Thursday, July 3, 2008

Classic PC: Installing Zool (Gremlin) Into DOS Box

This is a fairly quick and easy guide for running classic PC games, games intended to be run under DOS, under later versions of windows.

As an example I'll be taking the game "Zool" (from Gremlin Interactive, released in 1996) and using the original PC CD-ROM and a piece of software called DOSBox get this game running under Windows XP Home.

DOSBox is an Software Emulator that allows you to play old games on a modern system (such as Windows XP or even Windows Vista) or even play them on an alternate system such as under Ubuntu (or any other flavour of Linux).

The steps to follow are;

1. Download & Install DOSBox
Visit and download the Windows installer (the top link under "DOSBox"). The download link on this page takes you to a different website (SourceForge.Net) which hosts the pre-built installation files.

The size is approximately 1.2MB (should take about 10 seconds, maybe a minute if you're on dial up).

Install the software by double-clicking the DOSBox0.72-win32-installer.exe file (the "0.72" part of the filename will change depending on whatever the current version is).

2. Configure DOXBox
Find the DOSBox-X.XX group;

Figure 1: DOSBOX-0.72 Program Icons

Start the DOSBox application by clicking on it. Two new windows will appear, one called "DOSBox Status Window" and the other beginning "DOSBox 0.72".

Using Windows Explorer (or My Computer) go to your C:\ or D:\ drives and create a directory called "DOSGAMES". On my system I'm going to create and use a directory called "C:\DOSGAMES".

Next create a file in the new directory called TEST.TXT.

Now in the window titled "DOSBox 0.72" type the following lines;



In your window you should now have something looking like this;

Figure 2: Configuring DOSBox

You can see in the Figure above that TEST.TXT file you created earlier. Now you can delete that file.

Next you need to mount your CD ROM drive (so you can install the game). You need to find the letter associated with your CD ROM, on my system this is "F". After you've got the letter you need to enter the following lines (also in the window titled "DOSBox 0.72");

MOUNT D F:\ -t cdrom


You should now see a listing for the CD in the DOSBox window.

Clearly you're not going to want to do this every single time you want to play a game so under the DOSBox program group is an icon called "DOSBox.conf", run this and a file will open in Notepad. Scroll down to the bottom and add the two mount lines in the section titled "[autoexec]" (as shown below):

# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\dosgames

mount D F:\ -t cdrom

Close down DOSBox (click on the "X" at the top right of the window) and re-start it. You should see that the two MOUNT commands are automatically executed when you start the application.

3. Installing Zool
Switch to your CD ROM drive (in DOSBox) by typing;


There INSTALL.EXE file will install the application so type;

1 (for English)
1 (install the game)
C (the drive to install to)
Y (yes, you did mean C)
Y (yes, "C:\ZOOL" is the directory you want it to use)
(ANY KEY) (it's a classic game, let's re-live that classic joke too ... ;-)
ESC (exit)

Now the game is installed.

4. Running Zool!
Let's be honest, this is the important bit. Type the following;


Now you should see something like;

Figure 3: Zool!

Hope this has been useful for you, any questions leave a comment and I'll help where I can.