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They Just Couldn't Make It Easy: A guide to official SCUMM releases


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While it's fortunate that all the LucasArts SCUMM games are available to purchase legally on digital storefronts like Steam and GOG.com, the situation is a bit of a mess in terms of the content of those purchases. There are a couple of conditions at play, none of which are particularly well advertised:

 

- In the case of games that had multiple release versions with content differences (commonly, EGA vs. VGA), usually only the latest is offered. In the case where an additional version is thrown in, it isn't documented.

 

- Depending on when and where the game became digitally available, it either uses a Windows friendly interpreter updated by Aaron Giles, or it comes bundled with ScummVM in place of the interpreter. In come cases, the original interpreter is also thrown in. Again, this is left for you to discover after buying it.

 

- The games that received special editions or remasters are only available that way, albeit with a togglable “classic mode” as a built-in feature.

 

For most people, ScummVM is a more than sufficient way of playing the games on modern machines, and thus, being able to buy the data files covers their needs. For those who insist on playing the games as faithfully as possible, an emulator is the way to go. Generally this means DOSBox, but Aaron Giles has teased an upcoming, SCUMM-specific emulator of his own design called DREAMM.

 

To exercise that option, you’ll need the original executables. Since there’s no rhyme or reason to which digital releases actually include those, and due to the other aforementioned inconsistencies, I thought a breakdown of what you actually get on Steam and GOG would be of some use to people. Here's what I knocked together:

 

Steam

 

Game Version(s) Executable(s)
Maniac Mansion The data files for both the original and enhanced versions are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders The data files for both the enhanced and FM-Towns versions are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade The data files for the VGA floppy version are included. Includes both the native executable and the Windows-compatible executable by Aaron Giles.
Loom The data files for the VGA CD "Talkie" version are included. Includes the Windows-compatible executable by Aaron Giles.
The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition only. Special Edition only.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition only. Special Edition only.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis The data files for the CD "Talkie" version are included. Includes both the native executable and the Windows-compatible executable by Aaron Giles.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered version only. Remastered version only.
Sam & Max Hit the Road The data files for the CD "Talkie" version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
Full Throttle Remastered version only. Remastered version only.
The Dig The data files for the only version are included. Includes both the native executable and the Windows-compatible executable by Aaron Giles.
The Curse of Monkey Island The data files for the only version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.

 

GOG.com

 

Game Version(s) Executable(s)
Maniac Mansion The data files for both the original and enhanced versions are included. Bundled with ScummVM. Native executable included for enhanced version only.
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders The data files for both the enhanced and FM-Towns versions are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade The data files for the VGA floppy version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. Native executable included in a directory named "_other".
Loom The data files for the VGA CD "Talkie" version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. Native executable included in a directory named "_other".
The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition only. Special Edition only.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition only. Special Edition only.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis The data files for the CD "Talkie" version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. Native executable included in a directory named "other".
Day of the Tentacle Remastered version only. Remastered version only.
Sam & Max Hit the Road The data files for the CD "Talkie" version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
Full Throttle Remastered version only. Remastered version only.
The Dig The data files for the only version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. Native executable included in a directory named "_other".
The Curse of Monkey Island The data files for the only version are included. Bundled with ScummVM. No native executable included.
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  • 3 weeks later...

To this, I would add that last time I checked the enhanced version of Maniac Mansion being sold on GOG (and Steam?) is cracked. (The original version is not.) In any (?) puzzle that involves a keypad (phone numbers, safe combinations, etc.) the game will accept any number as long as you either get it right, or you get the last digit is wrong. The culprit is a 1 byte change to 43.LFL. The oldest mention I ever found was in a list of game cracks and cheats dated February 1996, but surely it's been around a lot longer than that.

 

I've tried alerting both GOG and Disney to this, but the replies have been less than helpful. Which is maddening, because they obviously still have the original files: They can be extracted from the remastered version of Day of the Tentacle.

 

In the end, I changed ScummVM to detect and undo the crack. But damn it, I shouldn't have to!

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The original version of Maniac Mansion included with my GOG purchase does not include an .exe, just the .LFL files. Consequently you can only run it with ScummVM, which I think makes assessing whether it is cracked vs. uncracked unreliable.

 

Complicating matters further is that there are "official cracks" of a number of these games. If memory serves, the version of Maniac Mansion (original graphics) included as an Easter egg in the original release of Day of the Tentacle forces the security door on the second floor landing to always be open. In the Classic Adventures Pack (1992), which includes the first five SCUMM games, the latter three (Indy3, Loom, Monkey1) are all cracked to bypass the copy protection.

