>> Tuesday, December 30, 2008
A question: "I have a pristine-looking copy of The 7th Guest, the rerelease version in a standard jewelcase. Not a single scratch or speck on the disc. The music will occasionally start skipping throughout the game, and EVERY time you enter the coffin room after completing the basement maze, the game will crash. I've heard about the initial release being incompatible with certain cd-i players, but nothing about the rerelease. I have two other cd-i games, Apprentice and Litil Divil, and both run without any problems at all. This is on a Philips cd-i 370 (portable system w/ integrated digital video card). Is this an issue of incompatibility, a defective copy, a problem with my system, or what?"
Windowskiller knows this problem, which more or less only affects FMV games and audio/video CDs (more general: everything that constantly streams data from the disc). However, I only experienced it on CDM12-equipped CD-i 210s. It's cause by the grease drying out, so that the laser can no longer move fluidly and often lose tracking. Re-grease will fix it. Owning a 370 myself, I can tell you that this won't be an easy task, though. You could permanently damage the system, unfortunately. But the hard part here is that unlike with the VCR-sized CD-i players, everything in the 370 is tightly packed and you have to remove the pcb in order to remove the drive mechanism. The rest is not that hard. Remove the cover from the drive mechanism, clean the steel rail on which the laser moves, and re-grease it. Just don't touch the lens, nor apply any force to the moving parts. As for the Timekeeper battery, if that would be the problem, on the bottom of the CD-i 370 you'll find a small hatch that you can open. Behind it you'll find the battery. Replacing it couldn't be easier. If the grease has dried out, there will be places on the rail that are hard to pass for the laser. So it is very possible that this causes a crash always at the same point in the game.
But if you're unsure, you can test it easily. Insert an audio CD that has absolutely no scratches and let it play from the beginning to the end (it should be close to 74 min., no single or maxi, those are to short). If your problem is caused by dried-out grease, you'll get clicks and jumps while the audio plays. Even better would be a video CD, as that would simply freeze as soon as the laser lose tracking.