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Gender Wars

DOS - 1996

Year 1996
Platform DOS
Released in United Kingdom, United States
Genre Action, Strategy
Theme Real-Time, Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Publisher GT Interactive Software Corp., Sales Curve Ltd., The
Developer 8th Day, The
Perspective Isometric
3.8 / 5 - 10 votes

Description of Gender Wars

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A fun isometric squad-level strategy game à la X-COM but with a unique premise, Gender Wars was unfortunately largely neglected when it was first released.

Games Domain's Chris McMullen says it all in his thorough review of this forgotten underdog: "Gender Wars is not a game that takes itself too seriously. Bearing certain similarities to Bullfrog's Syndicate, it takes place some time in the future. A time where certain problems have arisen, so that the inhabitants of Earth have divided up into two factions, male and female... The planet is slowly decimated by a number of civil wars, and the population is forced to move into vast underground cities. But, as if that wasn't bleak enough, what were relatively minor disputes soon become an all out gender war. This is where you, the player, come in. Taking control of either the male or female side, you must ensure total victory for your forces. This entails guiding a small squad of soldiers through a number of missions of increasing difficulty, preferably with all limbs and organs intact.

Sounds easy? It isn't. There are a total of 28 missions, 14 for each side, each of which has a number of objectives, both primary and secondary. The primary objectives must be completed in order to move to the next mission, and are usually relatively straightforward. The secondary objectives, on the other hand, are optional, giving you a higher mission score, but usually entail going well out of your way to complete them.

The actual mission objectives vary, but the missions can be split up into 3 basic types - offensive, defensive, and stealth missions. Offensive missions involve heading into enemy territory, armed to the teeth, to retrieve an item, or destroy an enemy target. Defensive missions involve protecting friendly cities from enemy attack, and often wiping out the invading enemy forces. To complicate things, some missions are set under cover of darkness, or give you just one soldier to complete the mission with. The first mission is relatively simple, but things get harder, very quickly. You have a number of soldiers at your disposal, ranging from battle-hardened veterans to total rookies, each with varying abilities. You can take a maximum of four soldiers into each mission, and should they manage to survive a successful mission, they gain experience and slowly rise through the ranks. The ultimate accolade for a soldier is to become a squad leader, who can then lead other soldiers into battle.

Unlike X-COM, and Syndicate, you can't just keep shrugging off losses and throwing new soldiers into battle. Each mission team needs at least one squad leader to order them around; lose all your squad leaders, and the game is over. And with only a handful of squad leaders to start off with, it's a case of assessing the risk of sending your best soldier into battle. So you can already see there's a tactical element to Gender Wars, as opposed to solid blasting. Within the mission, keeping your soldiers alive is your main priority. Each person has an energy shield, which will absorb a certain number of weapon hits. Lose that energy, however, and further hits will take energy off the life bar. Should the life bar be emptied, that soldier dies.

But despite what I've said so far, there are a number of criticisms. For a start, the vicious Beast of Buggyness rears its ugly head again. The soldiers appear initially to have a decent level of intelligence, and can be ordered to retreat, defend, or fire at will. And indeed, they will, if so ordered, wander off after their own targets. But sometimes, they seem to go completely nuts. Not battle crazy nuts, but 'intelligence of a rock' nuts. If they spot an enemy, they will happily charge into a clearly visible electric fence just to get at him or her. Despite shouts of 'No! You morons!' they still belt merrily into the path of the forcefield, viciously damaging themselves.

Then there's the lifts. Take your squad leader up a lift, and your soldiers will usually follow. I say usually, but they have a tendency to just stop at the bottom of the lift. It's not that they have got one foot in the way of the lift, as the manual mentions; they just stand there, not moving. And they sometimes even get stuck walking against a wall, walking like they're actually getting somewhere, but to little effect.

Despite what I've said above, Gender Wars is definitely worth playing. It's hugely entertaining, easily better than Syndicate, but the bugs, and lack of a map just stop it from being a classic game."

Fans of unique, tongue-in-cheek games such as Z will in particular enjoy this one. Thumbs up!

Review By HOTUD

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Comments and reviews

Robotas 2023-09-17 -2 points

I play it back in those days and it was ok. It was a kind of a funny version of Syndicate.
But just imagine if someone made this game (or remake it) nowawadays, three possible scenarios would happen.
1) The game would be canceled almost immediately by the woke people, to be homophobic, because only have two genders;
2) The game would be remaked by woke people and it would have hundrends of genders to choose from;
3) The woke people don't remember this game or their too young to know this game even existed, and if they eventually know this game exists, they will "climb the walls" thinking horrified "How those people made a game like this with only two genders?".

JamesTDG 2023-08-14 1 point

Has anyone figured out how to rip the assets from this game?

