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Project Eden

project-eden-box

project-eden-box
Genre: Action-adventure
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

banner-180x150Get this game pre-patched, DRM free and ready to play from GoG.com. Fully working or your money back.

Project Eden, Core Design’s dystopian cyberpunk adventure, managed to fly under most gamers radars when it was released back in 2001. In the game, you take control of four UPA agents as they infiltrate the sinister sounding Death Heads criminal gang. Gameplay is focused around cooperative play and puzzle solving, rather than just pure gunplay. Project Eden may lack the fast action that third person action games are often known for but it more than makes up for this with some cleverly designed puzzles. More than a decade on, it remains an interesting title to revisit, especially if you can bring a friend along for the ride.

Installation

To install the game from the original retail CD, simply place the disc in your computers optical drive and then browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Setup.exe” file manually. The installer will ask you what type of installation you wish to perform. Choose “Custom”, then install every available option. Towards the end of the installation process you will be asked if you want to install DirectX 8 and Gamespy Arcade. You should decline both of these options. The version of DirectX on the game CD is outdated and Gamespy Arcade is a multiplayer service that’s now sadly defunct.

To install the GoG.com digital download version, simply download the installation file from your GoG.com game library and run it, following all on screen prompts.

Patching

Before you start the game, you should install the latest patch for the game. Patch 1.02 can be downloaded from PC Gaming Wiki here. The file is downloaded as a zip file, simply open the zip file then run the ProjectEdenPatch.exe file inside. The patching process should then be automatic, simply follow the on-screen prompts. Note that if you have installed the GoG.com version, this patch is already included and doesn’t need installing.

With the game installed and patched, you can start it from the Start menu or search bar by searching for “Project Eden” and clicking the icon that appears.

Tweaking visual quality

UPA agents should be aware that there are a number of settings you can tweak within the game so that you can get the best visual quality from the game. Start Project Eden and from the main menu choose “Configure” and then “Graphics”. The options shown below will then appear.

 

project-eden-graphics-settings

 

Many of the settings should automatically configure, but make sure the following settings are configured as shown below.

Colour Depth – High.

Screen Resolution – Set this to match your monitor. You can use 16:9 or 16:10 (widescreen) resolutions if you prefer.

Depth Quality – Z24 S8 Best.

Engine – Hardware.

Texture Detail – High.

Texture Filtering – Anisotropic.

Character Effects – High.

Aspect Ratio – This is an interesting one. You might be tempted to choose “16:9 Letterbox” or “Anamorphic”, but this isn’t the correct setting for widescreen. Instead, leave this setting at 4:3 to play in widescreen. The Letterbox and Anamorphic settings will stretch normally non-widescreen resolutions into widescreen. They are possibly left over from the Playstation 2 version, or for users who wanted to play in widescreen on low-end PCs back when the game was first released.

Tweaking audio quality

There are a handful of settings relating to audio quality within the game too. To access them, go to the games main menu and choose “Configure” and then “Sound”. The options shown below will then appear.

 

project-eden-sound-settings

 

On this screen, make sure that “Output Sample Rate” is set to “44100 Hz” and “Software 3D Quality” and “Sample Quality” are both set to “High”. Project Eden uses the now defunct EAX hardware accelerated audio standard which unfortunately is unavailable on Windows Vista and later versions of Windows. If you’re lucky enough to have a Creative sound card, you can use ALchemy to restore hardware sound mixing and hardware reverb. To do this, simply exit the game and then add Project Eden using the ALchemy configuration tool (the games default installation directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Core Design\Project Eden\Eden.exe”). Once you’ve done this, start the game again and go back into the sound options. You should then be able to choose Hardware sound mixing and Reverb (Reverb Sound Card – Hardware). This may marginally increase sound quality over the standard software output.

With graphics and sound configured to their optimal settings, you can now start your adventure.

Multiplayer

Project Eden is even more fun when you can take a friend along to help control the games four characters. If you have two PCs and two copies of the game, it’s actually quite easy to play across your home network. You simply need to know your home PCs internal or local IP address. Follow this article to discover it.

Now, on your first PC, start the game and choose “Multiplayer” and then “Internet TCP/IP”. The options shown below will then appear.

 

project-eden-multiplayer-menu

 

Under “This Address” at the bottom of the options, make sure the number given matches your internal IP address. If it does not, click on “Next Address”. Once you have a match, click on “Accept”. This will create a game on your first PC.

