Windows 7 Games Compatibility Testing

Written by Joe Martin

October 22, 2009 // 9:56 a.m.

Tags: #classic #compatible #deus-ex #legacy #vista #win-7 #windows-7

Companies: #game #games #microsoft #steam

Windows 7 Games Compatibility N-Z

We tested a lot of games under Windows 7 and it's an unfortunate fact that, because of the sheer quantity of titles we were using, we were unable to give every title a proper workout. Instead, when we claim that a game 'works fine', we mean that we were able to run the game as we would expect it to run and successfully played through either the first level or the first ten minutes of the game, depending on how much we liked it.

For Deus Ex for example, we know that you can definitely get as far as your first meeting with Anna Navarre – but that's not to say that errors might not appear later in the game, though that's very unlikely.

How we selected the games we tested was fairly easy though. We simply grabbed most of Joe's favourite PC games, every single game we could find in the bit-tech labs (excluding MMOs, which are always updating to fit compatibility), plus a handful of retro titles. We tried to grab at least one game to represent the most popular engines, from Half-Life's GoldSRC to Monkey Island's SCUMM engine, so that you can fairly accurately judge how other games with that engine will work under Windows 7.

That said, we'd be anxious to expand this list a little bit more – so if you find a game which does or doesn't work on Windows 7, but which did on earlier versions of Windows, then let us know in the forums and let others benefit from your knowledge.

Here, we stumble across some of the more technically interesting problems; namely that Quake Wars would not run in Windows 7 because of an apparent OpenGL problem which caused the game to crash on start-up. The exact error reads "The OpenGL Driver Doesn't Support WGL. Choose Pixel Format ARB” - an error that seems to have been created because of a problem with graphics drivers and the OpenGL installation. It also bears similarities to an error we got with Jedi Knight 2: Outcast, which you can read on the next page.

Game TitleWorks in Windows 7?Notes
Mirror's EdgeWorks fine 
No One Lives ForeverWon't installIncompatible with 64-bit OS
PsychonautsWorks fine 
Quake Wars: Enemy TerritoryWon't runOpenGL error stops the game running
Race Driver: GRIDWorks fine 
Rainbow Six: VegasWorks fine 
Requiem: Avenging AngelWon't runDirectX error on launch - "DX 6.1 Required"
STALKER: Shadow of ChernobylWorks fine 
Splinter Cell: Chaos TheoryWon't installIncompatibility errors prevent install
Supreme CommanderWorks fine 
The Elder Scrolls: OblivionWorks fine 
The Secret of Monkey IslandWon't install64-bit incompatible, can only be run with ScummVM
Thief: Deadly ShadowsWorks fine 
Thief: The Dark ProjectWon't installDirectX error prevents installation
Tomb Raider: LegendWorks fine 
Tom Clancy's HAWXWorks fine 
Unreal Tournament 3Works fine 

In the end, we couldn't find a solution to this problem on Windows 7 even though a quick scan across the Quake Wars community reveals this isn't an isolated incident. Some players proposed some fixes by editing the Windows registry, but it wasn't clear if that would also help Windows 7. It's possible that, as new drivers roll out which directly support Windows 7, the problem may soon get corrected.

Other problems we ran across were less interesting. Requiem: Avenging Angel is a pretty obscure, old game which never had much after-market support and which relies on the now-ancient DirectX 6.1, with an DirectX version checker built into the game. Upon checking the version of DirectX being used and finding that it is not DirectX 6.1, the game refuses to run – even in Windows 95 or Windows 98 compatibility mode.

DirectX issues also prevent the early Thief games from being installed in any compatibility mode, with an error message appearing that reveals the game believes it is being installed on the incompatible "Windows NT" operating system. A later error indicates a problem with a “DirectX limitation” that then aborts the game. It's a good thing The Dark Mod for the Doom 3 engine was just released then.

The Secret of Monkey Island is another game which refused to run, though the problems it generates are entirely expected if we're going to be honest. Built on the SCUMM engine, most of the classic LucasArts adventure games stopped working around the time of Windows XP, even on 32-bit systems. Thankfully, the current version of ScummVM does work fine on Windows 7 – so you can get your three-headed monkey on through that, for free.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory also threw up problems, in this case it's down to the ever-annoying Starforce DRM, which prevents the game being installed on OS's above XP - including Vista. There's some discussion about various fixes for the game using the latest Starforce drivers, but many users claim that the game is still mostly unplayable and unstable even with these, thus we've filed it under incompatible for now.
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