Lands of Lore Guardians of Destiny is a PC game from Westwood Studios, Inc. that was released in 1997 for DOS and Windows 95. I purchased a copy in 1998, if I remember the year correctly. It contained 4 CD-ROMs.
As far as I know, you should buy a copy of the game in order to play it. It is not free. The following assumes that you own a copy of the game.
If you want to learn more about the game and you want to download it for various reasons (for example any one of the CD-ROMs is scratched and no longer working), you can visit any of the following two links.
If you download the game from any one of the two links above, I will show you what to do next in order to install it in a modern version of Windows.
Any of the two links above will allow you to download the following two files:
These are zipped files in the 7z (7-Zip) format and you should already have a file archiver utility in your PC (like 7-Zip or WinRAR) in order to unzip them. Right-click on the first file, choose the file archiver utility you want from the context menu and it will unzip both files, on after the other, without you having to point the second file to it.
After unzipping the two files, a folder structure will emerge, comprised of the following folders:
Each of the first four folders contains one of the CD-ROMs of the game, in an mdf/mds format. This format is used in order to contain the content of one CD-ROM disc. The .mdf file has a large size and the .mds file has a small size.
You can use a utility like Alcohol 52%, Alcohol 120%, or PowerISO (or any other utility like them) to create virtual drive letters and drives, then mount these .mdf/.mds files and then install and run the game from the virtual drives.
In a modern Windows OS, the game may have trouble running, becuse it was developed for older Windows OS’s. To overcome any problems and to be able to run it on newer Windows OS’s, I recommend downloading an installing DOSBox, which is an x86 emulator with DOS. I recommend installing the game in DOSBox and running it from there. Not only that, but I also recommend to extract the content of the CD-ROMs (using Alcohol or PowerISO by mounting them first or simply extracting the contents, depending on the utility) and then use DOSBox’s ability to mount them as virtual drives.
In the rest of this blog post, I will show you how you can use DOSBox as a utility, like Alcohol or PowerISO, in order to mount a folder hierarchy as a virtual drive and then install and run the program contained in the folder/virtual drive. And, of course, you may mount more than one folder/virtual drive at once. In our case, since we have four CD-ROMs, we will want to mount all of them at the same time, so as not to be bothered with mounting and unmounting CD-ROMs during our game play.
Actually, this is a good practice, when you have to use applications that need one or more CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs. Suppose you need to install and use many applications and each one of those needs from 1 to 15 CD-ROMs in order to function. What would you do? Well, I will provide a method in the appendix at the end of this blog post, but you will understand the concepts and one way of proceeding just below.
The way of proceeding I am referring to is the use of DOSBox. Well, this method is valid only if we have DOS applications, whereas the methods I will show you in the appendix cover Windows applications. Since Lands of Lore Guardians of Destiny can run in DOS, we can use the DOSBox method I will now describe. DOSBox is not only an emulator that you can use to run DOS applications, but it also provides you with the ability to create virtual drives, just as Alcohol or PowerISO do. Thus, not only will we be able to run the game in a modern version of Windows (but inside DOSBox), but DOSBox will also allow us to mount the CD-ROMs of the game. So, we have a double win.
But, as far as I know, DOSBox does not support .mdf or .mds files, whereas it supports mounting folders with regular files. So, before mounting the CD-ROMs, we first have to extract each CD-ROM’s content to a different folder, using Alcohol or PowerISO (or any other similar utility).
Please note that we can skip this step and use Alcohol or PowerISO to mount the virtual drives. This way, DOSBox will reference these drives and we will only use DOSBox to install and run the game. We will not use DOSBox’s ability to mount the drives, since this function will be provided by Alcohol or PowerISO. But I find that it is better to avoid having yet another utility running and serving the CD-ROM content to DOSBox, when DOSBox is perfectly capable of doing this on its own.
So, let us begin.
Install Alcohol or PowerISO and extract the contents of each CD, either by mounting it and then copying it the contents, or just by extracting the contents from the .mdf of .mds file, depending on the utility you are using. Please note the volume label, because some games may check for it to find if it is available on the virtual volume you will create. The volume labels are LOLG_CD1, LOLG_CD2, LOLG_CD3, LOLG_CD4 fro the four CD_ROMs respectively. So, let us keep use these names to create four folders in the root of drive C: (bad practice by the way, since we are “polluting” the root namespace) and let us put in each folder the contents of the respective CD-ROM.