 

The remaster of Day of the Tentacle includes the enhanced graphics version of Maniac Mansion, running on ScummVM. Perhaps that version is "officially cracked" and is the same set of files that Lucasfilm went on to use when they offered Maniac Mansion individually on digital storefronts? On the other hand, ScummVM will force open the security door in legitimate versions of the game.

 

 

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I just ran the GOG version of enhanced Maniac Mansion through DOSBox (since an .exe is included) and you're right -- it's cracked to let any combination open the security door. This is my first awareness of an "official crack" of the enhanced version, unless Lucasfilm grabbed it off a random Warez site!

 

I don't have my copy of remastered Day of the Tentacle installed at the moment, so I don't know if the Maniac Mansion resource files have an executable tossed in or not, but it would be interesting to see if it was cracked in the same way.

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1 hour ago, Udvarnoky said:

I just ran the GOG version of enhanced Maniac Mansion through DOSBox (since an .exe is included) and you're right -- it's cracked to let any combination open the security door. This is my first awareness of an "official crack" of the enhanced version, unless Lucasfilm grabbed it off a random Warez site!

 

I don't have my copy of remastered Day of the Tentacle installed at the moment, so I don't know if the Maniac Mansion resource files have an executable tossed in or not, but it would be interesting to see if it was cracked in the same way.

 

Yes, the intention was probably to simply bypass the security door. (Which, as far as I can tell, LucasArts would instead do by ensuring that the door was open.) Unfortunately, the script for the security door keypad gets reused for other keypads in the game as well. Given how bad the crack is (if you just guess, you still have a one-in-ten chance of failure since you need to get the last digit wrong), I very much doubt LucasArts themselves made it.

 

The earliest reference I could find to the crack was in a file titled "PC Games Cheats & info List", that was "Updated 5 February 1996 ver 2.1". That's long after the game was released, so I have no doubt the crack is much older than that. It was described simply as:

 

Maniac Mansion

iii) crack
Removing doc check:
File: 43.lfl
00000B79: FE FF

 

If I compare the version I got from my old floppies, they're identical to the version embedded in the remastered Day of the Tentacle. The version I bought from GOG has this exact crack applied to 43.LFL. The 00.LFL file is also a bit different, but I don't know what that's all about. I haven't heard of it causing any harm.

 

So what does this crack do? Sorry for getting a bit technical, but if I run the script through the ScummVM "descumm" tool, this is what part of the uncracked script looks like:

 

[0066] (1A) Var[68] = 255;
[006A] (80) breakHere();
[006B] (08) unless (Var[68] != 255) goto 006A;
[0071] (88) if (Var[68] != Var[63]) {
[0076] (1A)   Var[67] = 1;
[007A] (**) }
[007A] (1A) Var[68] = 255;
[007E] (80) breakHere();
[007F] (08) unless (Var[68] != 255) goto 007E;
[0085] (88) if (Var[68] != Var[64]) {
[008A] (1A)   Var[67] = 1;
[008E] (**) }
[008E] (1A) Var[68] = 255;
[0092] (80) breakHere();
[0093] (08) unless (Var[68] != 255) goto 0092;
[0099] (88) if (Var[68] != Var[65]) {
[009E] (1A)   Var[67] = 1;
[00A2] (**) }
[00A2] (1A) Var[68] = 255;
[00A6] (80) breakHere();
[00A7] (08) unless (Var[68] != 255) goto 00A6;
[00AD] (88) if (Var[68] != Var[66]) {
[00B2] (1A)   Var[67] = 1;
[00B6] (**) }

 

I take this to mean that Var[68] is what you input. This is compared against Var[63], Var[64], Var[65] and Var[66], presumably the four correct digits. If you get any of them wrong, Var[67] is set to 1.

 

In the cracked version, the last bit has been changed to:

 

[00A2] (1A) Var[68] = 255;
[00A6] (80) breakHere();
[00A7] (08) unless (Var[68] != 255) goto 00A6;
[00AD] (88) if (Var[68] != Var[66]) {
[00B2] (1A)   Var[67] = 0;
[00B6] (**) }

 

I.e. Var[67] still gets set to 1 if you get any of the first three digits wrong, but if you get the last digit wrong it gets set to 0 instead of 1. But if you get any of the first three wrong, and then get the last one right, Var[67] remains 1.

 

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That's wild. I guess Lucasfilm was just that sloppy. It's probably an irrelevant point to them, since ScummVM forces the security door open in cracked or uncracked versions of the game (though that leaves the impact on the other combos?), and ScummVM is the official intepreter at this point.

