Ancient DOS Games – Star Wars: X-Wing

I think this game is the reason I bought a joystick for my PC. I still have that joystick (or maybe it’s the second one I bought) up in the attic but I haven’t used it this century yet and I don’t have a PC with a joystick port/parallel port any more! Remember the joys of calibrating your device so your game was simply playable? You young ‘uns with your Xbox 360 controllers have it easy these days! I never understood why joysticks had to be so fiddly on PC when they just worked on the 8 and 16 bit machines.

This game ran in 320×200 pixels and 256 colours. I do remember when that was and impressive screen resolution. (via)

Hours of fun with Syndicate

Syndicate

  1. Have Macbook. Check.
  2. Have DOSBox. Check.
  3. Have external mouse. Check.
  4. Have Syndicate. Check.

Syndicate is a game I played a lot in the early nineties. I was never any good at games (some things never change!), but this is one of the few games I stuck with and managed to finish. The original game came out in 1993 for DOS and the Amiga. It was on the Amiga that I first came across it but the DOS version is easier to run these days. Luckily both versions are exactly the same.

What do you need? First of all, download the latest version of DOSBox. It’s available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and many other operating systems.

Now look for the game itself. You can download Syndicate in many places so search for it using Google. Some would describe it as abandonware as the game can’t be bought any more but it’s a legal grey area. Bullfrog still own the copyright to the game so if you don’t own a copy downloading it is, strictly speaking, an act of piracy.

Unzip Syndicate in a convenient location and launch DOSBox. The familiar DOS prompt will open, on the Z: drive so mount the Syndicate directory using the command of the same name. If you’ve installed it in /games/Syndicate/ use the following:

mount c /games/Syndicate

Now change to drive C using

c:

You may need to edit synd.bat if it’s there (to set up your sound card) or just run main.exe as I did. The game will launch and probably run a little too quickly. Slow it down with CTRL-F11, and use ALT-Enter to enter fullscreen mode. CTRL-F12 will speed it up again, handy for researching new weapons and mods. 🙂

In fullscreen mode, you’ll swear you’re using an Amiga again! Enjoy what must be one of the best shoot ’em ups, ever!

There’s also an opensource version of Syndicate. It hasn’t been updated since 2007 though. Anyone with game coding experience want to lend a hand?

As a special bonus, here’s the Atlantic Accelerator. It’s the very last level in the original Syndicate. This guy makes it appear really easy but it’s not. This level takes quite a bit of time to master! Just read his video description for all that he went through.

Or better yet, check out this video of American Revolt. Wow, all those enemy syndicate guys descend on you like flies to a …

DOSBox, a x86 emulator with DOS

Ok, it’s not specifically Linux related, as this DOS emulator has been ported to Windows, BeOS, MacOS X as well as Linux, but I’m excited about it because I may be able to play Syndicate again! I couldn’t even get that DOS game to work in Windows 98 AFAIR. I had more luck running it in Dosemu, but without sound support unfortunately.
Dosbox is available on apt-rpm too, which is where I stumbled across it.