So we now have the following four folders, containing the contents of the four CD-ROMs:
We may now download and install DOSBox. The current version as of now is 0.74.
There are three main folders pertaining to DOSBox installation. First, we have the folder DOSBox-0.74 where the program is installed in the Program Files folder. Then we have the folder C:\dosbox\ which the program creates and considers its root, file system wise. When the program (DOSBox) starts, it sets the current directory there and you cannot go higher by “CD ..”. Lastly, there is the folder DOSBox in your user profile folder and under AppData\Local\. This folder is important because inside it you will find the dosbox-0.74.conf file, which stores the settings for the DOSBox configuration. Actually, you may need to change the following settings and set them as follows, in order for the game to function properly:
output=ddraw fullresolution=1920 X 1080 scaler=normal3x aspect=true
Please note that the fullresolution value is provided an example (and is the resolution of the screen that I am currently using). Please substitute the value “1920 X 1080” with the resolution of your screen.
The file dosbox-0.74.conf has a section at the end where you can put DOS and DOSBox commands and they will be executed each time DOSBox starts. We will not need to put any commands there. Whatever commands we may need, we will put them in batch files and execute them (by typing the name of each batch file) after DOSBox starts. To create and mount the necessary drives and to run the gane, we will need only one batch file.
Let us create the following batch file, named LOLG.BAT, in the C:\dosbox folder:
ECHO ON MOUNT -U D MOUNT -U E MOUNT -U F MOUNT -U G MOUNT D C:\LOLG_CD1 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD1 MOUNT E C:\LOLG_CD2 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD2 MOUNT F C:\LOLG_CD3 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD3 MOUNT G C:\LOLG_CD4 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD4
Please note that the batch file and I assume that the drive letters from D onwards are available.
We can run this batch file by typing its name in the DOSBox console. This batch file loads all four CD-ROMs. Actually, to install the game, we only needed to mount only the first CD-ROM. We can change the current drive to D and run setup.exe from there:
SETUP will create a folder named WESTWOOD in C:\DOSBOX\ (our root) and it will then install the game there.
Let me explain the commands in LOLG.BAT.
ECHO ON is for displaying the command that is executed.
UMOUNT is for unmounting the drive letter that follows the command. When you first run the batch file, after each time DOSBox starts, there is no need to run UMOUNT, because no drive letters will be mounted, (other than C:\DOSBOX as C:). But it is a good practice to unmount any drive letters that you are planning to mount, in case you may need to run the batch file more than once in a session, especially if there has been some other drive mounting in between.
MOUNT is for mounting the drive letter that follows the command. The contents of the folder that follows are the contents of the drive. -T specifies the mode that will be emulated. -LABEL specifies the volume label that will assigned to the drive volume. Please note that although DOSBox considers the file system root to be at C:\DOSBox, the DOSBox MOUNT command sees all your PC’s file system and disks, so the C:\DOSBox root does not apply to the MOUNT command.
After installation of the game is complete, you can change the LOLG.BAT as follows, in order to run the game:
ECHO ON MOUNT -U D MOUNT -U E MOUNT -U F MOUNT -U G MOUNT D C:\LOLG_CD1 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD1 MOUNT E C:\LOLG_CD2 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD2 MOUNT F C:\LOLG_CD3 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD3 MOUNT G C:\LOLG_CD4 -T cdrom -LABEL LOLG_CD4 C: CD \WESTWOOD\LOLG\ LOLG.EXE
So, by typing LOLG (you can always omit the .BAT extension for batch files) in the root of the DOSBox console, the game will run, having all CD-ROMs fully loaded – no need to change CD-ROMs during game play.
Please note that you can change DOSBox and the application that it runs from full screen to a window and vice versa by simultaneously pressing ALT and ENTER (holding ALT and pressing ENTER).
So you have seen how you can install and run a DOS application that uses one or more CD-ROMs. DOSBox is a great solution, because it is not only an emulator, but it also provides virtual drive creation and mounting capability.
