Emperor – Battle for Dune

Genre: Real Time Strategy
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: EA Games
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune is set in a science fiction universe where computers are religiously outlawed due to an artificial intelligence led rebellion. Conventional warfare with guns, projectiles and explosives is obsolete due to the invention of impenetrable, wearable force-fields. It’s fair to say then, that most of the Dune computer games take some artistic license with the source material. Emperor – Battle for Dune is the sequel to the genre-defining Dune II. The game was generally well received, but criticised by some for failing to innovate or move the genre forward in any meaningful way. Nevertheless, if you hanker for some old-school RTS action and prefer the sci-fi setting of the desert planet Arrakis to the battlefields in Command and Conquer, then then Emperor – Battle for Dune is unlikely to disappoint.


Most of the problems with this game stem from its use of an outdated copy protection mechanism. Your first challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to get the game to install. Firstly, try the regular way, that is, placing the games disc into your PCs DVD drive and following the on-screen prompts. If the installer doesn’t start automatically, browse to the disc in Computer/This PC and run the “AUTORUN” or “AUTORUN.exe” file manually. Note that there’s no reason to install the Westwood online components and the online registration no longer works.

If the installation goes okay, then you can proceed to the section that covers patching the game. If not, proceed to the alternative installation instructions below.

Alternative installation instructions

If the installation process won’t start, try this fixed installer that was released by Westwood Studios themselves. First of all, visit this page and download the “EMPEROR_INSTALL_FIX_1.0.rar” file.

The file is a .rar archive, which means you will need to extract the contents. The free 7-Zip program can do this for you, you can download that here. If you have never used 7-Zip before, there are tutorials for it here.

Once you’ve extracted the .rar file, you should see three files, EMPEROR.EXE, EMPEROR.TXT and SETUP.EXE. We will need those in a moment, but first, insert your installation CD if you haven’t already, then browse to the CD in computer/This PC.

On the Emperor CD, you should see a folder called “INSTALL”. Copy this folder to any convenient location on your PC. The instructions given in the “EMPEROR.TXT” file suggest the Desktop, but anywhere will do.

Once the folder is copied, go back to the files you extracted from the .rar archive and copy the SETUP.EXE file into the SETUP folder you copied from the CD-ROM, overwriting the file that’s already in there.

If your computer has more than one optical drive (including virtual or emulated optical drives), you must ensure that the Emperor install CD is in the optical drive which has the first drive letter alphabetically. If you need to check and change drive letters, see this tutorial.

Once you’ve checked your drive letters, run the “SETUP.EXE” file you copied over previously. If the installation now starts, great, skip ahead to “My game is finally installing!”. Unfortunately, on some systems the installer will now fail and display this error.



In this instance, you need to install the dgVoodoo2 wrapper package into the “SETUP” folder (the same one you copied the replacement “SETUP.EXE” into). Follow the tutorial here if you’ve never used dgVoodoo2 before. Since the installer is using DirectX, use the dgVoodoo2 .dll files from the MS sub-folder.

Once that’s done, run the SETUP.EXE program again and it should now work without errors.

My game is finally installing!

Now that the installer is working, follow the on-screen prompts to install the game. Note that there is no reason to install the Westwood online components and the online registration since they no longer work. Once installation is complete, there’s one more thing you need to do.

To finish up the installation, go back to the files you extracted from the .rar archive and find the “EMPEROR.EXE” file. Copy this into the games installation directory (C:\WESTWOOD\Emperor by default), overwriting the existing file that is in there.

With that, the installation process is complete and you can proceed to “Patching”.


Before you start your campaign of intergalactic warfare, you will want to install the latest patch. There were several patches released for the game, but you only need to install the latest one. Simply download the patch from this page and run it, the patching process should then be automatic.

With the games official patch installed, you can try to run the game. However, on many systems the game will crash before starting up. Don’t worry, you simply need to download and install the PC retro-gamers friend dgVoodoo2. Follow our tutorial here if you are unfamiliar with this tool. Emperor – Battle for Dune is a DirectX game, so use the dgVoodoo2 files from the MS sub-folder.

Copy protection

As we said in the installation instructions, most of the problems with this game stem not from the game itself, but its outdated copy protection. If you’ve installed the latest patch and dgVoodoo2 and you cannot start the game, the issue is likely to be with the games copy protection.

The way around this is to find a version of the game with the copy protection removed. Sadly, due to copyright law we cannot link to files like this. We can tell you however, that the cracked executable we used was from the hacking group MYTH and the supplied executable file (Game.exe) had the MD5 file hash of 480265ACC58FE4ECC53362C18AB47104.

As always, be careful poking around in the seedier parts of the internet. Ensure your browser is up to date, don’t run an administrator account and always virus check anything you download.

Tweaking graphics settings

Graphical settings must be configured from the main menu before starting a game. From the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Graphics”.

Here you will find a graphical quality setting. Drag the slider all the way to “Custom” and then click on the “Advanced Options” button.

You will now be able to tweak the individual graphics settings. Since this is an old game, you can put all the settings to maximum quality, even if you have a PC that’s relatively modest by modern standards.

