Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting the FMV to Play in Tomb Raider II

A few days ago I snagged the Sold-Out version of Tomb Raider II on eBay for the paltry sum of €3.68. Despite the seller randomly deciding to add "Antrim" to my address, today it dropped through my letterbox. Being an older Windows game I was expecting some problems running it on (the admittedly outdated itself) Windows XP SP3. The game itself I managed to get going easily enough by running it in compatibility mode for Windows 98. The problem was the FMVs, which all froze after playing for about a second.

As all members of the PC gaming master race know, getting the game running is half the fun, so pulling up Google, I proceeded to trawl through long abandoned forum topics and Tomb Raider fan sites looking for some solutions to my problem. After a while I came across and old freeware program Eidos apparently released called ESCAPEplay, a video player for their FMV file format at the time.

One forum poster had managed to get the FMVs playing after copying all the DLL files from ESCAPEplay's folder and pasting them into the Tomb Raider II folder. This sounded like it might be worth a try, though I suspected that only a few of the DLL files installed would actually be needed. Sure enough, Tomb Raider II's intro movie finally played after I copied the files to its directory and after a quick bit of experimentation I found that the only DLL file the game actually needed to play FMVs was winplay.dll

This isn't however a perfect solution to the problem; The intro still froze on me once and about half the time a Windows XP window appears around the video. Still, it's definitely better than nothing.

Lara's butt in all its low res glory. You know, to show that the FMV works.

So, to sum up here's what you need to do:
  1. Download ESCAPEplay.You can find it on Tomb Raider Hub here.
  2. Open the ESCAPEplay zip file and unzip winplay.dll to the directory Tomb Raider II is installed in.
Remember, I'm running the Sold-Out version of the game on Windows XP Service Pack 3 . Depending on which version of the game you have and your hardware and software setup, your milage may vary with this method. Good luck!

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