Old PC racing games now working on Windows 8.1 with Steam custom images: CannonBall, Juiced, Le Mans 24 Hours (2002), OutRun, Sega GT and Sega Rally

Steam icon 48x48Steam allows you to set custom images for all items in your library, including non-Steam games.

It was with some surprise that I revisited some old PC games on Windows 8.1 and found them working again for the first time since Windows XP.

Often you need fixed versions to remove copy protection that no longer works and if they are running from protected locations (like your system’s Program Files folder), they will need Run as Administrator set in the Compatibility properties page.

Here are some Steam custom images to integrate them into your Steam library.

CannonBall / OutRun

CannonBall / OutRun

Cannonball is a reassembly of the OutRun arcade machine and adds widescreen and 60 fps support to your MAME-compatible OutRun ROM.

Juiced Steam custom image

Juiced

Juiced transparent Media Center Steam custom image

Juiced (transparent)

Juiced is a game with ambition and ideas and lots to do but it never quite found a big audience. It runs in widescreen resolutions and has full controller support.

To get Juiced to run:

  1. If you want to use a noCD patched version, copy the fixed Juiced.exe over the original.
  2. For Juiced.exe, set Compatibility Mode to XP Service Pack 3.

To set up controls:

  1. Copy diactfrm.dll, diamp.dll and Fix DInput.bat into Juiced folder (if this doesn’t work copy it to %windir%\SysWOW64 and run from there).
  2. Open an Administrator command window (or Right-Shift Right-Click and Run as Administrator) and run Fix DInput.bat. This registers diactfrm.dll using the command: regsvr32.exe /s diactfrm.dll
  3. Run JuicedConfig.exe and set Juiced to 640×480 Windowed Mode.
  4. Run Juiced and select Controls from the Options menu. Now you can assign your controls using the old Direct Input controls editor.
  5. In Juiced’s options, adjust steering sensitivity to a preferred value as it will be a bit too sensitive for a gamepad.
  6. Then you can exit and set Juiced back to full screen using JuicedConfig.exe

Juiced saves:

  • Located in %appdata%\THQ
Le Mans 24 Hours (2002)

Le Mans 24 Hours (2002)

Le Mans 24 Hours aka Test Drive: Le Mans, the 2002 game from Melbourne House and Infogrames is one of the best racing games of all time.

It has full controller support and recognises all 4:3 ratio screen sizes registered to your display. (4:3 on a 1080P display is 1440×1080 pixels.) All controls are rebindable.

  • If you don’t want to see the intro movies you can rename or delete the Data/FMV folder.
  • You can force anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering using your graphic card’s control panel.
Sega GT Toyota Celica Steam custom image

Sega GT (Toyota Celica)

Sega GT transparent Steam custom image

Sega GT (transparent)

Sega GT Steam custom image

Sega GT

Sega GT was Sega’s attempt to produce a Gran Turismo class game. It spawned a really good Xbox-exclusive double sequel (Sega GT 2002 and Sega GT Online) but the original game was let down by baffling handling. The game surrounding it was quite good but the core gameplay was not. The chance to race around original, non-real world tracks is worth it though and the tracks in the sequels are superb.

The Dreamcast version was good-looking but the PC version was not. With your graphics card control panel you can force anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering but it will still only be 640×480.

To get Sega GT to run:

  1. Set Compatibility Mode for SegaGT.exe to Windows 95.
  2. If you don’t wish to see the intro movies which pop up in silly little ActiveMovie windows, simply delete or rename them. The game will then launch directly.
Sega Rally transparent Steam custom image

Sega Rally (transparent)

Sega Rally red Steam custom image

Sega Rally (red)

Sega Rally Steam custom image (1)

Sega Rally

Sega Rally is the PC version of the original arcade game. It is surprisingly good, arguably better than Sega Rally 2 thanks to more consistent and understandable handling.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013, PS4) – 7/10 near-future military first-person shooter game review

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Cast / crew

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)

America gets upset when someone else on the planet wants to hold Armageddon-level super-weaponry. After using a legendary covert-ops unit called Ghosts to push unstable forces into a super-attack on America, they gleefully grab the pretext for war they engineered and start wading into South America shooting everyone who looks at them funny.

7/10

I find it intriguing that with one breath contemporary critics gush over experience games with little interactivity like Dear Esther while condemning Call of Duty: Ghosts’ single player for having not enough interactivity. If an indie developer made a game about carrying a dog through a battlefield, critics would explode into unanimous applause. While it is certainly a mechanical touristy jog through spectacular and pretty (PS4 version reviewed) but limited environments, Ghosts’ single player is still a polished, slick, easy-to-play and fun shooter and entertainingly stupid. It’s not emotionally involving, you have no idea who you are, who your teammates are, who you are shooting and why but then no Infinity Ward game has ever achieved that. The problem is that the alternate virtually-on-rails shooting, actually-on-rails shooting and quick time events are frequently ill-disguised and you don’t ever get let off the leash. Ironically, there’s a playable super-dog in the game (Riley, I remember his name!) and, as him, you do get let off the leash for almost several minutes. The single player does what it’s always done. If you want more freeform action, there’s the multiplayer which is as good as ever. Except they’ve removed the excellent, but presumably not played very much, Spec Ops mode.

