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Reply 1900 of 4152, by badmojo

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On the previous page I listed the steps I take to modernise my Gothic II install a bit, one of them being:

-- extract 'Vurt's Gothic II Graphics Overhaul v0.7-4-0-7.7z' to system\GD3D11\replacements

This is a large texture replacement project and I've since realised (after playing the game this way for a couple of years) that extracting it to that dir does absolutely nothing! Texture replacements need to go in the .\Data directory.

I've also realised that I don't particularly like version 0.7 of Vurt's texture pack, it changes more than just textures. I'm sure I used to like it but this version is a big update from his original pack, which I can't seem to find anywhere now.

Does anyone have v0.4a? That seems to be the last version before the big update.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 1901 of 4152, by Shagittarius

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-05-15, 21:30:
I love gold box SSI games and finished/played every single one of them but nothing in the world can make me go back to replay Po […]
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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-05-15, 15:24:
Taking a short break from Ultima V, which I am truly savoring! Instead, tonight I played: […]
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Taking a short break from Ultima V, which I am truly savoring! Instead, tonight I played:

Pool of Radiance (PC)
This is one I had for my C64 back when I was a kid. I didn't get far into it myself, but a friend of mine became obsessed with it and he spent several months of weekends at my house finishing it (along with Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception). Good times!

This time around I'm playing the PC version for ease of use, and also because I probably want to eventually bring the same party all the way to Pools of Darkness. With that in mind, I am running a humans-only party, with the exception of a Dwarf Fighter/Thief. It's a suboptimal party for sure (I rolled their attributes honestly, and just took the first decent set of rolls I got for each) and I don't intend to drop anyone to pick up a Ranger or Paladin in Curse of the Azure Bonds.

Really great game! I'm a few hours in, party level 3-4 with the Slums (exception: the troll encounter) and Kuto's Well cleared and a nice stock of low level magic equipment. I'm not a fan of the interface, and it feels especially clunky compared with Might & Magic: Book One (released two years prior to PoR!). It's really annoying to have to use HOME/END to cycle through characters rather than just pressing the corresponding number, like in M&M.

One great thing about this game is that it is quite nonlinear. Once you've cleared the Slums you have several areas you can go, and all of them are (mostly) doable at even a low level.

I love gold box SSI games and finished/played every single one of them but nothing in the world can make me go back to replay Pool of Radiance; the GUI is attrocious and it lacks a lot of ease of life improvements in later entries. If I were to restart today I would dive in with Curse of the Azure Bonds for sure.

It's a shame that the whole series was never ported to the latest version of the engine used in Treasures of the Savage Frontier.

Is there anything to play these games in a better engine these days, maybe like EXULT?

I would love to see a project to bring the old gold box games up to the new engine too. Having to pick all the spells every rest as well as not being able to reload unless a full party death is very inconvienient.

Reply 1902 of 4152, by clueless1

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-05-15, 22:39:
appiah4 wrote on 2020-05-15, 21:30:
I love gold box SSI games and finished/played every single one of them but nothing in the world can make me go back to replay Po […]
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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-05-15, 15:24:
Taking a short break from Ultima V, which I am truly savoring! Instead, tonight I played: […]
Show full quote

Taking a short break from Ultima V, which I am truly savoring! Instead, tonight I played:

Pool of Radiance (PC)
This is one I had for my C64 back when I was a kid. I didn't get far into it myself, but a friend of mine became obsessed with it and he spent several months of weekends at my house finishing it (along with Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception). Good times!

This time around I'm playing the PC version for ease of use, and also because I probably want to eventually bring the same party all the way to Pools of Darkness. With that in mind, I am running a humans-only party, with the exception of a Dwarf Fighter/Thief. It's a suboptimal party for sure (I rolled their attributes honestly, and just took the first decent set of rolls I got for each) and I don't intend to drop anyone to pick up a Ranger or Paladin in Curse of the Azure Bonds.

Really great game! I'm a few hours in, party level 3-4 with the Slums (exception: the troll encounter) and Kuto's Well cleared and a nice stock of low level magic equipment. I'm not a fan of the interface, and it feels especially clunky compared with Might & Magic: Book One (released two years prior to PoR!). It's really annoying to have to use HOME/END to cycle through characters rather than just pressing the corresponding number, like in M&M.

One great thing about this game is that it is quite nonlinear. Once you've cleared the Slums you have several areas you can go, and all of them are (mostly) doable at even a low level.

