How To Decensor Hidden & Dangerous Deluxe

Not everybody realizes this, but H&DD as installed from the standard download is a censored version. No, this isn't like the blurry bits in the Sims, and I'm not about to give you some equivalent to the nude Tomb Raider patch; the censorship is of a different kind.

What they did was take out practically all the national identifiers - not just the Nazi symbols and German markings, but also for example signs in Italian. God knows what they were thinking (after all the bad guys still speak fluent German, even the ones who are supposed to be Rumanians) but that's what they did anyway.

As a result what you've got there, if you just installed it as is, is an incomplete game. Oh, you can still play it just fine, but a lot of graphic stuff is missing. If you've been playing it already you may have noticed the blank signs, the lack of insignia on vehicles, the funny-looking banners on the train station and so on.

This is not only annoying and a detraction from the atmosphere of the game, it's also a real problem in some situations; in particular at least one of the later games requires you to be able to read road signs. You also need to be able to read the labels on boxes, to see if they contain anything useful.

The procedure is pretty simple but does require you to be comfortable working with files and folders. If you're unsure of your skills, you might want to get a friend to help you.

OK, first you've got to have the program WinRAR. As far as I know this is an unavoidable necessity, though it's possible there might be some other software that will do the job. Winzip won't, though. This operation requires opening and manipulating certain files that Winzip simply doesn't understand.

If you've already got WinRAR you're set. If not I'm not sure how you go about getting it nowadays; it's been years since I got it, or needed it for that matter. Google, is my suggestion; find a source and get it and install it. I think I heard it's trial shareware now but if so you'll still be all right, because this is a one-shot operation.

Go into the H&D installation and find the folder called "data." Inside look for a file called "maps.dta" and RIGHT CLICK on it. Select "Properties" and when you get this, find the "read-only" box and UNcheck it. This is very important; if you don't do this, nothing else is going to work. DO THIS FIRST. Once you've unchecked the "read-only" box, you can close Properties; you won't need to re-check it.

Right click again on maps.dta. The next step depends on what version of Windows you're using (if you're not using Windows goodbye, good luck and may the Good Lord take a liking to you because I don't have a clue what you do about any of this.) If your right-click menu includes "open with" then hit that. If not, then just punch "open" and go through whatever procedure your system requires to get to the "open with" menu.

Either way, select WinRAR. You should now get something that looks a little like a Windows Explorer window but with weird-looking icons. Never mind any of this for now. You'll see a folder titled "maps."

Click on "maps" and be prepared to wait a minute or so; WinRAR will have a lot of stuff to read and it tends to move its lips. When it's done opening "maps" you should have a whole shitload of ".png" files, which you can and damn well better ignore, and several folders.

Look at the folders. One should be titled "censored" and another "nocensor." (At least they're honest about it.) Now you're ready to do the job.

Open "nocensor" which should contain a big bunch of .png files. Copy ALL of these (make sure you don't miss any) somewhere handy - I'd suggest making a temporary folder wherever you like, even on your desktop, doesn't matter, just where they'll be safe for a few minutes and you can get at them easily.

Now back up and open "censored" in the same way. You'll find another bunch of .png files; in fact there should be the same number. Let me know if you want to count them; I'll go get a beer.

At this point, just for safety's sake, I'd suggest you make a copy of the "censored" folder's contents and put it somewhere safe, just in case this doesn't work for you for some reason. That part's up to you, though. Just remember this is an old and often unpredictable game we're dealing with.

Anyway, the next step is to delete all the .png files in the "censored" folder. That's what I said, delete them. DELETE. Oh, you changed your mind about making that backup copy? Yes, I thought you would. Go ahead and do it, I'll get that beer now.

When you've deleted the contents of "censored" leave WinRAR open at the "censored" folder, which should now show blank except for the folder symbol. Without closing WinRAR, go to wherever you unloaded the contents of "nocensor" and copy, or drag and drop, those .png files into the "censored" folder.

Hang on now, you're not quite finished yet. You should get a WinRAR dialog box. Find "compression method" and click "store." Close WinRAR. That's all, except that now you can get rid of that temp folder where you put the uncensored .png files.

If you did everything right you will have successfully decensored H&D. You can test it very simply and fairly quickly by starting the game and beginning the very first mission. If you haven't already completed this one then consult the walkthrough on the beginning steps. When you've killed the guard on the bridge and the two who come out of the guard shack, go down and look at the guard shack door. There should be an inscription in German and a Wehrmacht eagle symbol. If it's not there then something went wrong; go back and try again. If the game won't work at all now, something definitely went wrong. Don't freak, worst case you'll just have to reinstall. You DID make and keep a master installation CD, didn't you?

If you've played fairly far into the game without decensoring, you owe it to yourself to go back and rerun the missions you've completed, just to see what you've been missing. Some of the censored effects are well worth seeing.

I suggest keeping a copy of these instructions, because if you ever have to reinstall the game you'll need to do all this all over again.