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Video games don’t often paint a pretty picture of the future. Then again, the opportunities for the kind of death defying action, adventure and conflict that gamers seem to love probably wouldn’t come about all that often in some kind of Utopian future setting. In Forsaken, a bunch of scientists go a little too far with a subatomic fusion reactor and wipe out the entire planet, causing it to be reclassified as a condemned world. This is good news for intergalactic rag and bone men however, who are now free to loot the planet on their super fast hover bike type things.
Deciding what to forsake
Before we talk about installing, playing or doing anything Forsaken-related on a modern PC, you will need to decide which version of the game you want to play. The original 1998 release (which we will call “Forsaken Classic”) can be coaxed into working on a modern PC with a little effort. To do this, you will of course require a copy of the original game.
There is also a remake of the game called “ForsakenX”. This is based on the games original source code, but with several enhancements and modifications made to the game to make playing it on modern PCs more convenient and of course to make it look better. This version can be downloaded for free and doesn’t require a copy of the original game. There are some key differences between the two versions:-
Both versions support single player, but multiplayer can only realistically be done through ForsakenX.
ForsakenX supports better quality textures and higher resolution screen modes, as well as widescreen modes.
ForsakenX lacks the introduction movie from Forsaken Classic, but this cinematic may not play correctly on modern PCs. You can watch the intro on Youtube here, if desired.
Forsaken Classic is the only version that supports in game music.
The soundtrack very much adds to the atmosphere of the single player campaign. So much so that the author of this article would personally recommend Forsaken Classic over ForsakenX, if you intend to play the single player game.
We will cover both versions of the game in this guide, so you can choose one or the other depending on your needs. If you want to install them both, that’s perfectly fine too, they won’t conflict with each other.
Installing Forsaken Classic
To install the original release of the game, first pop the CD into your computers optical drive. Dismiss or cancel any Autorun windows that appear, then browse to the CD in Computer/This PC. Explore the CD and find the “SETUP” or “SETUP.EXE” program. Double click on this and the installation process should start. It may take a few minutes for the installer to kick in, so have a little patience.
If you’re going to install Forsaken Classic into the default folder, please be sure to see “Problems saving games or configuration files” in the troubleshooting section near the end of this article. During the installlation process, you will be asked what type of install you want to perform. Choose “Custom”. You will then be asked which components you want to install, make sure all the options are ticked/checked, then click “Next”.
Patching Forsaken Classic
There is an official patch for the game. This patch fixes various bugs and so installing it is recommended. You can download it from Patches Scrolls here.
The next step is to install some additional graphics card option files. Start by downloading the file “All graphic card opt files” from the page here.
This file is a zip file/folder. If you open it, you will find several files inside it with the file extension “.opt”. You need to copy or extract these files from the zip file into the “Opt” sub folder in your Forsaken game folder. If you installed the game in the default directory, the path to this directory will be “C:\Program Files (x86)\Acclaim Entertainment\Forsaken\Opt”. Copying the files over is all you need to do with them for now, we’ll come back to what these files actually do in a moment.
Optionally, you can also grab the “Enhanced Texture files” from the same page. Again, this is downloaded as a zip file. You need to copy these to the Data\Textures sub-folder in your Forsaken game folder. If you installed the game in the default directory, the path to this directory will be “C:\Program Files (x86)\Acclaim Entertainment\Forsaken\Data\Textures”. Make a backup copy of the existing textures folder, to be on the safe side, then overwrite the files that are already in the folder.
Finally, we’re going to need that indispensable PC retro gaming tool, DGVoodoo2. Follow the tutorial here, to download and install DGVoodoo2 into your Forsaken game folder. It needs to go in the top level of the game folder (the same folder where you can see “FORSAKEN” or “FORSAKEN.EXE”). Forsaken is a DirectX game so use the files from the MS sub-folder within the DGVoodoo2 zip file.
Running Forsaken Classic
With all the necessary patches and fixes installed, you can go ahead and start the game by running the “Forsaken.exe” file, or by searching for “Forsaken” on the Start menu/screen and clicking the icon that appears. When you do this, the following window will appear.
Firstly, we need to change the “Renderer”. Click on the drop-down box. You will now see, amongst other entries, the files you copied in from the “All graphic card opt files” that you downloaded previously. To determine which one to choose, you need to know how much video memory is in your PC. Most modern cards will have at least 512MB, but you can find out for sure by using the following technique.
In Windows 10 – Right click on your desktop in a blank spot and choose “Display Settings”. The Display settings window will then appear. At the very bottom of the window is a blue link that says “Display adapter properties”. Click on this. Another window should open, as shown below.
In Windows 7 or 8 – Right click on the desktop and choose “Screen resolution”. In this window there will be a blue link labelled “Advanced Settings”. Click on this and the window shown below will appear.
In this window you should see “Total available graphics memory” and “Dedicated video memory”. It’s the dedicated value you’re interested in. The PC in the picture above has plenty of video memory so we can choose the “512MB” option in this case. If your PC has less than 512MB, choose the appropriate value in the launcher instead.
All the other options can be left as the defaults, so just click “OK” on the Forsaken Launcher now to start the game.
Configuring graphics options
Before you jump on your hover bike, you might want to make the post-apocalyptic world you’ll be exploring as nice as possible. From the games main menu, choose “Options” and then “Visuals”. There are several options on this menu that will affect how the game looks, but we’ll start with “Change Detail Levels”. When you select this option, the following menu will appear.
On a modern PC, every option can be turned to “ON” or to 100% setting. The only exception is “Mature Content”, turn this off if you expect that younger children will be playing the game.
