For most vintage platforms emulators have emerged, making it possible to use software that was programmed for old operating systems on modern operating systems and computers. MS-DOS is no exception, thanks to the developers of DOSBox (do not confuse DOSBox with the DOS prompt that Windows has. Although most versions of Windows offer some basic DOS compatibility, it is nowhere near as good as DOSBox). Most people will probably would like to play the IBM PC (DOS) version of The Colonel's Bequest, but there are emulators of the Atari ST and Commedore Amiga too that are probably support The Colonel's Bequest. At this time we only describe DOS emulation.
DOSBox not only emulates MS-DOS, but also emulates the older Intel x86 processors (for example Intel 386, 486) and various hardware that was commonly used in MS-DOS-based computers back in the '80s to late '90s. A lot of classic DOS-based games are not compatible with modern processors and/or modern Windows versions and this can result in crashes, glitches or just plain unplayable games in those environments. DOSBox solves a lot of those problems.
Other good news is that DOSBox is released on various operating systems. DOSBox is not only available in a Windows version, but also on various UNIX (including Linux and FreeBSD) variants, OS/2, Apple Macintosh OSX and even more. We have only tested The Colonel's Bequest on DOSBox on Windows and Linux, with very good results. It is fantastic The Colonel's Bequest now can be enjoyed on new, modern computer environments that did not even exist in the early 90's!
You can download the latest version of DOSBox from the following website: http://DOSBox.sourceforge.net.
After downloading and installing DOSBox, you can play most of your favorite DOS games, including The Colonel's Bequest. The following sections tries to explain how. Please note that some basic familiarity with MS-DOS is assumed.
Start DOSBox by clicking on its program icon. A screen similar to the following screenshot should appear:
You can press ALT+ENTER to switch to fullscreen or to window mode, or vice-versa.
DOSBox does not automatically use the drive letters that your operating system does. Instead, you must map drives and/or directories manually to a specific drive-letter. This mapping is only applicable to the current running DOSBox and does not affect Windows in any way. To avoid confusion, we recommend to map your drives to the same drive letter as Windows does, unless you are an advanced user.
If you have installed or want to install the game to your C: drive, you should map your C:\ drive to the C drive letter.
You do this by entering the following command
MOUNT C: C:\ (press Enter)
The C: drive in DOSBox would now point to your real C:\ drive.
You can substitute C:\ with any drive that you have in Windows. You can also map more than one drive by mounting them one by one to a different drive-letter.
Installing The Colonel's Bequest using DOSBox
If you already have installed The Colonel's Bequest on your PC, you do not need to install the game again. DOSBox can access the directory where you have installed the game (see above). You can skip this section then. If you have not, then read on.
Depending on the release of The Colonel's Bequest you either need the installation diskettes or CD-ROM containing the game. Insert the first diskette or CD-ROM in your drive (we recommend to use a backup copy, especially if you use diskettes. Also note that if you are installing from diskettes, the first diskette should not be write protected).
If you are installing from diskettes, then mount your diskette drive to the A drive (we assume your diskette drive in Windows is A:,
which is usually the case) by entering the following command:
"MOUNT A: A:\" (press ENTER)
You can now install the game by entering the following commands: "A:" (press ENTER)
Finally start the installation by entering:
"INSTALL" (pressing ENTER)
Follow the instructions displayed on the screen (refer to the Configuring The Colonel's Bequest below for the best installation choices). Install the game to the same drive-letter that you chose to mount in the previous section.
If you are installing The Colonel's Bequest from CD-ROM (you probably own the Roberta Williams Anthology or King's Quest Collection
compilation then), you must first find out which drive-letter Windows assigned to your CD-ROM drive. You must mount this drive to
a DOSBox drive-letter. We recommend to map it to the same drive-letter in DOSBox as Windows did. For example if your CD-ROM is on drive E,
you'd enter the following command:
"MOUNT E: E:\" (press ENTER)
Refer to the manual to find out which command you must enter to install the game to your harddrive. Make sure to install the game to a drive-letter that you mounted in the previous section.
Configuring The Colonel's Bequest for use in DOSBox
Change to the drive by entering the drive-letter you mounted in the first section, plus a colon and press enter (for example, type "C:" (press Enter)
Change to the directory where the installation program installed the game by entering something like:
"CD\SIERRA\CB" (the installation directory depends on the release of the game you own. Refer to your game manual if you are not sure).
It's possible you have to run INSTALL.EXE once to change the settings to a configuration that DOSBox supports. Some CD-ROM releases may have omitted the Install program, in that case you can not change the game configuration in an easy way.
On the first selection screen of Install, choose "EGA/VGA with RGB Monitor - 16 colors"
DOSBox defaults to Sound Blaster 16 (SB16) compatibility. The SB16 was a soundcard that is fully compatible with the Ad Lib card that The Colonel's Bequest supports. Although the AdLib compatbility of DOSBox is not 100% accurate, the result is close enough. This means you should choose Ad Lib Music Synthesizer Card as your soundcard in the Install utility, as in the following screenshot:
Advanced users can configure DOSBox to GameBlaster (CMS) compatbility or even Tandy compatbility, but those options are inferior to the Ad Lib soundcard, so we will not describe the procedure to do this here. DOSBox currently does not offer Roland MT32 or Roland LAPC emulation, which are the ultimate sound options that The Colonel's Bequest supports.
In the third selection menu, choose the "IBM or IBM-compatible keyboard"
In the fourth selection menu, we recommend to not use the joystick by choosing "NO". A joystick is in our eyes not useful in The Colonel's Bequest at all.
Even though The Colonel's Bequest makes use of a keyboard text-parser, the mouse is, unlike a joystick/gamepad, a very handy device in Colonel's Bequest . You can use the mouse to get descriptions of items and characters by right-clicking them. Therefore, we recommend to answer "YES" to the question if you want to use your mouse in the game.
When the Installation program asks on which drive you want to install the game, simply press ESCape if you have already installed the game.
Playing The Colonel's Bequest
If you have not already done so, change to the drive and directory where you've installed The Colonel's Bequest to (see previous section for examples on how to do this).
"SIERRA" (press ENTER)
The game should now boot. Good luck!
Various hints and tips about DOSBox
Some versions of DOSBox shows a "DOSBox Status Window". Leave this window alone. Never close this window, as this will immediately crash the main DOSBox application.
Although DOSBox does not offer a real AUTOEXEC.BAT file like the real MS-DOS, you can enter commands that must be executed when starting DOSBox by editing the "DOSBox.conf" file in your DOSBox installation folder using Windows Notepad (often this file can be accessed in the DOSBox program group in the Start-menu of Windows). Scroll to the [autoexec] section of this file and add the commands that you want automatically executed when starting DOSBox after that line. It's a good idea to enter the various MOUNT commands for your computer here, so you don't have to enter them every time manually when starting DOSBox.