Multimedia Exploration Journal: April 11, 2004

All these journal entries and I haven't even scratched the surface of digital interactive schlock...

Forbes: Corporate Warrior

Forbes: Corporate Warrior Title Screen "Business is war! Cash is ammo! The only action-packed 3-D business strategy game." Yes, this game falls squarely into the "have to see to believe" category. Developed by Byron Preiss Multimedia and published by Simon & Schuster Interactive. Released in 1997. The cover has a fellow in a proper suit sporting a virtual reality helmet. According to the box copy, by 2006, the traditional physical trading floor of the stock market no longer exists. Now, traders enter into a virtual reality ultra-violent world to conduct, ahem, "transactions" that control the direction of the business world. Despite that, however, the game is still rated as being suitable for all audiences.

Weapons in this game include marketing missile, ad blaster, price bomb, price slicer, alliance harpoon, legal laser, and head hunter.

Weighing in at under 20 megabytes, my hopes of any FMV are quickly dashed. Maybe it will work under Wine and redeem some entertainment value. Installation runs smoothly and reveals 150+ WAV files. As I listen through all of the files, I am impressed at just how neatly the business world maps onto a 3D shooting game. There is also a textures/ directory with a series of of BMP files. Browsing through the BMP files, I see that the game sometimes stores animation sequences as BMP files. For example, 5 frames of a 100x100 talking head image will be stored as a 100x500 BMP to allow for 5 frames cascading down. Now, to see if I can play this creature...please please please...hmm, no: "FORBES CORPORATE WARRIOR NOT PROPERLY INSTALLED". Main Game Screen
This is the main screen for the game; click for a full size picture

Worms: Armageddon (MobyGames entry)

Third in the series of (obviously successful) Worms games from Team 17. I was hoping to find more of those AVI files encoded with KMVC, but to no avail. However, I did find over 2800 WAV files, directly attributable to the developer's apparent effort to make this the most aggressively multilingual game ever. These are the languages and dialects the game supports:
  • Africaan
  • American
  • Angry Scots
  • Australian
  • Brooklyn
  • Brummie
  • Cad
  • Cyberworms
  • Danish-Pyrus
  • Double-Oh-Seven
  • Drill Sergeant
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Finnish
  • Formula One
  • French
  • Geezer
  • German
  • Goofed
  • Greek
  • Hispanic
  • Hungarian
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Jock
  • Kamikaze
  • Kidz
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Rasta
  • Redneck
  • Rushki
  • Russian
  • Scouser
  • Smooth Babe
  • Soul Man
  • Spanish
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Stooges
  • Swedish
  • Team17 Test
  • The Raj
  • Thespian
  • Tykes
  • US Sports
  • Wacky
  • Whoopsie
  • Wideboy

The game appears to install fine under Wine but I can't find an game executable file afterwards. But kudos to Team 17's legal department for the following awkward legal disclaimer during the installation:

You agree to bind by the terms and conditions?

Criticom/Sega Saturn

1995 Sega Saturn title developed by Kronos and published by Vic Tokai. 47 Saturn CPK files. I enjoy figuring out what a game is about completely by viewing the FMV files. My best guess is that it's a 1-on-1 brawling game that pits an interstellar group of fighters against each other in order to recover some weird, all-powerful, super-important artifact. There is a total of 9 fighters and there are FMV files to describe each character's origin, level 2 powerup, level 3 powerup, and ending. The best ending is when the character known as SID (Sentient Integrated Droid, a really mean robot), wins back the artifact, carefully analyzes and pitches it when he realizes it's practical worthlessness.

[Link: FILM/CPK samples from various Sega Saturn games]

Classic TV Commercials

This CD-ROM contains 37 classic schlocky commercials from the 50s and 60s. Published by SimplyMedia. All the videos are 400x300 Cinepak AVIs with PCM audio. It has such famous commercial gems as The Flintstones shilling for Winston cigarettes.

Jetfighter IV: Fortress America (MobyGames entry)

2001 flight/combat silmuation title that promises to put the fun back into flight sims. Developed by Mission Studios and published by Global Star Software.

