There’s an unwritten rule in Japanese science fiction, add a giant mecha suit (think robots, but with human pilots) into the mix and everything is ten times better. Metal Fatigue takes this approach with the RTS genre, allowing you to construct giant stomping power suits to dominate the battlefield. Apart from that, your various war machines will also fight battles on three different planes; in the sky, on the ground and underground too.
While the game appears to have a 32 bit installation program, we were not able to get the game to install on our Windows 10 machine at all. The installer would start and then simply freeze before doing anything. Firing up our Windows XP virtual machine, we had no problems installing the game under the older operating system. In the end we decided to write a replacement installer. This installer will copy the files from both game CD-ROMs, create the required registry keys and also install two important patches. You can download the replacement installer here (link broken? Let me know here). Even if you are able to run the games original installer, we recommend using our replacement installer, as it will take care of putting the game into 3DFX mode for you. The reason for this is explained in the next section.
After installation there are still a few other things you will need to do in order to play the game, so read on before attempting to start the game.
Playing the game
Metal Fatigue is a little unusual in that it supports not only DirectX but also OpenGL and Glide video modes too. Modern PCs support DirectX and OpenGL video modes, while Glide is a relic from the days of the 3DFX video cards. You might expect that to get the game working, all you need to do is use either DirectX or OpenGL mode. However, neither of these modes would work on our Windows 10 PC. Instead, the solution to getting this game working is to use a Glide wrapper. This is special software that converts old Glide games to run on DirectX graphics cards. There are two different Glide wrappers you can use with this game:-
If you have an older PC, use nGlide. nGlide is a Glide to DirectX9 wrapper program. If you have an older PC that can’t support DirectX11, use nGlide. Using nGlide is really easy, simply install it and then run your 3DFX compatible game.
If you have a more recent PC, use dgVoodoo2. dgVoodoo2 is a glide (and DirectX 1 to 7) to DirectX11 wrapper. It’s one of the most useful tools for getting old games running again on modern hardware. Using dgVoodoo2 is also really easy, see our tutorial here.
In order to make it past the title screen, you must have installed your preferred Glide wrapper and also put the game into 3DFX mode. Our replacement installer takes care of this for you, so as long as your glide wrappers are installed correctly, the game should now start.
Like many CD-ROM based games, Metal Fatigue had a number of CD audio tracks on the disc that would play during gameplay. Due to some changes in the way Windows handles CD audio, the games soundtrack no longer plays on more modern versions of Windows. To fix this problem, our replacement installer includes a patch that re-directs the audio to play MP3 files instead of CD audio. For this patch to work, you need to install the _inmm.dll software package. You only need to install _inmm.dll in this instance. Our replacement installer has taken care of everything else so as long as you have _inmm.dll installed, you’re good to go. While _inmm.dll should fix the majority of music playback problems with the game, there were a number of times when the music appeared to stop looping or played in the wrong place, but for the most part the soundtrack worked correctly.
We were not able to find any official patches for the game. Over on the nGlide home page, there’s an unofficial patch that uses Microsoft’s own Application Compatibility Toolkit and simply tells Windows to lie to the game about how much memory is free. Our replacement installer takes care of installing this patch for you, so there’s no need to download and install it manually.
With patches, your chosen glide wrapper and the _inmm.dll software installed, you’re now ready to play.
Tweaking visual quality
The game has a number of visual quality settings you can change. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options”. The following options will then be displayed.
Metal Fatigue does not support widescreen screen modes at all, so you will need to choose the resolution from the list on the left that most closely matches your monitor. 1600×1200 isn’t a great fit for a 1080p panel, for instance, so don’t be surprised if things don’t look so good at that resolution. Don’t be afraid to try one or two options here, you may find that the higher resolutions result in graphics that are too small to see, particularly if you’re gaming on your HDTV rather than at a monitor.
On the right there are some other quality options. Since this is an old game, you can turn all the options on and enjoy the best visual quality even on a relatively modest modern PC. The options at the bottom middle can be set to taste. Remember to click on “OK” when you are done, then you’re ready to play.
Problems saving games – Like many old titles, Metal Fatigue saves its game data into the same folder as the game itself (in the Save sub-folder). If you install the game to the default folder (under c:\program files) then, this will usually mean that save games and configuration files cannot be written. To solve this problem you can either run the game as administrator (right click on the games icon and choose “Run as administrator”) or, better still, set the permissions on your game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.