I love gold box SSI games and finished/played every single one of them but nothing in the world can make me go back to replay Pool of Radiance; the GUI is attrocious and it lacks a lot of ease of life improvements in later entries. If I were to restart today I would dive in with Curse of the Azure Bonds for sure.

It's a shame that the whole series was never ported to the latest version of the engine used in Treasures of the Savage Frontier.

Is there anything to play these games in a better engine these days, maybe like EXULT?

I would love to see a project to bring the old gold box games up to the new engine too. Having to pick all the spells every rest as well as not being able to reload unless a full party death is very inconvienient.

There's this:
https://gbc.zorbus.net/

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 1903 of 4152, by Shagittarius

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-05-15, 22:49:
Shagittarius wrote on 2020-05-15, 22:39:
appiah4 wrote on 2020-05-15, 21:30:

I love gold box SSI games and finished/played every single one of them but nothing in the world can make me go back to replay Pool of Radiance; the GUI is attrocious and it lacks a lot of ease of life improvements in later entries. If I were to restart today I would dive in with Curse of the Azure Bonds for sure.

It's a shame that the whole series was never ported to the latest version of the engine used in Treasures of the Savage Frontier.

Is there anything to play these games in a better engine these days, maybe like EXULT?

I would love to see a project to bring the old gold box games up to the new engine too. Having to pick all the spells every rest as well as not being able to reload unless a full party death is very inconvienient.

There's this:
https://gbc.zorbus.net/

Nice, that covers at least one of my issues, except that I kind of want to play this on my 286 =( . I know that's kind of stupid, but I enjoy the old hardware as much as the games themselves when possible. Otherwise I wouldn't even both with hardware and just run dosbox all the time.

Reply 1904 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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Pool of Radiance (PC)
This weekend, I became hopelessly addicted to this game!

I probably spent a good 6+ hours with short breaks Saturday, it's been a long time since I've put so much time into a game in a single sitting. I've got much of the area around Phlan cleared, though I haven't even really ventured out into the wilderness yet. I was somewhat proud of myself that I was able to defeat the orc/goblin army encounter in Sokol Keep before my magic-users had access to fireball.

One interesting thing about this game is that, while dungeon exploration is done from first-person perspective like Wizardry, Bard's Tale, Might & Magic, etc., it's definitely not what I would call a "mapping" game due to its lack of mapping challenges, like dark rooms, spinners, etc. Although I am drawing maps, you could probably just rely on the game's "Area" command and maybe take notes using a coordinate system.

It's really a fantastic game. I complained earlier about the UI, and while it's not ideal, it's not too bad either. Your spellcasters in PoR have such a low maximum level that it's not too annoying to reselect spells to memorize in camp once you get used to it; having said that, I'm looking forward to the "FIX" command in later games!

My biggest issue now is with scrolls; even after you read them, they only show up as "MU/cleric scrolls with X spells" in your inventory. The only way to tell what's on them is to select "Scribe," but then it just lists all the spells by spell level, rather than by scroll. Is there some better way to manage this that I'm missing?

Reply 1906 of 4152, by xjas

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Finished Manifold Garden Thursday, as promised. I think that just went into my top 20 games of all time. Maaaaaaybe even the top 10. Not kidding, it was that good.

You can watch my full playthrough of it here (warning - this is long, and meandery - I went in blind so there's a lot of fumbling around and fruitless secret hunting; BTW I fixed my audio issues about 20 minutes in), but seriously, if you're at all into this type of game, go grab this one and play it for yourself. Watching a low quality video stream does not do it justice.

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Today I spent way too long trying to get DOOM 4 Vanilla running on the last DOS build of Vavoom (1.29) without any success, although I just now noticed there's significantly newer versions of D4V out than the one I'm using. Why would I do this?? Uhh, I want my AWE32 music and 8-bit color modes, but I want mouselook and perspective correct look up/down, damnit. It makes sense in my head.

Unfortunately I think Vavoom's DeHacked support isn't up to snuff. The revision history claims it was improved and put back in for v1.21, but I just haven't gotten it to work, it's like it's not reading the patch data at all. BTSX's DEH patch doesn't work either. Ah well, was worth a try.

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - most Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6:30 PM PDT. Bonus streams elsewhen!

Reply 1907 of 4152, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-05-17, 05:57:

Pool of Radiance (PC)
This weekend, I became hopelessly addicted to this game!