The disc contains a setup.exe file that takes up much of the space offered by a CD-ROM. Installing is likely to be the only way to find any multimedia on this disc. Fortunately, the installation seems to work smoothly enough under Wine. But the Wise installer Wizard advertises that it will take close to an hour. Most of what is being installed appears to be Targa .tga scenery files. The installation eventually hangs at about 92% finished. The game refuses to run under Wine, but at least I am able to see if the game has any worthwhile multimedia. No sign of FMV, but there are almost 500 .wav and .mp3 files which are primarily voice clips telling you how to fly.

ESPN's 2-Minute Drill CD-ROM

I'm not sure why I picked up this disc; I don't like sports at all. And it's not like I expect to find anything new in the multimedia department here. It's worth mentioning that the back of the shrink-wrapped CD-ROM has a large black sticker on it warning the potential purchaser that he or she must read the enclosed license agreement before using the software. I don't think I've ever seen this on a piece of software before, nor do I believe that this makes the agreement anymore binding.

The disc contains about 160 megabytes of data. While there are some random .wav files scattered about the disc, much of the utilized space is concentrated in a resource directory. The directory contains a variety of .mbd files. These are actually just normal PKZip archives. Unzipping an archive reveals a lot of data files, including a lot of WAVs and a number of animation files with the extension .anm. However, these do not appear to be FMV files.

Fighting Force (MobyGames entry)

A somewhat generic-sounding 1999 title from Core/Eidos. Maybe it will have more of those signature .rpl files found used on Core/Eidos titles. The disc does contain 1 .rpl file named intro/logo.rpl. It is ~16 megabytes and, per the file spec, transports the original filename in the header: "V:\Project Management\Troy\Tomb2.Fmv\PC\Core\logo.rpl". It really must be just Core's logo.

Installation or execution under Wine is rather fruitless.

[Link: RPL sample files]

Space Racers

This is perhaps the strangest thing I've seen in awhile. Space Racer is PocketWare from GameSoft. This is a mini-CD, though it is not round. It is designed to squeeze into the smaller ring of a CD-ROM tray. Based on the cover of the unusual CD-ROM jewel case, it is a space arcade shoot-em-up game, possibly an Asteroids clone. I didn't really expect the game to have any FMV, but I got it for the novelty.

Apparently, the game is #5 in a series. Space images in the game are courtesy NASA/NSSDC. Under Wine, the installation is extremely smooth. But the game crashes as soon as it starts.

Deer Avenger

A parody of the popular wildlife hunting games, developed by Hypnotix and published by Simon & Schuster Interactive. Bambo, a deer with a vendetta and a wide range or weapons (actually, a pretty limited array including a M-16, a bazooka, and a sling slot), turns the tables on dimwitted hunters in the wild. Multimedia is supplied by Smacker files and WAV files.

Installation and execution under Wine, to my great surprise, worked flawlessly and I was actually able to play this odd little game.

[Link: Smacker samples]

Deer Avenger 2: Deer In The City

Packaged along with the original Deer Hunter and found in the bargain bin, this disc also works for Macs. The game appears to follow the same formula and multimedia technology, except that Bambo takes the fight to the humans.

The game installs and runs under Wine just as smoothly as the first.

Persian Wars

2001 title from Cryo. They can usually be counted on for some custom multimedia. This appears to be some kind of realtime strategy game.

The manual is printed in no fewer than 6 languages. English is at the very end. As I have seen in other Cryo games, this one contains HNM media files. At least 3 of them exist in a HNM/ directory, one for a logo, and 1 each for an intro and an outro.

Under Wine, the installation proceeds very smoothly, unpacking thousands of data files. In all, the game installs over 7000 files. The game crashes right away when run.

Mechwarrior 2 Gold (MobyGames entry)

I have analyzed the non-gold version of Mechwarrior 2 in a previous entry. So I am not surprised to see the smackw32.dll on the CD-ROM. Only thing left to do now is see if it installs and runs under Wine, just for trivia.

Installation appears to run smoothly enough. But when the game is run, it only insists that it is already running.

Civilization II Multiplayer Gold Edition (MobyGames entry)

This disc (packaged along with Mechwarrior 2 Gold and Worms Armageddon as a strategy 3-pack) has almost 60 AVI files. It looks like they use Intel Indeo Video 4.1 for their video codec.

Under Wine: Installation worked; game execution failed.

by Mike Melanson (mike at

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