[Acorn Gaming]


AU CD 10 - Games Issue

Update: check out the official support site for some essential patches!

The August 2000 issue of Acorn User represents unusually good value for money since it contains an excellent collection of some past commercial games! And what's more, they're nearly all worth having. As well as that it also has a good collection of BBC Micro games for playing on an emulator, tonnes of quality text adventures (including loads from Level 9), and a full copy of this Acorn Gaming website (as of a month or so ago) - this means that the disc also contains a complete, up-to-date collection of all the free emulators available.

Unfortunately, things haven't been arranged as clearly as they could have been since most of the games have no instructions, many of them don't work as they're presented, and some of them don't work at all. This page contains help on getting some of these games going.

Nearly all the games are provided with patches to help them run on StrongARM (or Risc PC) machines. Sometimes these patches are in the game directories and sometimes they aren't - it's a bit disorganised. Ostensibly they aren't already applied because the applications had to be supplied in their original form, but if so then the success rate has been almost zero - nearly all of them patently aren't in their original form! Lemmings 2, for example, is lacking its nice animated introduction; Heimdall is ready-patched; Gods is provided with password files already saved; and Alone in the Dark comes with someone else's saved game file! Nearly all the Krisalis titles are supplied without their music modules where they should be, and SWIV is corrupt in its decompressed form. Some of the other games don't work at all. It's a shame that a bit of basic care wasn't taken in preparing this section of the CD since the collection of games is excellent.

The games are provided in both a decompressed and archived form on the disc. It's best to decompress the games from the archived versions if you can - if nothing else it makes them look neater because they don't lose their filename capitalisation! You have to extract SWIV from the archives since the decompressed copy is missing one of its files, and various of the other games should at the very least be copied from the CD.

Before you run any of the games you should take a look in the directory GAMES.PATCHES on the CD, then open MUSIC_MODS and copy the three modules into !System.Modules (if you can't find !System, then push F12 and type show System$Dir to find out where it is. Hit RETURN to return to the desktop). In general if you have problems then try double-clicking MUSMODSC before running a game - this will load a StrongARM-compatible version of the Krisalis music player module required by many of the games.

In a similar vein, to use the various patches you should copy the file PATCHER from GAMES.PATCHES.PATCHER into !System.310.Modules (or just double-click PATCHER before you run a patched game). For this patch module to work on pre-RISC OS 3.7 systems you need CallASWI in your !System.Modules directory - you can find a copy of this inside GAMES.OVERLOAD_DEMO.!OVERDEMO on the CD(!). Copy it to !System.Modules and your SWI errors should go away.

Help for Commercial Games on the CD

Alone in the Dark

This will run directly from the CD, but don't do it - it will run too slowly! Copy it to a harddisc before running it. As supplied it works fine on my pre-StrongARM Risc PC, although once quit it makes the computer unstable. If you have a StrongARM then you must copy the supplied patch on top of it (first of all rename !Alone.!Run_AITD to !Alone.!Run_AICD, as per the !_READ_ME_ file).

When run, the game puts an icon on the iconbar, so click that and you're presented with a 'minor' problem... the game is copy protected! You need to enter some codes from the manual, which handily isn't supplied. If you don't enter them the game will quit as soon as you start it. To make the game usable I've typed out some of the codes for you from an earlier release - click here to see them. This isn't all the codes you can be asked for, but if you run the game a few times you'll eventually be asked for a code up to page 51 and you'll get through successfully! Luckily you only need one correct code.

To play the game use the cursor keys to move and hold down SPACE for the 'current' action - when fighting use SPACE+the cursor keys, or SPACE+up to fire. Hit RETURN to bring up the status screen where you can select 'search' (you'll need to do this) and other options. The number next to your picture is the amount of health you have left. One of the problems you'll encounter in the game is a limited amount of ammunition, so don't waste what you find! You can save the game whenever you like, so make sure you do! The aim is to escape the house - watch the introductory sequence for a quick guide to some of the house. As a clue, keep an eye out for things that look predrawn and things that look rendered afterwards - these latter are usually part of a puzzle!

On pre-Risc PC machines this game will run, but it looks appalling (it needs a redefinable 256-colour palette). Best not to bother. It will also be very slow.

Problems with Acorn version

There is no background music in the Acorn version - in one respect this is a shame, especially now more machines have the MIDI sound required by the game; but on the other hand it does make it scarier! Major bug: When you reach the end of the game (there's a room with a giant tree in the middle of it) then you won't be able to complete it due to a bug in the Acorn version. There is something you must do to finish the game, and unless you do it at the first opportunity then it is NOT possible to do it at all, making the game impossible to complete. So when you get near the end of the game don't overwrite all your earlier saved games! It's when you get down beneath the house that you need to start taking care. Click here to find out what that final task is.

Burn Out

BO by initials and I'm afraid it smells that way, too. A total lack of gameplay makes this a strong contender for the ignominous award of least playable racing game ever written! Unlike some of the other games on the CD, however, if you try this out then you'll find it works on all machines as supplied, and it also has full instructions. Start on 'hard' or 'medium' and the game will quite literally be impossible; start on 'easy' and it's mind-numbingly dull. This game used to at least be noted for its attractive graphics and soundtrack, but looking at it now even these seem lacklustre and dated. A big disappointment on its original release, age has not lent it enchantment.

