Playing Warhammer Shadow of the Horned Rat on OS X

Recently GOG announced that they had re-released Warhammer Shadow of the Horned Rat (WSOTHR), it brought back great memories of playing this exciting strategy game in my childhood. I rushed over to purchase it only to find that it only worked on Windows. Due to my experience with WINE I was pretty sure I could get it working so I went ahead and purchased it and downloaded it. Unfortunately there are somethings I can’t fix and WSOTHR in WINE is one of them (see here) – the main issue was getting 256 colours to work in OS X.

After failing with WINE I went for the brute force approach – emulate an 90s PC on my Macbook, run Windows 95 and then run WSOTHR. First step was to get hold of the latest QEMU source and compile that on my Macbook – this was pretty easy though I recommend that you chose to only compile the 386 processor to save time, power and space.

Once you’ve got QEMU working I then got hold of a ISO of Win95, there are a number of places where you can find this – I suggest you search for Win95 and ISO and see what comes up. Roughly following this guide:

  1. Create a hard drive: $ qemu-img create -f qcow win95.disk 2G
  2. Run the emulator with the newly created hard drive as hda and the cdrom pointed to the Win95 ISO you’ve found. I recommend you go for a bit of ram as it’ll speed things up (see the -m 128)  $ qemu-system-i386 -L . -hda win95.disk -soundhw sb16 -M pc -m 128 –vga cirrus -cdrom win95_osr2_en.iso
  3. Install Win95 onto the hard drive, this took a couple of goes as it hung in a few places but finally managed to install.
  4. Boot up in to Win95, you might even get the classic tone coming through your speakerswin95boot
  5. Next you need to install some cirrus VGA drivers to get the display to use 256 colours as well as create a ISO (CD Image) for WSOTHR.
    1. Download an original copy of WSOTHR (obviously having purchased GOG or owning an original), again this is a matter of searching online
    2. I created a ISO image of WSOTHR as well as a cirrus driver (I used GD54461.41.EXE), I used Disk Utility on OS X, when you make an image ensure that you select CD/DVD Master and FAT as the format.
  6. Now you can boot Win95 but change the cdrom from the win95 iso to the newly created iso:  $ qemu-system-i386 -L . -hda win95.disk -soundhw sb16 -M pc -m 128 –vga cirrus -cdrom Master.iso
  7. You can now install the cirrus VGA driver, switch to 256 colours and then install WSOTHR
  8. Now you can play – CHARGE!

win95play

Conclusion – it runs pretty well, my Mid 2012 Macbook doesn’t burst in to fan while playing which is good though it isn’t the quickest running, you can turn some features on and off to see if that helps. The only real issue is that the cut scenes don’t work but this might be due to the copy of WSOTHR i’ve got. Otherwise I can now play an awesome game of my childhood/teens – it wouldn’t be difficult to install some other games such as C&C…