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Video Game / Dark Seed

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"My head feels like it's going to explode!"
Mike Dawson, Dark Seed

It's a page on the Dark Seed games! I'd describe them here, but I'm too embarrassed!

A Point-and-Click horror Adventure Game created by Cyberdreams (the same people that would eventually create the Mind Screw known as I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream) and released in 1992, Dark Seed is based on artwork created by H. R. Giger. The main plot is that of a man named Mike Dawson, a namesake and look-alike of the game's own lead designer, who has moved into a fancy estate in a small town. He soon finds out that it's not all it's cracked up to be, and he ends up trying to save the world in three days from a race of evil aliens called the Ancients. Oh yeah, did we mention he has an alien embryo in his head?

The game also received a much more elaborate sequel three years later, where Mike Dawson moves back to his hometown of Crowley, Texas to clear up a mystery surrounding the murder of a girl he once dated. In the absence of the real-life Mike Dawson, this project was helmed by Raymond Benson, who wrote the script and later went on to write James Bond novels, as well as novelizations of Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid.


I'd better not edit this trope page, I'd probably get a splinter or a spider bite:

  • Affably Evil: Paul in Dark Seed II.
  • Alien Invasion
  • Almost Dead Guy: In Dark Seed II, Paul gives tons of exposition as he dies.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The games are fairly vague on exactly when they take place, but II has an oddly "Fifties" vibe, with the design of Mike Dawson's mother and Jack's Fonzie-like shtick, along with the prominence of a carnival in the games plot, although pop-culture references made within the game do ground it in the early nineties.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Occurs in Dark Seed II.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Dark Seed II, you can use the world map to go to the Dark World after the first trip, so you don't have to go through the maze again.
  • Anyone Can Die: The first game actually didn't kill anyone off, but the second...oh Lord. Not necessarily in order: Mayor Fleming, Dark World Paul, Dark World Hank, Goth, Slim, Doc Larson, Jimmy Gardner (comatose, anyway), Paul, Mike's mom (maybe), Dr. Sims, and Mike Dawson.
  • Author Avatar: Mike has the same looks and name as the lead designer/producer.
    • Averted in the sequel; the real Mike Dawson had nothing to do with it.
  • Balloon Belly / Force Feeding: If Mike bugs the bartender in the Dark World for a drink, the bartender will kill him by pumping him full of whatever it is they serve in the Dark World. It's not quite as impressive as it may sound; Mike suffers from the aforementioned Balloon Belly, before exploding, and, ah... melting somehow. That must be some Gargle Blaster.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Paul sure seems like a nice fella, doesn't he? Sure, he likes watering his lawn a lot, but who doesn't enjoy gardening? Too bad he's part of a demon-worshipping cult.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: In the sequel, Mike probably assumes he is this.
  • Circus of Fear: The carnival is creepy enough on its own, but doubly so once we find out that Minnie and Daisy, the conjoined twins, were instructed to build the hall of mirrors, which is the portal to the dark world that the Behemoth will use to destroy humanity
  • Classical Antihero: In Dark Seed II, Mike Dawson becomes one; a whiny, cowardly manchild, whom nobody (in-universe) seems to like.
  • Convenient Coma: In Dark Seed II, Jimmy Gardner gets put into a coma when Jack punches him.
  • Corrupt Hick: The sheriff in Dark Seed II.
  • Crappy Carnival: Okay, seriously...what kind of carnival uses H.R. Giger for its advertising?
  • Crapsack World: Dark Seed II. Both of the worlds.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The "boy scout" in the second game, Slim, babbles what sounds like incoherent nonsense to normal people, but Mike realizes he's actually talking about the Dark World. Of course, Slim never actually said anything so concrete, and only mentioned the Ancients because Mike talked about the Ancients first.
  • Creepy Monotone: Paul always talks in a monotone.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In the sequel.
  • Cutscene Boss In Dark Seed II, the Behemoth is killed by Mike in an extremely flashy cutscene.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dark Seed, despite its dark art, was not that dark and had a Happy Ending, where good defeats evil. Dark Seed II, on the other hand... not only killed humans off, unlike its predecessor, but had a high death count and a total Downer Ending.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Dark Worlders, despite being a bunch of bio-mechanical freaks living in a nightmarish Giger universe, are actually pretty nice guys who are just being oppressed by a higher power.
  • Dark World / Mirror World
  • Deranged Animation: The digitized characters in Dark Seed II.