You should now be able to go to another PC in your house and join the game by starting Project Eden on that PC, choosing “Multiplayer” and then simply clicking on the game in the list. If that doesn’t work, try clicking on “Connect Address” and typing in the IP address of your other PC (the one hosting the game) manually. If you still can’t join the game, try alt-tabbing out of the game (on both PCs) and checking that Windows Firewall is not asking for permission to connect.

It may also be possible to play over the internet using a tool such as Evolve, but we haven’t tested this.

Troubleshooting

Failed to start DirectInput (DirectX8) or find a DX8 compatible input devices – If you get this error message when trying to start the game, a simple reboot of your PC should cure it.

Problems saving games – Like many older games, Project Eden stores its save game files in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any progress. To fix this problem, set the permissions on the SAVED GAMES sub-folder within the Project Eden game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Core Design\Project Eden by default) so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.

Screenshot

 

project-eden-1080p

The games opening moments in 1080p. Click on the picture to enlarge.

 

Little Big Adventure 2 is FREE in the GoG.com Monstrous Fall Sale

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Our friends over at GoG.com are having another awesome sale on their lovely DRM Free games! You can grab yourself a whole load of classic, modern and indie titles at reduced prices. Best of all, you can get the classic action adventure title Little Big Adventure 2 (Twinsen’s Odyssey) completely free. Remember, all GoG.com games are DRM free, meaning you never have to worry about your internet going down, activation failing or companies going out of business. You buy the game and it’s yours forever!

Head on over to this page to snag your free copy of Little Big Adventure 2. While you’re there, why not check out some of the other bargains in the sale? The lovely, retro themed farming simulator Stardew Valley is 25% off, for instance. Alternatively, how about the super absorbing space simulator FTL (faster than light)? That’s reduced by a whopping 74%.

So, what are you waiting for? Go grab your free game now!

twitter-little_big_adventure_2_press

Arx Fatalis

arx-fatalis-box

arx-fatalis-box
Genre: Role Playing
Release Year: 2002
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Age Rating: 18+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

banner-180x150Get this game pre-patched, DRM free and ready to play from GoG.com. Fully working or your money back.

If you like exploring dungeons, there’s certainly no shortage of them to explore on your PC. Arx Fatalis is another fantasy role playing game for the PC. In this particular dungeon romp, you will explore the subterranean caverns of the post-apocalyptic world of Arx. A world whose inhabitants have been forced underground after their worlds sun suddenly died. The game takes place from a first-person perspective, much like the popular Elder Scrolls games.

Installation

The game should install just fine on a modern PC. If you’re installing from original retail CD, simply place the disc into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the Autorun.exe program manually. Make a note of the installation directory as you will need this information when you come to patch the game. If you’re installing the GoG.com version, simply run the downloaded file and follow the on-screen prompts.

Patching

There were several patches released for Arx Fatalis over its commercial lifetime. If you are using the CD version of the game, you should download and install the latest patch available here. If you’re using the GoG.com version, this patch should already be installed.

Before installing the patch, we recommend you restart your PC. If you do not, you may find the patch struggles to install or update a font component. We’re not entirely sure why this would be, but giving the PC a quick reboot sorted it out for us. You should also note that the patch doesn’t automatically detect the correct installation folder, be prepared to point it to the correct path to your Arx Fatalis game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\JoWood\Arx Fatalis by default).

Now, you have all the basic components installed with which to play the game, however for best results you will want to check out Arx Liberatis.

Arx Liberatis

Arx Liberatis is a cross-platform, open source port of Arx Fatalis. You can think of it as a fan-made patch, made possible by the fact that the games source code was released into the public domain. Since Liberatis includes several fixes and improvements not found in the original Arx Fatalis, it’s highly recommended. You can download Arx Liberatis by visiting this page. Make sure you choose the correct version (32 bit or 64 bit) depending on your version of Windows. If you’re not sure which version you have, here’s how to tell.

Once the file has downloaded, do not double click on it. Instead, right click on the downloaded file and choose “Run as administrator”. We found if we did not do this, Arx Liberatis would try and install to our Appdata folder, not somewhere sensible like the Program files folder.

Once Liberatis is installed, the game is ready to play. You can start Arx Liberatis (or even the original Arx Fatalis if you wish) from the Start menu.

Tweaking visual quality

Since Arx is now an older game, you should be able to turn on all high quality graphical settings on even a modest modern PC. Start by loading the game then, from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Video settings”. Now, configure the following options:-

Renderer – On a Windows PC this should be set to D3D9.

Full screen – Typically this should be set to on.

Resolution – This should match your monitors resolution.

