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Poor Croc, back in 1997 things must have seemed so rosy for the cute little critter. While platform game fans were fawning over Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, Croc came along to Playstation, Saturn and PC owners to give them their own cutesy 3D platformer. While Croc was never going to usurp the famous plumber on his first 3D outing, it didn’t matter to the many users who had no access to Nintendo’s hardware. Croc was a huge success, shifting over four million copies worldwide. A successful sequel also appeared a few years later, but after that no trace of the cute crocodile was ever seen again. Fortunately, you can bring Croc out of retirement any time you like by playing the original game on your PC. Croc might not look so spectacular by today’s standards and the dated camera controls can feel quite awkward, but there’s still plenty of fun gameplay in here, more than enough to entertain younger players on a rainy afternoon, for instance.
Croc should install on any PC with the minimum of fuss, simply place the CD into your computers optical media drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the autorun menu does not appear automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the Autorun.exe file manually. When asked what type of installation you want to do, choose “Full”. If the installer offers to install DirectX for you, choose “No”, since the version included with the game is certainly older than the version you will already have on your PC.
There are (at least) two versions of Croc out in the wild. The original edition only supports the now defunct 3DFX graphics cards. This version can be made to work on modern PC’s using special tools but this is not necessary, since the later version of the game included full DirectX support. To check which edition of the game you have, start the game from the Start Menu/Screen. You should then see a “Croc – Legend of the Gobbos” configuration screen, click on “Change driver settings”. Take a look at the screenshot below:-
If you see the option “D3D Hardware Acceleration”, then you have the second edition of the game and you can proceed to the next part of this guide. If you don’t see that option, you have the first edition and will need to download the patch.
Unofficial Croc patch
To our knowledge there was never an official patch for Croc to enable Direct3D compatibility on the older versions of the game. If you have the older version of Croc, you can download our unofficial Croc patch here (link broken? let me know here). The patch is very simple and just replaces a couple of files that were changed on the later edition of the game. Simply run it after installing Croc and you will then be able to enjoy the DirectX version of the game.
Tweaking visual settings
Visual settings for Croc can be configured from the games launcher by selecting “Change driver settings”. In the screenshot above, you can see the visual settings for the game. On modern PC’s, you should select “D3D Hardware Acceleration”, change lighting quality to “Super” and enable Filtered Textures. Turning on “Filtering Fix” is also recommended. When choosing a screen resolution, remember that Croc is a 4:3 (non-widescreen) game. The launcher will let you choose widescreen resolutions, but the games graphics will be stretched if you use one. To avoid this, choose a high resolution 4:3 screen-mode instead, such as 1280×960 or 1024×768.
Click on “OK” when you are done changing options. You can now click on “Play Croc!”. The game will then start. Watch the little intro movies or simply press Escape to skip them.
Before you start the game, there are a couple of other options to tweak. From the games main menu, choose “Options”. The first menu you will want to visit is the “Audio Setup” menu. From here, we recommend you turn “Ambient Sound” to “OFF”. The ambient sounds may simply be played incorrectly on more modern PC’s or perhaps they were always like this. Regardless, unless you want strange twangs and low pitched out of tune synthesizer sounds playing while you enjoy your game, turn these ambient sounds off.
On the Display Setup menu you can change the screen resolution and also turn the graphics quality settings up higher or lower. These are the same options you set in the launcher, but being able to tweak them here you can instantly see the difference they make to the games visuals.
Finally, before you start you may wish to customise your controls. Croc fully supports modern controllers and we had no problems mapping our X-Box 360 controller to the appropriate actions in-game, no Xpadder needed this time.
With those settings all configured, you are now ready to start your adventure.
Troubleshooting notes and known issues
Croc will run perfectly for the most part, however there are one or two issues you may encounter.
Administrator rights are needed when Croc is started – By default, the game will start by loading the CrocRun.exe program. This program will ask for admin rights each time it is run. If you are installing the game for a child, for instance, you may want to avoid this. To run Croc without the UAC pop-up, configure the game initially using the launcher and then use the “CrocD3D.exe” to start the game in future. You can create a short-cut to CrocD3D for your standard user and delete the shortcut that points to CrocRun. Keep in mind that, like many old games, Croc needs to write to its installation directory in order to save games, so you may need to reconfigure file permissions on the Croc folder so that your non-admin user can save his or her games. If you are not sure how configure folder permissions, see this tutorial. Be sure to test that this works before embarking on an extended play session, as the game itself won’t warn you that it couldn’t save, your save will simply have disappeared the next time you come to play.
You should also read the section “Settings don’t apply properly when the game is not run as administrator” and “Directdraw/Direct3D crashes”.
Ambient sound plays incorrectly – We’re not 100% sure on this one, but the ambient sound seems to simply be a series of annoying twangs. Turn them off in the options menu.
CD audio / no music problems – The Croc CD-ROM must be placed in the CD/DVD drive on your machine that has the first drive letter. If you have more than one (this includes any virtual CD/DVD drives you might have as part of a CD/DVD recording suite), make sure to use the drive that comes first alphabetically. If you need to change the drive letters of your optical drives, see this tutorial.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can try this patch, which supposedly fixes the music in game, allows it to loop properly and includes missing music from the Playstation 1 version. However, we tested it here on our Windows 8 machine and it didn’t work. Music played initially but as soon as the track was supposed to change, the music stopped and simply never returned.
Crashes when using the game launcher – If the game launcher crashes while you are trying to reconfigure the graphics settings, add the “CrocRun.exe” program from the games installation directory to your list of programs excluded from DEP protection. For details of how to do this, see this tutorial. If you still have problems, make sure to run the launcher from an account that has administrator privileges (not just by using UAC to launch it on a standard account).
Crashes after the opening movie (where the little Gobbo creatures blow up the balloon) – If the game crashes at this point, you have the wrong audio CD in your CD/DVD-ROM drive. Make sure the Croc CD is in the CD drive with the first drive letter (e.g if you have a CD drive E: and a CD drive F:, the Croc CD must be in drive E:).
Directdraw/Direct3D crashes – If you get an error window when you start the game, containing some information about being unable to find or lock a surface, check that you have configured the game to use Direct3D rather than any other rendering mode. If you have configured this, follow the steps under “Settings don’t apply properly when the game is not run as administrator” to clear the VirtualStore keys in the registry.
Gamepad is not detected – Happens on some machines if the game is run as administrator. Run the game without admin rights instead, see “Administrator rights are needed when Croc is started”.
No sound on the intro movie – For some reason there doesn’t seem to be any sound playing during the intro movie (the one selectable from the main menu), we’re not sure if this is a fault on modern machines or if it has always been like this on the PC version.
Settings don’t apply properly when the game is not run as administrator – This is usually caused by an error or corruption in the registry. Windows uses a section of the registry called the VirtualStore to allow legacy programs to run correctly on non-admin accounts, without needing administrator access to read and write their various keys. If you’ve configured the game to a certain screen resolution or graphical mode but the game is ignoring this, open up the Regedit tool and browse to the following key:-
Right click on the Croc key in the left hand side of the Regedit window and choose “Delete”. This will force Windows to take a fresh copy of the games settings into the VirtualStore the next time the game is run, updating any settings that may not have been correctly copied the first time. If you need a beginners tutorial for Regedit, click here.
Sound volume sliders do not work – Although the game has options for Music and Sound FX volume, the options don’t seem to do anything and always reset themselves when reconfigured. Music and Sound FX still play correctly in game.
Tracks do not loop – The audio tracks on the CD do not seem to loop, even if this option is selected in the games audio settings.