Cannon Fodder

This will run from the CD but if you want to save (you'll need to do this!) then you'll have to copy it to your harddisc. Do that and you'll find it works as supplied, although if you have a StrongARM you'll need to copy the version in PATCH on top of the original application first. A patch for RISC OS 4 is on Darren Salt's website.

To play the game, point and click where you want your soldiers to go. Use the ADJUST button to fire at wherever the pointer is. If you've collected other weapons then hold SELECT and then press ADJUST to fire the other weapons. Push SPACE to toggle the choice of alternate weapon if you have both grenades and rockets.

Click on a selection of soldier names at the left to define a group, and hit the 'split' icon at the top-left to split them into separately controllable squads. You can then click on group headings to make one active. The inactive ones will be computer controlled. Each time a soldier survives a mission it is promoted, which makes it better in various ways. You gain extra soldiers for each mission completed - these are effectively lives. Try and train up some high-class soldiers to make your life easier!


Already widely available from original co-author Ian Bell's website, this classic space trading game has also been on a previous Acorn User disc. There is no patch in the game directory on the CD, but there is one in GAMES.PATCHES.E.ELITE - it works fine on my Risc PC without this, but if you have problems try copying it over the application. I'm not going to even try and write instructions for this trading and combat game! Take a look at Ian Bell's site for help.


This won't run on my Risc PC 700 as it is supplied. Bizarrely, three patches are included on the disc in the GAMES.PATCHES.G.GODS with nothing to distinguish between them. My experience was that the first patch let it run as far as the title screen with the music playing at half the correct sample rate but the game crashing immediately. The second patch ('PATCH2') lets it run properly when copied over the application, albeit at far too fast a speed! There doesn't seem to be an easy solution for this, short of developing super-fast reflexes! Also, applying this patch removes the introduction (and its associated "Goooo-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-ohh ohhh oDDDs" music!)

You apparently require 'floppy disc 2' to save passwords for levels 2, 3 and 4, but the game comes with passwords for these levels ready applied. The original game claimed to have copy protection which made the game harder if you didn't use the original disc - whether this survives into this release I do not know (or even whether this code ever existed in this Acorn port).

Control the main character with Z, X, ' and /, and use RETURN to fire. Hold down / and RETURN to pick up or drop an object - hit / multiple times to rotate through your objects. Use CTRL+ESCAPE to quit the game. Push ' and then RETURN when next to switches to toggle them.

Gods is an excellent game, by the way!


There is a patch for this in GAMES.PATCHES.H.HEIMDALL - copy it over the application if you have a StrongARM. It works as supplied on earlier processors. Even with the StrongARM patch applied, however, you may need to copy MusModSC into the application directory and rename it to MusMod2 (delete the existing one) to get it to work. If even this fails then there is a new patch for the game available.

Hemidall is an odd mix of isometric adventure and very strange mouse-click fights! The fights are self-explanatory - run the mouse back and forth clicking on a weapon and 'attack'. This is probably one of the most stupid gameplay mechanisms ever devised, especially when using a dodgy mouse! You might think it worth persevering, though, in order to play this adventure game.

Use Z, X, O and K, with SPACE to fire. Hit I to enter your inventory when in-game - click on an object and use the options on the left to apply it to that object. You have to move to the mouse for this (stupid design!). Examine scrolls to see what they are and it will then relabel them. Different characters have different abilities.


This really is an ancient flight simulator, and it was on a previous coverdisc a long time ago. I haven't bothered trying it again.

Karma - The Flight Trainer

Luckily this highly complex beast comes complete with manual and a function key guide strip to print out! Fly from place to place in the universe. This was intended as a demo of the universe modelled for a full game, but the game was never produced and despite claims otherwise it seems evident that it never will be. Also, you must own Computer Concept's Impression to read the manuals.

This demands a key disc... or at least it does unless you copy the enigmatic 'ID' file into the same directory you copy the game to. Once you move this file (which just contains the letter 'G'!) into the same directory it will run without problems. HTML manuals may be available online soon, apparently.

Lemmings 2

This is a great game, but it is supplied in a broken state which needs patching to run on any machine, even though as originally sold it worked properly on everything up to but excluding StrongARM Risc PCs - this is because the music player module is missing. There is a supplied patch (drag the patch archive in the game directory over it) to let it work on StrongARM machines, but unfortunately this patch will stop the game from working on earlier machines!

To play Lemmings 2 on all but a StrongARM you must edit the !Run file (shift+double-click !Lemmings2 to find this) to change the references to MusMod4 to MusModSC (and ensure you have copied the MusModSC module into your !System directory as described at the top of this page). The game will then run as intended, but unfortunately on Risc PCs the timing will be out at the bottom of the screen giving a very distracting large flickering effect where a colour palette change is located.

