DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

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MrFlibble
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DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » August 27th, 2012, 3:28 pm

Being a long-time old school flight sim fan, I've decided to make a list of playable demo versions of DOS flight sims that can be found on the net. This is probably still incomplete, and includes a variety of original internet downloads as well as special CD releases*:

Air Power: Battle in the Skies
Aircraft: various (fictional)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Mindscape International
Type: Playable & Self-Running Demo
Video mode(s): VGA, SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download: airdemo.zip

Air Warrior
Aircraft: various (WWII era)
Developer: Kesmai Corporation
Publisher: On-Line Entertainment
Type: Online game client /w single-player capability
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: PCAIRWA1.ZIP, PCAIRWA2.ZIP

Apache
Aircraft: AH-64D Apache Longbow
Developer: Digital Integration
Publisher: Interactive Magic
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA, SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: apchdem1.zip

Black Knight: Marine Strike Fighter
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
Developer: SE Software
Publisher: FormGen
Type: Shareware
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Download v1.1: BKSE11A.ZIP, BKSE11B.ZIP
Download v1.2: BKSE12A.ZIP, BKSE12B.ZIP
Download v1.3: BKSE13A.ZIP, BKSE13A.ZIP
Download v1.33: BKSE13A.ZIP, BKSE13B.ZIP

Dawn Patrol
Aircraft: various (WWI era)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Empire Interactive Entertainment
Type: Playable & Self-Running Demo
Video mode(s): VGA, SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download programme disk (installer): PATROL
Download preinstalled VGA version: DAWNL.ZIP
Download preinstalled SVGA version: DAWNH.ZIP
Download preinstalled SVGA version (folder): DPATROL

Evasive Action
Aircraft: various
Developer: Particle Systems
Publisher: Mindscape Internaitonal
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Download: eacdemo.zip

F-15 Strike Eagle III
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
Developer: MicroProse Software
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Type: Playable & Self-Running Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: f15se3.zip

F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter 2.0
Aircraft: Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk
Developer: MicroProse Software
Publisher: MicroProse Software
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: f117ad.zip

F-22 Lightning II
Aircraft: Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor
Developer: NovaLogic
Publisher: NovaLogic
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: F22DEMO.EXE

Falcon 3.0
Aircraft: General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
Developer: Sphere
Publisher: Spectrum Holobyte
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: FALCON3.ZIP

Fighter Duel
Aircraft: various (WWII era)
Developer: Jaeger Software
Publisher: Philips Interactive Media
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download: fddem2.zip
Download (split): FDDEM10A.ZIP, FDDEM10B.ZIP

Fighter Duel Special Edition
Aircraft: various (WWII era)
Developer: Jaeger Software
Publisher: Infogrames Multimedia
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download: fddem3.zip

Flying Corps
Aircraft: various (WWI era)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Empire Interactive Entertainment
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download v1.00b (folder): FLY

Great Air Battles: Remember Pearl Harbor
Aircraft: various (WWII era)
Developer: Charles B. Law
Publisher: N/A
Type: Shareware
Video mode(s): VGA
Download v2.1: GAB-V21.ZIP
Download v2.5: GAB_V25.ZIP

Gunship 2000
Aircraft: various (modern)
Developer: MicroProse Software
Publisher: MicroProse
Type: Playable & Self-Running Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: gsplay.zip

HIND: The Russian Combat Helicopter Simulation
Aircraft: Mil Mi-24 "Hind"
Developer: Digital Integration
Publisher: Interactive Magic
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download: hind2.zip

JetFighter III
Aircraft: various (modern)
Developer: Mission Studios
Publisher: Mission Studios
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download pre-release test/demo: jf3test.exe
Download demo v1.22: jf3dem.exe
Download demo v1.29: JF3DEM.EXE
Download demo update: jf3demp2.exe
Download demo v1.31: JF3DEM.EXE

LHX Attack Chopper
Aircraft: various (modern, fictional)
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: LHXDEMO.ZIP

