Finally: Dungeon Keeper 2

Although Dungeons sucks as much as it does, it whetted my appetite for the Good Old Days™ of playing Dungeon Keeper 2. Once again, I ventured out into the vast jungle of forums and tech websites to find a way to play DK on Windows Vista without crashes. It took about 5 hours of reading, copy&paste, installing and deinstalling and two boxes of cookies…. but it’s working! Yes, finally! Here’s how:

1. Get the Game: I downloaded it here. As they say:

This is considered abandonware and free to share for the following reasons:

  • You cannot buy this anywhere in the world
  • The makers have abandoned the IP (Dungeon Keeper)
  • The game is over 6 years old

2. Get the latest Virtual Box. I tried Windows VirtualPC, and no matter what I did, it sucked, failed to do the things they said it should, and it was generally impossible to find help or the files I needed for the “Additions”. So use VirtualBox, it worked instantly and has been satisfying so far.

3. Get a copy of Windows XP. I tried Win98, but even with workarounds, it’s super slow on the VirtualBox, since it officially doesn’t run on it at all. Windows XP, however, worked a charm.

4. Follow the instructions on VirtualBox (in the help file, on the web) to create a Virtual Machine and install Windows XP on it.

5. Boot it up, and use the “Host-Button” (Right Ctrl by default) to get control of the window from the host computer again. Click “Devices” (or whatever it’s called in the English version, the menu in the middle) and install the Guest Additions. “Guest” here, for newbies out there like me, refers to the operating system inside the Virtual Box, i.e. WinXP. This should start an installation inside WinXP with the Guest Additions, which, in turn, provide drivers and other stuff. I still can’t get the “Shared Folders” working though.

6. Once that is done, and your display settings are to your satisfaction, insert the Dungeon Keeper 2 CD (if you burned the .iso image) or simply mount the .iso in the “Devices” menu. You can now access the CD normally, probably the autostart will have booted up already.

7. Install DK2! Then click on the icon on the desktop and go to the compatibility settings. I chose “Win 98 / Win ME” as compatibility, “run in 256 colours” and “disable visual themes”.

8. That’s it! From there on, I was able to start the game normally. The window is very small, and sometimes this causes mouse confusion, but the game runs smoothly, graphics, sound and all. Sometimes the voice of the speaker “jams” a little, but it’s not too annoying. The game’s massive fun, and especially the sandbox mode is always great to just mess around with rooms and sending heroes through endless mazes! Enjoy!

I also found this thread on the Virtual Box forums, if you need more suggestions for old retro games to play 😀 Among them are Diablo 1+2, Starcraft, Caesar III…. oh dear, I need to study!