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Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone


Genre: Childrens, Platform
Release Year: 2001
Developer: KnowWonder
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

This guide was last updated on 14/03/20.

The first book in the epic Harry Potter saga spawned a hugely successful movie and predictably, this video game tie in. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (or Harry Potter (TM) and the Philosophers Stone (TM) / Sorcerers Stone (TM) as EA (TM) would have us call it) received only mixed reviews from the muggles. Fans of Harry Potter and all things wizardry and witchcraft remember the game much more fondly however.

Installation

The game should install without any difficulties on a modern PC. Simply place the CD 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” file manually.

Running the game

The main obstacle to running this game on a modern PC is the games copy protection. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone uses SafeDisc copy protection, which is unfortunately incompatible with Windows 10 (and Windows 7 and 8 with Windows update 3086255 installed). To work around this problem in Windows 7 or 8, you can try temporarily re-enabling the secdrv service by following this Microsoft article.

Alternatively, you can simply uninstall Windows update number 3086255, though doing so may arguably make your computer more vulnerable to security threats.

The final option (and the only option for Windows 10 users) is to find a cracked/hacked version of the game with the copy protection removed. This does mean trawling the shadier parts of the internet and regrettably we cannot link to such files here, even for old games. The cracked executable file we used had an MD5 value of DEDA3278D2A328D244832976B719B382.

Once you’ve worked around the copy protection issues, you need to make one more change before the game will run on most modern PCs. Download and install the dgVoodoo2 package into the games directory. Harry Potter is a DirectX game, so copy the dgVoodoo2 DLL files from the MS sub folder. You should copy these files into the “System” sub folder within the “Harry Potter TM” game folder. The default location of this directory is “C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Harry Potter TM\System”. If you need a full tutorial on using dgVoodoo2, click here.

With these two issues resolved, you can now go ahead and start the game. Sometimes when you start the game (though strangely, not always) you will see a “First-Time Configuration” window. This window will let you choose between “Direct3D Support” and “Software Rendering”. The weird thing here is, sometimes if you choose “Direct3D Support”, the game actually seems to start in software mode and will crash if put into full-screen mode. Try both options if you have issues. In the dgVoodoo2 configuration program (dgVoodooCpl app) you can turn on the dgVoodoo2 watermark to make sure that Direct3D mode is actually working.

Tweaking visual quality

Before we start exploring Hogwarts, we should make sure Harry and his friends look their very best. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options”. The following options will then appear.

 

harry-potter-1-options

 

The options that affect visual quality are “Resolution”, “Colour Depth”, “Texture Detail” and “Object detail”. Since this is a very old game now, you can simply set all of these settings to their highest (as per the screenshot above). When you’re done, click on the back arrow in the bottom right of the screen (not visible on the screenshot) to go back to the main menu.

You may notice the game exits full-screen mode when you change resolution. Don’t worry about this, simply press the alt and enter key together on your computers keyboard, that should restore full screen mode.

Playing in Widescreen

The game only supports 4:3 (non-widescreen) resolutions and so should run with black bars at the side of your monitor or with the graphics stretched and distorted. Adjust your monitor/TV to compensate for this if necessary.

An unofficial widescreen patch exists for the game, but try as we might it would not work for us and simply caused the game to crash on startup.

Expert users might want to create a custom, 1080p or 4k screen resolution for the game using their graphics card software. We used Nvidia control panel to create a 4:3 aspect ratio resolution of 2880 x 2160 (you would use 1440×1080 on a standard 1080p HDTV).

Then, you simply need to edit the HP.ini file (you can see how we did that in the “Spinning camera issue” section) and search for FullscreenViewportX and FullscreenViewportY and set them to your newly created resolution.

If the game still starts out with stretched graphics, load the dgVoodooCpl app that should be in the “System” folder from when you installed DGVoodoo, and on the General tab, change “Scaling mode” to “Stretched, keep aspect ratio”.

Configuring controls

Interestingly, when we first wrote this guide, the game didn’t recognize our gamepad at all, so we made the Xpadder configuration below. However, having come back to the game in more recent years it seems it does have some limited controller support, so here is what we recommend.

Connect your controller of choice and start the game. See if you can move Harry.

If Mr Potter can get around just fine, you don’t need to do anything else, although when you get to the Quidditch sections later in the game you may still need Xpadder in order to be able to set your controllers analogue triggers.

