|XP Legacy Games Corner - System Shock 2
I had the luck of first playing System Shock 2 on my old Win 98 machine when it was
easier to get running, and before the game itself went out of print due to the unfortunate
demise of Looking Glass Studios. But if you don't have a copy of this game, you can find
it quite easily on eBay for between $15 - $25.
So... I got a new PC just a few months ago, and decided to dust the cobwebs off SS2
and give it another twirl. No dice, even after several hours of trying all techniques known
to me (which are many). So the next thing I did was type 'shock 2 xp' into Google, and start
to read a whole bunch of tips in a whole bunch of forums and FAQs. Several hours later, I
finally managed to get SS2 up and running! Here is the condensed wisdom from all those forums
and FAQs I read that allowed me to do that:
- Choose the full install option (513MB) and install to your hard drive in the default folder
C:\Sshock2). Note: if
setup.exe refuses to run for you, then...
Start > Run, and enter:
(that's a lower case L, by the way. Not a one)
- Now we need to patch the game from version 1.15, which you just installed, to version 2.3.
You can obtain the patch 'officially' from either File Planet or 3D Gamers... but you have to sign
up for one of them, and the other puts you on a long queue if you choose to use their free 'public'
servers. I soon tired of that, and was able to find the patch archived here:
Once downlaoded, just double-click on that .exe to install the patch.
- Now we have to get a user-supplied fix that allows SS2 to be played in modern versions of Windows. I found this here:
(you have to click through quite a few links from there until you can actually download the
shock2_xp_2000_fix.zip). Unzip that, back up your original
C:\Sshock2\SHOCK2.EXE file (236KB), and replace it with the
file that you just unzipped (2,840KB).
- Now we have all the files we need. Just a few more tricks to pull... since Dark Engine games
(like: Thief: The Dark Project, and SS2) can't handle hyperthreading or multiple cores/processors,
we need to patch the new
SHOCK2.EXE file (using a utility called 'imagecfg') so that
it binds to a single core/processor. You can obtain imagecfg from Steve's
XP Legacy Games Corner. Just
look at the hyperthreading/dual core topic.
imagecfg.exe once you have copied it to your
a. Open a Command Prompt via: Start > All Progams > Accessories > Command Prompt
b. Change to the folder where you installed SS2 to, like this: cd \sshock2
c. Run imagecfg on SHOCK2.EXE like this: imagecfg -a 0x1 shock2.exe
d. You should see the following output:
C:\Sshock2>imagecfg -a 0x1 shock2.exe
shock2.exe contains the following configuration information:
Process Affinity Mask: 00000001
shock2.exe contains a Subsystem Version of 4.0
shock2.exe updated with the following configuration information:
Process Affinity Mask: 00000001
- Now we need to set up
SHOCK2.EXE so it runs in Compatibility Mode for Windows
2000. If you don't know how to do that:
a. Right-click on
SHOCK2.EXE, and select the 'Properties' option
b. Select the 'Compatibility' tab
c. Tick the 'Run this program in compatibility mode for:' box, and choose 'Windows 2000' from the menu
- OK... one more thing to do before we fire this thing up, and that is: open the file
cam.cfg with Notepad and add the following at the end:
- Now run SS2 by double-clicking on
SHOCK2.EXE. Et voila! After the intro
and starting up a new game, you wind up in a train car that has arrived at a platform. You should do
two things before quitting the game:
a. Change the screen resolution to 1024 X 768
b. Save your game! Now quit the game
- If you try to get into the game again, you'll find out you can't :-\ Now... I didn't find mention
of the next trick anywhere else, but I figured out how to get into the game again successfully. You'll
notice that after running the game for the first time, some new info has been inserted into the
cam.cfg file. One of the items is:
All you need to do to be able to get back into the game is remove this line from the file! It
seems the game won't start up properly in modern versions of Windows unless you remember to remove this line every time
before you play.
Well, that should do it for you. Good luck!
Copyright © Steve Metzler 2008. All rights reserved.
See also the
metzomagic.com Help! page
for links to additional help in getting games to run.