Developer: Cyberdreams
Publisher: Cyberdreams

Launched in the same year as the first Alone in the Dark, Darkseed was considered at the time one of the scariest games ever made and though the game seems to have faded into relative obscurity, it still ranked 7 on Gametrailers' 'Top 10 scariest games ever'.

So, do I think the game is scary? I'd have to say 'meh', it's got some nice ideas and concepts and the visual designs by H.R. Giger (the man who designed the aliens in Riddley Scott's movies) are pretty unsettling, but truth be told, I never found the man's art particularly scary, unsettling yes, but not scary, anyway I'm getting off-track here.

You begin the game as Mike Dawson, a successful writer with an awesome 80's pornstache, having recently moved in to a mansion, he's plagued by nightmares, visions and constant migraines, while exploring his new home he discovers clues about a parallel dimension left there by the previous owners, believing this to be the source of his issues he sets out to find as much information as he can, questioning locals, going to the library, exploring the mansion, etc.

The plot may not win any Oscars but I like how the first half of the game works almost like a murder mystery, it's pretty neat going to town and meeting the locals, checking the libraries' records and at one point digging up a body in the cemetery, to spice things up you have three in-game days to get to the bottom of all this, otherwise a monster will burst out from inside our main character (Whoa! Just had an 'Alien' flashback).

This timer feature was pretty unique for the time but I felt it's very poorly utilized, you'll have to meet and talk to characters at a specific time and if you get there too late you might have just created an unwinnable situation without even knowing it (don't you just love those?) and trust me, this sort of thing happens very often.

During the second act of the game you'll get to explore the H.R. Giger themed parallel universe, but honestly, I thought it was pretty boring, there's hardly anything to do there other then solve puzzles and trying not to get killed, to be fair this world might have been scarier if I couldn't save my progress at any time I wanted or if the character animations weren't so jerky.

Graphically, the game was touted for its High-resolution graphics (a whopping 400p) but they haven't aged well and neither have the sound or the laughably bad voice acting, it's not that they were bad for their time mind you, it's just that none of these have aged well, despite the game's issues there is some fun to be had, but unless you grew up with Darkseed I don't think most people will enjoy it.

Trivia: Did you know artist H.R. Giger demanded the game ran at an uncommonly high resolution? I'm guessing he wanted the player to appreciate the intricacies of his creature designs

- Clue gathering in the real world is fun and engaging
- H.R. Giger's art style certainly makes the game stand out

- Too many unwinnable situations
- Parallel world is kinda boring
- It's a bit hard to be scared when I can just quick-save at any time
- Graphics, sounds and voice acting haven't aged well 
- I kind of feel the game's only claim to fame is H.R. Giger's work
- How many times have I said 'H.R. Giger' in this review? Somebody should make a drinking game out of that.

Final Grade: D+

The game's cover is just awesome, put it on a shelf with the cover facing outwards and I guarantee you that people will notice it, with that said, the 'face' in said cover is removable, I'm not really sure what's the point of that, specially seeing as how it has this tendency to sink if the box is empty.

My version claims to be a 'special' edition which includes a hint book, but honestly, I don't think there is such a thing as a 'normal' edition, I certainly never saw one. The hint book is actually pretty useful, it doesn't straight out tell you everything, but it does make things a LOT easier, definitely a mandatory read if you're stuck. As for the manual, it's actually pretty good, you have a short biography of Giger's work (for those playing the drinking game: bottom's up) and some backstory as told by the perspective of our main character.

Overall I quite like this packaging, it's a shame the box' 'face' isn't glued on or anything but that's a pretty minor complaint.

Packaging Score: A-


  1. Anonymous3.2.14

    Were any of the locations used from real world locations in California?

    1. That's a good question. To my knowledge the game didn't use any real world locations, but I could be mistaken.