If the camera constantly spins, then you will need to cast some Hogwarts magic to fix this, or rather, do some editing of configuration files, which we will come to in a moment.

If Harry doesn’t move at all, your controller isn’t supported. Firstly, make sure the keys are defined as per the screenshot above then use Xpadder and create a profile similar to the one shown below.

 

harry-potter-1-xpadder

 

With this layout, you can move Harry with the left analogue stick, and move the camera with the right analogue stick. The Green (A) button jumps, while the X or B buttons cast spells. The analogue triggers let you speed up or slow down on your broom. You can also move the mouse with the right analogue stick, allowing you to navigate the games menus.

There’s one problem with playing the game on the pad. When you come to learn a new spell, you will need to trace a shape on the screen using the mouse pointer. This is tricky if you don’t have a big enough mouse mat and virtually impossible on the pad, so you will still need to keep your mouse handy just for these sections.

Spinning camera issue

If you find you can move Harry around but the camera won’t sit still, then you need to apply this fix. You will need to edit some configuration files, see this tutorial if you’re not familiar with that. 

Open up File Explorer and navigate to your documents folder (usually C:\Users\(your username)\Documents\). Open the Harry Potter folder that’s inside there.

You should see a file called “HP.ini”. Right click on this and choose “edit”. The file should open in Notepad (or your favourite text editor).

Use the search facility in notepad to find the line that says “DeadZoneRUV=False” and change it to read “DeadZoneRUV=True”. There should be two occurrences of this, change them both.

Start the game again and verify that the problem is fixed.

The game doesn’t let you redefine all the controller buttons, so you might want to use Xpadder to map some extra keys to your controller. Particularly you might want to map the Z and A keys onto the analogue triggers so that you can speed up and slow down on your broom, and mouse down and up onto the right analogue stick so you can look up and down.

Troubleshooting

Artefacts in title screen/video scenes – This can happen if you force antialiasing on. Turn off antialiasing to cure this problem.

Game crashes when you go full screen – Start the game again and choose “Software” rendering mode. Now you should be able to use the alt and enter keys to go into full screen mode again. Strangely, choosing Software rendering mode actually seems to load hardware rendering mode, and vice versa.

Missing/flickering textures – This is due to a bug with the games texture caching. Open the HP.ini file (just like we did in the Spinning camera issue section) and search for “UsePrecache” (without the quotes). Change the line from “UsePrecache=True” to “UsePrecache=False”.

Screenshot

Our regular screenshot tool didn’t seem to like this game, so here’s one we pilfered from Google image search.

harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-sk-mixerx-screenshot

Deep Fighter


Genre: Other Simulator
Release Year: 2000
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Ubisoft
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

If current global temperatures continue to rise, then probably before long we’ll all have to get used to living under the sea. Why not practice for such an eventuality by playing this futuristic submarine simulator? In the game you’ll look for Thorium crystals, fight mutant marine life, save fish farms and attack and defend various installations.

Installation

The game should install without too many problems on a modern PC. Simply place the CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD and run the SETUP.EXE file manually.

If you have trouble getting the installer to start, or if it starts then seems to exit before you can complete the installation process, try performing a clean boot. You should also make sure that you are logged in as administrator rather than as a standard user (if UAC prompts do not ask for your password, you’re logged in as an administrator).

Playing the game

Deep Fighter should run without too many problems on a modern PC. No particular compatibility options should be required. When you start the game it will warn you that it is not designed for anything other than Windows 95/98, but in spite of this it seems to run pretty well.

If you wish, you can use dgVoodoo2, this enables you to use in-game tools like Evolve or Shadowplay, but this is optional.

Tweaking visual quality

There aren’t an awful lot of visual quality options to tweak with this game. When you start the game a “Deep Fighter(TM) Configuration” window will appear. Make sure you select the highest available screen resolution. For most modern PCs that will be 1024 x 768 x 32.

For the remaining options, choose “Options” from the games main menu, then select “graphics”. Now, turn all shadows on. The “dappling” effect can be on or off to taste.

Configuring controls

Getting the game to control smoothly is the biggest challenge you will face. While the game may work with joysticks out of the box, for best results with gamepads, we’re going to need Xpadder and Xinput Plus.

Let’s start by getting Xpadder set up. Here’s our layout, which is based roughly on the button configurations in the Dreamcast version.