Bits Per Pixel – 32

Level of Details – High

Fog distance – As high as possible

Cross hair cursor – Up to you but most players prefer it on

Antialias – On

VSync – On

Tweaking audio quality

Arx Fatalis supports the now defunct EAX hardware accelerated audio standard for high quality surround sound. That means, if you’re playing the original Arx Fatalis, you won’t be able to use EAX mode unless you have a Creative sound card and a copy of ALchemy. However, the Arx Liberatis port/update has moved the audio back-end to OpenAL, which does work on modern machines. That means that you can turn EAX mode on no matter what type of PC you have.

To tweak audio settings, start the game and go to the main menu. Now, choose “Options” and then “Audio Settings”. Now, make sure that “Backend” is set to “OpenAL” and “EAX” is selected.

Troubleshooting and other notes

Since Arx Liberatis is effectively a modern port of the game, there should be few issues with running the game on a modern PC. If you encounter any difficulties, your first port of call should be the FAQ section on the Arx Liberatis website here.

Thanks to Arx Liberatis using a modern DirectX 9 engine, you can use tools like Nvidia Shadowplay or Evolve to take screenshots, videos or to contact your friends while you play. This requires no additional tweaking/configuration other than installing the aforementioned software.

Screenshots

There’s a screenshot gallery for the game on the official Arx Liberatis wiki here.

 

 

 

 

Bumper Wars

bumper-wars-windows-front-cover

bumper-wars-windows-front-cover
Genre: Racing
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Boston Animation
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Interactive
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Some low budget games, or movies or TV shows manage to be great despite their creators limited resources. Sometimes, they manage to be spectacularly awful too. Bumper Wars is neither of these things and manages just to be average and instantly forgettable. The games story goes something like this; inspired by amusement parks on earth, a bunch of aliens decide to re-create the spectacle in space, this time arming the bumper cars with guns and weapons.

Installation

The game should install with no problems on a modern PC. Be aware that the default installation directory is “C:\Program Files\Bumper Wars”. On a 64 bit operating system, the program files folder is usually reserved for 64 bit applications, so you may want to manually change the install directory to take this into account.

At the end of the installation process the program will offer to install Gamespy Arcade. You can skip this step as this service shut down many years ago and will no longer work. We also found that the game didn’t automatically create shortcuts on our Start menu, so you may need to add “Bump.exe” (the game) and “Config.exe” (configuration utility) to your Start menu manually. For a tutorial on how to do that, see this page.

Tweaking visual quality

You can set the games visual options at any time by running the “Config.exe” program in the games directory. This should run directly after installation is complete too. Bumper Wars was never the greatest looking game and it certainly hasn’t improved with time, but you can still squeeze the most visual quality from the game by setting the options as shown below.

 

bumper-wars-config-tool

 

The game supports both OpenGL and Direct3D, Direct3D should give the best results. Make sure that device is set to “Direct3D T&L HAL” or (if using dgVoodoo2) “dgVoodoo TnL HAL”. “Screen” can be set to the highest available resolution. The game will only allow you to choose non-widescreen resolutions.

On the bottom left of the screen there are some other options (Click the “More” button if you don’t see them). You can turn all of these options on for best quality. The exception is “Triple Buffering” which may or may not add some additional input lag and shouldn’t be necessary on a modern PC.

Remember to click “Apply” when you’re done configuring these settings.

Configuring controllers

Bumper Wars supports games controllers, you can configure them from the main menu by selecting “Options” and then “Controls”. Note that your car is constantly moving, so the control misleadingly labelled “Gear up” is actually more accurately described as “Go faster”. If you want to use the d-pad or analogue triggers on your controller, you will need to use Xpadder.

Other notes

If you want to use in-game overlays or screen recording software with the game, you can install dgVoodoo2 by following the tutorial here.

Troubleshooting

Problems saving games:- Like many older games, Bumper Wars stores its save game files and other configuration information in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any progress. To fix this problem set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.

The actual save game and configuration files are stored in the root of the Bumper Wars game folder and are called “players.dat” and “Setup.cfg”.

Screenshot

Click on the screenshot to enlarge it.

bumperwars

Grand Theft Auto III

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gta_iii_game
Genre: Action-adventure, Third Person Shooter
Release Year: 2002
Developer: DMA Design
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Age Rating: 18+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

The best thing about computer games is how they let us do things that would have some pretty dire consequences in the real world. Reckless driving, speeding through busy city streets, stealing high performance cars or generally being an all round bad guy, it’s not something many of us would want to try for real. In a game however, sign me up! Grand Theft Auto III (GTAIII for short) was the first game in the series to move the perspective from a top down 2D view to a fully 3D world. While it’s graphics may seem primitive now, it was a controversial title at the time and one that re-ignited the debate around violence in videogames. Make no mistake, this is no game for children, but for adults it’s still a great bit of escapism after a hard day at work.

