When gamers think about futuristic racing games, usually games like Wipeout or F-Zero spring to mind, where racers dash around the track in fantastical flying machines. Rollcage had an altogether different idea for the future of motorsport however. In this game, racers compete in buggies with huge wheels, that can freely flip upside down or drive over the ceilings of tunnels. Well received by critics and players alike on launch, the game went on to spawn a sequel before mysteriously fading into obscurity. If you are a fan of racing games and have never tried Rollcage, it’s definitely worth tracking this one down and giving it a play. While the controls can initially be difficult to master, with a little practise this quickly becomes an intense and extremely satisfying racing game experience.
Rollcage installs just fine on modern PCs, simply insert the CD-ROM and follow all the on-screen prompts. If the game does not start to install automatically, browse to the CD-ROM and run the “SETUP.EXE” file on the disc.
While installing the game, make sure to choose “full installation” and when prompted to install DirectX, skip this step. At the end of the installation the installer will ask if you want to start the game. You should skip this step for now as we need to apply the latest patch first.
Before running the game, you should apply the 1.0b Patch. You can download this patch here (link broken? Let me know here). Once downloaded, open the zip folder and run the Patch_Rollcage.exe file from within. The patch will then be automatically applied.
Rollcage Redux – Thanks to the efforts of the user Codemonkey on Steam (who was involved with the original development of the game), there’s now a new, fan made patch for Rollcage that addresses several issues with the game and fixes lots of bugs. Amongst other things, this fan-made patch fixes several issues with Xbox 360 controllers and adds support for widescreen screen modes. Grab the latest version of the patch here.
Simply download the patch and then run it to apply it. Windows Smartscreen may warn you about the download, but that’s just common practise for less commonly downloaded files these days. Be careful when applying the patch as it does not automatically detect the games installation directory. Instead it will simply assume it is installed at “C:\Program Files (x86)\Psygnosis\Rollcage” so be prepared to manually correct this if you have to.
Running the Game
For a game that was released before Windows XP, Rollcage runs superbly well on modern systems, especially now that we have the Redux patch. To start the game, make sure the CD-ROM is in your PCs optical drive and run “Rollcage Redux” from the Start menu or Start screen. The window shown below should then appear.
Choose your screen resolution using the drop down box near the middle of the window. Generally you can choose the highest possible if your display supports it. Rollcage was originally a 4:3 aspect ratio game but thanks to the Redux patch it should now run well in widescreen modes too. Finally, if you have a reasonably high spec PC, turn on “use display page flipping”. Turn this off again if the game feels sluggish when you play.
When you have configured these settings, click on “Play”. The game should now load without any difficulties. Before you get stuck in, there are several other options you may wish to configure.
Tweaking visual options
As well as the options that can be configured before you start the game, there are several other graphics settings that can be configured once the game has started. From the main menu, use the arrow keys on your keyboard and enter to choose “Options” and then “Graphics”. This opens up another menu with a whole host of options. Generally every option in this window should be set to “On” or “High” or “Many” as applicable. The notable exceptions are:-
Draw Distance – This slider should be set all the way to the right.
Transparency Density – We’re not completely sure what this does, so leave it at the default.
HUD Brightness – HUD is the heads up display, the part of the screen that shows your speed, etc. This can be set according to taste.
Transparency Mode – Can be left at “1” unless you have issues with transparencies in the game.
Tweaking Sound options
Select “Audio Options” from the options menu to configure sound in the game. Like many old games, Rollcage supports the old EAX or Environmental Audio standard. Due to changes Microsoft introduced in Windows Vista, EAX effects will no longer work on modern versions of the operating system and so this option will be greyed out. We attempted to reactivate EAX support in the game using the Creative ALchemy software, but this simply caused the game to freeze.
This means that, if your PC can dual boot Windows XP and you have a EAX capable sound card, you might get slightly better sound quality running the game under XP than running in Windows Vista, 7 or 8. In practise however it doesn’t appear to make a huge difference.
If you have a surround sound speaker setup on your PC, you should enable Elevation Processing, Rear Processing and QSound Processing and set the speakers to “Quad” for best results. You can also try increasing “Active Channels” to 32 for the very best possible sound quality.
Thanks to the Redux patch, configuring controllers in Rollcage is now much simpler. If you are using the 360 controller, you will still need Xpadder if you want to use the triggers for acceleration and braking. Simply map the following keys to the controller as shown below.
By mapping the arrow keys to the 360’s d-pad, we can navigate the menus in the game without having to reach over to our keyboard. The Escape key is mapped to the back button, allowing us to skip cutscenes and go back up from a menu. Finally, the enter button is mapped to the A button, allowing us to select a menu option.
Multiplayer and other notes
Rollcage on the PC did support online multiplayer, however the servers that facilitated this are long gone. Network multiplayer with other PCs in your home may still work if you have two copies of the game, though we have not tested this. Split screen multiplayer is also possible.
The popular gaming utility Evolve supports Rollcage and Rollcage Redux, allowing you to take screenshots, videos, surf the web and track your friends all while playing the game. This is particularly useful since Rollcage is likely to crash to desktop if you try to alt-tab out of the game to quickly check your e-mail, for instance, though this problem does not affect Rollcage Redux.
By putting the Rollcage CD-ROM into a CD player or by using a CD audio player on your PC, you can listen to the games soundtrack.