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Twinsen Ma Non Troppo

Entry 817 posted in: 3. Gamebits

Deadly simple? Simply dead! I urgently need to stop writing about these games I’ve once played. Remembering LBA (Little Big Adventure aka Relentless in the USA) in a previous post Tycooning was enough for me to go hunting after it. I soon found the floppy version (only 13 MB) and thanks to Dosbox I could play it in a jiffy.

I tried it for a couple of days and decided that the floppy version wasn’t exactly what I wanted, although it does contain the complete game, but without the vocals and the intermediate movies. So I went webbing at the market-for-free for a cd version. Now I want to tell you, girls and boys, that I am totally opposed to downloading copyrighted games. But LBA is presently floating in a grey area that game aficionados call Abandonware and – AND – I used to have a completely legal - official - original cd of LBA in the past but I can’t find it anymore, honestly. Probably I lend it to somebody who never bothered to give it back. Not that this comment would carry much weight at the court of law.

Finding a cd version of LBA isn’t hard, there are several versions floating on the web, but making it run was nearly an adventure as exciting as playing LBA itself. Dosbox has the ability to masquerade a folder on your drive as a virtual cd-drive, provided you have a so-called image of the cd you want to store on the harddisk, and that is what I wanted to test.

One 460 MB download contained a NRG file but it wasn’t recognised as a valid cd image. I extracted the file with Izarc so that its directory structure was revealed and created an ISO file out of it, using an utility called ImgBurn. This time Dosbox mounted the ISO-image without a problem and I could install LBA from the virtual cd drive (D:\) on a virtual dos drive (C:\).

The Magicball forum was very helpful in showing me how to setup the sound card configuration for the game:

D: [Enter]
Install [Enter]
Choose your language
Hard Disk Installation
Music Sound Card Configuration: "Sound Blaster Pro 1 (OPL2)", "220"
FX Sound Card Configuration: "Sound Blaster Pro 1", "220", "7", "1"
Speech Configuration: "Keep Speech Files on Hard Disk - YES"
Save Parameters

But when I wanted to start the game I got an error that there was still no cd present. Blast, blast and triple blast! This was a dead end for sure. But if Twinsen, the hero of LBA, refused to give up trying to save his world from the dictatorial reign from the evil FunFrock, so would I.

µTorrent lead me to a 496 MB archive that contained a cd IMG file that was created with yet another cd-copying tool. Bingo! Here is how my Dosbox configuration file looks like now:

mount C C:\Download\Lba
imgmount D "C:\Download\LbaCD\LBA1.img" -t iso

Although Twinsen’s world is populated with hilarious bunnies and funny elephants that seem to have escaped from a Teletubbies show it doesn’t mean that this is a child game, quite the contrary. If a hostile elephant grabs you he clobbers you to death as in a Quentin Tarantino movie and there are several really-very-close-to-suicide missions (the screenshot above-left shows an unhappy encounter with an armed Rabbibunny clone) .

It took me several hours to get through the Temple of Bù (rolling logs, spitting fire balls, murderous skeletons) and believe me; it can be very frustrating to get through a maze of blazing mitraillette fire only to be killed at the end by a soldier who comes out of the toilet.

On the other hand LBA is very humorous in a kind of continental way, LBA was (is) a French game and thus PC (as in political correctness) is not casting its evil shadow over it. The second LBA game, so I recall, started with a very proud Twinsen who shows us his big-bellied girlfriend, and correct me if I am wrong, there are not many games around where the protagonist has a pregnant wife to care for.

I was amused to find out that there is still a rather active LBA community on the web, with people trying to make a fan-based Twinsen prequel and others still hoping for the release of LBA3, a project that was stopped when the original company merged / disappeared / went bankrupt (just pick your choice). Apparently the original makers of the game still try to revive the interest for the third part of the trilogy . But for the moment all that there is to read on their website is: coming soon

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Tycooning