We’re writing the year 1997. Small Ginchen is about fifteen years old, when “Cryo Interactive” release the first game of the “Atlantis” series. We had a PlayStation 1, and someone gave us a few games for it – including “Atlantis”. It wasn’t particularly comfortable to play an adventure game with the control pad, but I liked the game so much that I gladly took on this burden.
Since then I have wanted to play this beautiful game again – but please, on the computer. So I bought it in the shop one day, but it wouldn’t start. I tried every tip I could find, but never managed to get the game running. Until now! And since, over the years, I have read from so many people that they are having the same problems and therefore can’t play their beloved “Atlantis”, I will put down in writing how I got it to work.
The first obstacle one might stumble over when starting the game is this error message:
“Restart with CD 1 in the drive.”
Depending on the version, however, you might also get the error message in French:
“Redémarrer avec le CD 1 dans le lecteur.”
The solution: If you have two (or more) CD drives, you have to put the “Atlantis” disk into the first one. (Obviously, the game was made at a time when multiple CD drives were something completely unimaginable.) If you don’t have a CD at all, but instead want to play from an image file using “Daemon Tools” or similar, you have to change the drive letter of the virtual drive so it comes before the real CD drive in the alphabet. Here’s how:
Right click on “My Computer” → “Manage” → “Storage” → “Disk Management”
Then right click the drives in question and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.
Now I was able to actually start the game for the first time after all these years – but it kept minimizing itself every two seconds, and I ended up on the desktop. Here, the Windows compatibility settings can help: In the game directory (by default
C:\CRYO\ATLANTIS), right click
Atlantis.exe, go to “Properties” → “Compatibility”, and select “Run in 256 colors”. (If that still doesn’t help, you can also try the checkboxes for “visual themes”, “desktop composition” or different settings under “compatibility mode”.) It might just run now, and you can happily start playing. In this case, have fun!
However, it may also be that the game starts now, but the image is unidentifiable and full of stripes. Now there’s either good or bad news: For the CD version, there is a graphics patch; for the DVD version, there isn’t. So if you have the DVD version, you sadly have to give up at this point. If you search for “Atlantis” on certain sites, you will indeed come across a number of download possibilities for the CD version, like here, for example. But, unfortunately, these things are illegal. Too bad!
Now, if you own the CD version, you can simply download this patch and overwrite your old
cryo.dll with the new ones from the ZIP archive. Remember: For this new
Atlantis.exe, you must again set the compatibility to 256 colors before starting!
Finally, there is one more problem: Eventually, when you try to enter the elevator to the hangar, you will be prompted to insert CD 2. Unfortunately, the game crashes with an error message when doing that. The simplest solution to this problem is to download the next savegame right after the CD change. Now open the “Atlantis” folder, where there should be no more than 26 .gam files at this time, and add the new savegame
pa27.gam. After that you can load the elevator scene in the game via Escape → “Load game”.
Now everything should finally work. Only the animations of characters and mouse cursors run far too fast on modern computers, which looks extremely stupid most of the times. While there are some “CPU slowing tools” on the web, I’ve tried several of them, but to reduce the animations to a normal speed, I had to create so much CPU load that everything else (such as rotations, movements, video sequences etc.) became too jerky. So I think it’s better to just live with it. It’s not that bad, and you get used to it quite quickly. ;)
And now enjoy this beautiful, somewhat “MYST”-like game! (Actually, one of the sounds from the soundtrack strongly resembles the one from “MYST”, when you just travelled to a different world with a book.)
While we’re already at it: The game has an, in my opinion, exceptionally beautiful soundtrack, which was even released as an album. It consists mostly of quiet, meditative sounds, good for relaxing and dreaming. My favorite: “Back to Atlantis“, which I’ve never gotten out of my head again since 1997.
Be sure to click and listen to the previews!
Finally, here are a few screenshots that I’ve made while playing. Click through them, if you like. :)