In video gaming history, there have been few games that can stand the test of time better than the Civilization series. Set from the dawn of humanity right up until the colonization of space, there are players who are still playing the same game of Civilization 2 they started over a decade ago. Of course, time hasn’t stood still in the real world since Civilization 2 launched and this has caused complications for many gamers who still want to play the classic title. Fortunately, with a little tweaking, Civilization 2 can be made to run on modern PCs. In this guide we’ll show you how to get this classic title playing again on your modern PC. Any game which can last so long and inspire peoples imagination surely deserves our attention to help keep it running, after all.
A note about different versions of the game
Like many of the more popular PC games, there were several different versions of Civilization 2 released. The versions we will be looking at in this guide are the “Test of Time” edition and the “Multiplayer Gold” edition. These versions were available separately and as part of the “Chronicles” boxed set. Earlier versions of the game use a 16-bit executable file and will not load on newer (64 bit) versions of Windows, so keep that in mind if you find a second hand copy of the game anywhere. Full details on all the different versions of the game are available here.
Civilization 2 will install on modern PCs without any particular issues. We recommend that you install outside of your regular “Program files” or “Program files (x86)” folder however. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, like many old games, Civilization 2 needs permission to write to its installation directory. By installing to a user created folder outside of the regular program files folder, you will not need to concern yourself with setting folder permissions manually later. Secondly, patching the game can be awkward when it is installed in a location with a long folder path. Users installing the game from the Civilization Chronicles boxed set should pay particular attention to this. The Civilization Chronicles installer will install the game to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles\Sid Meier’s Civilization II Multiplayer Gold” by default. This path is so long that it is difficult to navigate to in the patching program. Select “Custom” installation instead and install the game to “C:\Games\Civilization 2 MP Gold” for instance.
Before you start playing either Civilization 2 Test of Time or Multiplayer Gold, you should install the official patches. For Multiplayer Gold, download and install the patch available here. For Test of Time, use the patch available here. The Test of Time patch isn’t needed if you have the Civilization Chronicles version of the game.
To run Civilization 2 on a 64 bit PC, you will need to use the Civ2xp64Patcher by Masterx. You can download this tool here. The tool works with both Test of time and Multiplayer Gold versions of the game. The picture below shows the tool running.
To use the tool, click on the “…” button (highlighted in yellow in the picture). You then need to find the “civ2.exe” file to patch. Browse to the games installation directory and locate this file. Then, simply click “Patch”. If you have selected the correct file, the patch will be applied instantly.
Playing the game
You are now ready to start playing Civilization 2 on your modern PC. Start the game in the usual way and make sure you have an hour or two (or the better part of a decade) to spare for this engrossing strategy game. If you have issues running the game, check the troubleshooting section at the end of the article.
If both you and a friend have some time to while away, then how about a game of Civilization 2 multiplayer? The game can be played over your home network, the internet or in hot-seat mode (taking it in turns on the same PC). To play over the internet, you will need to know your IP address, you can easily find this out by visiting a page such as this one. If you have issues connecting you may need to configure your router/firewall to forward port 4993 to the computer hosting the game. Unfortunately, details of how to do this vary between routers. For more information on multiplayer games, see this page on Civfanatics.
Game runs to quickly or consumes excessive CPU time:- In this case, try the CPU throttle fix available at Civfanatics here.
Game music does not play:- This can occur on computers with two or more optical drives. When installing and playing Civilization 2, make sure to run the game from the drive with the first drive letter. So for instance if you have a DVD drive on drive letter E: and a DVD-Writer on drive F:, the Civilization 2 CD-ROM must be placed in the DVD drive (letter E:).
If you are running the Civilization Chronicles version of the game, then according to the documentation that comes with this product, you need to insert the second CD in order to hear the soundtrack. However, we could find no evidence of any CD audio on either the first or the second disk of the boxed set, so in actual fact the Civilization Chronicles version of the game does not have the CD soundtrack at all.
Videos do not play:- Civilization 2 uses the now obsolete Intel Indeo video codec for its video files. This codec is known to be problematic on more modern systems. We recommend installing the FFDShow video codec pack to enable playback of the games video files. Use this link to download the latest version. The download link should be in a blue box on the right of the page. Make sure to download a 32 bit version (even if you have a 64 bit version of Windows).
If videos still wont play in-game, try setting the compatibility options to run the game in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2). Finally, try starting the game as administrator.