The pleasant introductory animation is missing from the CD, but you certainly don't need this to play the game! Obtain a 'gold' on all 10 levels of all the different worlds to complete the game. There are only one or two levels in the entire game which are truly challenging, so don't worry - it's not as hard as Lemmings or Oh No! More Lemmings! Just in case you don't know, you play the game by clicking on one of the actions at the bottom of the screen and then on a lemming to apply it. Move to the edges of the screen to scroll, and double-click the 'nuke' icon to kill off all the remaining lemmings. The aim is to guide the lemmings from their start area to the level exit. Use the training option to practice the various skills if you want to.

Mad Professor Moriarty

Great arcade adventure split over five levels - complete the first four to gain access to the final stage! Z, X, / and ' to move. RETURN to fire. Hold down RETURN+' or / to move through your inventory.

Ran without patching on my Risc PC 700. Copy the patch in PATCH over it to run on a StrongARM. I found that shortly after I quit the game (CTRL+ESCAPE) that my computer crashed, so make sure you save everything first before running the game! If it doesn't work on your machine there is an additional patch available.


Bizarre and original rotating platform game. The aim is simple - get to the top before the time runs out and don't fall in the water or lose all your lives! Move left and right with Z and X, and use P and L to jump and move up or down. SPACE fires. Note that you have to be moving to jump.

You must copy the patch in PATCH over the game before playing it on a Risc PC.


Z, X, ' and / to move, and SPACE to jump. Eat all the pills! This game doesn't need patching but it does need slowing down! Use GameOn or a suitable Vsync-halving utility to get it down to its proper speed. If you don't have one then there is one in GAMES.EX-COMMERCIAL.TERRAMEX.!TERRAMEX on the CD - double-click !VSYNC in this directory and follow the simple instructions given (this program is actually inside the !Terramex application).

Premier Manager

This is corrupt as supplied. You need to download a fixed executable from the official support site.

Quest for Gold

This won't run as supplied since (yet again) the necessary music modules have not been provided. I got it working in the end by decompressing it from the ARCHIVED.GAMES.EX-COMMERCIAL.QUEST_FOR_GOLD/ARC version (don't use the ready-decompressed version), and making a copy of MusModSC as MusMod6 in !System.Modules. When I ran it it then failed on the first two attempts and succeeded on the third attempt - go figure! (This was due to problems finding a sound module). Play the game by wobbling the mouse and hitting the mouse buttons, as far as I can work out.


This is another game that I couldn't get to work despite trying various different things. There's a StrongARM patch on the CD, and apparently it's okay on StrongARM machines if you apply this. It doesn't help on my Risc PC 700.

To play the game you must match the colours on the locks to form a sequence. Use Z, X, P and L. Hold down SPACE and push Z or X when over a lock to rotate it.


The decompressed version on the CD is corrupt, so you must dearchive it from the version in ARCHIVED.GAMES.EX-COMMERCIAL.SWIV. Although the original release of the game worked on Risc PCs when using Game On!, this version won't work on my Risc PC 700 no matter what I try. There's a StrongARM patch in GAMES.PATCHES.S.SWIV but this is also corrupt, so you must use the version in ARCHIVED.GAMES.PATCHES.S.SWIV. I assume that once applied this game will at least work on StrongARM machines. I hope so since t's a superb shoot'em'up.


On my Risc PC 700 this works as supplied, although once it was quit my computer became unstable. There is a StrongARM patch in PATCH, but if you apply this you'll find that the !Run file now refers to a file which doesn't exist. This means you need to edit it to delete the line which mentions JoyPatch.

Play the game by using Z, X, P and L, with SPACE to jump. Use 1 and 2 to move left and right through your inventory, and S to swap the current item. F3 and F4 will alter the speed of the game. When this was first released it looked good, but now it just looks old and infuriating. Still, if you don't mind being randomly killed in places and some very unfair features then it's worth a look!

Twin World

This is a lovely game, and the version on the CD is the most up-to-date version with the pseudo-rasterbar colour backgrounds (Risc PC only) and corrected music. Use Z and X to move, with ' to jump and / to tap your foot (which can destroy surfaces) or go through a door. Also use RETURN to fire and SPACE to select the power of bouncing missile you want to fire - they are in order of power from left to right, least to most respectively.

Xenon 2

This is broken as supplied. Go to the official support site to find a fix.


This comes complete with a private email revealing the address of the author, which is a bit rude of Acorn User but it does mean you can send him your thanks for updating this Acorn port - it works properly on all machines as supplied. Even better than that, though, it now provides the graduated colour backgrounds which were lacking from the original version - fantastic! As a result it looks much better than the previous release. (This new feature may only work on Risc PCs).

Zool is supplied with the manual, so the instructions are all in there. Well worth taking a look at.

Alone in the Dark end spoiler

When you reach the end of AITD you'll be stuck forever due to a bug - unless, that is, you do the final task at the first opportunity. That is, light the lantern and then throw it at the tree (you may have to stand on the platform - I don't quite recall since it's a long time since I played the game!).

...this page last updated: 6/9/00...
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