At the bottom of these options are the screen resolution options. Emperor – Battle for Dune is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen) game and you won’t be able to choose widescreen resolutions. You should usually choose the screen resolution that is closest to your monitors native resolution. The game should appear with black borders at either side of the screen. If it does not, the graphics will be distorted. If you’re running the game using dgVoodoo2, you should open the dgVoodoo control panel (dgVoodooCpl.exe) and make sure the scaling mode is set to “Stretched, keep aspect ratio”.

If you’re planning to play the game on your HDTV rather than computer monitor, you might want to choose a lower screen resolution since the games text is very small when running in higher resolutions.

Multiplayer and other notes

The internet multiplayer service for Emperor – Battle for Dune shut down a long time ago. However, you should still be able to play over your local network with other PCs in your home by selecting LAN mode. It may also be possible to use services like  GameRanger or Evolve to play over the internet, though we haven’t tried this.

When using dgVoodoo2, you can use some in-game overlay tools such as Nvidia Geforce Experience. For some reason we could not get the Evolve in-game overlay to work with the game and trying the Steam overlay caused the game to freeze.

There is a map editor and various mods for the game available here.


Game settings lost on exit – If you find you have to reconfigure the graphical settings each time you start the game, try running the game as administrator and then changing the settings. You do not need to run the game as administrator every time, only when you want to make a permanent change to the games settings.


Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.


The Atreides duke it out in high definition with their arch enemies, the Harkonnen.

House Ordos amasses its army (800×600 resolution)

Asterix The Gallic War

Genre: Action-adventure
Release Year: 2000
Developer: Sourcery Development Ltd
Publisher: Infogrames
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Everyone’s favourite Gaul and his portly sidekick feature in this curious mix of strategy and arcade action. In the game, you will lead a campaign to recapture Gaul from the pesky Romans by playing a simple strategy game and using lots of magic potion. The game also features arcade like sections where you will get to test your brawn and reflexes rather than your brain.


In order to install the game, place the disc in your computers optical drive. Dismiss or ignore any autorun prompts that appear, then browse to the CD in Computer/This PC. Locate the Asterixstart or Asterixstart.exe file, right click on it and choose “Run as administrator”. You then simply need to click the install button and follow the on-screen prompts.

During the process the installer will offer to install DirectX 7, there’s no need for this as the version on your PC will already be more up to date.

Running the game

Before you can start your campaign against Rome’s legions, you need to get a fix or two installed. Start by using File Explorer to open the games installation directory, that is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Infogrames\Asterix” by default. Once there, open the “Exec” sub-folder. Open another File Explorer window and open/explore the Asterix CD in Computer/This PC. On the root of the CD there should be a file called “ASTERIXSTART.EXE” (it may appear simply as ASTERIXSTART depending on how you have your File Explorer configured). Now, copy the “ASTERIXSTART.EXE” file into the Asterix\Exec folder that you opened earlier.

Now, follow the tutorial here to install DGVoodoo2 into the Asterix\Exec folder (the same folder you copied ASTERIXSTART into). Remember this is a DirectX game so you will need the DGVoodoo2 files from within the MS sub-folder.

Now, run the “ASTERIXSTART” program from within the Exec folder. Click on “Settings” and make sure that Video Device is set to “dgVoodoo DirectX Wrapper and that “Resolution” is set to “640x480x16bpp”. If you’ve configured everything correctly, the window should look like the one shown below.



Click on OK when you are done. The game is now configured and ready to play. To start the game, you need to run the ASTERIXSTART program and then click “Play”.

At this point you might want to take a moment to update the games Start menu shortcut, which will be pointing to the wrong executable. Search for “Asterix” on the Start menu or search bar to find the games shortcut. Now, right click on this shortcut and choose “Open file location”.

This should open a File Explorer window showing the shortcut. Find the Asterix shortcut in the window (ignoring the various readme files and website links). Right click on this shortcut and choose “Properties”. A window should appear similar to the one shown below.



You now need to edit the “Target” box, at the top of the window. Change it so that the shortcut is pointing to “ASTERIXSTART.EXE” rather than “ASTERIX.EXE”, you can simply click on the box and type in the extra characters yourself. Once done, hit “Apply”. Windows User Account Control will prompt you to confirm the change, do so, then click “OK” to close the Window. The game is now fixed and ready to play.

Configuring controllers

While the main game can be played using the mouse, you might want to play the arcade sections using the controller. Luckily, the game supports controllers as decently as any game from this era. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Configure controls”. You can then assign the buttons on your controller (we used an Xbox One controller for testing) however you like.

If you prefer to play from the comfort of your couch, then get yourself a copy of that essential PC gaming utility, Xpadder. Below is a picture of our Xpadder profile for the game.



By assigning Escape and Enter to the back and start buttons, and the arrow keys to the directional pad on the controller we can now pause the game and navigate the menus. It’s possible to navigate around the games map using the control stick, though the in-game prompts are all configured for the mouse. By binding the mouse buttons to the shoulder buttons we at least make this a little easier to understand.

Note that in our profile we have the left mouse button bound to the right shoulder button, and vice versa. This is because when using a joypad, we find the right hand button more natural to use as a primary button. This makes the in-game prompts a little confusing though, so feel free to switch it around if you prefer.


Failed to get mouse error – This error occurs if you try to start the game without having updated the shortcut to point to ASTERIXSTART.EXE. Go back to the start of the guide and make sure to copy ASTERIXSTART.EXE from the CD and update the shortcut to point to it.


Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.


