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Dark Wizard for the Sega CD

BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
edited August 2013 in Off-Topic
Hello, friends. :)

I just wanted to let y'all know that, inspired by the game music thread, and another thread in which I mentioned it, I went out on the internet this morning, and searched for a way to play Dark Wizard again.

Lo and behold, you can download it and play it for free!

You need three file resources, and the best place to get them all is here:

1) the emulator software that will play the game for you:

2) a thing called a "bios" file, that replicates the hardware of the Sega CD system:

3) the game itself:

And here's a very good tutorial about where to put all those resources:

There's one thing the tutorial doesn't tell you, and I only lucked into the solution by fiddling randomly. The Dark Wizard Download doesn't give you a proper .exe or "image" file of any kind. What you need to do is make a folder and name it "Sega". Then make a folder within that folder for the Fusion software, and name it "Fusion". Then, extract the .bios file into that folder.

Then, *and the video does not tell you this*, you need to extract your Dark Wizard .rar into the Fusion folder, but then, you need to right-click on *that* folder, and click "extract here", to unpack all those resources into the Fusion folder, even after having done the first extraction of the whole folder.

Once you have done that, your Fusion software will be able to find and load a .rar folder that is mysteriously labeled "Track".

Then the game will run.

And, oh, what a game it was/is! I am having more fun than I've had since 1995, when Baldur's Gate was nothing but a gleam in Bhaal's eye.

I can give all kinds of hints and tips, if anyone is interested. If anyone needs me, I think I'll be playing Dark Wizard now until BG2:EE comes out!


BTW: For roleplaying immersion, you *need* to find options, and turn ON "Battle Display: Real". That will change those boring, cold text results into glorious animated cartoons, with hit point bars displayed, fantastic music, and animations that grow as your "pieces" class advance! For some reason, nobody on YouTube who has posted about Dark Wizard seems to care about these glorious battle animations - I'm not even sure if they know that they exist!


  • TeflonTeflon Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 515
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    Wow, great work! Thank you so much for sharing this. You have made my day! :D
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    FYI, I kept getting a black screen when using the emulator.

    I found this website: VG Emulation for Newbies

    I had to use the BIOS file linked on that site to get the game to work. If anyone else runs into the same problem try that BIOS. Works great!!
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    @JLee, I had that same problem last night when I tried to repeat the procedure to get the game on my bedroom computer. Like you, I discovered another version of the BIOS file, and that one worked.

    Apparently, there are a lot of versions of the Sega CD BIOS, and different ones match different computers. So, if you get the black screen problem, try another BIOS from a different website, and that one might work, as @JLee said.

    BTW: I've read about another problem that some people have on some computers where the game will crash after the first map, and be unable to load up and continue to the next map. The solution is supposed to be to go to "Options" in Fusion, and check "Perfect Synchronization".

    I haven't had any trouble yet with the game being able to change to a new map, but I've had that checked from the start.

    Also, I had trouble at first finding the keyboard buttons to control the game. Your arrow keys move the cursor, the a, s, and d keys select menus and activate actions. The enter key is the Sega CD system start button, and also will skip over unwanted cutscenes. The tab button resets the game, so be careful not to push that unless you're ready to quit.

    If your BIOS supports it, F5 will "save state", which is like a quicksave button. F8 quick loads your last save state, so be careful not to push that by accident.

    If your BIOS does not support "save state", you can still save through the options menu, which will also light up "continue" on your start screen, for a quickload when you come back to the game. There is also a "system RAM" screen you can navigate to, where you can have multiple save files, just like a modern game.

    F9 through F12 will toggle sound modes.

    The backspace key puts the game on "fast forward", but that doesn't do anything in Dark Wizard except speed the music up, since it's a turn-based game.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    @belgarathmth who are you playing as first?
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    @JLee, I started Armer IX in the living room yesterday, and finished the first map. Then, when I went to bed, I started a game with Amon in the bedroom, before I went to sleep; except, I renamed him "Lestat", since the first time I played Dark Wizard in 1995, I was into Anne Rice, and I named him that back then.

