While this games title might lead you to believe it was about motorbike gangs, in actual fact Soldiers of Anarchy is a real time strategy game. Focusing on small scale conflicts between soldiers, you’ll need to plan carefully as you order your highly trained commandos around the battlefield.
The game should install just fine on a modern PC. Simply insert the game CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If installation doesn’t start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the start.exe file manually. During installation you will be asked if you want to install DirectX and Gamespy. You should skip both of these options. The DirectX on the games CD is out of date and Gamespy support for this game has now shut down.
Before you play the game you should install the latest patch which can be downloaded here. Simply download the patch, then run the soaupdate file that is present inside the zip file. On our test machine the patching program threw up a number of errors. We chose to ignore the errors and continue patching and the game seemed to run just fine afterwards.
Tweaking visual quality
While there are several visual quality options you can set in-game, you can get access to many more options by running the “Options – Soldiers of Anarchy” program from your Start menu or Start screen. The picture below shows this utility running.
As this is an old game, most modern PCs will be able to run it with the settings dialled all the way up to the max. Under graphics quality, make sure all filter settings are set to “Linear”. Texture, Object and Shadow detail as well as Geometry can all be set to the maximum setting. Before choosing a screen mode, see the notes below about running the game in widescreen.
Playing in widescreen
Soldiers of Anarchy is designed to run in non-widescreen/4:3 aspect ratio screen modes. The game will allow you to select a widescreen mode via its configuration utility. If you do, the actual gameplay should work just fine. However, all cut-scenes will be stretched out of proportion. Portions of the games text may be incorrectly formatted too, but will still be legible, so its up to you if you accept these caveats or choose to play in the games original aspect ratio. You can choose your screen mode under Hardware configuration -> Graphics card and monitor -> Screen mode in the “Options – Soldiers of Anarchy” program.
Multiplayer and other notes
The Gamespy service that originally allowed for multiplayer matchmaking has long since shut down. However, it is still possible to arrange matches on your local area network or via a direct IP connection across the internet. We did not test this however. We don’t know of any communities that still play this game online, if you do then please leave a comment.
The popular gaming utility Xfire supports Soldiers of Anarchy, allowing you to take screenshots, videos and chat to your friends all without having to alt-tab from the game.
Troubleshooting and known issues
Female soldier glitches – There appears to be a graphical glitch where the female soldiers body armour is not drawn. Obviously given the realistic setting for the game this has to be a glitch and not the result of an all-male software development team’s effort to titillate it’s largely male audience.
Problems saving games – Like many older games, Soldiers of Anarchy places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. Profiles and save games are stored in a sub-folder called “SaveGames”. 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\SOA) or manually edit the permissions on the “Soldiers of Anarchy” folder. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.
Game won’t start – Problems starting the game are almost always down to copy protection issues. Even with a legitimate CD-ROM we’ve seen this game fail to start. Sadly as companies became more aggressive about protecting their games against piracy, the copy protection mechanisms they used became more complex and of course therefore more prone to failure. While we cannot give you a link to a version of the game with the copy protection removed, we can confirm that such a thing exists. If you need to go down this route be sure to obtain a cracked/hacked version of the game designed to work with the latest patch. We also strongly recommend thoroughly virus checking any such file you download.
Click on any screenshot to see a bigger version.