The sequel to Dark Seed, Dark Seed II was released in 1995 and 1996 for Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh, respectively. The game got ports released for Japan via the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation. Unlike the previous game, there was voice dubbing done in Japanese.
A year after the events of the first game, Mike has suffered a nervous breakdown and moved back to his childhood town of Crowley, Texas to recover. While there, he reconnects with Rita Scanlon, his high school sweetheart. However, after a high school reunion, she's found decapitated in a park. Mike is almost immediately suspected of the crime, and to make matters worse, he's started to have very familiar headaches and nightmares. To clear his name and figure out the real culprit, Mike has no choice but to travel back and forth between Crowley and the Dark World to take care of the Ancients once and for all.
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 these tropes, I might get a splinter or a spider bite:
- Anti-Frustration Features: 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 this one...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.
- Bittersweet Ending: Depending on how one interpets it, anyway: Mike and a good chunk of the cast are dead, and Jack gets away with everything, but Mike successfully killed the ancients and saved the world - at least for now.
- 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
- Crapsack World: Both Crowley and the Dark World.
- Crowley, Texas is an unpleasant, dead-end town overseen by incompetent and corrupt authority figures. Everyone in town is, at best, a massive jerkass if they're not outright murderously evil. Then there's a demon-worshiping cult running amok, a psychotic hitman bumping people off, and Mike Dawson is back in town.
- The Dark World is under the oppressive occupation of the Ancients, who are slowly bleeding the world dry. The Dark Worlders are under constant threat of being executed by the Dreketh Guard and have no real hope of fighting back.
- Cruel Twist Ending: Mike kills the Behemoth and blows up the Ancients' spaceship...only for Jack to wake him up in Dr. Sims' office, with Dr. Sims himself lying dead on the floor with a knife in his back. Then it gets weird.
- Darker and Edgier: The first game, despite its dark art, was not that dark and had a Happy Ending, where good defeats evil. This game, 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: Most of the Dark World characters are grotesque looking, but turn out to be fairly nice and helpful to Mike in his quest to defeat the Ancients. The Ancients' lackeys, however, are just as evil as they look.
- Foreshadowing: Attempted: 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 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 the ending, step right up. Slowbeef has interviewed one of the writers and he admits that they intentionally left it ambiguous. Either Mike stopped the Ancients from taking over the world and discovers that Jack is not only the Shapeshifter, but his own Dark World counterpart... or the Dark World was really made out of Mike's crazy imagination and Jack is his other identity, implying Mike has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Either way, Mike is killed with a knife to the back and is framed for the murders.
- The Ghost: The Ancients. They get referenced as the Unseen Evil threatening both the Dark World and Earth, but they spend the entire game slumbering in their spaceship until its blown up at the end. You never see any of them during the game. Unless Jack is an Ancient in which case, you were dealing with one from the very beginning.
- Happy Ending Override: The first game ends with the Ancients driven off, Mike okay, and Mike seeming to develop a friendship or more with the local librarian. This game starts with Mike's life ruined by the horror of the first game and Mike suspected of murdering a woman he was interested in.
- The Hero Dies: Mike Dawson dies at the end of the game, either by getting stabbed by the Shapeshifter (Jack), or by committing suicide.
- Irony: Mike's father was an insurance salesman who died without any life insurance.
- The Jekyll Is a Jerk: The finale reveals that Jack is the Serial Killer terrorizing the town, but despite Mike's insistence that he must also be the Shapeshifter, Jack claims to be a Split Personality of Mike himself. If this is true, Mike doesn't exactly qualify as the "good" personality, being whiny, self-pitying, impulsive, and astonishingly childish, not to mention prone to extremely questionable decisions over the course of the game - including punching out an FBI agent and killing Paul Cooper.
- Lame Comeback: After an argument with Rita, Mike's comeback is 'Hope the boogeyman gets you!' Really, Mike?
- Mundane Utility: Mike acquires a bio-mechanical machine gun and a magnetic crossbow. What does he use them for? Cheating at carnival games.
- Non-Ironic Clown: The clown at the entrance to the carnival, 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: 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: 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: Less so than the first game, but there's still several items that are nigh-impossible to find without a guide (one of which renders the game unwinnable if you miss it).
- Red Herring:
- 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.
- Save Both Worlds: Mike's ultimate goal. Depending on your interpretation of the ending, he either succeeds at the cost of his life, or the second world was never real to begin with.
- Sequel Escalation: Dark Seed was a simple little game that you could complete in about an hour, if you knew exactly what to do. This game on the other hand...
- Sequel Hook: The game 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.
- Skewed Priorities: 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.
- Stop Poking Me!: 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...
- Unwinnable by Design: A particularly nasty instance. Upon your first visit to the Dark World, you are given an extra life by the death of the Keeper of the Light. If you die before seeing a privileged worker sentenced to death (or if you leave the Hall of Death without his data card), you won't be able to get the data card without dying again and getting a game over.
- Video-Game Lives: It's never explained well in-game, but every time a friendly Dark Worlder dies, Mike gets an extra life. Frustratingly, the first life you get is required to complete a puzzle, and if you lose it before completing the puzzle, then you're stuck in the Dark World forever.