So, if you have one or more DOS applications that you need to run, you can create a batch file for each of these applications. Each batch file will unmount the drive letters it needs to use for the application and then mount them using the folders that contain the contents of the respective CD-ROMs for the application.
Let us suppose that we have one DOS application that needs four drive letters, and another that needs six drive letters. To run any application, only one at a time, in any order, each batch file only needs to unmount and mount the drive letters the application needs. Say for example that we run the application that needs six drive letters. Its batch file will unmount and then mount the drive letters D, E, F, G, H, I. We exit this application and then we run the application that needs four drive letters. If its batch file unmounts all six drive letters and then mounts the four drive letters that it needs, then this is excellent. But even if its batch file unmounts only the four drive letters that the applications needs, it is fine. The drive letters H, I will remain mounted in the other applications contents, but they will be ignored by the current application.
Actually, the perfect way to do this is to create a file with the drive letters that you want to have available for mounting and unmounting. Then each batch file will read this file and unmount each and every one of these drive letters, before mounting any drive letters that the respective application needs. This way, you can adjust the available drive letters from time to time and from PC to PC. But you do not have to go to such extremes, since I already explained that it is perfectly fine for each batch file to unmount and mount only the amount of drive letters that the application needs, leaving any (higher) drive letters as they were from any previous use of other applications that needed more drive letters. Another idea is to create a batch file that only unmounts all drive letters you may want. You may run it whenever you want and each application batch file can call it at its beginning.
What you cannot do with this method, is run both applications simultaneously. Actually, if you need to run two or more such applications simultaneously, you should create a batch file that loads all CD-ROMs for these applications. There is a limit to this practice, thought, since only 26 drive letters can exist (the English alphabet has this limit) and also, some of these drive letters are used, like C: for the actual hard disk of the PC.
DOSBox can be used for DOS applications. What can we do if we want to accomplish the same results for Windows applications? What can we do if we want to run lots of applications, one at a time (that is the restriction), when each application needs one or more CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs to be mounted?
In this case, we will again use batch files to unmount and mount the contents of the respective CR-ROMs or DVD-ROMs, but we will not use DOSBox, since DOSBox can only run DOS applications.
One method we can use is the command line SUBST command. Just like DOSBox’s MOUNT command, SUBST mounts a drive letter with the contents of the folder you specify. And this command line command comes with the operating system – no need to install anything extra. The following batch file prepares the PC to run RIVEN, using the drive letters P through T, after I copied the contents of the five RIVEN CD-ROMs in five respective folders:
SUBST P: /D > NUL SUBST Q: /D > NUL SUBST R: /D > NUL SUBST S: /D > NUL SUBST T: /D > NUL SUBST P: "C:\RIVEN1" SUBST Q: "C:\RIVEN2" SUBST R: "C:\RIVEN3" SUBST S: "C:\RIVEN4" SUBST T: "C:\RIVEN5"
Another method is to use Alcohol to create .mdf/.mds files from the contents of your CD-ROMs. Then specify how many virtual drives you want to have. Lastly, you can use batch files to unmount and mount these files, using Alcohol’s command line program AxCmd, that Alcohol provides exactly for this kind of automation.
The following batch file assumes that I used Alcohol 52% to specify that my PC will have (at least) 5 virtual drives. The 5 .mds files that correspond to the 5 RIVEN CD-ROMs are in the folder C:\Games\Alcohol\. The batch file will prepare the PC to run RIVEN and will load the five .mds files, each one at the next available virtual drive.
C: CD "C:\Program Files\Alcohol Soft\Alcohol 52" AxCmd 1: /U AxCmd 2: /U AxCmd 3: /U AxCmd 4: /U AxCmd 5: /U AxCmd 1: /M:C:\Games\Alcohol\Riven1.mds AxCmd 2: /M:C:\Games\Alcohol\Riven2.mds AxCmd 3: /M:C:\Games\Alcohol\Riven3.mds AxCmd 4: /M:C:\Games\Alcohol\Riven4.mds AxCmd 5: /M:C:\Games\Alcohol\Riven5.mds
Thus, in this blog post you learnt what to do if you have lots of applications that each requires lots of CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs and you want to run each application, (one application at a time), without having to physically insert and remove disks. The obvious downside is that you need an amount of disk space roughly equal to the size of the contents of all the disks of all the applications.