Worms 2
Image: Team17

If you are a fan of old PC games, you'll probably have experienced at one time or another what it's like to try and load up a childhood favourite, only to discover that it's completely unplayable thanks to being incompatible with modern operating systems.

It's a frustrating reality of being a retro gamer that typically results in a not-so-insignificant amount of time spent scrolling through ancient forum posts, in search of someone who might have a fix, before eventually losing that initial interest you had to play the game to start with and calling it quits.

That doesn't seem to be the case, though, if your name is Nathan Baggs. Recently, as documented in a new video on his channel, the programmer and YouTuber had the urge to test Worms 2 on his modern Windows 11 PC and found that it was available on GOG for less than £1. Excited, he loaded the game up, but after an initial intro cutscene, nothing else happened, with the game failing to launch the loader.

Apparently, this is a fairly common issue with Windows 10 and even has an unofficial fix requiring players to download a ZIP file and copy over some DLL files. But Baggs didn't want to take the easy route out and has made a habit of not downloading dodgy files from unknown sources, so instead saw an opportunity to get it working himself.

Over the course of the video, Baggs goes to the effort of troubleshooting the problem, which turns out to be an issue where the game gets stuck in an endless loop trying to initialize winmm.dll, a library for Windows audio components, that is being loaded by another library module named Win32.dll.

Baggs surmises that the issue is that the game always expects to be loaded from a CD-ROM, so in order to release Worms 2 digitally, GOG simply added a patch to the game's libraries tasked with changing any functions that try to load from a CD to load from a file. This patch, however, apparently suffers from an issue that prevents it from loading on Windows 10, causing headaches for anyone still wanting to load the game.

After some tinkering, Baggs manages to fix the problem but notices something else off once the game is finally loaded. There's a strange menu option on the front end that doesn't seem to serve a purpose — which eventually he identifies as the button for network play (which is not available in the GOG rerelease). From here, he decides to try and load the network menu for the game and is eventually successful, managing to alter the game's code to re-activate the option.

Sadly, though, as he explains the victory was not a complete success, as Team17 actually shut down the servers to Worms 2 in July 2020 — which explains why GOG never removed the menu.

If you want to watch the full video for a full explanation, you can do so above. We also recommend subscribing to Baggs and checking out his excellent video on reverse-engineering RollerCoaster Tycoon that he posted in August.

[source youtu.be]