Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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The Last Express no cd

Discussion in 'Adventure Gaming' started by SCO, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Edit: Well, i've since been told the windows no-cd has a few problems, i've not resolved. The dosbox still works fine though, and you can use it to play without the cd too, just follow the list without hacking the windows exe, or copying the dll and run Express.bat on dosbox. I think this is similar to what GoG did.

    Ok, last present today, another game without a full install option.

    This will only work (for the windows version, dosbox still works - steps 1,2,3,4,5 and 7) if you have the original version of the game. That version has 3 cds and 3 executables : Express.exe (DOS version), ExpressW.exe (windows launcher) and _le.exe (windows version). There is another version that only has Express.exe and a different ExpressW.exe.

    First this game has a strange file format protection in my version (3 cd original). In cd 2 and cd 3 there are actually 2 files CD2.HPF and CD3.HPF one with 2.2kb and anothers with about 640 mb. Guess which ones are important and which ones are visible.
    To copy the large files to the hardrive i had to create a ISO (really iso not bin/cue) image and open it with winrar, maybe you would have other solutions.

    Any way:
    1) install game maximum install, both dos and windows version is ok.
    2) Delete the Ereg directory it's the interplay zombie registration program.
    3) copy from cd 1 the data dir, cd1.hpf (about 501 mb - if it's not you might have that problem above) and the makingof.avi if you want.
    4) from cd 2 and cd 3 copy the large cd2.hpf and cd3.hpf following the procedure above. From cd 3 you might want to copy the manual too.
    5) The game is retarded and uses a library that might not exist. Thus it doesn't work on wine. Get the libs mfc42.dll and mfc42u.dll and put them in the game dir. On wine you can do winetricks mfc42 on a console and then copy them from the system32 folder on the "windows" dir (to make it portable).
    6) Edit the _le.exe file with a hex editor.
    original file md5:
    89ccc685b5fcea6157ec5f7b689a2001

    At offset BF4C0 edit what is there (is C:\ in ascii) to
    3A 5C 00 (.\ in ascii).
    At offset F3EF edit what is there to
    90 90 90 90 90 90
    At offset F3FF edit what is there to
    90 90

    Edited file md5:
    0f6b4492164672d41da89065ddad9e59

    7) to play in dosbox without cds (but not in dos) create a batch file Express.bat with this contents:
    mount d . -t cdrom
    Express.exe

    and use it to run the program.

    You probably should use the DOS/dosbox/GoG version,
    Since there is a report of problems with the windows version, (i don't think it's due to the no-cd, but you never know) you'll probably want to use the dosbox trick. The new GoG version has this incorporated too.

    That's it i guess. Tell me if there is any problem.
     
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  2. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    I had to edit the offsets of this one. They were wrong but are right now.
     
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  3. ghostdoggender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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  4. fernandopoogender: ⚧ Novice

    fernandopoo
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    i really cant handle a hex-editor, never did it before.

    can you please upload the edited exe-file? would be very nice :)

    byebye
     
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  5. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Sorry not going to do that. I'm paranoid about the MAFIAA and live in a USA bootlicker country. It's not some great effort anyway.
    I prefer to do it like this for all executables, at least you're sure it isn't a virus. I've seen cases where the hacker distributed the source code with the exe and some fucker uploaded a modified version full of virii to torrent lists but kept the source unaltered (it is obvious if you alter it).

    Only sticking problem in this game is if you have the other version i mentioned. In that case i leave to someone more adventurous to help you out: (the exe(s) from this version should work on that other version too). I'm feeling lazy so i don't want to do this again.
     
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  6. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    More complicated no-cds, for example, for bloodlines, i'm still not sure aren't virus. Virus Total reports one scanner saying it is, but i haven't the skills to defeat safe disc myself, so it's moot.
    I wonder how Gog will handle it - i believe safedisc decrypts executables on the fly, not exactly the easiest thing to hack, and bloodlines in addition detected debuggers (as i rudely found out when trying to debug the conversation engine).
     