Obelix exploring the Alps


Strategising with Getafix

Heroes of Might and Magic

Genre: Strategy
Release Year: 1996
Developer: New World Computing
Publisher: New World Computing
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only)
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Heroes of Might and Magic is, as you might expect, a game about commanding heroes, who use both might and magic to fight against other heroes. These other heroes look the same as your heroes but crucially they prefer a different coloured flag. Actually, despite the games title, when it comes to the actual fighting, your heroes are nowhere to be seen on the battlefield and it’s left to you to command the rank and file soldiers to victory instead. I suppose “cowards of hiding in a tent and occasionally casting spells” didn’t have the same ring to it. Not that the heroes notable absence from the battlefield makes the game any less fun. Make no mistake, this easy to learn strategy game is compelling and engrossing and was a huge hit back in 1995, kick-starting a series that now has no less than seven instalments.

A note about different versions of the game

Heroes of Might and Magic was a very successful game and was re-released several times over the years. The very first edition, launched in 1995, ran on the old DOS operating system. If this is the version of the game you have, you will need to follow our DOSBox tutorials to get it working.

The following year, there was a re-release of the game for the then-new Windows 95 operating system. This version of the game also included an enhanced CD audio soundtrack, so it can be considered the better version of the game. The original Windows 95 edition of the game has a 16 bit installer and because of this it won’t install on more modern, 64 bit versions of Windows.

The Windows version of the game was re-released several times, as part of several box sets. Specifically, we tested the version included in the “Heroes of Might and Magic – Complete Edition” box set, which is available as a large collectors set with various goodies. Obviously there are other compilations released over the years that include the game too and we’ve no way of checking them all, but it’s likely that most sets include the Windows 95 version since it’s considerably easier to get working on a modern PC.

There’s also a re-release of the game by our friends over at However, while we’d usually recommend the GoG version without hesitation, it turns out that the version of Heroes of Might and Magic is actually a re-packaging of the original DOS version which runs through a bundled version of DOSBox. This is disappointing, given that the Windows 95 version with its CD quality soundtrack is unquestionably the better version of the game.


Unfortunately, the earliest versions of this game used a 16 bit installer and won’t install on more modern versions of Windows. If you have one of these early releases, you could try installing it on an older PC then simply moving it over to your new PC on a USB stick. The game doesn’t seem to create any registry keys, so this will probably work.  An easier method is to simply obtain a more recent re-release of the game. The “Heroes of Might and Magic collection”, still available on Amazon at time of publication, features the game with a more modern installer that will work on more recent PCs. Don’t discard your original CD-ROM just yet though, there’s an important difference between the original and the later re-releases that we’ll come to in a moment.

During installation you may be asked if you wish to install DirectX. Obviously the version on the CD/DVD is out of date, so you should decline. You may also be greeted by a “System Requirements Tool” that thinks you do not have an OS or that you don’t have the correct version of DirectX, or enough memory to run the game. All of these errors can be ignored. Finally, the installer might offer to install a tool called “Gameupdate”. This tool was designed to automatically check for a new version of the game, however it hasn’t worked in many years so can safely be skipped.

After installation you may find that the desktop shortcut is not created correctly. You can easily re-create this yourself if necessary, simply create a new shortcut and point it to the games installation directory, by default that is “C:\Program Files (x86)\3DO\Heroes of Might and Magic\HEROES.EXE”


During our research we found two patches for the game. The first was an official patch while the other was simply labelled “unofficial”. The official patch would not install due to it being a 16 bit installer program. The unofficial patch had almost no documentation with it, but seems to install and work just fine. If you want to try it, you can download it here.

Fixing the games soundtrack

You might recall at the start of the article we told you that the Windows 95 edition of the game had a CD soundtrack. If you happen to pick this game up as part of a compilation, it is likely that it has been placed on a DVD disc and the CD soundtrack simply discarded. That’s a shame as the high quality soundtrack definitely adds to the game. Fortunately we can do something about that. First of all, we need to download and install the _inmm.dll compatibility tool, if it’s not on your system already. Click here to learn all about this tool and what it does for old games with CD soundtracks.

Secondly, you will need the missing CD audio tracks. You can grab those here. Copy them to the games installation directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\3DO\Heroes of Might and Magic by default) in the sub-folder “Music”.

Now, follow our _inmm.dll tutorial from step 2 onwards, to patch the games executable and create your _inmm.ini file that points to the music files you downloaded above.

If you did everything correctly, you should now be able to start the game and enjoy the full CD soundtrack too. There are a few settings you may need to tweak in-game, but we’ll come to those in a moment.

Configuring the game

Before leading your armies into battle, there are a small number of in-game settings you may wish to tweak. Start Heroes of Might and Magic from the Start menu or desktop shortcut and then start a new game, any kind of game will do. If the game is running in full screen mode, press F4 to toggle it into windowed mode.

At the top of the games window you will notice several menus. First of all, on the “Display” menu, set the games resolution to the highest setting available, that is 1280×1024. This will make the game easier to see on a modern display. Heroes Of Might and Magic uses hand drawn graphics (sprites) rather than 3D polygons, so actually increasing the games resolution makes scant difference to the graphical quality. If  you play the game in full screen mode, the screen resolution will reset to 640×480.

The Control Panel menu has some further options you may wish to configure. The picture below shows the available options.



