The concept of combining art and computer games is an interesting one. Especially if the game is a sci-fi/horror adventure and the artist none less than H. R. Giger, best known for his design of the non-terrestrials in the Alien movies. His creepy, dark art has made people shiver all over the world, so this could be an excellent beginning for an atmospheric game. Darkseed will certainly get you in a certain dark and foreboding mood while playing.
In Darkseed you find yourself in the role of writer Mike (actually you play the game's creator) who just bought himself a swell old mansion in a quiet town. However, the first night you sleep there, you're troubled by nasty nightmares about aliens placing a probe of some kind into your head. When you wake up, it turns out you have a hell of a headache ... That's surely no coincidence? When exploring your house and walking around town, there are clues that there's more to your new accommodation than meets the eye. And what about that strange mirror in your living room?
This makes a good enough story for a fine adventure, so let's get started, shall we? Ah, but you see, the trouble is, you've only got three days to find out about the aliens - that probably plan to take over the world - and time's ticking. Time does play a large part in this game, as the shops and the library close at six p.m., the postman always rings twice at ten a.m., and if you show up late for any appointments you've made, your contact may be gone and you miss vital clues and items. Although the puzzles aren't extremely hard, time can be against you in this way, so prepare to save a lot to avoid frustration.
During the game you find out there's actually an alien version of the real world, to which you alone have access. This world is a reflection of the actual one and sometimes things you do in the 'real world' have an influence on the 'dark world', which is actually quite a nice twist. The alien world is filled with bizarre alien architecture and here H. R. Giger's contributions really add to the atmosphere.
The controls in Darkseed are pretty standard for an adventure game and all done with your mouse (although you can choose to use a joystick or the keyboard), so no learning curve there. Just make sure you move along every pixel on the screen when entering a room, because sometimes there are small items that can only be found in this way. Your inventory is displayed at the top of the screen, as is the save/load menu-icon.
The graphics are nice and set the right mood, and the reduced palette that is used in the 'Alien world' certainly adds a certain film-noir character. The eerie (Adlib) music adds to this as well, but tends to be a bit repetitive. The sound effects, however, are all but lacking and the few voice-samples are of poor quality.
If you're a fan of (horror-)adventure games or of Giger's work, this is definitely something you should check out. For those of you who are looking for a fun and easy adventure to solve in an evening or two: this is not your best choice.
The game works in DOSBox 0.63 with sound, but sometimes something strange happens during the cutscenes, due to the old copy-protection which is somewhat poorly cracked. After the animation, the screen freezes (and flashes green in my case). Simply pressing "enter" and a couple of seconds of patience will do the trick.
Dear Abandonia visitors: We are a small team that runs one of the largest DOS Games websites in the world. We have only 3 members of staff, but serve 450,000 users and have outgoing costs like any other top site for example: our servers, power, rent, programs, and staff. Abandonia is something special. It is a library of old games for you to download. It is like an old gaming arcade with all the old games in their original format. Abandonia is a place where you can find great old games and have fun four hours and years. To protect our independence, we are dependent of our friends using the site. We run on donations averaging around 6 USD (5 Euro). If everyone reading this gave the price of a cup of coffee, our fundraiser would be made easier. If Abandonia is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online for another year. Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Abandonia.
Posted on: 2013-10-30 by vitali80
The game works in DOSBox 0.74 and Ykhwong SVN version. In some Internet releases the freezes are originated by the abscence of the TOS,EXE file. Sometimes the game not freeze but just the black screen before and after the cutscenes is too much slow; solution is play the game settin the max cycles on DOSBox.