First post, by Banjo
I've recently imaged my old Amstrad system and bundled "game pack" (Prince of Persia, F-15 Strike Eagle II, Links) floppy disks from my PC5286 and am trying to get the software to run on emulators (PCEm, DOSBox, etc.).
The system utilities and OS stuff still works as I remember it (well, within expectations), however I am having issues with two of the three bundled games: F-15 Strike Eagle II and Prince of Persia. Both just return to the command prompt when started via their included .com files.
I know that PoP1 is freely available and I have a retail copy of F-15 SE II *but* I am curious about why these *specific* Amstrad bundled versions don't run, as well as preserving these versions for historical reasons (indeed, I can't find reference to the PoP version on any of the myriad of PoP fansites and archives anywhere!).
My suspicion is that either:
1) My floppy disk is damaged.
2) These are custom versions of the games that look for real Amstrad hardware and won't run without it
Case #1 would be unfortunate but is supported by Links (disk 2) working.
Case #2 would be interesting given the preservation aspect. Supporting Case #2 is the fact that in my comparing the .com files that run those games with the later DOS retail versions' exe files in a hex editor show the words "AMSTRAD" suspiciously near the start of the former files! Also, both games work when I replaced the troublesome original .com files with a retail f15.com file and a
Incidentally, PoP seems identical file-wise (file names and sizes) to the widely-available PoP v1.0 DOS floppy release once the old .com is replaced by the retail version's exe (indeed, there is a "gibberish symbols" named file in the Amstrad floppy disk's PoP installer that - when renamed to "prince.exe" will run the game without any new files being added, bypassing the com file!
F-15 SE II, on the other hand, needs a new executable (I replaced f15load.com with the retail f15.com and it runs). it is also missing several of the retail .pic files and has slightly altered title screens (a simple row of pixels down the bottom of the screen has been "cleaned up"). Was this an early F15SE II release perhaps different to my own copy or those found online? This is why I find these obscure versions interesting for historical reasons!
I am wondering if anyone out there has these disks from this bundle, though, and can report if their copies work or if it is indeed case #2 that's happening here. Sadly, my PC5286 is not in any state to be booted up to test on actual hardware, though that would be ideal (anyone with the actual hardware to do this, feel free to PM me). 🙁
I don't want to say the wrong thing, but PoP1 is apparently okay to distribute freely now, so if that's the case (and if not, no probs) I could also share my bundled copy of that game for others to try.