and you find out a lot about the backstory of Darkseed.
…or do we?
As you play through the game, more and more people get killed.
As you reach the end of the game, it becomes apparent that only Mike Dawson can see Jack, and that he might not be a real person after all.
He admits to being the dark world counterpart to Mike Dawson, and that he killed all of the suspects, and then proceed to kill him in Dr. Sims’ room.
The police come in, don’t notice Jack, and say that Mike killed Sims and then himself, implying that all of this was, in fact, all in his head.
I felt cheated by the ending initially, but then thinking about it, it makes sense, and kind of genius.
Though the problem is, as you can see, Jack is still there even after Mike dies. The game does have some plotholes that they ripped right open here.
But it’s okay! Mike Dawson’s mum explains everything!
All in all, I actually really enjoyed Dark Seed 2, and given it’s now free and archived on internetarchive.org, I’d say give it a try!