 

deep-fighter-xpadder

 

The right analogue stick controls your subs engines (the left stick moves you around, but that’s defined in-game). The right trigger fires your current weapon, while the left trigger activates your subs tools. On the D-pad, you press right to cycle through weapons and left to cycle through tools. Pressing up opens and closes the map while down opens and closes the message log.

With those controls mapped, you can try to play the game, but you will probably find your sub is somewhat difficult to control. Rather than staying level, your craft will continually barrel roll. To fix this problem, install Xinput Plus for the game, as per our tutorial here.

Now, configure the analogue sticks in Xinput plus as shown below.

 

deep-fighter-xinput

 

Don’t forget to apply your changes when you are done. Now, try the game again, you should find that your craft is much easier to control now. Even so, the controls are pretty twitchy and you may find you need a joystick/flight controller to really enjoy the game.

Troubleshooting

Like many old titles, Deep Fighter saves its game data into the same folder as the game itself. In some instances on more modern versions of Windows, this will mean that save games cannot be written. To solve this problem you should set the permissions on your Deep Fighter game folder so that your user account has full control. See this tutorial if you are unsure of how to do this. The default installation directory for the game is C:\Program Files (x86)\Criterion Studios\Deep Fighter. The games actual save game files are called DEEPFITE.000, DEEPFITE.001 etc. and are in the root of the games installation folder.

Screenshots

Meeting the friendly marine life.

Meeting the friendly marine life.

Yes, that is David Walliams

Yes, that is David Walliams

Backyard Baseball


Genre: Childrens, Sports
Release Year: 1997
Developer: Humongous Entertainment
Publisher: Humongous Entertainment
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Baseball is a hugely popular sport in many countries, including the USA and Japan. Here in the UK however, it never really caught on. In school, we play a similar game called “Rounders”, which is frankly a stupid name well worthy of ridicule. There have been lots of computer simulations of Baseball, but Backyard Baseball is specifically aimed at children. In the game, the player will need to pick and manage his or her team of neighborhood kids and take them up all the way to the Backyard Baseball World Series. The original game (which we’re covering here) was released in 1997 and went on to launch a successful series that’s still going strong today.

Installing and playing

The original Backyard Baseball is a 16 bit game which means it cannot run natively on more modern versions of Windows. You could install a Windows XP virtual machine and play the game there. Rather than doing that however, you may wish to use ScummVM instead. ScummVM is a special program that helps older adventure games to run. Now, you’re probably thinking “a baseball simulator doesn’t sound much like an adventure game”, but remember this is a children’s baseball game and so has a few similarities to a point and click adventure game. Because of this, it’s supported by ScummVM and easy to run on modern machines.

To run the game with ScummVM, simply copy the entire contents of the games CD-ROM to a convenient location on your PC, then point ScummVM to the folder. There’s a comprehensive tutorial here that takes you through all the steps in detail.

There are no CD audio tracks to copy, so once the CD is copied and ScummVM is configured and options set to taste, you’re good to go.

Xinput Plus Tutorial Added

XBOX360-CONTROLLER-R-unitWhile it’s not perfect, the Xbox 360 controller and Microsoft’s Xinput API did make using controllers on Windows PCs a lot less painful. By introducing a high quality standard controller, most gamers could simply plug and play, rather than having to go through the bind of re-binding the controls to suit the game and controller they were currently using.

Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms of the 360 pad (other than it’s rather lacklustre d-pad) is it’s legacy DirectInput support. When playing older, DirectInput games, the pads analogue triggers are bound to the same axis. For driving games in particular this is undesirable, as being able to press the throttle and brake at the same time is crucial for performing more advanced driving manoeuvres. Microsoft even attempted a fix for this issue with the Xbox One controller, though rather than make things better it seems to have simply broken compatibility with even more games.

If you have an older driving game you want to play with your Xbox One or Xbox 360 controller, Xinput Plus can come to the rescue. This handy tool can remap and re-bind game controller axis and buttons. It does so by using a hacked Xinput DLL, without the need to install hacked drivers or other kludges. We’ve just posted a new tutorial to get you started with this tool, check it out by clicking here.

Powerslide


Genre: Racing
Release Year: 1998
Developer: Ratbag Games
Publisher: GT Interactive
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only)
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Don’t want the hassle?

