Infinitely looping digital audio in old Sierra games

NOTICE: The following information is now dated. Now that DOSBox can now handle most of Sierra's DOS games, this solution is no longer necessary. This error is timer related. It only occurs on computers faster than those of when the games were originally released. By playing your games in DOSBox, you can avoid this and other timer problems.

Back when computers came with a "Turbo" switch (a sort of speed switch,) Sierra's workaround was to turn off the Turbo switch to start the game, after which you could turn the Turbo back on. If you have your cycles in DOSBox set too high, you may still encounter this problem. You can mimic the turbo switch solution by lowering your cycles (Ctl+F11) before starting your game. You may raise the cycles back up after the game starts (Ctl+F12).

On newer computers, some Sierra VGA DOS games might give this error message:

Unable to initialize your audio hardware

You can try one of the newer SoundBlaster drivers from Sierra in these games to fix this. One problem that you might encounter with this solution is an infinite looping of the digital audio. To fix this, first try going back to the original driver and use the GOSiERRA patch on it. However, a GOSiERRA patched AUDBLAST.DRV driver may not always work. You may have to launch and re-launch the game many times to get it to work.

If the GOSiERRA patch doesn't work very well, one other solution is to use the new SoundBlaster driver and run the game with VDMSound. Right click on the VDMS shortcut (*.vlp file) to get to the properties and go to the advanced settings and use the following configuration:

Set SoundBlaster to IRQ:


But in the DOS Environment type in the following on the AUTOEXEC.BAT field:


This works with Conquest of the Longbow and The Dagger Of Amon Ra.

WARNING: Note that this solution may cause problems in some games such as lockups (Quest for Glory VGA outside of the healers hut) and memory errors. If this happens, you can try saving the game before the problem spot, exit, run the game's install and select

No Audio/Voice Card

Restart the game, load your saved game and play past the problem point. You can then save the game again and reconfigure the game for SoundBlaster digital audio.

If neither solution works, you can run the game with NO digital audio or you might have to use a DOS emulator such as DOSBox or you might have to wait for a newer version of FreeSCI (a third party SCI Interpreter) that can run VGA games.


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