Weird that it would work and then quit. Your DOS prompt woes sound like the audio and video drivers aren't loading properly.
Back in the day, when we wanted to play a DOS-based game, we had to reboot into the DOS prompt (not just open a DOS window). Rebooting into the DOS prompt allowed the config.sys and autoexec.bat files to load up the necessary audio, video, and mouse drives and allocate the necessary memory.
I can't begin to remember how to do this, so unless someone else does and tells you here, I suggest you go to The Underdogs which is an abandonware site. Go to their forums and ask the folks there how to setup your startup files so you can play your game.