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

This technically impressive and very playable post apocalyptic driving game escaped the attention of many gamers when it was released back in 1998, due to a lack of funds for a significant marketing campaign. Boasting a detailed physics engine, excellent graphics for the time and full force-feedback support, the game was a technical tour-de-force and earned itself many fans amongst the gamers who did come across it. All these years later, the graphics may have dated but the handling and vehicle physics still feel remarkably robust, making this one driving game that’s well worth revisiting.

The definitive Powerslide experience

While you can play Powerslide using the original, retail CD, the results aren’t particularly good on a modern PC. If you want the best experience with the game, we recommend simply purchasing the GOG.com version. This version of the game is pre-patched and fixed for best results on a modern PC. Despite our best efforts we were never able to get the CD version of the game running as smoothly as the GOG.com download. This does of course mean that you have to buy the game again, but there’s simply no way around that in this instance.

Installing from original media

If you can’t or won’t re-purchase the game, we’ll quickly look at installing and running the game from the original media. The game should install from the original CD-ROM, though the installer can be a little troublesome. Start by inserting the CD-ROM into your computers optical drive and following the on-screen prompts/notifications. If the games installer does not start, browse to the CD in computer/This PC and run the “SETUP.EXE” file manually.

If the installer still won’t start after running it manually, you may need to perform a clean boot and temporarily disable any startup apps, widgets or other programs. You should also run the installer directly from an administrator account, rather than using UAC to start it on a standard user account.

During installation, you will be asked what type of install you want to do. Choose “Complete”. Do not install DirectX, Direct Media or Heat as these components are now obsolete.

Patching

There are two patches that you need to install to the retail version of the game. You can download them both from this link. Both patches are downloaded as zip files. The first (Patch 1.01) is a self-extracting Zip file, so you will need to run it to extract the actual patch, then run the patch itself. The other patch is just a regular zip file and can be copied to any temporary directory and run.

At the end of the patching process, the patch installer will ask you where the shortcuts for the game are located. This can present a bit of a problem. Back when Powerslide came out, there was no concept of a public and private Start menu like there is now. You may find that you cannot find the games shortcut, at which point the patching process will fail. To get around this problem, first make sure you’re running an administrator account, not just using UAC to install. If that still doesn’t solve the problem, you will need to copy the shortcut from the public Start menu folder to your own Start menu folder. See these tutorials for more details on this.

Running the game

There are several problems that you will need to overcome before you can run the game. If you downloaded the GoG.com version, these problems should already be fixed. For those of you trying to run the CD version however, there are a few more hoops to jump through.

First of all, on most modern computers, when you first try to start the original version of the game, you will get a “HRESULT Error at initialisesound”. To get around this problem, browse to the games installation folder and run the “ps_clo” program. This will open a small configuration utility for the game. Make sure that the “nopollsound” option is selected, then click “OK”. That should take care of that problem.

The second problem is that the game will usually lock up on startup on Windows 10 machines. To get around this issue, we recommend dgVoodoo2. Normally when you use this tool, you copy the files either from the MS or the 3DFX sub-folders. For Powerslide, things are a little different. Since the game uses DirectDraw for its menus, but 3DFX in-game, you will want to copy the files from BOTH folders this time. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to start the game.

You may find that Powerslide works better with the nGlide 3DFX wrapper software. You can switch to nGlide simply by downloading it and copying its 3DFX dll files into your Powerslide game folder, overwriting the dgVoodoo2 ones if necessary.

Tweaking visual quality

Before you start churning up the race-track, you’re going to want to configure the game for best visual quality. If you’re using the GoG.com version this should already be done for you, but it can’t hurt to check. Start the game and click on “Options” and then “Graphics”. The first thing to check is that “Driver” should be set to Banshee or Voodoo. If it is set to Software, the visual quality of the game will be significantly downgraded. If you can’t select anything other than software mode, make sure you installed either dgVoodoo2 or nGlide.

Once you’ve set the game to 3DFX mode, turn on as many special features and enhancements as the game will allow. Even a modest modern PC should be able to handle all these special effects without breaking a sweat.

Configuring controls

Powerslide supports analogue controllers, racing wheels and joypads, at least to some extent. To configure your controller, start the game, choose “Options” and then “Input Devices”. In the top left, make sure the option is set to “Joystick/Wheel/Joypad”.

Now, you can start to bind the controls as you see fit. When you click on a binding to edit it, simply hold the control in the direction/position you want to bind and then press the Enter key. Don’t worry about any ghost input (that is, the game detecting a controller axis without you pressing it), that shouldn’t affect gameplay.