My biggest issue now is with scrolls; even after you read them, they only show up as "MU/cleric scrolls with X spells" in your inventory. The only way to tell what's on them is to select "Scribe," but then it just lists all the spells by spell level, rather than by scroll. Is there some better way to manage this that I'm missing?

I've not played with it at all, but this sounds like something that might be addressed in Gold Box Companion I linked in my previous post? I almost always prefer to play DOS games on my retro PC, but the Gold Box series might be one I try in DOSBox just to use the Gold Box Companion. Where I draw the line on my RPGs is having to map by hand. If there's no auto-map, it better have a 3rd party utility, or I'm not going to play it. I'm fifty-something who works a lot of hours and has a family. I'm not going to spend half of my precious little gaming time hand-drawing maps for a game.

Progress update on Wizardry 8:
I am almost 21 hours in. I've made it to Arnika, met Myles at the front gate and rescued Vi Domina from the Savant Troopers. Now her and and Myles have joined my party for a bit. Yeah, in addition to your 6 player characters, up to 2 NPCs can join your party. They progress the plot, will help you in combat, have distinct personalities and will banter with your guys during your travels. Each has his or her own preferences and will not enter certain locations. So they may tell you "if you continue going in that direction, I'm going to head back home. If you want to join up again, come find me there, but I won't go to that place you're heading to now."

I've spoken with He'Li' at the tavern and sold a bunch of loot and upgraded my weapons and armor at Antone's Armory. There's this big tower you can see from anywhere in town and I guess the Dark Savant is hanging out there.

So, two criticisms so far:
-the voice acting is done REALLY well. Top quality voice actors. But I've heard different characters pronounce Arnika differently. AHR-nika and ar-NEE-ka. I suppose in real life people will mis-pronounce town/city names that they've only seen spelled but not heard how locals say it, so I'll give this one a pass.
-the combat is pretty excessive. I find myself traveling through the town via back alleys because I see mobs of highwaymen marching in the distance in the direction I need to head. Combat is done very well and is satisfying, but you can still have too much of a good thing. Same with traveling the roads between locations: you can avoid some combat by staying off the main road. Go through the trees or hug the canyon walls. That sort of thing.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 1908 of 4152, by DracoNihil

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xjas wrote on 2020-05-17, 10:28:

Today I spent way too long trying to get DOOM 4 Vanilla running on the last DOS build of Vavoom (1.29) without any success

Why don't you just go the more obvious path and just use classic Boom, or MBF (or SMMU even)?

When it comes to running the doom engine in DOS, there's really no substitute for just using plain Boom (or MBF or SMMU)

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Reply 1909 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-05-17, 10:32:

I've not played with it at all, but this sounds like something that might be addressed in Gold Box Companion I linked in my previous post? I almost always prefer to play DOS games on my retro PC, but the Gold Box series might be one I try in DOSBox just to use the Gold Box Companion. Where I draw the line on my RPGs is having to map by hand. If there's no auto-map, it better have a 3rd party utility, or I'm not going to play it. I'm fifty-something who works a lot of hours and has a family. I'm not going to spend half of my precious little gaming time hand-drawing maps for a game.

Always interesting to read about your progress in Wiz 8! It's gonna be some time until I get to that, I still have Wiz 6&7 to complete and I know both of those are massive games.

I personally find drawing maps relaxing and don't mind it so much, but I definitely see your point. The good thing about the Gold Box games is that they have built in maps for (nearly?) all areas, though the maps don't have any information in them of course. The Gold Box games aren't really "dungeon" games like Wizardry, etc., where you are going around getting lost in labyrinths, so I think you could definitely play them without having to map at all if you have a halfway decent memory (I don't haha).

Having said that, Gold Box Companion is really nice indeed. My favorite feature is the combat map that shows where every character and enemy is on the battle field; it also lets you mouse-over any enemy to get full stats on it. Really impressive tool!

Sadly, it doesn't seem to have anything to help with scrolls. It's really not a huge deal, though.

Reply 1910 of 4152, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-05-17, 13:30:

Always interesting to read about your progress in Wiz 8! It's gonna be some time until I get to that, I still have Wiz 6&7 to complete and I know both of those are massive games.