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  7. ghostdoggender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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    Most antiviruses have recently added nocd cracks as "malicious software" but obviously they're not viruses. They're malicious alright, but for the game companies.
     
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  8. Jaqengender: ⚧ Novice

    Jaqen
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    Recently started playing this. Was surprised to see no fix packs or patches (or nocds) so you help is appreciated!
     
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  9. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Eventually scummvm will support it. There already is a branched engine showing things. But it's going slowly. The entire game is hardcoded in the executable (=> C++ code is a nightmare to reverse engineer, and you can't simply create a interpreter like most scummvm games). Scummvm frowns on these reimplementations, but i believe they are going to make a exception for last express - it's such a good game. If they don't, it will still be another vm.
     
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  10. Ringhausengender: ⚧ Scholar

    Ringhausen
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    Heres the exe: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NAZEH821

    The only problem I have is that if I hover the mouse over the egg-thing on the menu (Continue Game/Rewind) then the mouse disappears and the game effectively freezes for 10 seconds or so (every time). Kind of annoying. But otherwise it works, thanks.
     
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  11. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Your md5sum is different from the md5sum of my final executable. Did your original had that
    ( 89ccc685b5fcea6157ec5f7b689a2001 ) md5sum?

    Because yours is
    ~/Desktop/The Last Express$ md5sum Z_le.exe
    848404c90146decfe57c6e7e8253a49b Z_le.exe

    And my final one is
    ~/Desktop/The Last Express$ md5sum _le.exe
    0f6b4492164672d41da89065ddad9e59 _le.exe

    Either your original exe wasn't the same (and by luck the relevant function was still in the same location) or i fucked up transcribing the offsets, or you did editing them (but it still bypasses the protection).
    I didn't notice a delay, but then again, i'm using wine to test, it may behave differently.
    Edit: i tested your exe now. Didn't notice the delays on the map/egg, but the mouse is flashing (original does it too on wine). It might be the game just likes wine more than a recent OS.
    You can test if the problem is a OS problem by running the original exe with the cd on and seeing if the delay happens? I'm not going to solve it, since i'm lazy, but would like to know this is working ok or not (to remove it from my signature if not)
    The reason the mouse flashes on wine is probably because the game tried to change the bits per pixel from 32 to 16 (wine doesn't support this).


    Eh, not like it was a very sophisticated one, i'm strictly amateur hour with debuggers.
     
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  12. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    You can always use dosbox as explained in the first post. It isn't any different. Though i'm sure i tested it on a windows virtual machine at the time and it worked without flickering.
    (can't test it again, accidentally deleted the VM disk).
     
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  13. Gragtgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Gragt
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    I wonder if the newly released GOG version uses your trick or if it uses ScummVM.
     
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  14. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    They use dosbox. I thought they might be using the no-cd and asked in the thread, but the md5 of the DOS exe is :

    e91af142619164286c3c7325ef384e36

    equal to the reported there.

    (there is a easy way to avoid disk checks in dosbox if the files do not overlap, as is the case here - i told how in the first post. Sometimes the game needs the label too ofcourse. Games with redbook audio can't use this though, those need cue/bin files).
     
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  15. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Could you please tell me the difference if you run this version of the exe and the original one? Did you check if that happened too? (cause the freeze never happened to me, and the mouse disappearing was very quick disappearing and turning visible again when moving, and probably a wine emulator redraw artifact)

    Also, as i said before, this exe doesn't match the final md5 so you started from a wrong one probably.
     
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  16. Ringhausengender: ⚧ Scholar

    Ringhausen
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    There is no freezing with the original exe. Id check the md5 but I have no idea how to do it(hex editors are a complete fucking nightmare for newbies). Its quite possible that I fucked something up.

    Ill probably try it with dosbox sometime.
     
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  17. SCOgender: ⚧ Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Do you have the mouse disappearing under the original file?

    I sent you a pm.
     
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