Darkseed II – PC
Release Date (NA): November 30th, 1995
Nerd Rating: 8.5/10
Muhuahhahahah folks! And a Happy Halloween to all of you visitors here on NerdBacon.com! I’m Jesse Sutherland, and I’ll be your host for the first review of the month for me. Put on your seatbelts, get your night lights ready, because in honor of my favorite holiday falling in this very month, I’ll be reviewing an old, horror favorite of mine. Darkseed II!
Now, I probably know what many of you are thinking, “Darkseed II? Was there even a Darkseed 1?” And the answer to that question is a flat, “yes.” While a lot of people haven’t heard of the series, Darkseed has gained somewhat of a cult following over the years, and it really is a pretty phenomenal series at that. Lots of style. Lots of darkness. And its unique difficulty element is something not seen much in horror games anymore. So why didn’t I review the first one then? While it’s true, the first game did start things out, I don’t see it being as scary as the sequel. Released in 1995 by prolific developer Cyberdreams, Darkseed II holds many similarities to, what I consider the greatest horror game of all time I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, which makes sense considering it was the same developer, but it’s still odd having two games give me this unique feeling of despair and nausea that no other games can give me. I remember playing Darkseed II as an 8 year old, being pretty horrified, and even now, as a grown man, the game still gives me an unsettling feeling that really can’t be duplicated when playing any other game. So what is Darkseed II? Is it any good? Well, gather around the jack-o-lantern, and let Uncle Jesse tell you.
You start out as the character from the previous game, Mike Dawson. Donning his usual epic mullet, Mike has been having some pretty messed up dreams lately, and it turns out something in his dream just happened. His girlfriend was murdered. Now of course, like any good police officer, the sherrif of this town (lets call him Bo) suspects the boyfriend in this. Now, Mike knows this is bullshit, since he doesn’t remember brutally murdering his girlfriend, but hey, he could have, considering he might be a bit crazy. The events of the last game don’t exactly create a sane individual. In the first Darkseed, Mike ended up discovering a dark version of our world after having an alien fetus planted in his brain, and destroyed aliens bent on destruction. He’s not just your average Joe! (Or…um…Mike)… After that crazy incident, he moved back home with his mom and got a psychiatrist to help deal with his brain, and that’s basically where Darkseed II begins.
In Darkseed II the story occurs very similarly, only there is more of a mystery surrounding it. Basically, the aliens from the first game are back again, trying to create another behemoth to destroy the dark world and the regular world. All the while, people in Mike’s town start dying, and you discover the aliens are having someone kill them to help power a machine to help grow the behemoth. Who knows who the killer is? But you have some work to do to stop them! I won’t spoil the story much further since there is a huge twist, but let me just say that it is well constructed.
All of the characters in the town feel real despite a lot of cheesy voice acting, and all the stories we learn of Mike’s younger life are quite interesting as they aid in his character development, which is very refreshing to see in today’s environment of underdeveloped horror characters. The dialogue is well written, often witty, and the likability of Mike as a main character stands the total duration of the game. The twist and how the story turns are admirable portions as well, with some scenes being incredibly disturbing and unsettling. The whole story experience is far superior to that of the first game, and you will have lots of fun seeing how it unravels.
The gameplay is truly where this game shines though. As a point and click adventure game, you should know what to expect, but in this game, there’s more to it than just that. Here, the mechanic of things in the dark world affecting things in the real world and vice versa is just such a unique concept, especially in a game from 1995, and it works so well! Not only just that, but the challenge is something I really admired as well. While a lot of point and click adventure games tend to have some sort of notorious challenge to them, I would say this one takes the cake as the most challenging. Not only is this game hard and unforgiving, but it ultimately feels rewarding. After beating the game, you feel like you truly conquered something, like you truly played a game, like you truly had an experience. Think of the feeling when you’ve beaten a hard game such as Dark Souls for instance, and then amplify it by twofold. Darkseed II is a difficult game, but it’s a blast to experience and complete, and feels completely rewarding, as the game never slows down for a minute, vamping up the disturbing natures with every single minute. Confusing you, gripping you, making you psychologically afraid, Darkseed II will have you on the edge of your office chair with unsettling feelings, emotions, and nausea. Lots and lots of nausea. And one of the things that helps create this experience is the sheer horror from the art of H.R. Giger that is involved in this game. Only Giger could be involved with something so bone chilling and unsettling.
With its point and click gameplay and decent narrative, Darkseed 2, although cheesy at times, is truly a horror title worthy of recommendation and recognition. A true experience and test, Darkseed 2 never slows down at all, and gives horror fans all they could ever want. It was an absolute joy revisiting the title again, and because of its positive elements, I would have to give this game a Nerd Rating of 8.5 out of 10!
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