Music and Sound menus – In these menus you can set the volume of both the music and the sound effects. If the game’s not making any sounds, check this menu and make sure that the sounds/music are not set to off. If you turn music on and the soundtrack does not play, try choosing another volume setting. Note that the volume setting for the CD soundtrack does not work correctly when using _inmm.dll.

CD Stereo – With the game successfully patched to use _inmm.dll, you should be able to turn this option on.

Troubleshooting and known issues

CD audio soundtrack not playing – If the CD soundtrack does not play, you need to access the Control Panel menu and then choose “Music” and change the volume. If this doesn’t work immediately, try changing the volume again.

CD audio soundtrack volume  sometimes goes quiet – The CD soundtrack has a habit of changing volume while you play. This is probably not intentional and just a side effect of the _inmm.dll patching process. We do not have a workaround for this bug at present.

Full screen mode causes the game to crash – If putting the game into full screen mode causes it to crash, try installing the dgVoodoo2 tool into the games directory.

Game becomes sluggish when a prompt window appears – Sometimes the game gets stuck momentarily after a message appears and requires you to click “OK” to continue. Usually this problem goes away after a minute or two so don’t panic.

Game opens in a very tiny window – If the game opens in a absurdly small window, try pressing the F4 key to put the game into full screen. You can then either play in full screen or press F4 again to return to a (hopefully sensibly sized) window.


Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

No boobs in this Baywatch.

Quick, while the dragon isn’t looking!


Civilization III Complete

Genre: Strategy
Release Year: 2004
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: Atari
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Another entry into the ever-popular politician/dictator/god simulator series, Civilization III released to critical acclaim in 2001 and went on to sell millions of copies. Since we’ve covered Civilization II and IV, it seems only right that we take a look at the third game in the series. Fortunately, this one isn’t too difficult to get running. The version of the game we’re looking at here is the “Complete” edition, which was released in 2004 and includes the two expansion packs that were previously released for the game. This version is also the version that comes in the popular Civilization Chronicles box set.


The game should install just fine from its original retail CDs. Simply place the first CD in your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun.exe” file manually. During the installation process, you will be asked if you wish to install Gamespy Arcade. You can skip this step since the Gamespy Arcade service shut down several years ago.

If you are installing the game from the Steam digital download service, simply use the Steam client to install the game as normal.

Civilization 3 saves game data and configuration files to its installation directory. On more modern versions of Windows, this can be a problem due to the default security settings prohibiting apps from writing data to the program files folder. To work around this, either install the game to another directory (e.g C:\Games) or see the troubleshooting section under “Problems saving games and configuration files”.


If you’re using the original CD version of the game, you should download and install the latest patch before starting to play. The latest patch is 1.29 and you can obtain it here.

The patch is downloaded as a zip file. To install it, simply open the zip file and run the single, executable file that lurks within. Answer “Yes” if the installer prompts you to overwrite a read-only file.

For the Steam digital download version, patching is automatic so no further action is required after installing the game.

Playing in Widescreen

Unlike many PC games, Civilization III doesn’t really have a host of graphical options to tweak. There is one small tweak you may wish to perform, however. By default, the game is locked to a fixed resolution. If you have a modern monitor, you will probably want to play the game in widescreen mode, rather than have black borders around the game or have the games graphics stretched and distorted.

To play in widescreen, first of all make sure you have started the game at least once since installing it on your PC, just getting as far as the title screen should be perfectly fine. Now we need to edit a configuration file, so open Computer/This PC and browse to the games folder which can be found by default in one of two locations:-

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization III Complete\Conquests (for the Steam version)
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Firaxis Games\Civilization III Complete\Conquests (for the retail version)


Next, find the file called “conquests.ini” and open it in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re not familiar with the process of editing configuration files, you can find a beginners tutorial here.

With the conquests.ini file open in your editor, scroll to the bottom of the file and simply add the following line


Now, save the file and start the game again. If you find you cannot save the newly modified conquests.ini file, see the troubleshooting section under “Problems saving games and configuration files”. The game now will run in whatever resolution you have your desktop set to, which should, of course, be your monitors optimal screen resolution. The games cut-scenes will still run in low resolution, but the game itself will be in glorious widescreen.


Problems saving games and configuration files – Like many older games, Civilization III 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, set the permissions on the “Civilization III Complete” folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.

By default, the games installation directory is placed at one of two possible locations.

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization III Complete (for the Steam version)
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Firaxis Games\Civilization III Complete (for the retail version)


Permissions should be set automatically on the Steam version, but the retail version will need the folder permissions to be set if it is installed in the default directory.


Click on the screenshot to enlarge it.


As always, finding new ways to kill your enemies is a big part of the game.


Civilization IV

Genre: Strategy
Release Year: 2005
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Desert Island Discs is a radio show broadcast here in the UK on the poshest of stations, BBC Radio 4. In the show, various celebrities and politicians choose which particular gramophone recordings they would choose to be stranded with if they found themselves on a desert island. Should Radio 4 ever decide videogames were culturally relevant and subsequently launch “Desert Island Games”, then it’s a fairly safe bet that Sid Meier’s Civilization series would feature frequently. In the fourth instalment of the game, the rules are remixed and the graphics are tarted up, but the engrossing turn based strategy remains as compelling as ever.