Ed_Straker 2023-08-02 -1 point

Everything about this game is incredibly frustrating. No wonder it didn't sell well.

Kaet 2022-12-16 2 points

This game runs flawlessly in DOSBox-X (

Using regular DOSBox I had some problems with finding the right cycle speed to make the game run fast enough without going too fast or slowing down when there was a lot of action.

DOSBox-X runs at normal speed with no need to set it up, just run it as you normally would in DOSBox, with the same commands.

Mordoku 2022-06-23 1 point

I installed the iso version. All fine with the method of SPARKLES and indeed the GW.exe of the installer is different, is obligatory to overwrite it. Now i ll give u simple tips for better play in this awesome game.
1.- With 'tab' u can hide the ui of the weapons and hud. Useful for low resolution.
2.- Press 'R' in game and u can change the resolution, low to high. the change to low res have errors. sometimes the screen isnt centered.
3.- This was the more valuable for me.. press the 'F' key and u will change the mode of the screen. in other words, the background will be updated like a adventure game like monkey island, screen by screen, but goodbye to the terrible shaking of the screen! uff the shaking was terribleeee!
4.- "Repag& AvPag" is to give orders to your squad.
5.- "+ & -" u can restore health to your troops the same as the floating menu of the left top corner.
6.- "B" activate your atk drone, special power i think
Thks for this great games and have fun!!


Ace 2022-03-25 1 point

Thanks to Sparkles and Capnclumsy for their guides. One thing that you need to be aware of, you need to run install.exe from the installation folder (gender) in the mounted 'x' drive first (i.e. x:\gender\install.exe) and then copy gw.exe from the same folder (x:\gender\gw.exe) to the installed folder (c:\gw\).

LazarheaD 2022-01-19 1 point

lol this game is too relevant today, but for different reasons...

M 2021-12-02 0 point

SPARKLES!!! Thank you!!!
SOLIDSNAKE is wrong. Your way works peffectly.
I had a hard time, but I realized I was mounting "gender" to X.
This is incorrect. Gender needs to be a folder inside X. Understanding that, it worked perfectly.
Thank you.

CapnClumsy 2021-08-18 2 points

There shouldn't be quotation marks in the command line when mounting the x drive. Also, make sure the installer files are in a sub folder named "gender" (no quotation marks)

I have my dos games in C:\games\dos\
I have my Gender Wars installer files in C:\games\gw\gender\

my auto exec looks like this:

mount x c:\games\gw\ -t cdrom
mount c c:\games\
cd dos

You can check that the install files are in the right place in DOS by typing
cd gender

If the installer files are there, you have it set up correctly, if not, you have an incorrect file path or the files are in the wrong place.

solidsnake 2021-02-15 1 point


I follow your tutorial until the part where you state that

"The game expects the "installer" downloaded folder files to be mounted as a CD-ROM in this location: "X:\Gender\"
so in DosBox the following path to files should exist:
example: X:\gender\BRIEFSFX\M_BRF03A.SMP
I used the following mount command for my folders:
mount X "C:\Games\GW_inst" -t cdrom
having: C:\Games\GW_inst\gender\"

No matter what I try, I cannot find DOS code that "fools" the game into thinking there is a "X:\Gender\" folder to obtain program assets from.

Could you please respond with MUCH more clarity on how to get this game up and running? I can get it to run, but when I get to the part where I choose a gender, the game always crashes. I need more clarity on how to get past that point. Please, and thank you!

Sparkles 2020-04-27 5 points

Managed to get this to work from the "installer" download. There are 2 things to be aware of:
1) Patched GW.EXE file.
After running the install.exe from the downloaded "installer" folder, the games is installed to C:\GW ( Dosbox path).
When try and run GW.EXE the game does not run. You need to rename or delete the old GW.exe file that has just been installed to "C:\GW" and copy the "GW.exe" file from the downloaded "installer" folder to the Game folder (C:\GW)

2) CD-ROM drive needs to be available at X:\Gender\.
It looks like the game is working after replacing the "GW.EXE" file, but after you chose a player gender, then the game crashes. The game expects the "installer" downloaded folder files to be mounted as a CD-ROM in this location: "X:\Gender\"
so in DosBox the following path to files should exist:
example: X:\gender\BRIEFSFX\M_BRF03A.SMP
I used the following mount command for my folders:
mount X "C:\Games\GW_inst" -t cdrom
having: C:\Games\GW_inst\gender\

This allowed me to run the game from the installer folder.
To change speed, as with any DOSBox game, use Ctrl+F11 to slow down, and Ctrl + F12 t o speed up.

Hope that helped,
* Sparkles*

Sanny 2020-04-15 2 points

My pc game Gerder wars (1996) turn to speed Can Not find How turns be Normal?!

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DOS Version

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