Yeah, I timed myself at 111 hours on Wiz6 and 201 hours on Wiz7. I keep a log of all my game play 😀

I'm enjoying reading about your thoughts on Gold Box games. They are games I've wanted to try in recent years but never have. By the time I got my first PC, Ultima VII was almost out, so the Gold Box games had been out for several years and not considered new enough or advanced enough in my college mind. So I avoided them as old games/old interface, even when new spinoffs were released. I had upgraded from an Apple II, and never tried them on that platform either. I wasn't gaming much on the Apple II in the final couple of years I owned it. I literally had that Apple II from 7th grade all the way through college.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 1911 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-05-17, 14:20:

I'm enjoying reading about your thoughts on Gold Box games. They are games I've wanted to try in recent years but never have. By the time I got my first PC, Ultima VII was almost out, so the Gold Box games had been out for several years and not considered new enough or advanced enough in my college mind. So I avoided them as old games/old interface, even when new spinoffs were released. I had upgraded from an Apple II, and never tried them on that platform either. I wasn't gaming much on the Apple II in the final couple of years I owned it. I literally had that Apple II from 7th grade all the way through college.

Very interesting! Ultima VII was literally the first game I got for my then-new PC, along with Quest for Glory III and Legend of Kyrandia. Only difference is I upgraded from a C64 instead of an Apple II. That must explain why we're both RPG nuts haha.

Reply 1912 of 4152, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-05-17, 16:25:

Very interesting! Ultima VII was literally the first game I got for my then-new PC, along with Quest for Glory III and Legend of Kyrandia. Only difference is I upgraded from a C64 instead of an Apple II. That must explain why we're both RPG nuts haha.

I'm not 100% sure on my first game, but I do remember one of the first I got was Wing Commander, followed by Wing Commander II. By the time I finished WC2, Ultima VII had been released. Beat all three of those on my Packard Bell 386SX-20. 😎

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 1913 of 4152, by xjas

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DracoNihil wrote on 2020-05-17, 11:10:
xjas wrote on 2020-05-17, 10:28:

Today I spent way too long trying to get DOOM 4 Vanilla running on the last DOS build of Vavoom (1.29) without any success

Why don't you just go the more obvious path and just use classic Boom, or MBF (or SMMU even)?

When it comes to running the doom engine in DOS, there's really no substitute for just using plain Boom (or MBF or SMMU)

Because I want my polygonal engine with free mouselook & a jump button. 😜

D4V actually comes with a vanilla exe that has all the Dehacked patches already done, and that works, I was just trying to set it up for a bit of a different experience. To be fair, Vavoom really chugs on my 233MMX anyway... MBF would be a good option with its 640x400 mode at least.

Are there any other DOS DOOM ports that let you look up/down in a perspective-correct way?

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - most Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6:30 PM PDT. Bonus streams elsewhen!

Reply 1914 of 4152, by DracoNihil

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xjas wrote on 2020-05-17, 18:53:

Are there any other DOS DOOM ports that let you look up/down in a perspective-correct way?

Not that I'm aware of, but "DelphiDoom" has a strange thing of coding to "correct" the incorrect perspective of y-sheering.

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Reply 1915 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-05-17, 17:51:

I'm not 100% sure on my first game, but I do remember one of the first I got was Wing Commander, followed by Wing Commander II. By the time I finished WC2, Ultima VII had been released. Beat all three of those on my Packard Bell 386SX-20. 😎

Wing Commander was among one of the first few games I got once I had saved up some money after splurging on U7, Kyrandia, and QfG3. I am pretty sure I ordered it direct from Origin along with Ultima Underworld, as I couldn't find them in the local PC game shop for some reason.

My first PC was a 386SX-16 (IBM PS/2). We just figured "you can always trust IBM." It was indeed built like a tank and ran well for what it was, but 16MHz was pretty slow when I got it. U7 nearly unplayable but I soldiered on, while Wing Commander and Ultima Underworld were surprisingly playable. Once I learned to pay attention to system requirements on game boxes, everything went fine; 386SX16 was fine for the vast majority of RPG and point-and-click games I wanted to play, as well as the action games from Apogee/Epic.

Anyway! Played some more...

Pool of Radiance (PC)
Having cleared out the easy/moderate sections of the starting area, I've now begun exploring the wilderness. I still feel like there is a ton of game left, but my cleric is already max level! I didn't grind at all; in fact, I don't think you really could because most of your experience is gained through solving quests and finding hidden treasures.
I stumbled upon a pyramid in the wilderness full of teleporters, so I guess some mapping (or referencing maps online) is required. I think this area was meant for later as I was facing level 7+ enemies, culminating with a battle against a high level mage capable of casting fireball (i.e., instant party wipe if you let him cast it). I was able to beat the encounter on my second attempt, headed back to town to get my reward, and got so much experience that everyone gained a level (except my maxed cleric of course); this put both my magic-users at max level, so from now on only my fighters and thief will be leveling up at all.

