Dark Seed

aka: Dark Seed 1
Moby ID: 302
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Dark Seed is an adventure game which capitalizes on the drawings of famous horror designer H. R. Giger as a source of background artwork and inspiration.

You play Mike Dawson, an ad company manager who, in pursuit of his goal in life to become a writer, purchases a solitary mansion in a small town called Woodland Hills. Although the low cost and hush-hush transactions when purchasing the house do raise your suspicion, the solitary environment and sheer beauty of the house crush common sense and you decide to buy the house. That's when trouble begin. Upon reaching the house, you suddenly feel tired. You find a bed and fall asleep...

... and wake up from a terrible dream, only to find out that your life has just become a worse nightmare: an unknown source has implanted a seed of darkness in your mind, and you only have three days to find a way to stop it.


  • Darkseed - Alternate spelling
  • זרע האופל - Hebrew spelling
  • ダークシード - Japanese spelling
  • 黑暗之蠱 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (DOS version)

46 People (40 developers, 6 thanks) · View all



Average score: 67% (based on 32 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 80 ratings with 5 reviews)

Nice idea, horrible execution

The Good
Some of the graphics were nice. The story was great. I liked the fact that the horror revealed itself over several days of game time (like Infogrames' excellent horror adventure, Shadow of the Comet). There were some atmospheric custscenes involving horrific dreams. Alien embryos being implanted in human heads. That kind of thing. I liked the way the game's title melted into being on the opening screen.

The Bad
The game design was awful. You remember those old games where, if you didn't pick up a certain object early on in the game, you'd be screwed later on, stuck in some location where you needed it, and unable to get back? Future Wars did that in 1989, but managed to get away with it (just about) because there weren't many 3rd-person-perspective point-and-click adventures at the time, and it actually was a good game (apart from that). Games over the next couple of years learned from these mistakes. LucasArts, through clever design of their games, totally did away with any kind of horrible flaw like that.

Have you guessed it yet? Darkseed suffers from this problem. Only worse than in any other game I've ever seen. Here's a good example. This example also includes disappearing objects!:
If you don't buy a bottle of whisky from the local store, the first time you go in there, then the item disappears. That's right - No more whisky. What happened to it? Did someone buy it? I guess so. You may have gone in the store and not even seen the whisky. Too bad, sucker! And you don't even need the whisky until right near the end of the game. If you didn't pick it up, you are seriously screwed. If you're lucky, you might have an old savegame left to go back to. If not, then you have no option but to restart the game. It doesn't even make much difference, because it was one of the first things you had to do.

Here's another example. This example also includes insane pixel hunting!:
This is the now infamous 'bobby pin' situation, a perfect example to game designers of how not to do things. There is a location in the game. It is the library. Lying on the floor, somewhere on its checkered, moodily reduced-palette surface, is a bobby pin. You don't know that. You have no reason to suspect that it is there. But it is there. And it's about 3 pixels long! Without intensive mouse-scraping of every milimetre of the screen, you won't find it. And without it, you'll find yourself (much later in the game) stuck in an alien prison cell, with no way of getting out. Lame does not even begin to describe this.

For my third and final example, I will use a situation that also includes Time!:
As I said, I liked the way the game was set over several days. That's nice, plotwise. But Darkseed also has a clock running. And certain things have to be done at certain times. Otherwise (guess what?) you're screwed! On the first day of the game, you meet some guy in town who says something about meeting him later for some friendly chat. If you're not there at the exact right time to play catch with his dog, then you miss out on getting his stupid dog's stupid stick, so you can chuck it to the big mutant dog, later in the game, so the big mutant dog will jump down into the big stupid abyss, so you can pass through, into another stupid location.

Get the picture? Good. Darkseed is one of the worst adventure games ever made.

Add to this some other facts: Like the way H.R. Giger's much talked about artwork is used in a really stupid way. You see, the Giger-y world is a mirror of our own world. A dark, twisted parallel version, actually accessed through a mirror in your character's old Gothic mansion. Every real-world location has a dark world equivalent. So a real tree has its equivalent stupid-mutant-head-on-a-biomechanical-stick. Giger's work looks good at times, but also really dumb at other times. Some of it looks pitifully cut-and-paste, composed as it is of bits of existing Giger pictures. The real-world section of the game is actually a lot more atmospheric and much better looking.

The 'characters' in the game have no character, and only have a couple of lines to say. The music is bad and the few lines of digitised speech are woodenly delivered and poorly recorded. I can't believe there's a section in the hint guide (which I am so glad was included free with my copy of the game) which has more info on the 'personalities' of these non-entities.

It also seems astonishingly egotistical that the game's lead designer (Mike Dawson) has allowed himself to be digitised and placed in the game as the player character (Mike Dawson). As if it wasn't torture enough to play this guy's game, I now also have to play him. The only consolation is that if you lose, then an alien pops out of his head, and he dies. But it's not much of a consolation. You're even forced to adopt Mr. Dawson's horrendous 'mullet' haircut.

The Bottom Line
This game is complete crap.

DOS · by xroox (3892) · 2007

One of greatest and memorable game in the world

The Good
Firstly, I liked the games story and idea: You are writer named Mike Dawson, who have just purchased old Victorian house from Woodland Hills. Mike just wants peace and quiet, for writing. But first day in the new house something happens; Mike dreams that aliens are implanting something to his head. And on next morning, he wakes up with terrible headache. You have 3 days to solve mystery. Also, graphics are good for old game like this. Sounds are excellent. There is also excellent voice actors! And i cant say anything bad about playing. You gonna enjoy this game!!! Game is not hard, but puzzle game, that needs a bit a skill<br><br>**The Bad**<br>If you do something wrong, or miss something, the game could require you to start game from beginning.<br><br>**The Bottom Line**<br>Its great fun for hours!!!