This game contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, frequent sexual swear words in closing song

Classified 18 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over.

Links

Columbo s01e07 Blueprint for Murder (1972) – 6/10 crime detective TV review

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Cast / crew
Lieutenant Columbo: Peter Falk
Patrick O’Neal: Elliiot Markham
Janis Paige: Goldie Williamson
Pamela Austin: Jennifer Williamson
John Fiedler: Doctor Moss
Forrest Tucker: Bo Williamson
Actor and Director: Peter Falk
Screenplay Writer: Steven Bochco
Story Writer: William Kelley
Producer and Series Creator: Richard Levinson
Producer and Series Creator: William Link

Columbo s01e07 Blueprint for Murder (1972)

Columbo investigates a reported death of a Texas tycoon but there’s no body and the last man to see him, architect Elliot Markham, presumes that he has gone off on an international trip. Sure enough, the police find the tycoon’s car at the airport but while the tape player and glovebox is stuffed with country and western music, the radio is tuned to a classical station. That’s enough to make Columbo think that something sinister may be going on.

6/10

Memorable but empty episode. Columbo’s surprise appearance in a woman’s bedroom is probably worth the price of admission and the plan for disposing of the body is clever. The skyscraper construction site is an unusual, interesting and convincing location. The episode is paced surprisingly well given the lack of developments but director Peter Falk doesn’t quite get the end gambit (the digging up of the pile / eventual arrest) quite right.

This Columbo episode contains very mild gory scene

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010) – 6/10 mutant superhero action film review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Chiu Suet Ying
Aaron Kwok: Sunny
Shu Qi: Angel
Collin Chou: Zhang Dachu
Wu Jing:
Zhang Jingchu: Cheng Xiuhua
Editor: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Ling Chi Man
Screenplay Writer: Carson Lau
Producer: Benny Chan
Director: Benny Chan

City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010)

After being infected with a WWII bio-chemical weapon, some former members of a circus troupe go bad and cause violence and mayhem but, after swallowing his own body weight in sea water and a good bout of diarrhoea, Sunny isn’t affected as badly and retains his humanity along with superhuman speed and strength.

6/10

As I was expecting some sort of crime thriller (I was only watching this as it was a Benny Chan film and I hadn’t seen anything else about it), it came as something of a surprise to find out it was a mutated-human monster movie. As such, it’s watchable and entertaining for the most part though it does go past deliberately goofy, straight through serious, pushes through spoof and bursts out the other side into mildly glorious over-the-top cheese-tastic insanity. Whether that’s good or not, well, I watched it happily until the end and enjoyed a particularly good chuckle at the bad guys demise.

This movie contains mild swear words, extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Appleseed Alpha (2014) – 6/10 post-apocalyptic mecha action anime movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Storyboard Artist: Shinji Aramaki
Screenplay Writer: Marianne Krawczyk
Story Writer: Masamune Shirow
Producer: Joseph Chou
CGI Director and Storyboard Artist: Masaru Matsumoto
Deunan: Luci Christian
Briareos: David Matranga
Wendel Calvert: Two Horns
Chris Hutchinson: Matthews
Adam Gibbs: Olson
Actress and Motion Capture Performer Iris: Brina Palencia
Josh Sheltz: Talos
Elizabeth Bunch: Nyx
Actor and Motion Capture Performer Briareos: David Matranga
Motion Capture Performer Deunan: Alissa Simmons

Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Deunan and Briareos are struggling to get by as mercenaries following World War Three and are currently indentured to Two Horns, a gangster who has taken over the remains of New York City. He sends them out on a simple droid-clearing assignment but they run into Olsen and a mysterious girl and find new meaning to their lives.

6/10

Entertaining and good-looking action movie which isn’t as successful at capturing the audience’s emotions as it is trying to be. Fortunately, it isn’t grasping too hard and so you don’t find the emotional beats funny. This is not a negative review but the action likewise doesn’t break out of adequate; a lack of imagination and logic means that there are some reasonably exciting scenes which end when their time is up, not because a character or plot point or logical action caused it to end. None of the action in the Appleseed CG movies has ever been close to the heights of the opening scene of the first one.  With these faults noted, though, I still enjoyed the movie, I liked the characters enough and was never remotely bored. Villain Two Horns is an unexpected highlight but some of the visuals are clearly the talking point; the environments and explosions are photo-realistic and the characters are highly convincing without using the anime-style of previous outings or descending into the distracting uncanny valley.

This movie contains strong violence, adult dialogue