Still having a blast, and I'm looking forward to transferring my part to Curse of the Azure Bonds!

Reply 1916 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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Finally, the day has come. All my crucial parts have arrived and so now I have a fully working dedicated DOS machine! Pentium 133, but can be decelerated to ~386SX40 or ~486DX33 by disabling caches. I tested it out with Wing Commander and it runs perfectly fine.

I was actually quite lucky, as every single piece of hardware I bought was on Yahoo Auctions, with none of it tested; yet, everything works just fine!

-----

Anyway, to celebrate, I looked through my meager PC big box collection to see what I could install via 3.5" disk. Most of my boxed games are on CD, so I could only get a few installed.

Wing Commander
I had played this quite a bit via GOG release on DOSBOX, but decided to start over. With both caches disabled it runs perfect, and the CH Flightstick Pro is such an awesome joystick; feels great in the hand, extremely responsive with little to no deadzone, just heavenly. The AWE32 FM synth sounds decent but is kind of off. I completed just the first mission so I could try everything out, and I had a blast. Flying through the asteroid field with the CH stick was so smooth, could not believe it.

Ultima Underworld
I copied over my current save for this one. I finished exploring level 2, including defeating the Gazer—pretty tough fight as a Druid with poor fighting skills and badly worn equipment! Again, AWE32 sounds okay but sort of weird.

Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons
Actually the very first game I ever played on my own PC back in the day, as my brother's friend gave me a disk with the shareware version. Fun game, I dunno if it's nostalgia talking, but I think I prefer the cleaner graphics in this to those in "Goodbye, Galaxy." Plays great with a keyboard (not so great with the CH stick haha); I was tempted to find a Gravis Gamepad, and someone on Yahoo Auctions has a complete in box pad up for auction... starting at equivalent of 200 USD, OUCH. Keyboard it is then...

I also installed and tested, but did not really play:
- Pool of Radiance (copied my saves over)
- Dungeon Master
- Ultima 5 (copied my save over and installed the unofficial music patch; sounds very good with AWE32 synth actually)
- Falcon 3.0
- Red Baron

Hopefully my CDROM drive will come soon, as I want to get System Shock CD installed!

I had originally planned on installing Win 98SE on here, but I might just leave it as a dedicated DOS machine since I have it all set up now. I am considering installing Windows 3.11 however, so I can play Exile 1-3 and MORDOR.

Finally, I am bidding on a genuine early model Sound Blaster 16 (without hanging note bug!). If I win that, the AWE32 is definitely going into storage haha.

Reply 1917 of 4152, by clueless1

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@newtmonky - you probably already know, but you could copy over the GOG versions of many DOS games to your DOS PC and they mostly work with little to no effort. That's how I've played almost all of my DOS games since I only kept a few games that I bought back then.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 1918 of 4152, by Lawnie

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I recently finished Freespace 2 with all the bells and whistles from the tremendous community courtesy of their Knossos launcher. It was probably the best space combat game I've ever played, and I include TIE Fighter in that list. It's like trying to choose between children or something, the wonderful experience of Freespace is still fresh in my mind, but that TIE Fighter campaign is just something else, and so much longer... The sooner the XWVM project is done the better, then they can get to making TFVM a reality and blowing Freespace 2 Open out of the water. I wish.

Other than that I've been playing through Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 after spending hours with compatibility issues and testing various fixes. My solution was a half-way home between the Jedi Knight GFX mod with a few textures and effects courtesy of the Jed Knight Remastered mod that appeared recently, and the original textures instead of the upscaled ones that mod installs. I tried to do away with all the added textures entirely but that left me with some glitches, so I've got new character and weapon models, but original everything else. It's a wonderful game, and so ahead of its time for 1997 with the full widescreen support and the hardware acceleration. The cutscenes are cheesy as hell too, which is enjoyable as they looked movie-like when I saw them back in '97.

GET OFF MY LAWN - Yet another retro PC game review channel.

Reply 1919 of 4152, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-05-21, 22:28:

@newtmonky - you probably already know, but you could copy over the GOG versions of many DOS games to your DOS PC and they mostly work with little to no effort. That's how I've played almost all of my DOS games since I only kept a few games that I bought back then.

Hiya clueless1, that's my plan once I get some means of getting the data over. 😀 I just ordered a compact flash-IDE adapter, as I've just started having HD problems last night suddenly and don't want to deal with it anymore haha.