Try as we might, we couldn’t get the game to recognise the analogue triggers on either our Xbox One or our Xbox 360 pad. The game would let us bind the triggers to acceleration and braking in the options menu, but when it came to actually racing, the car simply stood still at the starting line, no matter how hard we squeezed the triggers. To fix the problem, you can simply assign keyboard commands to these controls then use Xpadder to map those keyboard commands back to your controller.

With graphics and controls all configured, you’re now ready to race, so get power-sliding!

Troubleshooting

Corrupt graphics or graphical glitches in game:- If the games graphics are corrupt, try switching to a different Glide wrapper. If you’re using dgVooodoo2, switch to nGlide.

Problems saving games or settings:- Like many older games, Powerslide 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.

Screenshots

The screenshots below show the GoG.com version of the game. Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

 

Tearing up the dam track.

Tearing up the dam track.

Going underground on the mine circuit.

Going underground on the mine circuit.

Bugs Bunny & Taz – Time Busters


Genre: Childrens, Platform
Release Year: 2000
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Publisher: Infogrames
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Everyone’s favourite wise-cracking hare and the slobbering, rambling Tasmanian Devil make an unlikely duo in this 2000 platform adventure. Thanks to the bungling Daffy Duck, Granny’s Time Regulator has broken, with pieces scattered across different time periods. Bugs Bunny and Taz need to go on another time-travelling adventure and recover the missing gears and the time gem.

Installation

The game should install without any major issues on a modern PC. Simply insert the CD into the computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games installer doesn’t start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the autorun.exe file manually.

If you have issues starting the installer, you may need to perform a clean boot, preventing any other programs starting on your PC. See the tutorial here for details of how to do that.

Once installation is complete you should be able to go ahead and start the game without any other compatibility tweaks or settings.

Tweaking graphical settings

When you first start the game you should be taken to a menu screen with several options. Before you dive in and start playing, take a moment to adjust the graphical settings for the game. Since this is an old game, any fairly modern PC will be able to run the game with no issues. Set the games graphics options as shown in the picture below (click on the picture to enlarge it).

 

bbnt-graphics-settings

 

If you have a smaller/lower resolution monitor you may get better results choosing the 800×600 resolution, but for most users 1024×768 will give the best results. Make sure “Renderer” is set to “With 3D Card” and “Level of Details” is set to “High”. Brightness can be adjusted to taste, but don’t go too bright else you will lose detail in brighter parts of the image. Click on “Back” when you are done.

Configuring controls

While Time Busters does have support for joysticks, we weren’t able to get the game to recognise our Xbox controller at all. Instead, if you want to configure the game to use controllers, you’re best bet is to use Xpadder. We’ve already created a set of profiles that allow for easy controlling of both Bugs and Taz. Connect a couple of gamepads and configure them as follows.

 

Player 1's controls.

Player 1’s controls.

 

Player 2's controls

Player 2’s controls

 

Now, configure the controls in-game to match, like this:-

 

Player 1's key bindings

Player 1’s key bindings

 

Player 2's key bindings

Player 2’s key bindings

With this setup, you can use the left analogue stick to move your character while the D-pad moves the camera. A button jumps, X button kicks (or spins, if you’re Taz), B button puts bugs or Taz into sneak mode and Y button switches to first person view. The right shoulder button performs an “Action” while left trigger calls the other character and right trigger switches characters. You can call the other character over at any time. When playing the game in co-op, you should note that the button to call the other player over still works. This can be the cause of a few arguments if the other player presses the button while you’re trying to complete a platform section, for example, so expect some falling out if you let younger children loose on this title.

Troubleshooting

Problems saving games or settings – Like many older games, Bugs Bunny & Taz – Time Busters 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.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

 

bbat-shot1 bbat-shot2

Motocross Madness


Genre: Racing
Release Year: 1998
Developer: Rainbow Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only)
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

They might not be endearing themselves to PC gamers these days, but at one time Microsoft were doing some pretty cool things for gaming on Windows. Their luxury joysticks were the envy of simulation fans everywhere and to promote the gaming capabilities of the then-new DirectX platform, the Redmond giant published a number of high-quality games titles. Motocross Madness is one such title. The game mixes simulation and arcade elements and features what was for the time a very realistic handling and terrain model.