Installation

Grand Theft Auto was available at retail on CD-ROM and is still available on several popular digital download sites (such as Steam). To install the original retail version, place the Install CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts as normal. If the games installation utility does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Setup.exe” program manually.

To complete installation of the retail version, we also strongly advise that you copy the contents of the play disc to your GTA3 installation folder. To do this, first locate your GTAIII installation folder. By default this can be found in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Rockstar Games\GTAIII”. Now, pop the Play CD (CD2) into your computers optical drive. Use Windows Explorer or File Explorer to copy the files from the CD into the GTAIII game folder. You can exclude the folder “DirectX RunTime” but everything else should be copied over.

No special steps are required to install the Steam (digital download) version.

Patching

Before taking to the streets of Liberty City, you’re going to need to install some patches. Which patches you need depends on which version of the game you are playing, so check below carefully.

Patch 1.1 – This is needed for the retail CD version of the game, but should be automatically installed if you buy a digital download version of the game. You can download it here.

To install the patch, simply open the zip file and run the gta3patch.exe file inside. Note that the patch does not automatically detect the games installation folder, so you will need to manually browse to the install folder instead (it’s at C:\Program Files (x86)\Rockstar Games\GTAIII by default).

SilentPatch – This is a fan-made patch that fixes lots of issues in the game that Rockstar themselves never got around to fixing. This is highly recommended for all versions of the game, digital download or retail. You can download it by visiting this page. Once on the page, click on the big “Download mod” button and then choose the “SilentPatchIII” download. To install the patch you simply copy the entire contents of the downloaded zip file into your GTAIII game folder.

dgVoodoo2 – The retrogamers best friend, dgVoodoo2 is highly recommended for GTAIII if you have a PC capable of using DirectX 11. Follow our tutorial here for instructions on how to install it. GTAIII is a DirectX game. Once installed, be sure to start the dgVoodoo configuration tool and on the general tab, under “Scaling mode” choose “Stretched, keep aspect ratio”.

SP DDraw for GTA III/VC – This is only needed on older PCs where dgVoodoo2 cannot be used. You can download it from the same page as SilentPatch. To install it, simply copy the file into your GTAIII game directory.

No CD crack/hack – Unfortunately, the retail CD version of the game uses a form of copy protection that is incompatible with Windows 10 (and Windows 8 and 7 with the latest security patches installed). To get around this problem, you will need a no CD patch. Unfortunately we cannot tell you where to obtain this file due to copyright laws. We can tell you that the crack we used was by a group called “MYTH” and had the MD5 hash EF92C0915F06E5F3DDBFB096D1587B96.

This step is not required for the digital download versions.

With the basic patches installed, you can go ahead and start the game and set up the graphics options.

Tweaking visual quality

If you’re playing GTAIII on a reasonably modern machine you should be able to max out all the graphical settings no problem. Start the game and then from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Display Setup”.

First of all, you’re going to want to turn “Draw distance” up to the very maximum. This will make sure the city is as detailed as possible. We recommend turning “Frame sync” and “Frame Limiter” on too. Without these options, the game may run too fast and you will encounter several game breaking bugs.

There’s also an option to play in widescreen, however many users have reported that this causes issues with aiming and other bugs, so we recommend sticking to 4:3 in this game.

For screen resolution, select either the highest supported resolution or the highest supported 4:3 aspect ratio resolution. Make sure that you choose a resolution with “X 32” as the last number. This is the colour depth and this should always be set to 32 on a modern PC.

Tweaking sound quality

Audio settings can be configured by choosing “Options” from the main menu and then “Audio Setup”. If you don’t have an EAX compatible sound card, there’s not a lot to change here. If you have a surround sound setup, you can try selecting “dsound32 software emulation” and choosing “more than 2 speakers” for the speaker configuration.

If you are lucky enough to have an EAX compatible sound card, you can use Creative Labs ALchemy software to restore full hardware accelerated audio to the game. We’re not sure if this benefits the games sound quality or not, but it certainly can’t hurt. First of all, add GTAIII to your list of ALchemy apps in the usual manner. Now, you need to download the GTAIII/Vice City ALchemy fix. Again, just hit the “Download Mod” button to download the zip file, then copy the contents into your GTAIII game folder.