  • Dual-World Gameplay
  • Dull Surprise:
    • The CD version of the first game added voice acting, leading to Mike narrating everything in the same nonchalant voice, from washing up in the morning to wandering around a Dark World full of monsters.
    • Mike also has his moments in II, notably when talking to Paul, who is dying in his arms. He asks him a series of questions in the same vaguely curious tone he normally uses.
    • Rita's "scream of terror" as she falls to her death comes more across as someone going “Ahhhhhh” in a very bored tone.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: It's H. R. Giger, what did you expect?
  • Failure Hero: Mike takes a massive dive into this between games. While he's fairly intelligent in the first game and handles the situation without much trouble (he even has enough sense to get out of jail on his own recognizance if you play the game correctly), in the second game he seems incapable of accomplishing several basic things on his own:
    • He has to use Dark World gadgets to win carnival games. To be fair, the Wheel of Fortune might have been rigged, but there's no indication shooting gallery and the ring toss were.
    • His plan to get the sheriff out of his office comes to a dead halt when he can't afford a twenty cent pay phone.
    • The big reveal at the end is that the closet in Mike's bedroom, which holds the last Dark World portal, was never locked - his mother just pretended to lock it when he was a kid. Which means at no point in his life had Mike ever tried to open that door before. Even his mom makes fun of him for that.
    • Even after all he does in the game, his "victory" can barely be called one, despite stopping the invasion. Several characters end up dead or hating him during the course of the plot, and no matter what your interpretation of the ending is, things don't look good for Mike's future.
  • Foreshadowing: Attempted in Dark Seed II: Jack only appears every now and then to talk or help out and then leaves as abruptly as he showed up. The only time he interacts with the other characters is when he punches out Jimmy, which only Slim and Mike witnessed and the former claims it was actually Mike who punched him. Later on this indicates him as the Shapeshifter as several characters tell Mike about the Shapeshifter's ability to temporarily come into the Regular world.
    • Mike's first nightmare in Dark Seed II ends with him seeing a reflection of himself turning into the Shapeshifter. And then later you realize that everyone in the game's regular world has a Dark World counterpart - except for Mike himself... and Jack.
  • Gainax Ending: Whoever can explain coherently what the fuck happened in Dark Seed II's ending, step right up.
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: A very literal one in the first game. Its use is required to win the game. Items placed in your real-world cell will transfer over to the Dark World jail's cell, and since your inventory is stripped when you're incarcerated in the latter, those items will be the only inventory you get to finish the game. However, staying in a cell overnight wastes one of your three days, so an early exit is mandatory.
  • Gratuitous German: Jack uses the word "dummkopf" as an Unusual Euphemism.
  • Guide Dang It! / Unwinnable by Design: No thanks to extreme amounts of Fake Difficulty. Good luck figuring out how to Solve the Soup Cans without consulting GameFAQs.
    • A notable instance in the second game. Upon your first visit to the Dark World, you are in effect given an extra life by the death of the Keeper of the Light. If you die before getting the data card you are revived, but stuck because you have to die to exit after getting the data card, and without the extra life at that point you get a game over.
  • Half-Truth: In the ending, while you are playing as Jack, he mentions that the therapist said Mike suffered from multiple personality disorder. Jack is actually snarking at the remark, since he is Mike's Dark World counterpart.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "I don't think Ik and Uk are going to molest me anymore."
  • Headache of Doom: Mike Dawson wakes up with a terrible headache, and discovers to his horror that the cause is an alien embryo that will burst out of his head and kill him if it's allowed to fully develop.
  • Informed Attribute: Mike, the attic isn't full of useless items. It isn't full of anything.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: While not a physical barrier, nearly a third of Dark Seed II's gameplay is driven by Mike Dawson being unable to legitimately win at carnival games, forcing him to find ways of cheating at all of them.
  • Irony: Mike's father was an insurance salesman who died without any life insurance.
  • Lame Comeback: 'Hope the boogeyman gets you', Mike? Really?
  • Leitmotif: A jazzy theme plays whenever Jack shows up in Dark Seed II.
  • Loser Protagonist: In Dark Seed II, almost everyone hates Mike Dawson, and a large portion of his quest is figuring out how to cheat at carnival games. He never even had enough sense to attempt to open a closet that he believed to be locked in his room before he gets a flashback vision revealing that his mother had been lying to him about it the entire time.
