the past few weeks a great synergy took place regarding
this game. First of all, Howard Feldman sent
us 6-paks of his original. Sadly, the game uses an extremely
complex loading/protection scheme, which routinely bumps
the disk drive's heads on track one and other sectors
of the disk, half of which is heavily error protected.
The same is true for all three disk-sides of the game.
Gamebase member Matt Larsen bought an original
on e-bay, only to find that the boot disk was corrupted
by whatever data were contained in the 6-paks plus the
extra-info gained by the on-hand original, Dr.Markus
Brenner was able to piece together a first alpha
version of the game. Far from finished, this 'preview'
version crashes every other second when the loader's
routines try to access the protection, but still I managed
to capture a significant amount of screens, which I
present here for your perusal. Sadly I was not able
to descent into the dungeons, the encounters in which
are presented in a style similar to that of Wizardry
MayhemUK is trying to secure another original
in order to help Markus complete the 'restoration'
UPDATE - BETA
VERSION CREATED - BUT NOT 100% YET :(
After a LOT of effort from a determined team
of individuals over the last few months and an accumulation
of originals (most of them already used, unfortunatelly)
a more stable beta version has been pieced together:
experimented with dumps of the latest Realms of Darkness
originals, and it seemed that the produced images were
close to 100%. The game now did not crash on any ONE
screen like before. The three created images matched
exactly the latest original ones (we did not reinitialize
the game, and it seemed that the latest version we got
was hardly ever played, as there weren't any characters
located in any of the disks, and the manuals and maps
we have all the maps which are contained in the hintbook,
we made sure that every screen from the countryside
(not including the dungeons) was accessable. The
game does *occassionally* crash like before, although
it is in different map areas. It seems that the game
(on the adv1 disk) "briefly" goes to track 18 during
every screen-load and, once in a great while, it crashes.
Fortunately, if one reloads the game, he can go back
to the point where the game previously crashed and everything
will be okay. We concluded that this copy seemed to
be about as close to a working version as it was possible
to get with nibbled images, that is until someone undertakes
to remove the copy protection or tweak the game.
further testing sadly showed that the game will ALWAYS
crash in the dungeons :(
To reach the crashing area from the starting screen,
do the following:
S, W, and N to enter the merchant's
shop. Press P, pool silver and purchase a Lantern.
S to leave the shop, E to enter the EQUIP
menu, RETURN to select the character who bought
the lantern. Equip all items until you equip the lantern
S, W, N, to reach the ruins, D
to descent the ladder, I to invoke the lantern
(You can now see around!). When you see a door, use
O to open it/go through it. Move around the dungeons
-- at random intervals the game tries to load something
and it crashes while trying. We conclude it does so
whenever an enemy is encountered, as we were not able
to find any enemies, despite encountering items like
bones and creatures' beds etc that imply their existence.
Don't forget to enable the NTSC mode of your
emulator before loading this game.
the conversion effort continues...
an interview of the hacker 'Hell Hacker /TSM'
(as interviewed by Jazzcat in Domination #15), which
is displayed here,
he mentions the following:
of the games I did: Barbie (!) by Epyx (laugh) Realms
of Darkness (no one ever cracked it for like a year
after it was out, and ESI finally did it)"
this was his reply to the question "What release
impressed you most on C64?":
my time, I'd have to say it was a tie between two. California
Games (...) The other was Realms of Darkness
which was another crack by ESI (I was in the group at
the time). This game was, I think, 4 disk sides and
there were so many files, the protection so nasty, that
it had been out for about a year. Mitch was bored so
he actually started to crack it. A time or two in the
middle he had told me he wanted to just put it aside
since it was such a long and drawn out crack, and no
one really cared. But he did it anyway."
anyone contact these guys and help us locate a copy
of the ESI crack?
UPDATE - GAME
CONVERTED - >CASE CLOSED<
like to thank the donators of originals, Howard Feldman,
'Mayhem UK' Allen, and our own Matt Larsen for
sparing no expense to secure original copies of a game
that by nature destroyed itself after played for some
time. More thanks and our gratitude to our good doctor
Markus Brenner, whose expertise made this version
possible, and who despite his loaded schedule managed
to devote the amount of time needed for a game with
a never before encountered GCR-code based protection.
can follow the conversion process by reading Markus
the VICE emulator, as the game reports 'disk errors'
when using CSS64 (at least during the process of creating
new characters), and don't forget to put the emulator
in NTSC mode.