Once you have set these options, press the Escape key to go back to the previous menu and choose “Change Screen Res”. This will present a list of screen resolutions for you to choose from.
For such an old game, Forsaken is surprisingly flexible with the screen resolutions it lets you choose. However, if you choose a widescreen resolution the game will be stretched and distorted. For best results, choose a 4:3 aspect ratio mode like 1280×1024 or, if your graphics card supports it, add a custom resolution. For a 1080p monitor or TV, a custom resolution of 1440×1080 will give the best possible picture for the game.
Finally, back out of this menu and choose “Select Texture Format”. This one is easy, simply choose “8880RGB”.
You’re now done setting up the games visuals.
Controls for the game are configured by going to “Setup Biker” from the main menu and then choosing “Controls” for flight controls or “Weapons” for weapons. Forsaken has excellent support for the myriad of controllers and contraptions you might connect to your PC in order to play the game. Actually configuring a controller for this game is fairly difficult. As this is a free-flight game, you will be dealing with pitch, roll, yaw and all those other flight sim terms, while still trying to find enough spare digits on your hands to be able to operate your crafts weapons.
High level play will probably require a dedicated simulator set up with foot pedals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the game if you only have a standard controller. Forsaken launched on the games consoles of the day to positive reviews in the gaming press, so playing on controller is entirely possible.
You will need to figure out the details yourself, some experimentation may be required to find a setup that suits you, but we have a few key points below to help you.
The game lets you bind multiple keys or buttons to the same command. If you want to remove a command, press the “Delete” or “Del” key.
If you’re using an Xbox or PlayStation controller, you can access a copy of the instruction manual for the PlayStation version here. You can use this as the basis for creating your own bindings.
You can only bind an axis to the analogue triggers on your PlayStation or Xbox controller. If you want to bind a button to the analogue triggers, use a tool like Xpadder to assign a key press to the axis.
By using Xpadder and assigning the arrow keys to the D-pad, Enter to the A (or X button on a PlayStation controller) and Escape to the Pause button you can navigate the games menus entirely using the controller. Don’t forget to alter your bindings in the game to reflect this.
Don’t worry about turning off auto-levelling and flying like a pro until you’re comfortable with the basics. You can complete the single player game in normal difficulty without needing this.
Pre-configured profile for Xbox controllers
If you’re really struggling to adapt to the controls and you’re using an Xbox One controller you can use our player profile here. Note that you will still need Xpadder or a similar tool to bind the space bar to the left trigger and the left control to the right trigger, in order to fire your crafts weapons.
To make this profile we bound forward and backward movement to up and down on the left stick, and “slide” left and right to left and right on the left stick. Pitching is then done on the right stick, with roll on the two shoulder buttons. Our brains are wired for playing first person shooters in a configuration like this, so you may find this setup easier to adapt to.
Fixing the music
Forsaken has a excellent CD audio soundtrack and although this still works on modern PCs, the music tracks do not repeat once finished. This will leave you with just the sound of explosions and “pew pew” while in the middle of a level. Fortunately, there’s a way to fix this problem. Simply follow our _inmm.dll tutorial here and convert the games audio into Mp3 format. Once this is done, the audio will loop correctly in game. Unfortunately, the soundtrack does not work at all in ForsakenX.
ForsakenX can be downloaded from the page here. The file is downloaded as a zip file, so to install the game, just copy the entire contents into any suitable folder on your PC. Start the game by running the WIN32.exe file in the folder. If you want a Start menu shortcut, follow the tutorial here (for Windows 10) or here (for Windows 7 and 8).
Configuring ForsakenX is virtually the same as configuring the original game, so you can refer to the “Configuring graphics options” and “Configuring controllers” sections above. Some options referenced above are obsolete and have been removed, but most of the menus and options are in the same place. Apart from enhanced textures, ForsakenX also runs perfectly in widescreen mode, so there’s no reason to choose a 4:3 aspect ratio screen mode when setting up the visual options.
Multiplayer and other notes
To play multiplayer, start ForsakenX and choose “Death Match”. You can then create your own game for your friends to join or search for a public game. Apparently there are still a number of players who meet and play the game, however when we looked there were no public games currently available. Expect anyone still playing Forsaken in 2018 to be a highly skilled player!
There’s a wealth of information about the game here, including some walk-throughs and cheat codes if you’re really stuck.
We had a lot of fun revisiting this game. While it looks dated, the gameplay is as engrossing as ever. The level design is good and the difficulty is challenging without feeling too unfair. Enemies can get repetitive and re-spawn out of thin air on some levels, but overall this is a really fun game and there aren’t many modern games that are quite like what’s on offer here.
Intro movie does not play or plays with errors – This is a known bug on modern systems, instead, watch the intro movie on YouTube here.
Problems saving games or configuration files – Like many older games, Forsaken stores its save game files and various configuration files in its installation directory. If you installed the game into the program files or program files (x86) folders, you may find that the default Windows security settings prevent the game from saving any progress. To fix this problem, either install the game to an alternative location (e.g C:\Games) or set the permissions on the “Forsaken” folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.
For reference, the default game installation directory is C:\Program Files (x86)\Acclaim Entertainment\Forsaken (C:\Program Files\Acclaim Entertainment\Forsaken if you’re still running 32 bit Windows).
Controller and key binding settings are stored in “Player.cfg” in the root of the Forsaken game folder. If you rename your biker, this file will change name to reflect this change too.
Save game files are placed in the “Savegame” sub-folder. Remember the game does not auto save progress. You must manually save your progress from the pause menu.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.