DOS · by MDawson (6) · 2003

Good concept and graphics for its time....Although there are programming glitches!

The Good
Graphics by HR Giger, always cool. Probably one of the most challenging "puzzle adventure" games I have played. Actions and events are time sequenced, meaning that certain actions must be performed at exactly the right time. Just installed recently on an old PC, fun to go back and play the games I did when I was younger.

The Bad
Several programming glitches, game is notorious for crashing and/or restarting during certain game sequences. After installing the software on more than one machine, I have learned that the software is extremely sensitive to the setup of your computer-must almost be exactly right.-for help email me at [email protected].

The Bottom Line
If you are into early science-fiction games then this is for you. I bet you look though a walkthrough guide before solving.

DOS · by bill bradskey (1) · 2005

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Win 3.x evidence? eXo (347) Oct 12th, 2016
RIP HR Giger Pseudo_Intellectual (65481) May 13th, 2014


German version

The German version of Darkseed suffered from its translation. There were lots of spelling and grammatical mistakes (the first one on the very first screen of the intro, written in big letters), the rendering from English into German was clumsy and inapt, and sometimes English idioms, which are unknown in their respective form in German, were translated literally, which made them sound unintentional ludicrous or rather stupid. And there were points in the game, when several of these things came together, where it was hard or even impossible to comprehend the meaning of some sentences at all.


  • There isn't a single Giger design made especially for this game. Giger looked through all of his past work and chose those which he thought would fit better for Darkseed.
  • It is one of the first (if not the first) point-and-click adventure games that used higher resolution (640x350). Giger agreed to lend his artwork, provided Cyberdreams used only high-resolution graphics mode, in order to avoid the "square and jagged" look of low-resolution.

Mike Dawson

Mike Dawson, the main character of the game, is based on the game's producer and designer Mike Dawson. Acting and voice acting was also provided by him.

Rumour has it that Dawson, went mad after that game was produced. In an interview with Gamasutra, he comments this myth: “Actually, I have no idea where it came from. In fact, I’d never heard that urban legend until just now. But frankly, I like it – and so do my six other personalities.”


There was this strange advice in the manual (translated from the German version): "Think logically. We tried to give all puzzles in the game a logic meaning. Only sometimes the logic may seem hard to comprehend. If you are stuck anywhere, try to use everything that you already carry. That may be successful." That doesn't sound too confident in the own game design, doesn't it?


The cut-out in the front of the box holds a small, removable diamond shaped box that originally contained the floppy disks. The small box shows a portrait of H. R. Giger's beloved wife Li who passed away in 1975. This painting (Li II, 1974, Work no. 251) measures 200 x 140 cm and contains a number of elements symbolizing death. The oversized head is decapitated and fed intravenously.

References: Cybersoft

Not only Mike Dawson, refers to (a member of) Cyberdreams: * Mike Dawson lives, according to the manual, in an old Victorian house on Ventura Drive, Woodland Hills. The first office of Cyberdreams was located at 21243 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. Moreover, that’s the same address as printed on Delbert’s business card, Mike’s neighbor in the game. * The store in the game is called "Klug’s Food Market". Rolf Klug was the owner of Cyberdreams (so he provided “the food”). * The clue on the microfiche card that you examine in the library on day 3 is signed by Ryan Ketchum. Pat(rick) Ketchum was the President of Cyberdreams. * However, Pat gets his own signature. The cracked mirror note in the DOS version is signed by Timothy, but in the Amiga CD32 version it is signed by Pat.


In the real side, at the graveyard, read all tombs. You will find one for G. Threepwood, the main character of The Secret of Monkey Island.

Differences between Amiga and Amiga CD32 version

  • Amiga version bears number 1.0 while Amiga CD32 version is marked as 1.1.
  • Amiga version is running in 640x400 resolution (in fact its 320 unique pixels -doubled to achieve 640 pixels- x 400 unique pixels) while Amiga CD32 version was downgraded! to low-res 320x200 and it still does not make full use of AGA chipset.
  • Amiga CD32 was enriched with Mike Dawson's voice.


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – #3 Best Adventure in 1993 (Readers' Vote)
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1993 – Best Packaging in 1992

Information also contributed by Der.Archivar, game nostalgia, Itay Shahar, Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker, Roger Wilco and xcom1602

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Dangerous Seed
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Dark Legion
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Related Sites +

  • Game Nostalgia
    Provides extensive background info for Dark Seed, examples of voice-overs, credits, a demo of the game, details about the game, all musical themes, shots of every location in the game, saved games, a list of reviews, including a "nostalgic "review.
  • IGCD Internet Game Cars Database
    Game page on IGCD, a database that tries to archive vehicles found in video games.
  • Playing Dark Seed in Windows XP
    Inferno tells you how.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Amiga added by POMAH. Macintosh added by Foxhack. Amiga CD32, Windows 3.x, PlayStation added by Kabushi. SEGA Saturn added by j. jones.

Additional contributors: MAT, n-n, Jeanne, B.L. Stryker, formercontrib, martin jurgens, Crawly, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Victor Vance.

Game added October 3rd, 1999. Last modified October 2nd, 2023.