Once this is done you should be able to start the game and from the Audio Setup menu, set audio hardware as “Creative Labs EAX 3 (TM)”. This should give you the best possible sound quality.

Configuring controls

GTAIII does support game controllers, though configuration is a little problematic. When this game was new, there were all kinds of difficulties getting controllers to work correctly, with axis that were incorrectly inverted and other problems. Luckily, the modding community has come up with a solution for modern game controllers such as the Xbox 360 controller or the PS4 controller. Simply download and install the GInput mod and the game will be upgraded to support modern Xinput compatible controllers. Not only that, but all the button prompts in the game will match your chosen controller too (Xbox and PlayStation controllers are supported).

To download the mod, visit the page here. Click on the big “Download mod” button then choose “GInputIII 1.11 (for GTA III)”. To install the mod, copy the “GInputIII.asi” and “GInputIII.ini” files into your GTAIII game folder, then copy the three files from inside the “models” folder to the models folder in your GTAIII game folder.

Once installed, you’re ready to go if you’re using an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller. For PlayStation controllers, you will want to edit the “GInputIII.ini” file in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re not familiar with how to do this, see this tutorial.

To enable PlayStation button prompts, find the line “PlayStationButtons=0” and change it to “PlayStationButtons=1” (don’t copy the quotation marks). You can also invert the controllers axis if necessary by replacing “InvertLeftYAxis=0” with “InvertLeftYAxis=1”.

Troubleshooting

Freezing on loading screen – If the game freezes while loading a level or a save game, try restarting your PC then disabling any in-game overlays.

Game asks for disc 2 and won’t start even when it is inserted – Make sure you copied the contents of the Play disc to your GTAIII game folder.

Game does not start – If you’re using the retail CD version, you must use a no-CD patch in order to bypass the games copy protection.

Other notes

Save games and configuration data for GTAIII is stored in “C:\Users\(your username)\Documents\GTA3 User Files”.

If you use dgVoodoo2 to play the game, you can access in-game overlays such as Steam, Evolve or Nvidia Shadowplay. We had some compatibility issues with the Evolve overlay and if you experience lockups or unusual behaviour we recommend you disable it.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

 

Cruising the mean streets of Liberty City

Cruising the mean streets of Liberty City

Concrete jungles all around.

Concrete jungles all around.

 

 

 

Commandos 3 – Destination Berlin

commandos3-box

commandos3-box
Genre: Real Time Tactics
Release Year: 2003
Developer: Pyro Studios
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

banner-180x150Get this game pre-patched, DRM free and ready to play from GoG.com. Fully working or your money back.

World War 2 commandos eh? Those dashing men of steel, athletically charging around the battlefield, single handedly taking on tanks and bunkers despite their fondness for tobacco. In this game you will get to command a bunch of these heroes across several missions which take place over the course of the war. Don’t think you will be charging in all guns blazing however, this is a real time tactics game and only skilful planning and careful strategy will see you live to fight another day.

Installation

The game should install without any difficulty on a modern PC. If you’re installing from the original retail version, simply place the first disc in your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Setup.exe” file manually.

If you’re installing the GoG.com download version, simply download and run the file as supplied by GoG.com.

Patching

The GoG.com version of the game is already pre-patched, but if you’re installing from the original retail CD, you will need to download and install the latest patch manually. You can download the patch here. To install the patch, simply unzip it and then run the file, the patch will then install automatically.

For both the GoG.com and retail versions, we also strongly recommend installing dgVoodoo2 if your PC has a DirectX 11 capable video card. You can find a tutorial on how to do this here. Commandos 3 is a DirectX game and the default installation directory (for the retail version) is C:\Program Files (x86)\Eidos\Pyro Studios\Commandos 3 – Destination Berlin.

When configuring dgVoodoo2 for Commandos 3, be sure to turn Antialiasing (MSAA) to “Off” on the DirectX tab.

Tweaking visual quality

There’s just one visual quality option to set in-game. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Video Options”. Now, set visual quality to “High Quality”. That’s all the settings you can tweak in the game itself.

Playing in widescreen or high resolution

This is a completely optional step and probably only of interest to advanced gamers. It’s possible with a bit of hacking to play the game in higher resolutions than the original developers intended. Basically, you will need to visit this page and follow the instructions given. Start by downloading the “Widescreen Patch Download” file. Once it’s downloaded, open it up in Windows Explorer/File Explorer. You will see a bunch of files named “1024x600_Commandos3.exe”, “1280x720_Commandos3.exe”, etc. Since we don’t recommend going higher than 720p with this game, choose either the 1024x600_Commandos3.exe or 1280x720_Commandos3.exe and copy it to the Commandos 3 installation folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Eidos\Pyro Studios\Commandos 3 – Destination Berlin by default).

