In case anyone visits this topic: could you please remind me what key do I have to hit to start the game? I really can't figure it out... I used to play it, I both played it in the 90s (always veeeery far from completing, alas) and after I found it again, but now I try enter, space, alt, control etc. and nothing works...
Assuming it's DOS, you could try turning off joystick emulation (if DOSBox) or unplugging the joystick (unlikely)