I know this question was asked many months ago, but just for anyone looking for an answer to the startup crash:
The DOSBox website entry for Robinon's Requiem, found here
states the solution to Robinson's Requiem CD edition's crash on startup (showing weird symbols and then exiting out - often too fast to see on current PCs) is to set DOSBox's cpu cycles to anything except max. Apparently too many CPU cycles in DOSbox causes this crash and I can confirm that this solved the problem for me, and hopefully it can do so for you too.
In your Robinson's Requiem install directory, locate a file called "dosboxrobinsons.conf"
Open it with a text editor.
Find the line "cycles=max"
Change the line to read "cycles=20000"
without quotes. Note: I don't know the exact sweet spot for the game, but 20000 cycles seems to be sufficient)
Save the file
Run the game
It should now launch correctly. I hope this helps people having problems to get the game up and running.