This is a brief troubleshooting guide to two of the problems I have had while attempting to play Cyberdreams' / HR Giger's Dark Seed on a DOS7/Windows 95 box.
Hanging at the Stairs
This error happens right at the beginning of the game, the first time you leave Mike's room, and proceed downstairs. As soon as the room changeover occurs, the game hangs. Every piece of information I can find on this problem seems to point to a timing error in Windows 95, caused by that "creaking floorboard" sound that plays just after the hang would have happened. This might happen in other places during the game, but with the initial crash happening so early, we really won't ever know. Shit.
Unfortunately, you need to run the thing in MS-DOS mode, which is how I recommend you run it anyways. The thing only takes 540k of conventional to run, so you should be able to load MSCDEX and a mouse driver, still having enough to run the game, without resorting to EMM386, or QEMM, or that kinda bullshit. If you need these items, (a CDROM device driver, and a mouse driver, check out bootdisk.com. It's an excellent resource.
Crashing during "Cut scenes"
This was a bizarre error I was encountering while running the game in true DOS. I don't know if it would have been a problem in Windows 95, due to the above error. When a cut scene would fire, (e.g. the package delivery switching to "doll in box" view, or going to "close-up of librarian's face" view, the game would reset. It wouldn't crash, just reset. The screen would fade out, as normal, then bring me back to the opening credits. Given the odd nature of the problem, it led me to believe that somehow the game wasn't finding the cut scene properly on the disc. Maybe it was just my particular CD-ROM drive, but I'll outline my (albeit pretty standard and generic) solution to the problem, in case anyone else is having the same issue. Basically, what I did was copy the game disk to the hard drive, subst it for a drive letter, install it to a different directory, and play it that way. For those of you who know how to do that, we're done. Hope it works for ya. For those of you that don't know, here's how.
Make a directory that will contain the CD files. (md dscd) (You can call it whatever you want, this just happens to be what mine is called)
Copy the CD contents to the directory you've just created. (cd\dscd) (xcopy D:\*.* . /E) (Where D: is your CD-ROM Drive Letter)
Substitute the new game CD for a drive letter. (subst Q: C:\dscd)
Switch to your new drive, (in the example's case, Q:), and run INSTALL.EXE. Be sure to install to a different location than your CD Copy directory.
Run the game, and pray it works. Actually, you might want to pray that it doesn't work. Dark Seed is a pretty big piece of crapola. I just get defensive when shit doesn't run right on my PC specifically made for old-school gaming. Yeah. Throw Dark Seed away, bust out Day of the Tentacle, have a Dr. Pepper, and smile. That's my recommendation anyways.
If you need a walkthrough, and you will, mostly because this game violates every rule in the "How to Make an Adventure Game Not Really, Really, Really Freakishly Aggravating" rulebook, you'd be hard-pressed to find one better than this one here. Hey, maybe you won't need it, and have the patience to go pixel-hunting. God bless ya. Really.
If you need to get in touch with me for some reason, I can be reached at this e-mail address.
I was able to run this game on the following hardware:
Cyrix 6x86 MII 266
128 MB RAM
Diamond Stealth 3D 2000 Pro 4MB
Sound Blaster 16 WaveEffects (Who needs an AWE when ya got the pure magnificent happy goodness that is the......)
ROLAND SOUND CANVAS SC-55! (Woooooo!)
Windows 95a / DOS7
That's all it does, is play the old classics. You know, your Day of the Tentacles, your Sam and Maxes, your Full Throttles, your Quest for Glorys, your King's Quests, your Zorks, your Monkey Islands, your Police Quests, your Space Quests, your Wolf 3D's, and all that. I highly suggest you set one up. Then again, you might have a life, whereas I, do not.