[ Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds ]

Running Blood Omen on Windows XP and Vista

article by Ben Lincoln


These instructions were originally written around 2005-2006, when Blood Omen was only ten years old. As time passes and technology advances, it becomes harder and harder to make quirky old software run on modern versions of Windows®. My suggestion as of 2012 is to use virtualization software like VirtualBox, and set up a Windows XP (or even Windows 98) VM to run this game in. If you go with Windows XP, you can use the instructions below. You may be able to make the game work on Windows 7 or later using a similar process, but I would recommend the VM approach as you're much more likely to be successful.

Blood Omen was originally ported to the PC in 1997, when Windows 95 was still the standard. Because of its age and a number of quirks in its design, it will not run on Windows 2000, XP, or Vista without a bit of help. Please note that these instructions have been tested on XP and Vista. They should work on 2k as well, but I have not tested it personally.

There are two main options available:

Both hacked executables should work equally well. CubanRaul's version has a very nice installer. The manual version listed below should work if his installer doesn't. Even when using CubanRaul's version, you may need to use some of the optional steps in the Post-Installation section.

Option 1 - Use CubanRaul's Installer

Go to CubanRaul's site, download and run the installer.

Option 2 - Manual Fix

For the manual method, you will need:

Manual Installation Process:

  1. Insert the Blood Omen CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive. If the setup screen appears, cancel out of it.
  2. Open My Computer. Right-click on your CD-ROM drive (Probably named Kain, if you've got the disc in) and choose Explore.
  3. In the list of files, locate SPLASH.EXE (you might not see the .EXE depending on your folder settings). Right-click this file and choose Send To... and in the sub-menu choose Desktop (Create Shortcut).
  4. Close the Explorer window and locate the Shortcut to SPLASH.EXE on your desktop. Right-click this icon and choose Properties.
  5. In the Properties window, click on the Compatibility tab. Check the "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" box, and in the drop-down list select "Windows 98 / Windows ME" (See the picture below), then click OK.
  6. If you are running Windows 2000 and do not have a compatibility tab, first make sure you are at service pack 2 or higher. If there is still no tab, go to your Start menu, select Run, enter regsvr32 %systemroot%\apppatch\slayerui.dll and press OK.
  7. Double-click the Shortcut to SPLASH.EXE icon and install Blood Omen to your FAT drive. While it's installing you may wonder why this process was necessary. The reason is that in general, Blood Omen's installer can't understand the incredibly large hard drives we use today (as compared to 1997, at least), and running the installer in compatibility mode makes it think you have something smaller installed.

Post-Installation Process:

  1. Unzip The hacked KAIN.EXE file into the folder you installed Blood Omen into, overwriting the existing KAIN.EXE.
  2. Close any open windows, and run Blood Omen from your Start Menu.
  3. If the game locks up after Kain's speech in the Tavern or his Mausoleum, use the CPU Grabber program to consume more of your CPU.
  4. If the FMV audio is out of sync with the video, and you have more than one monitor, disable every monitor except the main one while playing the game.

Some trial and error may be required. For example, after about three tries, I determined that on my PC (Athlon 3500+, 2GB RAM, GeForce 7600GT, Windows Vista, NTFS partition) I needed to disable my second and third monitors and set the CPU Grabber to about 60% in order for the game to not lock up and the FMVs to be synced correctly.

Post-Post-Installation Steps

Whichever of the methods above you use, you may still run into trouble with the FMV/cinematic videos in the game. The Russian Legacy of Kain fans over at Nosgothica have a fix for this issue. You can use their utility to convert the videos into Bink format, and they also provide a component that updates Blood Omen to use the Bink videos instead of the original files.

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