Overlord
Aircraft: various (WWII era)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Type: Playable and Self-Running Demo
Video mode(s): VGA, SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download program disk: LORD1.ZIP
Download SVGA graphics disk: LORD2.ZIP

Su-25 Stormovik
Aircraft: Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot"
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Download: SU25DEMO.ZIP

Su-27 Flanker
Aircraft: Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker"
Developer: Flying Legends
Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Download: SU27.ZIP
Download (folder): SU27

Thunderhawk AH-73M
Aircraft: AH-73M Thunderhawk (fictional)
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Core Design
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: THUNDER.ZIP

Wings of Glory
Aircraft: various (WWI era)
Developer: Origin Systems
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): VGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download: WOGDEMO.ZIP
Download CD demo: link

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MrFlibble
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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » August 29th, 2012, 8:47 am

MrFlibble wrote:Flying Corps
Aircraft: various (WWI era)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Empire Interactive Entertainment
Type: Playable Demo
Video mode(s): SVGA
MobyGames: link
Wikipedia: link
Download v1.00b (folder): FLY
This demo apparently originates from the Computer Gaming World CD #156 (July 1997). I have no idea if Rowan released any downloadable demo of the same game - original distributions of their stuff are all quite hard to find!

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » December 25th, 2012, 8:19 am

Found two more playable demo versions:

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe
Type: Playable Demo
Download: SECWULFT.ZIP

Tornado
Type: Playable/Self-Running Demo
Download: TORNAD_D.ZIP
Download (UK version): TORNADO.ZIP

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DOSGuy
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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by DOSGuy » December 26th, 2012, 8:15 am

I've had the Jet Fighter III v1.22 demo on my hard drive for over a year. I played Jet Fighter II on my mother's massive 286 laptop from work when I was little, so I was really excited to add this game. I didn't remember what the problem had been, so I tried it again just now.

First of all, you must type "jf3dem.exe -d" in order to preserve the directory structure if you run it from the command line in DOSBox. The user has no way of knowing that this is a self-extracting PKUnzip file before running it, and has no indication of why the game won't work if they fail to use the "-d" argument, so I think there may have originally been a batch file that handled the unzip for them.

Once successfully unzipped, the demo will refuse to run if the system date is after January 18, 1997. A message is displayed about getting the latest demo from Interplay or Mission Studios' websites, and then it deletes five files from the SIMDATA directory (JF3X03.DAT, JF3X06.DAT, JF3X12A.DAT, JF3X13.DAT, JF3X14.DAT) to prevent you from changing the system time and trying again.

(On that note, it appears to be impossible to change the date in DOSBox, so you have to actually change your system time before starting DOSBox. I think this makes a good case for the need for a DATE function in DOSBOX. I see that it has been added to ykhwong's build.)

Once the system date has been set to January 18, 1997 or earlier, the game attempts to run, but then fails with:

Code: Select all

MISSION FILE NOT FOUND OR TOO BIG
MISSION INITIALIZATION ERROR
press any key
I tried running the SETUP program and successfully set the sound and music card to SoundBlaster 16, but that changed nothing. I also noticed that one of the files in the CACHE directory had a .TXT extension instead of .TER, but changing it also did nothing.

I tried mounting the folder as a CD-ROM in case the demo expects to be on a CD and needs MSCDEX, but that had no effect. The readme.txt claims that the demo requires a Pentium 90, so I tried changing the core to "pentium_slow" to report a Pentium CPUID, but that had no effect. I also tried ykhwong's build, but the same thing happened.

Then I wondered if the emulation was too fast when it automatically sets cycles to max when the EXE starts, so I set "cycles=5000" and tried again. The screen faded to black as usual, then stayed black for a while, then reported:

Code: Select all

MACHINE SPEED 31
press any key
Then I get bounced back to the command line. That's a totally different result, so speed seems to be an issue. Repeating with the same cycle count produced the same result, but setting cycles to 3000 returned "MACHINE SPEED 59". 10000 returned "15", and 12000 returned "13". The larger the cycle count, the smaller the "MACHINE SPEED" result. Setting cycles to 13000 or higher brings back the original "MISSION INITIALIZATION ERROR" message, it just takes longer to produce it. One final attempt at "cycles=1000" eventually returned "MACHINE SPEED 59" again. So, I can either fail quickly or slowly, but I can't get this demo to run, which is why it wasn't added to the site in June 2011.

