I recently got it into my head to try this game again. When I fired it up it worked fine except for a bunch of polygons going completely transparent, making the game completely unplayable for all practical purposes.
It's apparently an issue with the recent NVIDIA drivers and the cards of the 8000/9000 series. I've been upgrading my drivers to no avail. I'd downgrade my drivers, but I can't do it because of the video card I use - this is a very recent laptop!