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Software Issue Loading Dark Castle

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I have a Macintosh Plus that I can play my Dark Castle game on no problem.Now I have a working IIsi that will load the 6.0.8 disk,but I get an error when I try to load the Dark Castle disk.The IIsi has no HD,so it can only run from the floppy drive.The 2 disks load perfectly on the Plus,but the IIsi will only load the OS and not the game.


I tried it on my working LCII,and I get the same problem.No HD on that one either,but the OS disk loads just fine.It's just when I try to load the game disk is when the error message occurs.


I'm pretty sure these newer Macs can play this game,but can't understand why the OS will load onto them but not the game.Again,it works just fine on my Plus.


What am I doing wrong here?There has to be a way to get Dark Castle running on this IIsi and the LCII.


I'm just a novice here,so please go easy on me.

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The operating system bundled with the Dark Castle disk is likely too old for your IIsi to boot.  You could boot from the 6.0.8 disk, then swap disks after it's booted (the machine will continue to run without the boot disk.)  But keep in mind you'll be doing quite a bit of disk swapping before the game starts.


Another option is if you have an extra high density floppy disk, is to make a bootable System 6 disk, and to copy the Dark Castle files to the bootable System 6 disk.  Then you'll have a single disk that is both bootable and has Dark Castle on it.


Ultimately, you'll want a hard drive of some sort.


Does your LC not have a HDD either?

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Please if you can show us a screen shot of the error. Likely, it is the usual error message about memory allocation. First, DC/BDC were designed to play on the 68000 and the were written in assembly language. They use a minimal, custom System file to boot the machine and run (usually). Using other systems is haphazard and can create memory address issues, especially machines that run in 32-bit mode with more than 8 MB RAM. The only way I know to reliably fix this is to play the game on original 68000 hardware that can run the custom System file that DC/BDC came with. It is likely that System file

is a derivative of System 4 if memory serves, and that will not run on an LCII or IIsi. You must be using it with another System file.


Alternatively, you can try and have DC start the way it was intended: with no Finder. Set startup with the DC application set to open via the Special menu (if you need instructions, we can help). You can give that a go.

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I'll try a walkthrough of the whole process.

There may be two problems to get around:

1. compatibility of the Dark Castle game itself

2. compatibility of the System Folder of your game disk.


1: Early game versions are designed for compact 68000 Macs (think MacPlus) but may or may not run on slightly newer Macs. Anyway, there is a version available that works even with MacOS 9. I downloaded it from macintoshrepository.org and it worked. You may try different versions on your custom created startup disk (see 2.)


2. Your game came on a bootable disk. So no other boot device is required. That's what you need. Likely the system version on these disks is older than 6.0.6/6.0.7 which is the minimum for the IIsi (needs to be even newer for the LC II). Since you don't have another boot device you need to make your own Dark Castle startup and game disk.


My first try would be producing an HD floppy (1.4 MB) with disk name and file layout identical to the original game disk but with updated system, game and file versions.

So copy the Finder and System file from a known working IIsi boot-disk to your new HD-floppy, name it "Dark Castle 1". Make sure you can boot from your new disk. Now copy all the Dark Castle files - either from your original game disk or from a newer version - to the new HD floppy. You may need to try different versions available until you succeed.

Probably even the file on the second game disk ("Data B") may fit onto your new one. Just be sure that the game application and all the game files are in the same folder (or no folder at all as in the MFS formatted ur-version of DC). You may end up with just one disk "Dark Castle 1" that holds your System software (System and Finder) and all your game files. That's it.


If the "Data B" file does not fit you will have to use the second game floppy "Dark Castle 2". This file got probably updated in newer game versions, so use the version that comes with the application you are using. Make sure both disks are named as in your game version.


Happy Gaming! DC is real iconic. I'm not a gamer but I'm still enjoying Dark Castle.

Edited by dan.dem
Typos, wording
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As a reference, I run Dark Castle on my SE/30 booted into 6.0.8. I have an original boxed copy. I have never actually tried booting from the disk; I always boot from HD and then start the game.

It does not work however, if I use ‘040 accelerators in the SE/30. 

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Yeah I think that’s because Dark Castle used the alternate screen buffer for some of its animations (fireplace possibly; rippling water and lighting in the intro scene definitely).  That was deprecated sometime after the Mac Plus.  It would have caused a crash if not patched, maybe that’s what some of the later versions did.

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On 11/20/2020 at 4:11 PM, Crutch said:

Will Dark Castle even run on a IIsi or LC-series?  I know it won’t run on my SE/30.  I had thought it requires 512x342 and a pretty-old ROM but maybe I’m not giving it enough credit ...


Strange! I can run Dark Castle on both my SE/30 and IIsi running 7.0.1...

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As previously mentioned in this thread, there are several versions of Dark Castle available. Newer ones even run under System 9.


Earlier expect the memory layout of the original Macintosh which was carried over until the Mac SE, I think, (possibly also the original Classic) but was changed with Mac II and LC-class Macs. Hence updated game versions had to be built. Just search the Garden and Repository.

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