Updated: March 21, 2009
Please note this is not a game review. Not yet ... Sorry to disappoint you. This is a tutorial aimed at helping you install this game. Install the game?! You may ask yourselves why the hell would anyone need a tutorial for a Windows game installation? It should be trivial! Well, it is not.
Unlike most games - in fact, unlike any and every other game I have tried - this one forced me to Google out for half an hour before I could proceed with my installation. Why, you ask? The reason is, Medieval II: Total War (Kingdoms expansion) refused to install anywhere but on the C: drive! And oops, go figure me not being an average Joe who clogs his one and only partition (RE C:) with games.
You may begrudge the fact I'm writing this article today, ages after the game was released, but being a slow dinosaur who likes things the old way, I have only recently discovered Medieval II. Until now, I've been losing my eyesight to the first three titles, from Shogun, which was the best, to Rome, which was merely ok. And now this. So, what to do, what to do?
Medieval II: Total War (Kingdoms expansion) does NOT allow me to choose the installation path. The only option is to dump 12GB worth of game onto my C: drive. But my games are on the other drives.
After rummaging around the Web, I have found it. So here it is. Most people have auto-play of CD/DVD media enabled. This does not help us. When you insert the game into a media tray, if you get a popup offering you this or that, close the window. Instead, Windows + E to explore your computer. Navigate to your media drive.
In there, browse to <DVD drive>\m2tw\Disk1. This folder contains an old version of the installer, just for the original game sans the expansion pack, which will generously let you install to whichever path you want. Run the setup.exe file to install the game.
Then, you can proceed the good old way. Run the "original" install, whether by clicking setup.exe in the root of the DVD drive or by waiting for an Autoplay popup to present you with installation options. Do not get confused between the two setup.exe files! Notice the path in the Address field!
Next, try to install the game AGAIN, but this time proceed the usual way. Unlike the first time, your game will already have been installed and the Four expansion campaigns will be properly pointed to the right path.
Please note that there's no way to change the path anywhere. This is THE problem that originally bothered me. The only difference between this screenshot and my original attempt is what is says at the bottom of the windows: 4.19GB of space required on the D drive ... during the initial installation, it was C drive. Now, we're good. After you click Next >, you'll be asked to insert the second DVD, which contains the expansion campaigns.
Then, you'll have to go through a somewhat tedious installation process of installing the four campaigns, one after another. All in all, a rather messy job for a game.
After that, you'll be able to enjoy the game. And, by the way, the game is quite good. The graphics details in the combat mode are rather astonishing, with good use of the graphic card powers. The AI is solid, too, with individual units exhibiting unique behavior, making it all all the more believable and good looking. Eventually, you'll forget the installation issues and begin to enjoy it in earnest.
No big conclusions. Not my finest article, but might be useful to a few space-conscious gamers. Have fun. A proper review of this fine game should be up sometimes soon, in the next year or three. Not to worry, it'll be there. Meanwhile, enjoy efficient and pleasant gaming!