Real time strategy games have always been popular on the PC. The combination of high resolution screens and super accurate mouse and keyboard control make for slick, enjoyable gameplay for armchair/office chair generals all around the world. Dark Reign is another fantastic example of the genre. Set in the distant future, the player must avert a civil war by mastering the tactics of two warring factions. Having done this, the player is then sent back in time to defeat both factions and save the life of the intergalactic peace loving boffin Alpheus Togra. It’s a convoluted plot, but that won’t matter as you get stuck into more than a dozen challenging RTS maps. What’s more, there’s an official expansion pack and for the creative, a full map editor. There are also dozens of user made maps and even a small but still active online community to test your tactics against.
Installing and patching
Installing Dark Reign should not present any difficulties, but patching the product is somewhat more difficult. At some point in the games history, the official patches split with the patches that the fan community was producing. For the curious, you can see the full list of patches and how they are applied by visiting this site.
Rather than try to figure out the patch situation for yourself, we strongly recommend that you download the entire Dark Reign 1.7 pre-patched bundle, that’s available from Dark Reign.ws (the definitive Dark Reign fan site) here. Strictly speaking you should only download this file if you have a legal right to play the game, for instance if you own the original retail CD. The game is still sold as a digital download over at Good Old Games (GoG) here, if you need to purchase a copy.
The game downloads as a zip file, you should copy the contents from the zip to a regular folder anywhere on your hard drive. There are no other installation steps to take once you have done this. In the Dark Reign folder you will see several executable files. In order to launch the game successfully, you will need to use the LaunchDR.bat file. By default this will launch the game in expansion mode, to play the original game, edit the batch file and change it to run “Dark Reign – Original Game.exe”. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can use our pre-made batch files below to launch the game or its mods and expansions. Just right click on the files and choose “Save as” or “Save file as” and save them into your Dark Reign game folder.
64 bit windows users only – Before playing Dark Reign, you will need to add the following files from the Dark Reign folder to your Data Execution Prevention (DEP) exclusion list:-
Dark Reign – Expansion.exe
Dark Reign – Original Game.exe
MOD – Auran Units.exe (if you wish to play this mod)
MOD – Edge of Darkness.exe (if you wish to play this mod)
MOD – Strata 7.exe (if you wish to play this mod)
MOD – Terrorist.exe (if you wish to play this mod)
A tutorial on how to add exceptions to Windows DEP is available here.
Windows Defender users note – The Windows Defender software may flag part of the Dark Reign download as potentially having a virus or trojan infection. We firmly believe this to be a false positive and you can safely configure Windows Defender to ignore the files. However if you want to err on the side of caution you can simply delete the files that are flagged, although you won’t be able to play various user created mods if you do delete them.
Multiplayer and more information
Don’t forget that Dark Reign still has a fan community that organises multiplayer games and provides an archive of maps and mods. Visit Darkreign.ws for more information and Dark Reign goodies.