Hello everyone, welcome to hell.
I’m joking of course but it can often feel like hell getting super old abandonware games to work on modern systems, and even if you do get them working there are often issues with the music or CD reading due to ancient codecs or whatever else that doesn’t communicate well with Windows these days.
One of these games is Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, a strategy game from the nineties that largely flew under the radar due to the number of strategy games flooding the market at the time. These days though it has somewhat of a cult following, mainly due to the popularity of the aforementioned material it is based on.
I’ve been digging around the net the past few days and I’ve found loads of really old forum posts about people trying to get it to work, some manage, some don’t. But in the main when people do manage can’t get the in-game to work. So I set about remedying this as I class myself within that cult following.
And I succeeded.
Do I guarantee this will work for you? No, I don’t. But it gives you the best chance.
Where to get the game?
Okay, here we go!
If you still have the original discs you can try with those, I have the discs too but I chose to use this method. So I suggest you put those discs back.
First of all, you’re going to want to head over to www.myabandonware.com and search for war of the worlds in the search menu. I’ve added a direct link to the address above to take you straight to the page.
From there you need to click the download button which will take you to the correct spot to download the game. You need to download the ISO version of the game and under the game extras heading download the one titled ‘Fix’ too.Both of these files are completely fine to download and they don’t trigger any virus warnings or anything, I scanned them Malwarebytes to make sure and I’m not stopping you from doing the same if you want to make sure.
Next, you’re going to want to search in google for Deamon tools lite, navigate around their site and download the Lite version, mainly as it’s free to use and does everything you need to get things to work.
- NOTE: When installing Daemontools lite, it comes with some offers at the start as it’s a free program they have to make money somehow I guess, but you’re free to decline them otherwise you end up with some crap you don’t want on your system being put on your system too, like live Avast antivirus. (None of the offered programs contains viruses they are all legit themselves)
To CD drive or not to CD drive, that is-.. actually, don’t
- NOTE: If your system doesn’t have a DVD or CD drive, you can skip this step altogether.
Before bothering with any installs or anything there is something you need to do. In the search bar next to your start menu put in ‘Device Manager’. Click the option that appears and a new window opens that should look similar to below:Click the arrow next to DVD/CD-ROM drives and it’ll drop down and show what drives you’ve got installed (If any), right-click the drive and then click on disable device. Confirm that you want to disable it. Do this for all your CD drives. You can always enable it again later if you need to use it. It’s unfortunate but I’ve found no other to get the game to work with its music other than doing this step as the game only reads from your lowest drive letter.
Daemontools and what to do with it
Now we get to the fun part.
Install Daemontools if you haven’t already when complete it should automatically make a virtual drive for you. If it doesn’t though, follow these steps.
- Open up Daemontools and click the Drives menu.
- In the new menu that appears don’t worry about any of the other except the drive letter, you want it to be the lowest letter in the alphabet. For me it’s :D. Click add drive.
- Give the program a couple of seconds and it’ll make a virtual drive for you. Windows should make a sound when done as it detects the virtual drive (Unless you have windows sounds turned off)
Getting the game itself to work
The two files you downloaded from the abandonware site earlier, extract them. They should be in your downloads folder unless you’ve directed your browser to download files to another location. With these extracted, go back to Daemontools. At the bottom, you should see your virtual drive. Click that and you’ll see a window pop-up. Navigate to where you’ve extracted the earlier files and then click on “WoW Human CD1”. You want to select the biggest file, as you’ll notice two with the same name.
Congratulations you now have the Human CD mounted to your virtual drive, if you double click the drive now the autorun window should pop-up. If it doesn’t however then open your windows file explorer and on the left sidebar you should see your virtual drive listed with the CD image mounted, click and find Setup.exe. Run that.
If the autorun window worked and appeared then click install. Run through the War of the Worlds setup procedure as you would normally.
We’re in the home stretch now.
Getting the music to work.
Now for the final task.
In the Fix file you downloaded and extracted you’ll find two files, one called WoW_patched.exe and the other is a .dll file. Copy both of these to where your War of the Worlds was installed to. The final thing to do is that now both those files are where your War of the Worlds was installed is to right-click WoW_patched and go to properties, then click compatibility along the top. Tick the checkbox for ‘Run with compatibility’ and in the drop-down menu pick Windows98/ME. Do the same for the WoWstart.exe too. This is more a safety precaution now than anything.
Congratulations, you now have a working and installed version of the game on your system with the music!
WoW_patched will be your method to launch the game from now on, I suggest making a shortcut to your desktop for ease of access.
If you wish to play as the Martians, then you need to remount “WoW Martian CD2” onto the Same virtual drive. Then launch the game through WoW_Patched as normal and you’ll be playing as the Martians showing those puny humans who’s boss.
- NOTE: You may find that after shutting down your machine that you lose your virtual drive when starting it up again. If you do just follow the exact same steps to make it again and mount the image once more. The drive you disabled in Device Manager will stay disabled until you re-enable it.