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, or even a copy of the game, whenever one pops up for sale online, so I would have 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. You'll find out why later)
But then I decided to watch a playthrough, and actually really wanted to play it, as I was engaged in the story.
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.
For some reason, a lot of people, myself included, 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 Dr Sims, a psychologist he’s been seeing to treat his PTSD, and he convinced Dawson to hypnotise him, and he starts to recall events from the night Rita was killed, and agrees to do more.
He eventually finds the Dark World through the carnival, and that’s as far as I’m going to go. Not gonna spoil any more.
The game did a good job at keeping me hooked to it, and playing it longer than I intended, just to find out what happens next!
I love how mid 90s the game feels! 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.
By 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.
When you stop the plans of the ancients, the ones planning to destroy and light and dark world, you wake up in Dr. Sims' office to find him dead and Jack standing there. Jack admits to being the Mike Dawson's Dark World counterpart, and that he killed all of the suspects, including Dr. Sims, and then proceeds to kill him, too.
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.
The problem is, as you can see, Jack is still there even after Mike dies. If he was all in Mike's head, he'd be gone, too right? The game has some big plotholes...
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!