Now, rename the original “Commandos3.exe” to something like “commandos3.old”. Now rename the file you just copied into the folder from the zip file to “commandos3.exe”.

Follow the instructions on the page to download and install the interface fix too. It works in the same way, remember to rename the old file first then rename the new file you’re copying in.

If you want to install the title banner fix file too, that goes in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Eidos\Pyro Studios\Commandos 3 – Destination Berlin\Data\INTENDENCIA”.

When playing in high resolutions, the games title screens and videos are still in 800×600. Before the start of a mission you’re given a briefing and this will still appear in 800×600.

Troubleshooting

Problems saving games – Like many older games, Commandos 3 stores its save game files and other configuration information in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any progress. To fix this problem set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.

Commandos 3 save games are stored in the “Output” folder within the games installation directory.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

The game at its original resolution.

The game at its original resolution.

Playing in 720p

Playing in 720p

Breath of Fire IV promoted to playable

bof-cover

bof-coverThanks to the incredible efforts of PC retrogaming hero Dege, another classic PC title is now playable on your modern PC. The previously unplayable Japanese RPG “Breath of Fire IV” by Capcom now works perfectly on modern versions of Windows. This is thanks to dgVoodoo2 and a special, custom written patch, also provided by Dege.

Head on over to the updated Breath of Fire IV page to get the lowdown on how to get this classic RPG running again.

Crimson Skies

crimson-skies-box

crimson-skies-box
Genre: Flight Simulator
Release Year: 2000
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Flight simulators will always have a home on the PC. The complex cockpit controls of a real aircraft simply cannot map to the simple, user friendly game controllers that games consoles are limited to. That doesn’t mean every flight simulator is strictly for aviation nerds though. Crimson Skies is one flight game that has some elements common to more traditional flight simulators, but more of a focus on fun, exciting dogfighting than the deep technicalities of real aircraft flight.

Installation

The game should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply place the disc in your computers optical drive and follow the on screen prompts. If installation does not start automatically, browse to the CD and run the SETUP.EXE file manually.

When asked what type of installation you want to perform, we recommend doing a full installation.

Patching

Before you take to the skies, there are two patches that you should install after installing the game.

Official patch 1.2 – Fixes various bugs in the game. Download it here and install it simply by running it.

Note that if you have a later edition of the game, you may not need this patch as your game may be pre-patched. If this is the case the patch will simply tell you that it is already installed.

Crimson Skies fix (Csfix) – This is a fan-made patch that lets the game run smoothly on more modern versions of Windows. You can download it here. The patch is downloaded as a 7-zip file, to extract it you must use the popular 7-zip program. If you’ve never used this program before, there’s an extensive tutorial here. To install this patch, first browse to the Crimson Skies installation directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Crimson Skies by default) and make a backup copy of the “Crimson.exe” game file.

Now, extract the entire contents of the csfix.7z archive into the Crimson Skies game directory, overwriting the existing Crimson Skies game file (you have a backup, so no need to worry!). You’re now ready to play, but before you do that, you might want to check the next section regarding screen resolutions.

Setting screen resolution

Crimson Skies is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen) game. The Csfix file, however, lets the game run in any resolution of your choosing. If you leave this as the default, the game will simply run at the highest available resolution. Since this is a widescreen resolution on most modern PCs, the game will appear stretched out of proportion.

To fix this problem, you need to open and edit the csfix.ini file in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re not familiar with editing configuration files, see this tutorial.

To change the default resolution, first find the line that begins “OverrideRes” and make sure this now reads “OverrideRes=1” (do not copy the quotation marks).

Directly below this line you should see the lines “ScreenWidth” and “ScreenHeight”. You can now edit these to any suitable 4:3 screen resolution, such as 1024×768 (ScreenWidth=1024 ScreenHeight=768) or 1280×1024 (technically that’s 5:4, but whatever).

Another option is to create a custom resolution. On more modern gaming graphics cards, you can use your graphics card software to create a screen mode such as 1440×1080, which is basically 1080p but in 4:3 aspect ratio. By doing this you get as close to 1080p as possible without stretching the image out of proportion.

Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to save the changes in the file before closing your text editor.

With the patching process completed, you can now start the game.