  • Magic Mirror: Mirrors serve as portals to the Dark World.
  • Mundane Utility: In the second game, Mike acquires a bio-mechanical machine gun and a magnetic crossbow. What does he use them for? Cheating at carnival games.
  • Nintendo Hard: Scrolling over the screen looking for the one pixel you must click on to pick up objects gets irritating, and don't even get us started on the friggin' time limits...
  • Non-Ironic Clown: The clown at the entrance to the carnival in Dark Seed II, though grouchy, doesn't seem to be evil or creepy in any way. This is in contrast to the rest of the carnival itself, which prominently features Giger art in the attractions.
  • No Sympathy: In the sequel, no one seems to care about Mike's problems. Pretty much everyone treats him poorly, insults him, provokes him and impedes his efforts to solve the murder. Mike's own mother is remarkably hard on someone who has serious psychological issues and who is the prime suspect for the murder of his friend. Notably, the only person who seems to treat Mike with any genuine respect is Jack, who is actually the Shapeshifter and is manipulating Mike.
  • Only Idiots May Pass: In the sequel, the locked closet in Mike's bedroom contains another portal to the Dark World. And isn't locked at all. Years ago, his mother tricked him into thinking it was. Still, you can never open it until the deception is revealed.
  • Pixel Hunt: Searching for a safety pin on a wooden floor, among other things. The low quality of the graphics don't help.
  • Psycho for Hire: Jimmy Gardner.
  • Really Gets Around: Rita.
  • Red Herring:
    • In the first game, a baby doll is delivered to your house, which turns into what is presumably its Dark World equivalent. It is never mentioned again.
    • In the second game, you can never get the clown's medicine. He dies off screen before you can do anything about it. Same goes for the missing carnival money.
    • Jimmy Gardner, aside from treating Mike badly, conspired with Mrs. Ramirez to kill her husband in a fire and was working with Melissa Fleming to do the same thing to her husband, the mayor. However, he has absolutely nothing to do with the Ancients.
  • Sequel Escalation: Dark Seed was a simple little game that you could complete in about an hour, if you knew exactly what to do. Dark Seed II on the other hand...
  • Sequel Hook: Dark Seed II ends with Jack ominously implying that the Ancients will make a third attempt to conquer the world. An especially odd example because by that point the Ancients are all dead.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: All over the place, especially in the first game.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the sequel, the clown manning the admissions booth at the carnival refuses to leave his post despite dying from not having his medicine. He doesn't even bother to go ask Gargan, one of the people he work with, to lift the anvil off the ice box holding the meds. Instead he relies on Mike to get it. This ends poorly.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: By the end of Dark Seed II, Mike discovers almost everyone in town had been getting some from Rita... except for Mike himself.
  • Stop Poking Me!: In Dark Seed II, repeatedly talking to characters without advancing the plot will cause them to get annoyed with you. And you don't want to annoy the Dark Worlders who have guns...
  • The Scrappy: In universe; almost everyone in Dark Seed II hates Mike Dawson. invoked
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Somebody in the game actually has The Necronomicon in his house.
  • Ultimate Evil: The Ancients.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Unless you follow a very specific (and in most cases nonsensical) set of directions, there are ways to lock yourself out of winning both games.
  • Waxing Lyrical: As if the ending wasn't already balmy enough, at the end of Dark Seed II Jack/the Shapeshifter suddenly paraphrases The Beatles when he explains his true nature: "I am you, and you are me, and we are all together!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jack calls Mike an idiot when he learns that Mike punched out an FBI agent.
  • Who Shot JFK?: One of Slim's theories for why Rita was killed: to cover up the truth of this event.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Poor Ms. Dawson. Mike makes this claim in the first game if you don't get him some headache medicine (see page quote), although it never actually happens; if you waste enough time to let the embryo escape, it actually escapes through his mouth - and relatively cleanly, at that.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: Mike keeps what happened to him at the mansion a secret in the second game because of how bizarre it would be to explain it all. Of course he's pretty forward about the truth to his therapist Dr. Sims, who naturally doesn't believe him.

Oh no, not the Hall of Indices again! The only way out of here is indices!

Alternative Title(s): Dark Seed II


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