Installation

The first hurdle to playing Motocross Madness on your modern PC is getting the game installed. While the games installer will run on a modern PC, we found that the installation process simply locked up while trying to create the games directories. To work around this problem, we’ve produced a simple replacement installer. The installer will copy the files from the CD, set up the registry keys and create shortcuts. Currently it only supports the English language version of the game. You can download the installer here (link broken? Let me know here).

Simply download the installer and run it, then follow the on-screen prompts.

Playing the game

Before you can play Motocross Madness, you will need to install that PC retro-gamers friend dgVoodoo2. Without dgVoodoo2 we found that the game simply wouldn’t start, claiming that it could not find any graphics hardware in our machine. You can find a tutorial for installing dgVoodoo2 here. Motocross Madness is a DirectX game, so use the dll files found in the MS sub-folder when installing dgVoodoo2.

Tweaking visual quality

Before you saddle up, there are a small number of visual quality options you can tweak for best performance on a modern PC. Given the age of this game, even modest modern PCs should be able to run the game on full quality settings without breaking a sweat. Start the game and from the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Graphics Options”.

On the menu that now appears, turn up the graphical quality to highest and turn on all special effects. You should also make sure the screen resolution is set to 800×600. Unfortunately, there’s no way that we are aware of to increase the resolution any higher than this.

Configuring controls

For such an old game, Motocross Madness seems to work surprisingly well with modern game controllers, although you will need to use a button rather than the pads analogue triggers to accelerate. The game includes support for several types of game controller that were popular at the time. While you can choose between these controllers, for whatever reason, you can’t redefine the game controller buttons. You can however, assign keyboard commands to any control, so if you need to redefine your game controller, simply assign some keyboard commands to the desired controls, then use Xpadder to map these back to your gamepad.

You’re now ready to play the game, so get set for some radical motorbike action, 1990s style!

Troubleshooting and known issues

Music may not play – On some machines the in-game music may not play. There’s currently no known workaround for this.

Problems saving games/profiles or settings – Like many older games, Motocross Madness 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 data. 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 profile folder, where all your progress is saved, can be found in the UI folder in the games installation directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Motocross Madness by default).

Track editor doesn’t work – We were not able to get the track editor to work at all on our Windows 10 machine, the program simply crashed as soon as we tried to start it.

Screenshot

Click on the screenshot to enlarge it

motocrossmadness-shot1

 

The House of the Dead 2


Genre: Rail Shooter
Release Year: 2001
Developer: Wow Entertainment
Publisher: Sega
Age Rating: 15+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

Some videogames may have huge budgets, motion capture stunt-men and top voice actors, but it is often the ones that don’t that end up being all the more memorable for it. Anyone who played through the original Resident Evil will fondly remember the terrible voice acting in that game. Sega’s House of the Dead 2 has a similar low-budget script and hammy acting. The game casts you as either James Taylor or Gary Stewart, agents in the mysterious AMS organisation, who are called upon to investigate a zombie outbreak. The game also introduces Goldman as the main antagonist, he’s the head of one of the most eminent financial groups and an expert on the genome theory. Thanks to a barely B-movie grade script and very wooden acting, Goldman remains my favourite video game villain of all time.

Originally released in the arcades, the game was eventually ported to the Sega Dreamcast console, along with a re-release on the Wii several years later, and of course, it came to the Windows PC.

Dogs of the AMS, time they made a move

To begin your fight against the evil Goldman, simply place the CD-ROM into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games autorun window doesn’t appear automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun.EXE” file manually. Do not install DirectX from the CD as the version on the CD is somewhat out of date.

On our Windows 10 PC, the installer did not create any shortcuts on our Start menu, so you may need to do this manually. See this tutorial if you need help with this. You will want to create two shortcuts, one for the game itself (Hod2.exe) and another for the configuration tool (Config.exe).

Once the game is installed, start the configuration utility by running the “Config.exe” program. Here are the extensive options the game supports.

 

hotd2-config

 

As you can see, there are no graphics or sound settings that we can configure at all. The game is regrettably fixed to a 640×480 resolution. Note that the game doesn’t support using two mice either, meaning that if you want to play in co-op, one of you will be limited to gamepad or keyboard controls. Some users have reported that it is possible to use two AimTrack light guns, however. The PC version also has a unique network mode that should allow for online or LAN play, regrettably we weren’t able to get it to work in our brief tests.