The game should install just fine from its original optical media discs. Simply place the first disc in your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If installation does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun.exe” file manually. At the end of the installation process, the installer may offer to install Xfire. Unfortunately the Xfire service shut down some time ago, so simply skip this part of the process.

If you’re installing the Steam version, installation is automatic and managed from your Steam library from within the Steam program itself.


Before starting your quest for world domination, you should install the latest patch. Users who purchased the game on Steam do not need to install any patches, as the Steam service itself keeps the game fully up to date. For those of us playing using the original retail version, you should download and install patch 1.74. You can download the patch here.

Once the patch has downloaded, simply run it and follow the on-screen prompts.

Uncivilized copy protection

The retail DVD versions of Civilization 4 are protected with a copy protection system known as Safedisc. Unfortunately, citing security concerns, Microsoft removed support for Safedisc protected games both in Windows 10 and, retrospectively through Windows update, in Windows 7 and 8 as well. Unfortunately this means that in order to play the retail version on a modern PC, you will need to obtain a de-protected or cracked version of the game. Due to copyright laws we can’t link to this file directly, we can tell you however that the cracked version of the game we obtained was by a group called “Reloaded” and had an MD5 hash of AE3B47863E7D88636A5C87D90643E845. As always, take extra care on the shadier parts of the internet when looking for these files.

When you obtain the cracked Civilization 4 executable, you simply need to replace the existing one. Use Windows Explorer or File Explorer to browse to the games installation directory, by default that is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier’s Civilization 4”. Find “Civilization4” or “Civilization4.exe” and rename it (e.g to “old”). Now, copy over the de-protected Civilization4 file. Once it is in place, you can start the game from the Start menu or screen normally.

Graphics and other settings

Civilization 4 isn’t a game that’s big on fancy graphical effects, but that’s no reason why it shouldn’t look as pretty as possible. From the games main menu, choose “Options”, then on the window that appears, choose the “Graphics” tab. The window shown below should then be displayed.



Some settings here are down to personal preference, for instance “Show Health Bars”, while other settings affect the visual quality of the game. For the most part you can simply set every setting to the maximum. You should set the following options as shown below for maximum visual quality:-

Globe View Buildings Disabled – Deselected

Full-screen Mode – Selected (unless you wish to play in windowed mode)

High Detail Terrain – Selected

You can also set the games screen resolution from this window. Generally you should set this to the highest available option. If you use a widescreen resolution (such as 1080p, 1920×1080) some of the games cut-scenes may appear a little stretched, but the game itself should look fine.


“Please login with administrator privileges and try again” or similar error when starting the game – This is the games copy protection failing to initialise, you will need to find a crack/hacked version of the game or purchase the Steam edition instead.

Multiplayer and other notes

It is possible to play Civilization 4 in multiplayer mode, though the services that facilitated this originally have long since shut down. 2K games very generously started a program whereby customers could get a free Steam key for their copy of Civilisation 4. Since the Steam gaming service includes Multiplayer functionality, this meant that Civilization 4 is fully playable online again. You can find more details of this offer here. This program is due to shut down in June 2017, so hurry if you want to take advantage of it.

The game is also compatible with direct IP connections and therefore compatible with the Evolve gaming service, however we haven’t tried multiplayer using this program so we cannot comment on how well it works.

Save games for Civilization 4 can be found in C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Roaming\, or, if you’re running the Steam version, in C:\Users\(your username)\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization IV\Saves\single.


civilizations might start out primitive…

…but they soon find high-tech ways to kill each other.



Genre: Flight Simulator
Release Year: 2003
Developer: Digital Anvil
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Space, the final frontier. Huge, desolate, empty. The perfect setting for a videogame? Lots of people seem to think so. In this space trading and exploration game you get to be your very own Han Solo and fly around the galaxy, completing missions, trading commodities and combating mysterious aliens. Despite failing to live up to the hype on its original 2003 release, the game was generally well received by critics and fans alike and is kept alive today by a small but passionate group of players and modders.


Installing the game is easy, just place your Freelancer game disc into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in computer/this PC and run the Setup.exe file manually. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t appear to be available on any digital download services, so if you want to play you will need a copy of the original retail CD.


For a game of such ambitious scope, Freelancer has surprisingly few official patches. Just one such patch was released for the game and this contains only some basic fixes for multiplayer mode. Even so, it can’t hurt to install it, so download it here and install it by simply running the executable file from inside the zip archive.

With the patch installed, the next step is to fix the games copy protection. Unfortunately Freelancer uses an outdated form of copy protection (Safedisc) that is incompatible with Windows 10, and Windows 7 and 8 with the latest security patches installed. Unfortunately we’re not able to link you to patches that remove copy protection for legal reasons, though you may wish to check for a workaround on the site which hosts the patch we linked to above. As always, take extra precautions when downloading any kind of cracked or hacked executables from the shadier parts of the internet.

The last step is optional but highly recommended. There are a number of fan-made patches and fixes that aim to correct problems that Micrsoft/Digital Anvil never got around to fixing. According to our research, the most commonly used of these is the Freelancer Quick Fix patch. You can obtain this patch here. To install the patch, simply run it and follow the on-screen prompts.

That’s all that is required for basic functionality, we will have a look at some optional extras later in the guide.