    In 1995, I also did a run with Krystal, except I renamed her "Samantha", after the Bewitched character, because I thought she looked like that.

    The only one I've never played is Robin, so I might try a run with her this time around.

    I already noticed that the rumors about sidequests that you get in the towns are different, depending on which leader you're playing. Also, I figured out how to buy and equip new items, which I had never figured out before.

    I think a lot of people missed a lot of the features of this game by not experimenting with all the controls and screens.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    Here's a promising Let's Play I just found. I haven't watched enough yet to know if the guy's really good, but, the very first thing he does is to turn on Real Battle Animations! Yay!

    EDIT: Awww, he turned them off in video number two. I will *never* understand all the majority of Dark Wizard players who prefer to read text to watching all these delightful cartoons. He also has lost all his ambient sound effects, and doesn't even know it. :(
    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    Here's a new tip that can deeply affect your immersion with Dark Wizard:

    About sound effects: there is an entire set of sound effects that increase immersion. Every unit has a sound when it moves or attacks, there are lots of control beeps when you click on menu options, actions like resting or summoning units have cool little sound effects, and spell effects have sounds. In the Real Battle Animations, there are sounds for movement, for weapons and armor, and for spells.

    There is a problem in emulators and/or BIOS files, where, if you have the sound setting maxed out, the memory cache fills, and you lose half your sound environment. Set it on 2200 hz, NOT 4400. If it fills too quickly even then, and cuts off your "secondary" sound effects, you can save and restart to restore them.

    Now that I've discovered this, I *can't stand* the relative silence of playing without these sound effects present. It's like playing Dark Wizard while deaf, when they're not there.

    The music of this game is one of its shining strong points, but so are all those sound effects that you lose if you increase the sound "quality" in the emulator.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    I just encountered a bug in the download for Dark Wizard, where the animation file for an enemy bishop's Cold spell is missing in the Real Battle animations, which crashes the game when an enemy bishop tries to use it.

    The workaround I discovered, after some experimentation, is to turn off Real Battle animations (all together now, AWWW!), until the enemy bishop is defeated.

    I sincerely hope I don't discover any more missing animation files!

    BTW, if you have "save state" available in your BIOS, press F5 at the end of every turn, *before* you end turn to let the enemy take his turn. This will save you a lot of grief if you encounter any more game-crashing missing files in the game download.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    Dark Wizard play tip for today, 090213:

    In the screens that you access after winning a map, make sure you find the menu that says "Dispatch Guards". This is *very* important. *Always* leave five units from your army at the "Dispatch Guards" castle after every win, or else, the Demon Lords are going to take the castle from the map you just won, forcing you to backtrack, and retake territory.

    I do believe it also forces you to re-win your victories against Demon Lords that you just defeated.

    I just had the displeasure of defeating Aqua, having Quentin retaken, and having to go all the way back to Quentin to face Arachna. Now, I have to defeat Aqua all over again.

    So, again, *always* "Dispatch Guards" to every castle you've won, after every map win, unless you enjoy fighting over and over for the same territory.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    Oh dear...I have started map 2, sans guards. Oh well, more levels for the troops I suppose. I am playing Armer and having so much fun!

    Here's another tip. DO NOT hit the tab key. It reboots the system! (at least on my BIOS)
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    This is not going to be a productive week ;)
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    @JLee, LOL! I have to go teach some classes this morning, and I *have* to go to the grocery store, and mow the lawn, because I've been putting all that off for the whole long weekend playing Dark Wizard. I'll be hurrying through all the chores, because I'm looking forward to... you guessed it!...spending the whole evening playing Dark Wizard!

    Oh, and yes, the tab key is also the reset button in the BIOS I'm using.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    Dark Wizard play tip for 090313:

    Guarding your castles is very important, but also, it is very tricky to figure out the controls for it. After you win a map, you click on "Advance". It will say "Select a Map". You can choose to fight towards the east or towards the south. Pick one.