Once you have configured the controls, start the game by running the “Hod2.exe” program from within the games directory. The game should run without any difficulties.

Only man himself can control his fate

Regrettably there doesn’t seem to be any way to run House of the Dead 2 in any resolution other than 640×480. You can however, use the dgVoodoo2 package to add a little more functionality to the game. While this won’t enhance the graphics, it does make the game compatible with tools like Nvidia Shadowplay or Evolve.

Troubleshooting

Game does not respond to input – If you have an Xbox One controller attached to the PC, then for some reason the game will not respond to any keyboard or mouse input. This happens regardless of if game controller is selected as an input device or not. We have absolutely no idea why this is. There is no problem with the original Xbox 360 controller.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

Don't come!

Don’t come!

Suffer like G did?

Suffer like G did?

Men of Valor


Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Year: 2004
Developer: 2015, Inc
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Age Rating: 16+
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 GoG.com. Fully working or your money back.

It’s a pretty safe assumption that most soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war wouldn’t care to re-live their experience, but that’s exactly what this first person shooter lets you do. That is minus the actual pain, misery and trauma of potentially losing limbs or your life, of course. Playing as rookie solider Dean Shepard, you and your brothers in arms will take part in 16 supposedly historically accurate missions.

Installation

The game should install without any particular difficulties on a modern PC. For the CD-ROM version of the game, simply place the fist disc in your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the games autorun menu does not appear, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “AutoRun.exe” file manually.

During installation, you should choose the “Custom” installation option, do not install Gamespy (since this service no longer works) or DirectX (since the version on the disc is outdated).

If you are installing the game from a digital download service such as GoG.com or Steam, simply follow the instructions provided by that particular digital marketplace.

Patching

Before reporting for duty, you should make sure to install the latest patch for your game. The latest patch is patch 1.3. You must make sure to install the correct patch for your region. If you install the US patch onto the European release, for instance, you will end up with a half-patched game that you will need to reinstall from your CDs.

If you have the US retail/CD version of the game, you can download patch 1.2 here. This will patch version 1.0 of the game to version 1.2. You can then download patch 1.3 here.

If you have the European version of the game, you can download patch 1.3 here. This patch will update version 1.0 to 1.3 so in this case it’s the only patch you need.

If you bought the game from GoG.com or Steam, you already have the latest version and no additional patching is required.

Playing the game

Unfortunately, as is all to often the case, the biggest obstacle to getting Men of Valor running on a modern PC is the games copy protection. If you have a downloaded version of the game you don’t need to worry about this, but for those of you using the original retail CD-ROM version, it’s certainly something you need to be aware of. The CD version of the game uses SecuROM copy protection, this protection is compatible with Windows 10, but was never terribly reliable in the first place. We weren’t able to get the game to load on our Windows 10 PC until we used a hacked/cracked version of the games executable with the copy protection removed. We’ve seen in the past how SecuROM games can conflict with one another and we suspect that is what maybe happening here.

Unfortunately we cannot link to cracked versions of games due to copyright law, we can tell you however that the crack we used was specifically for the 1.3 update of the game and produced by the group “Reloaded”. Its MD5 hash was 7CD332D1164AF13997C39319323F9E91.

Other than problems due to the games copy protection, there aren’t any other compatibility settings that need to be changed. We do however, recommend disabling any secondary monitors you may have before you start the game.

Tweaking visual quality

Those Vietnamese jungles might have looked impressive back in 2004 but by modern standards Men of Valor isn’t a great looking game. On a modern PC, you’re going to want to make sure the game is set to the highest quality settings possible. Start the game and on the main menu, choose “Options” and then “Video”. Set the options as follows:-

Screen Resolution – Set this to 1280×1024 or as high as your monitor will allow. You will notice that you cannot select any widescreen screen modes, we’ll cover how to do that in a moment.

Texture Detail – Best for Video Card

Reflection Detail – High

Character Shadows – On

Trilinear Filtering – On

High Detail World – On

Gamma, Brightness and Contrast should be set to taste, remember that excessive brightness can crush detail in brighter parts of the image, so go easy.

If you have a gaming graphics card, such as an Nvidia or ATI/AMD board, you can improve the quality of the games visuals by forcing antialiasing on. To do this on Nvidia cards, start the “Nvidia Control Panel” program and then choose “Manage 3D settings”. Then, choose “Program Settings” and select “Men of Valor” from the drop down list. You should then be able to choose “Override any application setting” and “32x CSAA” for the antialiasing options. This should significantly improve the visual quality of the game.