Tweaking visual quality

With Freelancer being such an old game, you should be able to set all the in-game settings to their highest quality without degrading the games performance. Start by loading the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “General”. On this menu you should be able to set the games resolution. Choose whatever suits your monitor the best. Note that Freelancer does not support widescreen screen resolutions, though there is a workaround that we’ll show you later in the guide that can enable them. When setting a resolution, be sure to choose a 32 bit colour depth mode. These modes always end with “x 32”, so as long as you see that, you’re all set.

With screenmodes configured, go back to the games options menu and choose “Performance”. On this screen you can simply make sure every setting is turned on and/or turned to the maximum. You’re now done configuring all the visual settings in the game.

Playing in widescreen

If you want to play in widescreen there’s a patch you can download and install that will enable this relatively painlessly. The drawback is that some multiplayer servers may incorrectly identify this patch as some sort of cheat enabling mod and therefore eject you from any games you try to join. If you’re only interested in checking out the single player campaign though, there shouldn’t be an issue.

To install and activate the widescreen patch, first make sure the game is closed, then follow the steps below.

Download this zip file. (Link broken?, let me know here).

Inside the zip file you will find two folders, “EXE” and “JFLP”. These need to be copied to the Freelancer game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Freelancer by default).

Once the files are copied, open the “EXE” sub-folder within the Freelancer game folder. In this folder you need to find a file called “dacom.ini”. Once you locate this file, open it in Notepad or your favourite text editor. If you’re unfamiliar with editing configuration files, there’s a tutorial here. Remember you may need administrator access to write the file, you can get that by searching for “Notepad” on the Start menu/search bar and then right clicking on it and choosing “Run as administrator”. Then, use the “File” menu and choose “Open…” and browse to the dacom.ini file.

In the dacom.ini file, find the section that begins “[Libraries]”. Browse to the end of this section and add the line “jflp.dll” (do not copy the quotation marks).

Save the file and restart the game. You should now be able to select widescreen screen resolutions from the General options menu.

If you ever want to disable the patch (e.g to play multiplayer) simply remove the “jflp.dll” line from the dacom.ini file.

Tweaking sound quality

There aren’t an awful lot of sound quality settings to configure with this game. One thing we do recommend doing is turning off the 3D sound option. Freelancer uses the now defunct EAX audio standard and the 3D sound mode is reported to cause issues on more modern machines. Turn it off by going to the “Options” menu and then choosing “Sound” and then deselecting “3D Sound”.

The exception to this is if you have a Creative Labs sound card that supports ALchemy. In this case, activate Freelancer with ALchemy in the usual way (ALchemy fully supports Freelancer and should detect the game automatically). Then, run the game and make sure 3D sound is turned on.

You now have everything you need to play the basic game, but read on for some more interesting content you may want to install.

Mods and the Freelancer Mod Manager

Freelancer is another PC game that’s seen extensive mods and community created content. If you’re interested in exploring some of this content, you should start by installing the Freelancer Mod Manager. You can download the mod manager here.

To install the mod manager, just double click on the downloaded executable file and follow the on-screen prompts.

Once the mod manager is installed, you can download mods and simply double click on the “flmod” file you download. It will then be added to the list of mods in Freelancer Mod Manger. To activate a mod, start Freelancer Mod Manager then just select the mod in the list and click “Activate mod”. The picture below shows our mod manager with one mod activated.



Freelancer Texture Pack

One mod that comes highly recommended is the Freelancer HD Textures mod. This mod upgrades the textures in the game for better visual quality. You can grab this mod here. Just double click on it to install it then activate it in your Freelancer Mod Manager.

Multiplayer and other notes

The original multiplayer servers for Freelancer closed down many years ago. However, it’s possible to use servers run and maintained by fans of the game. If you’re interested in trying this, there’s a guide here.

You can find all sorts of Freelancer related downloads on this page.

Somewhat unusually for a space combat game, Freelancer was designed to be played with keyboard and mouse and has no support for game controllers or joysticks. We recommend sticking to the keyboard and mouse for this game as the control system is so tightly designed for this that using a gamepad is more hassle than it is worth.

Save games for Freelancer can be found in your Documents folder under “My Games\Freelancer”.


Audio issues – Problems with the game audio can usually be fixed by turning off 3D sound from the Sound menu (select the “Options” menu and then “Sound”).

Missing mouse pointer in game menus – This can happen if you’re using some kind of in-game overlay such as Steam or Evolve. Disable the overlay to correct the problem.


Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.


Taking on a battle cruiser in the games original aspect ratio.


Cruising through space in 1080p with the widescreen mod.


Project Eden

Genre: Action-adventure
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

banner-180x150Get this game pre-patched, DRM free and ready to play from Fully working or your money back.

Project Eden, Core Design’s dystopian cyberpunk adventure, managed to fly under most gamers radars when it was released back in 2001. In the game, you take control of four UPA agents as they infiltrate the sinister sounding Death Heads criminal gang. Gameplay is focused around cooperative play and puzzle solving, rather than just pure gunplay. Project Eden may lack the fast action that third person action games are often known for but it more than makes up for this with some cleverly designed puzzles. More than a decade on, it remains an interesting title to revisit, especially if you can bring a friend along for the ride.


To install the game from the original retail CD, simply place the disc in your computers optical drive and then browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Setup.exe” file manually. The installer will ask you what type of installation you wish to perform. Choose “Custom”, then install every available option. Towards the end of the installation process you will be asked if you want to install DirectX 8 and Gamespy Arcade. You should decline both of these options. The version of DirectX on the game CD is outdated and Gamespy Arcade is a multiplayer service that’s now sadly defunct.