 

Pipe dream stuff: It would be ideal if there existed an FTP repository that offered archival builds of every version of every SCUMM game (preferably KryoFlux streams and ISOs, but at the very least complete and unmodified filesets), as authentic builds are the only way you can emulate the games with exactitude. I don't deal with torrents, but my understanding is that even pirated versions of these games that get circulated around are often missing the executables. I suppose that some of the more obvious versions of certain games have uncompromised copies floating "out there," but what about the more obscure versions, the various non-English language builds? Their extancy may well be tied to the lifespan of rotting diskettes in a collector's attic. It becomes an archival issue.

 

In a perfect world, you'd be able to show Lucasfilm a proof of purchase and gain access to that hypothetical repository. "Bought Loom on GOG or Steam? Click here to get as-is copies of all legacy builds to use as you like." Of course, it would be making a big assumption to think Lucasfilm necessarily has all that stuff handy themselves anymore. Maybe there's a hero out there quietly doing this backup work, though of course I would never endorse anything illegal.

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47 minutes ago, Udvarnoky said:

That's wild. I guess Lucasfilm was just that sloppy. It's probably an irrelevant point to them, since ScummVM forces the security door open in cracked or uncracked versions of the game (though that leaves the impact on the other combos?), and ScummVM is the official intepreter at this point.

 

Recent versions of ScummVM write back the original value into the script, so that should fix the bugs introduced by the crack. But I have to admit that I've never actually played through all of Maniac Mansion. And as far as I know, GOG (and probably Steam) is using an older version of ScummVM.

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I should also point out there's no VGA version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that has the copy protection included - the VGA DOS version and the FM Towns version both shipped without the room used for the copy protection in the EGA version (92.LFL).

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On 4/21/2022 at 11:41 PM, ATMcashpoint said:

I should also point out there's no VGA version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that has the copy protection included - the VGA DOS version and the FM Towns version both shipped without the room used for the copy protection in the EGA version (92.LFL).

 

Intriguing. I wonder why they did that? I guess some versions came without a full Grail Diary. I know the Amiga version kept the copy protection.

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The FM Towns version of didn't have the copy protection because the copy protection there was CD-based - the other FM Towns games don't have copy protection either, though I don't know of any other cases where the copy protection room was removed entirely. And in Zak McKracken the keypad for the Exit Visa Code was still rendered into VGA in the resource files (it shares a room with the Lotto keypad).

 

The VGA DOS version of Indy Last Crusade not having it is a bit more odd, as that game came on floppy disks. And it wasn't necessarily just a matter of there not being VGA art done for the FM Towns version and usable for the VGA DOS release, as the VGA DOS and FM Towns versions of Last Crusade have different art assets in several minor instances.

 

Plus, we know in some instances there was VGA art based directly on the original EGA art files even when it wasn't necessarily used in the shipped game. In the FM Towns version of LOOM, for instance, the cages in Mandible's tower are closed, based on EGA art that appeared in the pre-release demo but not in the published game, where they're always open. Presumably the cages were all going to be "openable" objects at one point (and then set to "open" when Mandible tears open the Pattern), but they were made always open to save disk space. And then the FM Towns version screwed up by making them always closed, when the Opening Draft should affect them as well.

 

Maybe there was a space issue with squeezing the VGA version of Indy Last Crusade onto three floppy disks and they opted to cut the copy protection?

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I wonder. It was probably financial, whatever the reason. I do believe the later releases didn't include the full grail diary, so it might be to reduce production costs at the risk of sales lost to no copy protection. Or the fact that couldn't really win without at least the grail diary excerpts... Hmm.

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3 minutes ago, Udvarnoky said:

I wonder if they figured the Grail Diary was piracy-discouraging enough, and saw an opportunity to save a few pennies by not printing out those cards.

 

It's been so long since I saw that screen. Were they separate cards? I thought it might have been grail diary quotes. Ah yes, as I write this, wasn't Greek letters or something?

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I'm pretty sure it was yet a third item, in addition to the manual and the Grail Diary. It looked like this.

 

And yeah, LucasArts put out some budget reprints of their games around this time, which cut down on the paraphernalia included and exhibited cheaper printing choices. The disk labels on these releases are so generic looking, that sometimes when they show up on eBay people mistake them for bootlegs. Nope, the company was just that cheap!

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22 hours ago, Udvarnoky said:

I'm pretty sure it was yet a third item, in addition to the manual and the Grail Diary. It looked like this.

 

And yeah, LucasArts put out some budget reprints of their games around this time, which cut down on the paraphernalia included and exhibited cheaper printing choices. The disk labels on these releases are so generic looking, that sometimes when they show up on eBay people mistake them for bootlegs. Nope, the company was just that cheap!

 

Yep, the original version I owned was a very budget release. I guess the sales didn't justify a more expensive one. Took me years to finally get my hands on a "real" Grail Diary!

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