Saturday, August 30, 2008

Running Blade Runner on Windows Vista

This post is to help people trying to play the classic Westwood adventure game Blade Runner. I never played it that far along despite having bought it a decade ago because at the time it required a whopping TWO MB of video memory and my computer only had 1MB of VRAM. By the time I'd gotten a better computer, I'd gotten into first-person shooters and I wasn't able to get my head around gameplay.

When I got my latest laptop (Dell XPS 1530 w/8600M GT 256MB video) with Vista, I dug out some of the old games that I hadn't played that would work on a laptop. (I prefer sitting up while doing shooters. I can lay back with RTS and other genres on the laptop.) When I tried to run Blade Runner, it'd start, but the screen was totally scrambled as if scan lines were being offset. The rendered backgrounds looked fine, but the characters were unseen and the game was unplayable.

I searched all over and all I could find was the same lists of Vista-compatibility copied-and-pasted and they all said it worked. Uh-huh, yeah, right. Well, it turns out it DOES work, but it requires this one step a commenter posted to a blog:
you may have to press the windows keyboard button during bladerunner mid game if the screen is a mess when starting up, then clicking on the game shown on taskbar
BAM!!! It worked and doesn't even require any of the compatibility mode settings to be toggled on. Start the game; if it's scrambled, press the Windows key; click on the Blade Runner taskbar icon which will switch you back into the game and it should be working; PROFIT!

23 comments:

AngelusMortalis said...

Thanks so muck for posting this! I've always been a fan of adventure, and my interest in Blade Runner was renewed by the recent Final Cut release. I just got this game from ebay and I was stumped as to how to get it to work. This might work with a few other old gaes I was having similar problems with!

Dirk Belligerent said...

You're welcome! You're exactly the type of gamer I was hoping to assist with the post.

Alas, I only got to the 2nd crime scene before being distracted by other things. Someday, I'll finish this thing!

Steve the Squid said...

Your windows key worked great! But unfortunately I have no sound. Got any fixes for that?

Dirk Belligerent said...

Sorry, no. I didn't have any problems with audio. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for this post.I`d just found this game in a drawer,where it must have been for a decade,and it ran but with scrambled graphics.I was just about to un-install it when i googled the problem and clicked on your post.I will now try and get past the first disc!!

freeman1406 said...

I have another problem: the fact is that i just cannot install BR on my Vista-32...The autorun launches when i introduce CD1, but when I click on "install", the "autorun window" just desappear, and nothing else happens...Any advice to solve this?
Thanks a lot ;)

Dirk Belligerent said...

Have you tried running the setup from the CD directory instead of the Autorun window that pops up?

Dr. Clayman said...

I have another problem, I can't see any images on the esper machine, it's just black. Anybody else had this problem?

Ombopa Hansen said...

I can confirm that this also works on Windows 7, like a charm!!

project85 said...

thanks man it works here i havent's playd it fore ages but found again on the net en had the same problem now it works again thank it bring back good memmories

Anton Lebedev said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Winkey trick works fine here, too =)

Have a very nice day indeed =)
Regards,
Anton Lebedev, Russia

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much, i was having a scrambled screen too, but your trick worked perfect. Thanks again...

Anonymous said...

I will add my thanks to the already significant pile of them. I was pulling my hair out over this problem and, being a player of very old games, have seen more complicated fixes that don't work as well as this one.

amandaemiller said...

Just adding my thanks as well. My husband found his old copy of this game in a box in the garage and I am really looking forward to playing it thanks to your fix. Best movie ever. :)

Anonymous said...

how do you install it on windows 7? it wont even let me install it.

Dirk Belligerent said...

re: Win7 installation - I don't know. I haven't tried it on my Win7 rig. Are you trying to install as Administrator?

Anonymous said...

nno.

Hylmar said...

Supertrick! The intro-images are back to normal. Still having trouble with the rendered images.

Gameplay is still impossible this way, anyone got a trick for this? I already tried a CPU-speed adjuster for my quadcore. It slowed everything down, but did not do much with the characters...

Anonymous said...

You've made my day!!!

Anonymous said...

Thx for this advice... but my problem is slightly bigger... I try to run it on Vista (DVD version btw) and the install went fine. But with startup it only shows the menu for less than a sec with glitchess, but than crashes instant without giving me the chance topress the windows button...?

I also tryed the compressed full version on Tpb, but that 1 won't even start-up the install-menu...

Plz help, I wanna play this game so bad...

Dirk Belligerent said...

Make sure your computer's video drivers are up-to-date and try right-clicking the game's shortcut and running as Administrator.

The problem with new OSes and old games is that even "compatibility mode" doesn't always work. I wanted to revisit the original Soldier of Fortune on my new Win7 system and simply couldn't get it to work. Bother.

Anonymous said...

If you have problems with this game, make sure to have the desktop to 256 colors mode.

As for Soldier of Fortune, go to the folder where the actual installation file is and run it from there.

Dirk Belligerent said...

I did try that with no success. Oh well. Windows 8 is even worse for compatibility. I ran the upgrade checker and a slew of games like Fallout 3 are incompatible. Not gonna upgrade then.