Starting the game

Start Crimson Skies from its Start menu or desktop shortcut as normal. When you start the game, the following window will appear.

 

crimsonskies-config

 

You can ignore what’s in the “Screen Resolution” box altogether, as the resolution you set in csfix.ini will override this. You should make sure that “Video Device” is set to “Accelerator” however. Then, simply click on “OK”. You may find that one of the initial loading screens is displayed in the wrong colours, but it should only be this one screen.

Tweaking visual quality

There are a handful of visual quality settings you can change from the games main menu. Start the game and from the main menu, click on “Preferences” and then “Video”. You should then see the following options.

 

crimsonskies-settings

 

This is an old game, so simply crank up the settings to the maximum as per the screenshot above. The exception to this is the “Screen Resolution” box, which you can ignore as this is overridden by the Csfix tool. Even a modest recent PC should be able to deal with these settings without breaking a sweat. Don’t forget to click on “Accept Changes” when you are done.

Configuring controls

With the csfix file installed, the game should support Xbox 360 controllers out of the box. You will still need your keyboard to hand to use some of the more advanced controls however.

Troubleshooting

Problems saving games or settings:- Like many older games, Crimson Skies stores its save game files and other configuration information in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any progress. You may also be unable to edit the csfix.ini file and save your changes. To fix this problem set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.

Saved games themselves are stored in the “SavedGames” folder within the games root directory.

Screenshots

Our regular screenshot tool didn’t seem to work with this game, so here are a couple of screenshots we took from around the web.

hawaii_from_cockpit_21746

cs_screen_23_b_21746

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

harry-potter-cover

harry-potter-cover
Genre: Childrens, Platform
Release Year: 2001
Developer: KnowWonder
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

The first book in the epic Harry Potter saga spawned a hugely successful movie and predictably, this video game tie in. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (or Harry Potter (TM) and the Philosophers Stone (TM) / Sorcerers Stone (TM) as EA (TM) would have us call it) received only mixed reviews from the muggles. Fans of Harry Potter and all things wizardry and witchcraft remember the game much more fondly however.

Installation

The game should install without any difficulties on a modern PC. Simply place the CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun.exe” file manually.

Running the game

The main obstacle to running this game on a modern PC is the games copy protection. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone uses SafeDisc copy protection, which is unfortunately incompatible with Windows 10 (and Windows 7 and 8 with Windows update 3086255 installed). To work around this problem in Windows 7 or 8, you can try temporarily re-enabling the secdrv service by following this Microsoft article.

Alternatively, you can simply uninstall Windows update number 3086255, though doing so may arguably make your computer more vulnerable to security threats.

The final option (and the only option for Windows 10 users) is to find a cracked/hacked version of the game with the copy protection removed. This does mean trawling the shadier parts of the internet and regrettably we cannot link to such files here, even for old games. The cracked executable file we used had an MD5 value of DEDA3278D2A328D244832976B719B382.

Once you’ve worked around the copy protection issues, you need to make one more change before the game will run on most modern PCs. Download and install the dgVoodoo2 package into the games directory. Harry Potter is a DirectX game, so copy the dgVoodoo2 DLL files from the MS sub folder. You should copy these files into the “System” sub folder within the “Harry Potter TM” game folder. The default location of this directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Harry Potter TM\System”. If you need a full tutorial on using dgVoodoo2, click here.

With these two issues resolved, you can now go ahead and start the game. Sometimes when you start the game (though strangely, not always) you will see a “First-Time Configuration” window. This window will let you choose between “Direct3D Support” and “Software Rendering”. The weird thing here is, if you choose “Direct3D Support”, the game actually seems to start in software mode and will crash if put into full-screen mode. So choose “Software Rendering”. In the dgVoodoo2 configuration program you can turn on the dgVoodoo2 watermark to make sure that Direct3D mode is actually working.

Tweaking visual quality

Before we start exploring Hogwarts, we should make sure Harry and his friends look their very best. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options”. The following options will then appear.

 

harry-potter-1-options

 

The options that affect visual quality are “Resolution”, “Colour Depth”, “Texture Detail” and “Object detail”. Since this is a very old game now, you can simply set all of these settings to their highest (as per the screenshot above). When you’re done, click on the back arrow in the bottom right of the screen (not visible on the screenshot) to go back to the main menu.

You may notice the game exits full-screen mode when you change resolution. Don’t worry about this, simply press the alt and enter key together on your computers keyboard, that should restore full screen mode.