    Then, you will see a control at the bottom that says "Next Map". DON'T click it! Look and see if there are castle names above it. There could be one, two, or more. You need to post five units as guards at each and every castle name on that screen!

    Once you click on a castle name in the Advance/Select a Map screen, it will bring up your troop roster. Select the five lowest level troops to leave on guard duty, but I always have a whole freaking bunch of snakes in my army for this purpose. Snakes win and lose maps for you, and they make great castle guards. So, I always take my six highest level snakes (serpents or hydras), with me from map to map, and leave at least three low level snakes and dragon pups, or other slow moving, hard to advance troops, guarding my castles.

    IMPORTANT: Once you have selected your guard roster for each vulnerable castle, the control to lock in your choices is the enter key/start button. I had to do some hair-pulling experimentation to figure this out.

    As Armer IX, I don't like to leave centaurs on guard duty, because centaurs are Armer's special strong unit. Those always come with me, and I always have a bunch of them! Every leader gets one troop that is a Class Two unit upon summon, and for Armer, that is his alliance with the Centaurs. Every hero also gets some form of Snake ("Star Destroyer" in the water unit), some form of Flyer, some form of medium slow ground unit, a very difficult to raise but powerful if you do dragon unit, a fighter, a cleric, and a mage.

    Don't leave any of your special units on guard duty. Take very special care of your adventuring party. They are almost irreplaceable. You can hire other humanoids, but you have to somehow get them five levels up before they can even choose a class, and they are very weak and vulnerable until you find some way to do this.

    This game is so very tricky and hard, I don't think that a huge percentage of people who played it ever figured it out. But, my oh my, the rewards are so great if you do! (Assuming you like strategy games.) I think that Dark Wizard is Battle Chess times a thousand.


    About the sound effects that love to keep going silent:

    Nothing I could do in the SegaCD BIOS version 2.0 was stopping the loss of game sound effects, and that was starting to drive me crazy with frequent saving and reloading to restore them!

    I just, in desperation, looked up another BIOS, and changed my BIOS to version 1.*. So far, not only have the sound effects not been lost, but they are much louder in relation to the music. I think that older versions of the SegaCD BIOS are much more friendly to Dark Wizard than the newer versions.

    Also, I was worried that changing BIOS files might lose my saved game, but it didn't. Wherever in the emulator your saves are stored, it's not in the BIOS, so, if you are having frustrating technical issues of any kind, the first thing you should try is to change to a different version of the BIOS than the one that is giving you difficulties.

    I may not be able to play tomorrow, and I might be able to play Thursday night, but, I'll be spending my weekend fighting on for Cheshire, without a doubt! I haven't had this much fun with a game in ages!

    There's just something about Dark Wizard, for the select few who really figure it out and "get it", that makes it the best thing since sliced bread and Chess!
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    "One more turn" runs strongly in this one. So strongly in fact that it was not without physical pain that I had to rip my eyes from the screen before heading to the office today.

    I wonder if I have enough troops or too many.

    Also, I have not worked on leveling the leader at all (he leveled once just by way of casting a spell every turn).

    Can't wait til this evening when I can be reunited with this great game...
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    @JLee, believe me, I know just what you mean.

    On the leaders: I don't level mine, either, other than the two xp per turn he or she gets for casting Mass Heal, Megaheal, or Restore every turn.

    I look at the leader as being like the king in chess. It's a powerful piece, but if the king goes down, it's game over.

    In Dark Wizard, you also lose the game if any enemy unit takes the hex on top of your castle. I think the leader is the best equipped to single-handedly defeat any stray fast or flying unit that slips behind your lines and makes a beeline for your castle (and I've seen the AI do exactly that). Plus, it isn't worth it to risk his or her life.

