Disabling the 3D acceleration did the trick... the game comes up and displays correctly (or as correctly as I can determine from looking at the initial splash screen/menu :-).
Crap. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do because I can't run with 3D acceleration disabled on a continuing basis.
I have an upgrade to 12.5.8 to install for VMware and I'll make sure that my nVidia drivers are up to date and report back any resolution (or non-resolution).
Thanks for your help with this!