I finally gave up on v1.22 and tried the v1.31 from FilePlanet. This version doesn't care what the date is, but it fails with the same error message. Changing the cycle counts still doesn't help.

Version 1.31 comes with a file called JF3WIN.EXE, but I can't run it on my 64-bit OS because it's apparently 16-bit. I tried running it in Windows 3.1 but it failed so quickly that I couldn't read the error message. Finally, I copied the files into my Windows 95 disk image and booted it in DOSBox. The DOS executable still fails, but I can finally get JF3WIN to run. (Why does it work in Win95 and not Win3.1 if it's 16-bit? The icon displays normally in Windows 7 64-bit, so I think JF3WIN.EXE is 32-bit, but then it runs the 16-bit files that the DOS version uses.)

I want you to know that I really appreciate these lists that you and others post in the forum, and I would love to add them all to the site. The problem is that it seems like, more often than not, the demos I try don't work, and I waste a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to get them to work. I know that you have a life too, but it would be really appreciated if you could try these files out and report if you got them to work, and any special steps you had to take to get them to work, when you post them.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » December 26th, 2012, 1:10 pm

DOSGuy wrote:I want you to know that I really appreciate these lists that you and others post in the forum, and I would love to add them all to the site. The problem is that it seems like, more often than not, the demos I try don't work, and I waste a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to get them to work. I know that you have a life too, but it would be really appreciated if you could try these files out and report if you got them to work, and any special steps you had to take to get them to work, when you post them.
Well, truth be told, I've also tried to run the various versions of the demo without success, but did not have the time to figure out what's wrong with them. However, IIRC I managed to get to the mission selection screen, after which the game would give error messages, while you seem to have had errors even prior to the game being launched properly.

That, however, is one of the rare cases when something does not work. Hopefully there is a way to tweak DOSBox settings or the game files to make it workable. Most, if not all, other demo versions worked fine for me. True, Wings of Glory for example did not like the Taewoong build v0.71 I use, so I had to install a regular v0.72, and I think I also had to disable EMS (which is suggested in the readme file that is supplied), but then everything worked just fine.

There is also another consideration why I keep these lists, it's not just for the possibility of playing the demo versions and/or adding them to the site, but also to preserve the files, even if currently there is no way to properly play them. Many files from that time have already vanished from the net, and some may not become publicly accessible soon (like the contents of the MicroProse FTP mirror that was removed from GameFront - apparently for server space and/or maintenance reasons).

This is also why I posted this list as a separate thread, and not in the "Game wishlist" section.

Speaking of troubles running a demo, I think I had not mentioned that I gave up trying to make Rowan's CD demo of Flying Corps work, because it seems to have some hard-coded flaw that cannot be remedied without hacking the EXE (I've discussed the problem in certain detail here).

I understand that failing consistently to run a demo version (or generally a programme) feels like a waste of time and might be frustrating. However, from the point of view of research, a negative result is also a valid result. It is reasonable to believe that the problems with JF3 are caused by certain flaws in DOSBox emulation and/or configuration, rather than the fact that the programme itself is inherently unrunnable (the developers did test it on one or probably several configurations, didn't they?).
DOSGuy wrote:On that note, it appears to be impossible to change the date in DOSBox, so you have to actually change your system time before starting DOSBox. I think this makes a good case for the need for a DATE function in DOSBOX. I see that it has been added to ykhwong's build.
This is in fact one of the reasons I use Taewoong's builds as the default DOSBox version.
DOSGuy wrote:First of all, you must type "jf3dem.exe -d" in order to preserve the directory structure if you run it from the command line in DOSBox. The user has no way of knowing that this is a self-extracting PKUnzip file before running it, and has no indication of why the game won't work if they fail to use the "-d" argument, so I think there may have originally been a batch file that handled the unzip for them.
Well, to address this issue, I usually try to one any installer EXE with WinRAR or 7zip, since in many cases those are just self-extracting archives that use a common format (usually ZIP, ARJ or LHA, sometimes also RAR). ZIP SFX archives have this thing they can't be made to extract paths without an external parameter being used. Most of the time this information is mentioned in the supplied readme file, sometimes there are batch files.