Custom resolutions and widescreen

You will have noticed that in the games options menu, the choice of screen resolutions is fairly limited. It is possible to play in other resolutions, including widescreen resolutions, although if you do play in widescreen mode, elements such as the HUD may appear stretched. The process to get this working is fairly convoluted and will result in your save games being destroyed, so proceed with caution. You will also need to be familiar with manually editing configuration files, if you’re not, check out this quick tutorial.

Start by browsing to the games installation directory. By default, for the retail version of the game, that’s under C:\Program Files (x86)\2015\Men of Valor\VIETNAM. Then, open the “SYSTEM” sub-folder. Find and delete the file “PROFILE_Shepard”. If you created another profile (e.g PROFILE_yourname), delete that too.

Now, find the file “DefUser.ini” and open it in Notepad or your favourite text editor. Search for the section that is labelled “Key=Command mapping”, then find the line “F5=” and change it to read “F5=setres 1920x1080x32” (do not copy the quotation marks). Substitute 1920×1080 for any desired resolution (e.g 1280×720 for 720p).

Now, save and exit this file (if you cannot get the file to save, make sure it is not set to read only mode, then check the troubleshooting section for further help). Now, open and edit the file called “User.ini” and make exactly the same changes there, again remembering to save the file once you are done editing it.

Finally, start the game again. You can now simply tap the F5 key to switch to your new screen resolution at any time during play. However, you will need to do this every time you start a new level or after any cut-scenes.

Multiplayer and other notes

Men of Valor features several multiplayer modes. Unfortunately the Gamespy service that used to facilitate this has closed down. Instead, you can use the Evolve service to arrange multiplayer games, although we haven’t tested this. you can also use Evolve to take screenshots, videos or broadcast your game to Twitch if you so desire.

Troubleshooting

Game stutters and problems with mouse sensitivity – If you find that the game stutters or aiming is difficult even after turning down the mouse sensitivity in the game options, you might find that disabling vertical sync (vsync) helps. Unfortunately, there’s no option to do this within the game, so you will need to resort to manually editing some configuration files.

Start by browsing to the games installation directory. By default, for the retail version of the game, that’s under C:\Program Files (x86)\2015\Men of Valor\VIETNAM. Then, open the “SYSTEM” sub-folder. Find the file called “MenofValor.ini” and open it in Notepad or your favourite text editor. Use the search command in your editor (Edit->Find in Notepad) and search for the line “UseVSync”. By default, this will read ” UseVSync=True”, edit it so it reads ” UseVSync=False” (do not copy the quotation marks). Save the configuration file and exit your text editor (if you can’t save the file, see the paragraph below). Now, run the game again and hopefully the stuttering should be eliminated.

Problems saving games or configuration files – Like many older games, Men of Valor 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 data. 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.

Screenshots

Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.

47

The game in standard 4:3 aspect ratio.

50

Playing the game in widescreen.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie


Genre: Action-adventure, First Person Shooter
Release Year: 2005
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Unplayable
Tested On: Windows 10 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Movie tie-in games are often poor quality, rush-job affairs, but Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (herein referred to simply as King Kong) is actually a polished and very playable effort. Blending elements of survival horror and first person shooters, you play as both Jack Driscoll as he explores the mysterious island and later in the game as King Kong as he explores (and trashes) New York.

Starforced not to play

King Kong is unplayable on Windows 8 and 10 machines. The reason for this incompatibility is sadly because the game includes one of the most notorious copy protection schemes ever inflicted on PC gamers. The Starforce copy protection uses its own low-level driver. If you do try to install and play this game, be warned that Starforce can cause system instability and other problems and is even considered a form of malware by many users. For a more detailed explanation, see this link.

Other users on the internet report being able to get the game working in Windows 7 by using a cracked executable (one with the copy protection removed or at least bypassed in some manner) and updated Starforce drivers. This will not work in Windows 8 or Windows 10 and you try it at your own risk in Windows 7.

The only possible way to get the game working again in Windows 8 or 10 would be to completely remove the copy protection. It is against site policy to link to game cracks or similar software, though we can tell you our efforts to remove the copy protection proved fruitless. It’s sad and somewhat ironic that the only people who could possibly still play this game are the people who pirated it.

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