By the time I was eight years old, I had already decided on my career path. I was going to be the next Michael Knight, driving around in a talking car and fighting bad guys. Sadly, the Foundation for Law and Government never seemed to have a recruitment drive near my school, so I ended up as a writer instead. Lucky for me there’s this Knight Rider game, where I can play at being Michael Knight and KITT, save the day and flirt with whatever bit-part actress is playing the pretty girl in distress this particular week. At least that was the theory, the reality of it is a little less exciting, with dull missions and a KITT that handles like an ice cream van. At least the game still works on modern computers, so if you have a copy and want to give it a try, follow this guide for best results.
The game should install without any issues, just pop the game CD into your computers optical drive and allow the Autorun program to start. If the autorun program does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and explore the game CD (it should be labelled DAVILEX). Now, run the program “Autorun.exe” and the installer should start. Simply follow all the on-screen prompts to install the game. We recommend you do a “Maximum” installation.
Once the game is installed, you can run it immediately, there are no patches to install.
Tweaking visual quality
Knight Rider: The Game was never a visual tour-de-force when it was released originally and time hasn’t been kind to the games simple visuals. On a modern PC you’re going to want to squeeze every last bit of detail out of the game, so start by starting the game and selecting “Options” from the main menu and then choosing “Graphics”. This will open another menu where you can set some visual quality options. Turn “Detail” all the way up to “Super” and make sure “Colour Depth” is set to “32 Bit”. Screen resolution should also generally be set as high as possible, as long as your display supports this. Knight Rider is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non widescreen) game and there’s no known way to force the game to run in widescreen mode.
If you have an Nvidia or ATI graphics card, it may be possible to further enhance the games visuals by forcing antialiasing on in the game. This smooths out the jagged edges of the objects in the game. On our Nvidia equipped test machine, we opened the Nvidia control panel, went to “Manage 3D Settings”, selected “Program Settings” and then added the “Knight Rider.exe” executable from the games installation directory as a custom program. We then selected “Override any application setting” and “32x CSAA” as our antialiasing options. This slightly improved the graphical quality in game, smoothing out those noticeable jaggy edges on the image. See the documentation that came with your particular graphics card for more details on how to do this.
Tweaking sound quality
From the games main menu, select “Options” and then “Sound”. This will open a menu with several sound options. Set the speaker configuration here that most closely matches the one attached to your PC.
Remember that under “Sound Configuration” you are limited to “Standard” mode on modern PCs. If you have a sound card that supports Creative ALchemy, you can use this software to restore EAX sound capabilities to the game. Start by exiting the game and then starting the ALchemy tool. On the main ALchemy window, click on “Add”. In the window that then appears, enter “Knight Rider” as the game name and choose “Use Game Path”. Use the “…” button to browse to the Knight Rider game folder then click on “OK”. Finally, select “Knight Rider” from the left hand side of the ALchemy window and click on “>>” to activate the profile.
With ALchemy configured, start Knight Rider: The Game again and from the Options menu choose “Sound”. You can now select the “EAX” option. In practice though this didn’t seem to have a noticeable effect on sound quality.
PC gamers have enjoyed a wide range of analogue controllers for their games for decades, unfortunately, nobody bothered to tell the developers of this game. The game doesn’t support analogue controllers at all, making it difficult to use pads such as the Xbox 360 controller. Xpadder can come to your rescue again, but controlling KITT isn’t as smooth as it should be. Here’s a picture of the Xpadder profile we created for the game.
There are just enough buttons to fit all the games actions on. In our configuration the left analogue stick steers KITT, while the analogue triggers accelerate and brake. LT and RT will change targets. On the face buttons, Y reverses KITT while X activates night vision and D peels KITT’s scanners. A activates the famous Turbo Boost function, while Up on the D-pad turns on super pursuit mode. Finally, left and right on the D-pad activates ski mode in the appropriate direction. The back button is mapped to Escape and Start is mapped to Enter, to make navigating the games menus less of a chore. Finally, clicking the right analogue stick changes camera view, simply because we’d run out of other buttons to map it to.
Troubleshooting and known issues
There are a number of issues we encountered playing this game on a modern PC.
Cutscene audio goes out of sync – When viewing the intro or the in-game movies, the audio and video often goes out of sync.
Game always runs in a window – The game always runs with a window boarder with the title “Application”, regardless of the graphics settings.
Problems saving games or settings – Like many older games, Knight Rider: The Game places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\Knight Rider) or manually edit the permissions on the “Knight Rider” folder. If you used the default installation directory from the original installer, the games folder can be found at “”C:\Program Files (x86)\Davilex\Knight Rider”. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here
Shadow effects glitch in-game – Various shadow effects appear to glitch in the game, creating strange patterns across buildings and KITT.
Can you submit a fix?
Do you know how to get this game working better by solving any of the issues we encountered above? Help the community by submitting a comment below and letting us know.