To sum up,
DOSGuy wrote:The problem is that it seems like, more often than not, the demos I try don't work, and I waste a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to get them to work. I know that you have a life too, but it would be really appreciated if you could try these files out and report if you got them to work, and any special steps you had to take to get them to work, when you post them.
I'm sorry that you had wasted time trying to run some of the demo versions (I'd like to stress one more time that most of the games I've mentioned worked fine for me without any tweaks or additional efforts), but then again, there is no sure way to learn if a programme works or not without someone having to try and run it. And, since DOS emulation provided by DOSBox is not perfect yet, a negative result is also an accomplishment - once a new version becomes available it might be worth to try running the demo again.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by DOSGuy » December 26th, 2012, 4:21 pm

I agree with all of that. I was just describing my experience trying to get JTF3 running so that others may be able to help, and asking if you can test the demos in DOSBox before or after posting them, if you have the time, so we can know if we should expect them to work or not. If they're playable, I'd be more than happy to add them to the site. I seem to have bad luck, though. I would have loved to add those Wing Commander demos to the site, but that didn't work out, and now it was the same thing the Jet Fighter III. If you (or anyone else reading this thread) can help me find the ones that work, or figure out how to make them work, I can add them to the site. I have enough free time to add games to the site when things go smoothly.
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by Hallfiry » December 26th, 2012, 4:59 pm

JF3 1.22 worked for me in DOSBox. I only had to change the windows time.
I got the demo from Riki 1-2/97 (found on my website).

I'm using DOSBox v0.74
Last edited by Hallfiry on December 26th, 2012, 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by DOSGuy » December 26th, 2012, 5:49 pm

Well #@$& me. I was trying to run JF3X.EXE the whole time because JF3DEMO.EXE and JF3DEMO0.EXE wouldn't do anything when the date was greater than January 18, 1997. (JF3X.EXE was the only one to throw up the message about getting a new demo from the internet, etc.) Indeed, with the date set correctly, JF3DEMO.EXE will run the game. Thanks Hallfiry!
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » December 27th, 2012, 2:42 pm

Hallfiry, thanks for saving the day ^_^

DOSGuy, I would love to be able to provide working, stable releases for each and every game, but I also do have other considerations to tend to, and do not always have the time to test stuff. I, too, sometimes post links here in hopes that someone may have better luck running those games, even if they did not work for me.

Finding demo/shareware distributions is often work in itself, so I try to stick to the assumption that public releases are generally stable, provided that the distribution contents are intact.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » December 28th, 2012, 10:00 am

Found a copy of the enitre Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe/Battle of Britain demo disk from Lucasflim Games: SWOTL.ZIP

Most other packages I found at cd.textfiles.com are incomplete (apparently whoever zipped them forgot to add commands to recurse subdirectories and add contents), making the demo versions unplayable. The one I linked to in my previous post does work though, but it's very clearly not the original thing, and it also lacks the non-interactive demo of The Battle of Britain.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » January 17th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Tornado: Operation Desert Storm
Type: Playable Demo
Download: DSDEMO.ZIP

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » March 30th, 2016, 7:37 am

I've updated some of the links in the first post, and added a download link for JetFighter III demo v1.29 and a demo patch.

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Re: DOS Combat Flight Sim Playable Demos

Post by MrFlibble » October 5th, 2016, 8:03 am

Further on the topic of JetFighter III, the v1.31 demo which used to be available from FilePlanet does not have the annoying expiration date issue and thus works fine. I've found a copy of this file via ArchiveTeam's site and re-uploaded it here: JF3DEM.EXE

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