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Area 51 (2005)

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

Not to be confused with Area 51 or BlackSite: Area 51.

Area 51
Area 51 cover
Midway Studios Austin
Midway Games
Release dates
Windows June 8, 2005
Metacritic 67
Monetization Freeware
Series Area 51
Area 51 (2005) on HowLongToBeat
Area 51 (2005) on IGDB
Area 51 (2005) on MobyGames
Area 51 (2005) on Wikipedia
Area 51
Area 51 1995
Area 51 (2005) 2005
BlackSite: Area 51 2007


GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).

Key points

This game is available as a free download.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
StarForce 3 DRM (removed in the latest patch).
The installer on the retail version of the game does not function correctly on modern operating systems (Windows 7 and later). See Installing the CD/DVD version for a solution or install the free version.

Free version

This game was released as a free download sponsored by the US Air Force.[1]
It can be downloaded here. Install the latest patch to remove the online DRM.

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Delete/rename Midway_640x480_30.bik[2]
  1. Go to MOVIES in the installation folder.
  2. Delete or rename Midway_640x480_30.bik.


Install the latest patch(1.2) to remove copy protection and fix various issues.
Latest patch for German and European is version 1.1, it can be found in the above link.

Project Dreamland

Updated version of the original Free release with many improvements.
Fixes many bugs of the original release.
Adds support for modern aspect ratios and fixes FOV.
Restores multiplayer mode.
Improves performance on modern PCs.
If launcher gets stuck verifying game files see

Area 51 Preservation Project

Updated version of the original Free release with many improvements.
Fixes many bugs of the original release.
Adds support for fullscreen on modern PCs, improves FOV, solves cutscene stutter, and caps FPS to fix physics.
Restores multiplayer mode.
Improves performance on modern PCs.
Compatible with Project Dreamland(install the mod above before this one).

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\[Note 1]
UserVConfig.ini contains player video settings.
UserInputConfig.ini contains player input settings.
LangConfig.ini contains the game language settings.
InputConfig.ini and VConfig.ini contain default settings; these files do not need to be edited directly.

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\SAVES\[Note 1]


Video settings.
Video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
The game is Vert- by default. Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
4K Ultra HD
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix. HUD elements and menu text are not scaled and are very small.
Field of view (FOV)
Default FOV is 60°. Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
See Windowed.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Control panel hack causes glitches, see Anti-aliasing (AA).
High-fidelity upscaling
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Enabled by default.
60 FPS
120+ FPS
At higher fps, jumping does not work correctly. See High frame rate breaks jump physics.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.


Set windowed in UserVConfig.ini[2]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Edit UserVConfig.ini.
  3. Change Window = FALSE to Window = TRUE
  4. Set your resolution if needed.
  5. For borderless mode set your desktop resolution and use a borderless tool.
  6. Save your changes and close the file.

Anti-aliasing (AA)

Forced AA causing white outlines.
Forced AA causing white outlines.
The game doesn't support AA natively and forcing any traditional AA methods, such as MSAA will causes white outlines around letters and some objects.
Force post-process anti-aliasing methods via ReShade.
For AMD user: force morphological filtering (MLAA) through AMD Radeon Control Panel/Catalyst Control Centre.[3]
Use Virtual/Dynamic Super Resolution[3]
  1. Open your graphics card control panel.
  2. Turn on Virtual Super Resolution(AMD) or Dynamic Super Resolution(Nvidia)
  3. In the game video settings select resolution that is higher than the monitor's native resolution. If the game runs in a window change the desktop resolution first, so the game window fits on the screen.


Key mappings.
Key mappings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Disabled by default.
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support


Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Effects, music and speech.
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Official localization by "Новый Диск". Local retail release only.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play
Online play
GameSpy servers have been shut down. To play online download Project Dreamland.

Issues fixed

Problem installing the CD/DVD version

The installation process fails with the message "The wizard was interrupted before Area 51(R) could be completely installed".
Start the installation manually using the command console[4]
  1. Open the first CD or DVD in a new window to view its contents.
  2. Inside the window while holding Shift press the right mouse button and select "Open command window here" or "Open PowerShell Here".
  3. In the command console type msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" /qb and press Enter.
  4. Apply the newest patch to remove DRM.


Default installation folder is C:\Program Files\Midway Games\Area 51\ for 32 bit systems and C:\Program Files (x86)\Midway Games\Area 51\ for 64 bit systems. You can change the installation folder by using the INSTALLDIR option. For example, to install the game on E: drive in Games folder type msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" INSTALLDIR="E:\Games\Midway Games\Area 51\" /qb.
For installing in other languages use the TRANSFORMS property (German and European version only). For German language e.g.: msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" TRANSFORMS=1031.mst /qb Other mst files for changing language are: 1033.mst, 1034.mst, 1036.mst, 1040.mst and 3084.mst.

"An internet connection is required to enjoy free, ad-supported game play" error

The advertising servers for the free US Air Force version are no longer running.
Install the latest patch[2]

Choppy cutscene playback

Non-FMV cutscenes play incorrectly on multi-threaded systems.
Run the game with forced single core CPU affinity

Broken textures and lighting

On some systems lighting will be broken and all textures will be black. This is a DirectX 9 issue and can be solved with an API wrapper (DXVK also works for Vulkan capable GPUs).
Use WineD3D for Windows[5]
  1. Download WineD3D for Windows.
  2. Follow the included instructions for DirectX 9 games.
Use DgVoodoo 2 for Windows[6]
  1. Download DgVoodoo 2 for Windows.
  2. Follow the included instructions for DirectX 9 games.

High frame rate breaks jump physics

FPS >50 causes inability to jump while moving up sloped surfaces. FPS >100 breaks jumping mechanic entirely.[citation needed].
Jumping is not required for combat, and in most cases where jumping from one platform to another is required, there is an invisible scripted "jump assist" that allows the player to jump across gaps, even though normal jumping is prevented by high frame rate.Changing between the framerate being capped to 50 and unlimited (preferably with a hotkey, like what is avaliable in Rivertuner) is a suitable workaround.
Limit the Framerate to 60FPS[citation needed]
Set refresh rate on 60hz[citation needed]

Project Dreamland launcher get's stuck in verifying files

When executing the launcher for Project Dreamland the launcher gets stuck in an endless loop verifying the game's files.
Create a shortcut to the game's exe with launch parameters[7]
  1. Go to the game folder > resources > app > game, and create shortcut for A51.exe
  2. On the new shortcut add following launch parameter: --launcher

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer GameSpy Servers have been shut down. To play online use Project Dreamland.

System requirements

Operating system (OS) 2000, XP
Processor (CPU) Intel 1.4 GHz
AMD 1.2 GHz
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 3 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon 9500
Nvidia GeForce FX 5200
All GeForce MX series video cards are not supported by the game.


  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).


  1. Game Bundle Download Sponsored by Air Force - last accessed on May 2023
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Verified by User:Garrett on 2014-07-25
  3. 3.0 3.1 Verified by User:Antrad on September 1, 2017
  4. Problems Installing Midway Games Area 51 - last accessed on May 2023
  5. Broken textures and lighting - last accessed on 2020-04-27
  6. Broken textures and lighting - last accessed on 2020-08-8
  7. Project Dreamland stuck on verifying files fix [missing title] - last accessed on 2021-12-15