    That's just my cautious playstyle, of course. Some players delight in raising the stakes and taking their "king" out on every map, going for a superhero with high levels.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited September 2013
    Well, shoot, I wanted to try a game with Robin to be run concurrently with my Armer IX game, and I thought I had found a way to do that by setting up two separate install folders, but no. There is something very, very wonky about the save file memory in the emulator/BIOS/game combo, so do NOT, I repeat, do NOT attempt to play any more that one hero at a time!

    This game is ginormous, and it is also very quirky about its save state memory.

    I just managed to lose my entire week's worth of play with Armer IX, just because I wanted to try playing for awhile with Robin.

    So, live and learn, I suppose.

    There's a "change files" button in the file management screen, but it doesn't seem to work properly.

    Oh, well. Be *very* careful with your saved Dark Wizard games. Play one hero at a time. Attempting to do modern file management with the game is likely to lose you an ungodly amount of hours of play!
    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    Here's a good walkthrough, faq, and guide website for anyone who gets into Dark Wizard enough to want to look up hints and other information:
  • Unit1evangelionUnit1evangelion Member Posts: 1
    this is a great post. i still own this game for the sega cd but i dont have a tv i can use it on because my tvs are all hdmi. so i followed all your instructions just one issue. when playing the game i dont hear the music when i am actually playing it and the music for this game is half of the memories :) anyone got any ideas how to help on this? i do have douns effects and there opening videos played correctly. just no music during the battle field.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    @Unit1evangelion That problem happened to a friend of mine. I think he had to change his bios. If you find my post above regarding "VG emulation for dummies" you might try downloading and using a new bios. I will ask him if he remembers what he did to get it to work.

    I remember at first he simply playef the soundtrack in windows media player until he fixed it :)
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    edited January 2014
    @Unit1evangelion, did you try toggling through the sound modes on F9 through F12? It could be that one of them will be compatible with your system where the others, including the default, are not.

    Also, check Options:Sound in the game to make sure you didn't accidentally toggle the music off.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    @Unit1evangelion Are you playing? Did you get it fixed? Inquiring minds want to know :)
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    Hi, I just started playing this old gem again, and it's as addictive as ever. I had to tear myself away from the computer to get something to eat and go to sleep, far too late last night, and it's been a long time since a game got me that engaged. The last time was probably last year with this same game when I made this thread.

    Pardon my casting of "Raise Dead" on my old thread here.

    Last January, I beat Dark Wizard (1994, Sega Genesis CD), using Armer IX.

    So now, a year and three months later, I started out playing Amon until I beat Arachna, then had some ideas about a Robin run, so I've restarted with her. (Uh-oh, restartitis is kicking in. But that's the sign that I'm really into the game.)

    It's so fun to watch the little dramas play out on the battlefield maps, because I've named all my units and made up little stories about each one of them. The game gets a lot of replayability because of how the magic users and clerics progress - each alignment has different level up progressions and the spells are picked randomly, so you can wind up with all kinds of different caster builds.

    It's really fun to experiment with the spells, too. Some of them behave differently depending on whether you cast on an adjacent hex, or several hexes away, and the higher the level of the caster, the more hexes they can cast over.

    I'm trying to make do with a smaller army this time around, but it's really tempting to keep creating new units, because I keep getting ideas for unit names that would be fun, and also, you have to keep leaving up to ten of them at a time behind to guard castles, and thus unavailable to play on the next map.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if many would be able to appreciate such an old game nowadays, but if you played it on the Sega Genesis CD back in the 1990's, you would still enjoy it, plus it's got a nostalgia factor. Dark Wizard was the first computer game I ever played, and it was the game that got me hooked on gaming as an adult.

    If you missed this thread last year, the first couple of posts have instructions about how to get it to work on a modern system.
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 650
    Robin is great for small squads due to her superior fighting skills. She was my favorite of the three I played (I never finished it with Krystal). She also can have a ranged dragonrider :sunglasses:

    Have fun!! You're making me want to give it another go!
  • steeleosteeleo Member Posts: 1
    I know these comments are old, is anyone still playing dark wizard? Any updates to the links to download the emulator, bios and game?
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