To install the digital download version, simply download the installation file from your game library and run it, following all on screen prompts.


Before you start the game, you should install the latest patch for the game. Patch 1.02 can be downloaded from PC Gaming Wiki here. The file is downloaded as a zip file, simply open the zip file then run the ProjectEdenPatch.exe file inside. The patching process should then be automatic, simply follow the on-screen prompts. Note that if you have installed the version, this patch is already included and doesn’t need installing.

With the game installed and patched, you can start it from the Start menu or search bar by searching for “Project Eden” and clicking the icon that appears.

Tweaking visual quality

UPA agents should be aware that there are a number of settings you can tweak within the game so that you can get the best visual quality from the game. Start Project Eden and from the main menu choose “Configure” and then “Graphics”. The options shown below will then appear.




Many of the settings should automatically configure, but make sure the following settings are configured as shown below.

Colour Depth – High.

Screen Resolution – Set this to match your monitor. You can use 16:9 or 16:10 (widescreen) resolutions if you prefer.

Depth Quality – Z24 S8 Best.

Engine – Hardware.

Texture Detail – High.

Texture Filtering – Anisotropic.

Character Effects – High.

Aspect Ratio – This is an interesting one. You might be tempted to choose “16:9 Letterbox” or “Anamorphic”, but this isn’t the correct setting for widescreen. Instead, leave this setting at 4:3 to play in widescreen. The Letterbox and Anamorphic settings will stretch normally non-widescreen resolutions into widescreen. They are possibly left over from the Playstation 2 version, or for users who wanted to play in widescreen on low-end PCs back when the game was first released.

Tweaking audio quality

There are a handful of settings relating to audio quality within the game too. To access them, go to the games main menu and choose “Configure” and then “Sound”. The options shown below will then appear.




On this screen, make sure that “Output Sample Rate” is set to “44100 Hz” and “Software 3D Quality” and “Sample Quality” are both set to “High”. Project Eden uses the now defunct EAX hardware accelerated audio standard which unfortunately is unavailable on Windows Vista and later versions of Windows. If you’re lucky enough to have a Creative sound card, you can use ALchemy to restore hardware sound mixing and hardware reverb. To do this, simply exit the game and then add Project Eden using the ALchemy configuration tool (the games default installation directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Core Design\Project Eden\Eden.exe”). Once you’ve done this, start the game again and go back into the sound options. You should then be able to choose Hardware sound mixing and Reverb (Reverb Sound Card – Hardware). This may marginally increase sound quality over the standard software output.

With graphics and sound configured to their optimal settings, you can now start your adventure.


Project Eden is even more fun when you can take a friend along to help control the games four characters. If you have two PCs and two copies of the game, it’s actually quite easy to play across your home network. You simply need to know your home PCs internal or local IP address. Follow this article to discover it.

Now, on your first PC, start the game and choose “Multiplayer” and then “Internet TCP/IP”. The options shown below will then appear.




Under “This Address” at the bottom of the options, make sure the number given matches your internal IP address. If it does not, click on “Next Address”. Once you have a match, click on “Accept”. This will create a game on your first PC.

You should now be able to go to another PC in your house and join the game by starting Project Eden on that PC, choosing “Multiplayer” and then simply clicking on the game in the list. If that doesn’t work, try clicking on “Connect Address” and typing in the IP address of your other PC (the one hosting the game) manually. If you still can’t join the game, try alt-tabbing out of the game (on both PCs) and checking that Windows Firewall is not asking for permission to connect.

It may also be possible to play over the internet using a tool such as Evolve, but we haven’t tested this.


Failed to start DirectInput (DirectX8) or find a DX8 compatible input devices – If you get this error message when trying to start the game, a simple reboot of your PC should cure it.

Problems saving games – Like many older games, Project Eden stores its save game 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, set the permissions on the SAVED GAMES sub-folder within the Project Eden game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Core Design\Project Eden by default) so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here.




The games opening moments in 1080p. Click on the picture to enlarge.


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Arx Fatalis

Genre: Role Playing
Release Year: 2002
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Age Rating: 18+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

banner-180x150Get this game pre-patched, DRM free and ready to play from Fully working or your money back.

If you like exploring dungeons, there’s certainly no shortage of them to explore on your PC. Arx Fatalis is another fantasy role playing game for the PC. In this particular dungeon romp, you will explore the subterranean caverns of the post-apocalyptic world of Arx. A world whose inhabitants have been forced underground after their worlds sun suddenly died. The game takes place from a first-person perspective, much like the popular Elder Scrolls games.


The game should install just fine on a modern PC. If you’re installing from original retail CD, simply place the disc into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the Autorun.exe program manually. Make a note of the installation directory as you will need this information when you come to patch the game. If you’re installing the version, simply run the downloaded file and follow the on-screen prompts.


There were several patches released for Arx Fatalis over its commercial lifetime. If you are using the CD version of the game, you should download and install the latest patch available here. If you’re using the version, this patch should already be installed.