Configuring controls

The game doesn’t have in-built support for gamepads, but our old friend Xpadder can come to the rescue here. Firstly, make sure the keys are defined as per the screenshot above. Now, add the following layout to Xpadder.

 

harry-potter-1-xpadder

 

With this layout, you can move Harry with the left analogue stick, and move the camera with the right analogue stick. The Green (A) button jumps, while the X or B buttons cast spells. The analogue triggers let you speed up or slow down on your broom. You can also move the mouse with the right analogue stick, allowing you to navigate the games menus.

There’s one problem with playing the game on the pad. When you come to learn a new spell, you will need to trace a shape on the screen using the mouse pointer. This is tricky if you don’t have a big enough mouse mat and virtually impossible on the pad, so you will still need to keep your mouse handy just for these sections.

Troubleshooting

Artefacts in title screen/video scenes – This can happen if you force antialiasing on. Turn off antialiasing to cure this problem.

Game crashes when you go full screen – Start the game again and choose “Software” rendering mode. Now you should be able to use the alt and enter keys to go into full screen mode again. Strangely, choosing Software rendering mode actually seems to load hardware rendering mode, and vice versa.

Screenshot

Our regular screenshot tool didn’t seem to like this game, so here’s one we pilfered from Google image search.

harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-sk-mixerx-screenshot

Deep Fighter

deep-fighter-cover

deep-fighter-cover
Genre: Other Simulator
Release Year: 2000
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Ubisoft
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

If current global temperatures continue to rise, then probably before long we’ll all have to get used to living under the sea. Why not practice for such an eventuality by playing this futuristic submarine simulator? In the game you’ll look for Thorium crystals, fight mutant marine life, save fish farms and attack and defend various installations.

Installation

The game should install without too many problems on a modern PC. Simply place the CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD and run the SETUP.EXE file manually.

If you have trouble getting the installer to start, or if it starts then seems to exit before you can complete the installation process, try performing a clean boot. You should also make sure that you are logged in as administrator rather than as a standard user (if UAC prompts do not ask for your password, you’re logged in as an administrator).

Playing the game

Deep Fighter should run without too many problems on a modern PC. No particular compatibility options should be required. When you start the game it will warn you that it is not designed for anything other than Windows 95/98, but in spite of this it seems to run pretty well.

If you wish, you can use dgVoodoo2, this enables you to use in-game tools like Evolve or Shadowplay, but this is optional.

Tweaking visual quality

There aren’t an awful lot of visual quality options to tweak with this game. When you start the game a “Deep Fighter(TM) Configuration” window will appear. Make sure you select the highest available screen resolution. For most modern PCs that will be 1024 x 768 x 32.

For the remaining options, choose “Options” from the games main menu, then select “graphics”. Now, turn all shadows on. The “dappling” effect can be on or off to taste.

Configuring controls

Getting the game to control smoothly is the biggest challenge you will face. While the game may work with joysticks out of the box, for best results with gamepads, we’re going to need Xpadder and Xinput Plus.

Let’s start by getting Xpadder set up. Here’s our layout, which is based roughly on the button configurations in the Dreamcast version.

 

deep-fighter-xpadder

 

The right analogue stick controls your subs engines (the left stick moves you around, but that’s defined in-game). The right trigger fires your current weapon, while the left trigger activates your subs tools. On the D-pad, you press right to cycle through weapons and left to cycle through tools. Pressing up opens and closes the map while down opens and closes the message log.

With those controls mapped, you can try to play the game, but you will probably find your sub is somewhat difficult to control. Rather than staying level, your craft will continually barrel roll. To fix this problem, install Xinput Plus for the game, as per our tutorial here.

Now, configure the analogue sticks in Xinput plus as shown below.

 

deep-fighter-xinput

 

Don’t forget to apply your changes when you are done. Now, try the game again, you should find that your craft is much easier to control now. Even so, the controls are pretty twitchy and you may find you need a joystick/flight controller to really enjoy the game.

Troubleshooting

Like many old titles, Deep Fighter saves its game data into the same folder as the game itself. In some instances on more modern versions of Windows, this will mean that save games cannot be written. To solve this problem you should set the permissions on your Deep Fighter game folder so that your user account has full control. See this tutorial if you are unsure of how to do this. The default installation directory for the game is C:\Program Files (x86)\Criterion Studios\Deep Fighter. The games actual save game files are called DEEPFITE.000, DEEPFITE.001 etc. and are in the root of the games installation folder.

Screenshots

Meeting the friendly marine life.

Meeting the friendly marine life.

Yes, that is David Walliams

Yes, that is David Walliams

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