When Westwood Studios released the seminal Dune 2 way back in 1992, they probably realised they were on to something big. What they maybe didn’t realise was just how well they managed to nail the real time strategy formula on what was essentially their first go. Real time strategy games have come in their droves since Dune 2, but by and large they all stick to the same resource gathering/base building template laid down in Dune 2 all those years ago. While Rise of Legends doesn’t deviate from this template completely, it still has a few neat ideas of its own, including a somewhat unique game-world setting where Steampunk style clockwork men will fight against magical creatures and dragons. The games graphics were stunning back in 2006 and have held up well. Overall, this is one RTS challenge that genre fans should definitely rise to.
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply place the first disc in your PCs optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games autorun window does not appear, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun.exe” file manually.
If you ever need to reinstall the game (perhaps if you need to refresh or reset Windows or you somehow manage to mess up the patching process) make sure to completely uninstall the game and delete all the content from the games installation folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Rise Of Legends, by default) before reinstalling the game. You do NOT need to remove your save games however.
Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is copy protected and requires CD1 to be in the computers optical drive during play. Fortunately, there are no incompatibilities with the copy protection and Windows 10.
Rise of Legends featured an automatic patching system that would connect to the games servers and automatically fetch the latest patches and install them for you. Unfortunately, this system went offline some time ago. Fortunately however, fans of the game were able to archive the patches and preserve them for download. The patching process is a little long winded, but only needs to be done once, of course. If you’re lucky enough to have the DVD version of the game, you do not need to patch since this edition of the game already comes pre-patched to the latest version.
To get stated with the patching process, start by downloading the patches. If you have a US version of the game, you can download the patches here. If you have a European edition, download the patches here. The patch file is downloaded as a .RAR archive, if you need a free program to handle this type of file, check out our 7zip tutorials.
Extract the contents of the rar file to a temporary directory anywhere on your PC. You should now have a folder called “Patches” and a file called “Patch_manual”. Copy the folder and the file to your Rise of Legends game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Rise Of Legends, by default). Answer “Yes” and enter your administrator password if necessary if Windows User Account Control prompts you to do so.
Once all the files are copied, right click on the “patch_manual” file and choose “Run as administrator”. Again, click on “Yes” and enter your administrator password if necessary if Windows User Account Control prompts you. The patching process should then take a few minutes. Once it is complete, you’re ready to play the game, no compatibility settings or other workarounds are needed.
Tweaking visual quality
Rise of Legends has excellent graphics for a game from nearly a decade ago. Like most older games, modern PCs should be able to handle the highest settings with relative ease, though on more modest systems you may find you need to dial a few settings back in order to run the game at full speed. To get started tweaking the games visual quality settings, start the game and choose “Options and Extras” from the main menu. Then, select “User Options”. You will then be taken to a window with several tabs. Start by clicking on the “Graphics tab”. The picture below shows the resulting window (click on the picture to see a larger version).
The two settings that affect visual quality on this window are “Resolution” and “Anti-aliasing”. Resolution should be set to your monitors native resolution, usually that is the highest resolution that is selectable.
The Anti-aliasing options help smooth the edges of the graphics making them look more life like. Set this to “High sampling” unless you have a very modest PC.
With these options set, we can move on to the “Performance” tab. The picture below shows this tab (click on the picture to see a larger version).
As you can see there is quite a bewildering array of options you can tweak here. If you’re not fond of tinkering with game options, simply use the slider control at the top of the window and move it anywhere between “Run Faster” and “Look Better” depending on your requirements. Since this is an old game, most modern PCs should be able to run the game set fully to “Look Better” mode without too much trouble, but more modest budget PCs may need the settings dialled back a little in order to run smoothly. If you have a modern gaming PC, you should ensure that all settings are set to their highest possible quality settings, as per the screenshot above.
Click on “Apply” when you are done. You’re now done changing configuration settings and you can start playing the game.
Multiplayer and other notes
Multiplayer servers for Rise of Legends have long since shut down, but the game also supports LAN play, so it’s possible to play across your home network, provided you have two PCs and two copies of the game, of course.
If you want to play across the internet, you can use the popular Evolve gaming service. This software very cleverly creates a virtual LAN between you and your friends, allowing you to use the LAN mode across the internet. Evolve also lets you take screenshots and videos, surf the web and chat to your friends all without having to leave the game. Note that we haven’t personally tested the internet multiplayer on this title. If you get it working, please do let us know in the comments.
Save files for Rise of Legends can be found in the “Rise of Legends” sub-folder that the game creates in your documents folder (my documents). You can freely back up and copy this folder between PCs if necessary. I have personally tried a save game from when I first bought this game back in 2006 and it works just fine on my new Windows 10 PC.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.