For people who hoard old games

Here are some add-ons that I created (in all cases more than a decade ago) for old DOS games. Feel free to do with them whatever you will.

  • If anyone still has a copy of the original 1992 version of The Incredible Machine by Sierra, then Two Up, Two Down is a freeform machine I once designed for it. I don’t know whether old machines are compatible with more recent versions of the game, as I haven’t had any version of the game on my computer for years.
  • If you’ve got Stunts by Broderbund, here’s a fast track (you’ll want to use the fastest car available, especially for the … uh … big jump) and a complete track (by which I mean every obstacle available in the game is represented).
  • If you’ve got Doom II by ID Software, here is a seven-level WAD file designed in the nineties by a friend and me (see the end of this post for some playing tips).

For playing DOS games on a modern computer, I recommend the emulator DOSBox. The original version of this post contained a lengthy summary on how to use DOSBox, but a new version of the emulator (0.70) was released since I originally wrote this, and it improves matters dramatically. The difference is that with previous versions, it was absolutely essential to understand how to use the cycleup, cycledown and cycles commands. However, version 0.70 is pretty good at automatically managing the CPU cycle rate via the “cycles=auto” setting, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to set those values manually. You still need to understand how to use the mount command and how to edit the configuration file, but those are straightforward.

More about the aforementioned Doom II WAD: my codesigner and I were both residents at an educational institution when we designed the file, and its name – dwam.wad – is based on our initials. Here is a brief level guide:

  • Level one is straightforward, with a little fun and games involving some hidden doors. Aside from some cosmetic touches, I had no part in the design.
  • Level two, which is one of mine, contains vast amounts of blood. Also a couple of puzzles, but you don’t have to solve all of them. Tip: there are one or two cunning things you can do with one of those doors that only opens when you shoot it (also true in some other levels).
  • Level three is based on the college where we lived, and there are a number of in-jokes and references. The other designer, whose idea it was, insisted on the name Home Sweet Home despite my preference for Place Of Evil. More than any other, this level was a cooperative effort.
  • Level four is set in a pit. It’s by the other designer, although I did add a thing or two.
  • Level five is my best achievement, and contains several puzzles. Tip: every puzzle you solve reduces the number of monsters you have to face near the end, so don’t enter the tunnel beyond the locked doors until you’ve solved all the puzzles you care to. (I have one regret: I included a feature because my codesigner was fond of it, and in the process compromised the elegance and coherence of the relevant room.)
  • Level six is another one of mine, and contains high climbs and precarious ledges. If you are playing by means of a DOS emulator, the ledges will probably be somewhat too precarious. DOS emulators and precarious ledges don’t mix so well, sorry.
  • Level seven, also mine, just gives the whole thing a conclusion.

BTW, I’m happy to offer a hint or two if you get stuck; just ask.

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