Before installing the patch, we recommend you restart your PC. If you do not, you may find the patch struggles to install or update a font component. We’re not entirely sure why this would be, but giving the PC a quick reboot sorted it out for us. You should also note that the patch doesn’t automatically detect the correct installation folder, be prepared to point it to the correct path to your Arx Fatalis game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\JoWood\Arx Fatalis by default).

Now, you have all the basic components installed with which to play the game, however for best results you will want to check out Arx Liberatis.

Arx Liberatis

Arx Liberatis is a cross-platform, open source port of Arx Fatalis. You can think of it as a fan-made patch, made possible by the fact that the games source code was released into the public domain. Since Liberatis includes several fixes and improvements not found in the original Arx Fatalis, it’s highly recommended. You can download Arx Liberatis by visiting this page. Make sure you choose the correct version (32 bit or 64 bit) depending on your version of Windows. If you’re not sure which version you have, here’s how to tell.

Once the file has downloaded, do not double click on it. Instead, right click on the downloaded file and choose “Run as administrator”. We found if we did not do this, Arx Liberatis would try and install to our Appdata folder, not somewhere sensible like the Program files folder.

Once Liberatis is installed, the game is ready to play. You can start Arx Liberatis (or even the original Arx Fatalis if you wish) from the Start menu.

Tweaking visual quality

Since Arx is now an older game, you should be able to turn on all high quality graphical settings on even a modest modern PC. Start by loading the game then, from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Video settings”. Now, configure the following options:-

Renderer – On a Windows PC this should be set to D3D9.

Full screen – Typically this should be set to on.

Resolution – This should match your monitors resolution.

Bits Per Pixel – 32

Level of Details – High

Fog distance – As high as possible

Cross hair cursor – Up to you but most players prefer it on

Antialias – On

VSync – On

Tweaking audio quality

Arx Fatalis supports the now defunct EAX hardware accelerated audio standard for high quality surround sound. That means, if you’re playing the original Arx Fatalis, you won’t be able to use EAX mode unless you have a Creative sound card and a copy of ALchemy. However, the Arx Liberatis port/update has moved the audio back-end to OpenAL, which does work on modern machines. That means that you can turn EAX mode on no matter what type of PC you have.

To tweak audio settings, start the game and go to the main menu. Now, choose “Options” and then “Audio Settings”. Now, make sure that “Backend” is set to “OpenAL” and “EAX” is selected.

Troubleshooting and other notes

Since Arx Liberatis is effectively a modern port of the game, there should be few issues with running the game on a modern PC. If you encounter any difficulties, your first port of call should be the FAQ section on the Arx Liberatis website here.

Thanks to Arx Liberatis using a modern DirectX 9 engine, you can use tools like Nvidia Shadowplay or Evolve to take screenshots, videos or to contact your friends while you play. This requires no additional tweaking/configuration other than installing the aforementioned software.


There’s a screenshot gallery for the game on the official Arx Liberatis wiki here.





Bumper Wars

Genre: Racing
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Boston Animation
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Interactive
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Some low budget games, or movies or TV shows manage to be great despite their creators limited resources. Sometimes, they manage to be spectacularly awful too. Bumper Wars is neither of these things and manages just to be average and instantly forgettable. The games story goes something like this; inspired by amusement parks on earth, a bunch of aliens decide to re-create the spectacle in space, this time arming the bumper cars with guns and weapons.


The game should install with no problems on a modern PC. Be aware that the default installation directory is “C:\Program Files\Bumper Wars”. On a 64 bit operating system, the program files folder is usually reserved for 64 bit applications, so you may want to manually change the install directory to take this into account.

At the end of the installation process the program will offer to install Gamespy Arcade. You can skip this step as this service shut down many years ago and will no longer work. We also found that the game didn’t automatically create shortcuts on our Start menu, so you may need to add “Bump.exe” (the game) and “Config.exe” (configuration utility) to your Start menu manually. For a tutorial on how to do that, see this page.

Tweaking visual quality

You can set the games visual options at any time by running the “Config.exe” program in the games directory. This should run directly after installation is complete too. Bumper Wars was never the greatest looking game and it certainly hasn’t improved with time, but you can still squeeze the most visual quality from the game by setting the options as shown below.




The game supports both OpenGL and Direct3D, Direct3D should give the best results. Make sure that device is set to “Direct3D T&L HAL” or (if using dgVoodoo2) “dgVoodoo TnL HAL”. “Screen” can be set to the highest available resolution. The game will only allow you to choose non-widescreen resolutions.

On the bottom left of the screen there are some other options (Click the “More” button if you don’t see them). You can turn all of these options on for best quality. The exception is “Triple Buffering” which may or may not add some additional input lag and shouldn’t be necessary on a modern PC.

Remember to click “Apply” when you’re done configuring these settings.

Configuring controllers

Bumper Wars supports games controllers, you can configure them from the main menu by selecting “Options” and then “Controls”. Note that your car is constantly moving, so the control misleadingly labelled “Gear up” is actually more accurately described as “Go faster”. If you want to use the d-pad or analogue triggers on your controller, you will need to use Xpadder.

Other notes

If you want to use in-game overlays or screen recording software with the game, you can install dgVoodoo2 by following the tutorial here.


Problems saving games:- Like many older games, Bumper Wars stores its save game files and other configuration information 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 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.

The actual save game and configuration files are stored in the root of the Bumper Wars game folder and are called “players.dat” and “Setup.cfg”.


Click on the screenshot to enlarge it.


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