Saturday, December 5, 2009

Running Phantom of Inferno in MPC

Somehow, the English community always seems to get the short end of things when it comes to visual novels. A perfect example is the game Phantom of Inferno, which was brought to America commercially in the form of a poorly subtitled DVD rather than its original 18+ game. The one advantage to the DVD I can think of is that it has full voice acting, including the protagonist. Some disadvantages are the content is changed, featuring a narrator, editing out of all H-scenes, and a password system in place of a save system. The game itself is brilliant, but as an interactive DVD it is hard to play on a computer. Notably, everything is very picky about the software you're running it with, particularly transparencies, layers, and subtitles. To date, it seems that very few people have discovered the proper way to run it. The problems with the main two media players are:

Kinda hard to 'save', when your save system is a gun full of blanks.

VLC: The password system is completely inoperable, because it simply doesn't display passwords. More on this later.
PowerDVD: You can't fast forward through scenes. This may not seem like a big deal to regular VN players, but the whole game is in video format, so rather than clicking very fast you may have to wait an hour to get back to where you were in the story if you don't have a password(save) closer than that. Additionally, PowerDVD is not freeware, meaning you have 30 days or so to finish the game if you choose to use PowerDVD, in addition to the other problem.

Some people still manage to make money off of consumer ignorance.

Media player classic has the same problem as VLC, but worse because the game simply won't show any visuals at some points.

Here is a tutorial to continue using Media Player Classic(the best media player ever) with the game. I assume here that you've already obtained the game. The first step is to install Media Player Classic. If you don't know how to find it, google 'CCCP'. All fans of anime should already have this player. Next, download and install PowerDVD 9. We'll see why in a bit.

Now, open Media Player Classic. You can play around with the DVD before the fix to see how MPC naturally fails at this game. Keep in mind that the subs themselves are pretty glitchy no matter what media player you use, so don't expect a drastic improvement in translation or timing.

From the toolbar at the top, select 'View>Options...' then select 'External Filters' from the menu at the left.
It should look a little like this.

Click the 'Add Filter...' button to the right, and add the following three filters:
Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder
MPC - MPEG-2 Video Decoder (Gabest)
CyberLink Video/SP Decoder (PDVD9)

The CyberLink Video/SP Decoder filter should be in your list of filters if you've installed the PowerDVD software.

If you have the latest version of MPlayer Classic you shouldn't have to worry about the stuff at the bottom. All you have to do is set the following options:
First click on Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder. Set the option on the right to 'Block'. Then do the same for MPC - MPEG-2 Video Decoder. Finally, click on CyberLink Video/SP Decoder and choose 'Prefer'. This should(key word) only apply itself to DVDs, since that's what most MPEG-2 files are.

There's one last step to get this all working properly. Load up a DVD in MPC by clicking 'File->Open DVD...'. Once the DVD is loaded, right click, and go to 'Filters->CyberLink Video/SP Decoder (PDVD9)'.

This time it should look like this.

UNcheck 'Use DxVA'. Restart MPC, load up your Phantom of Inferno CD via 'File->Open DVD...', and enjoy! You should be able to play Phantom with passwords, with visuals, being able to fast forward or skip scenes, and you should be able to continue using MPC to play the game long after the trial on PowerDVD runs out. Coincidentally, I've been too scared to uninstall PDVD, but you should by all means try it while keeping the filter to see if MPC will still work without it.

Coincidentally, what I said about skipping scenes. Expect to end up in weird places with significant spoilers if you use the 'next chapter' function. It's like flipping to the next page in a choose your own adventure book, when you think about it.

EDIT: I did figure out that you can perform a very real 'save' in MPC by going to 'Favorites->Add to Favorites...' and making sure that the 'Remember position' box is checked. You can do the same thing in VLC, but VLC was acting really really buggy when I tried to play Phantom on it. I'm not sure if I simply wasn't using the right plugins or whatever, but it was actually displaying the subs much worse than MPC did before switching to the PDVD filters, with missing lines even in places where they are displayed in MPC.


  1. You can also use bookmarks on PowerDVD to create a "save" too.

    It's funny that you say fast foward doesn't work on PowerDVD, because I remember using it (by clicking on and dragging the progress bar, not the fast forward button).

  2. hmm, whenever I tried to do that it didn't work. Also, I could 'fast forward' at a maximum of 2x or 4x. Either way, the trial period is exceedingly annoying, unless you already bought PowerDVD for some reason.

  3. Do I have to rip the DVD files onto my HD for this solution to wrok or could I just put in a hard copy of the DVD into my PC and this solution would work as well?

  4. Having a hard copy would be ideal. If you do have a hard copy and any physical DVD players, my recommendation would be to try all of those before trying this method. If you do have to use a computer, this method should work the best to my knowledge. Hope that answered your question!

  5. I can't seem to find the generic Microsoft MPEG-2 Video Decoder filter in the menu? Is that a problem?

  6. Awesome, thanks. It seems that if you don't have the microsoft mpeg-2 decoder, it isn't necessary to block it (which makes sense, I guess).

    Interestingly, for me mpc with the cyberlink filter seems to work better than using powerdvd itself.

  7. whee, it worked. thx a lot m8

  8. Thank you very much for the help and information.

  9. This still works nicely, I will update a bit for 2012 : )
    I still used powerdvd 9 filters, but newer ones might work too.

    For 64 bit systems: It seems the filters do not work for MPC 64 bit. The solution is to use 32 bit MPC, however as you do not have to install anything with MPC this is fairly trivial.

    It is possible to use only the filters and uninstall powerDVD, the filter you want is in directory POWERDVD9/VideoFilter. The file you want to add as an external filter to mpc is This will create the same entry as mentioned in this article.

    As the anime was only OK'ish and the xbox 360 version seems to use the designs of the anime (why? f:), this version is the one for me to check again now.

  10. I had trouble with PowerDVD 9, where it wouldn't show any video and I would just hear sound. I found that if I used the Configure PowerDVD Settings menu, and checked or unchecked "Enable hardware acceleration (NVIDIA(R) PureVideo(R))" the video would appear. Also, I suggest no more than 4x fast-forward for reliable behavior.