My understanding is that in version 4 they dropped support for 32bit cpu's. While a 32bit operating system can still be used, it must be running on a 64bit cpu. The following information may not apply to since you said you are running a 32bit OS but didn't state if you had a 32bit cpu.
The links below are for workstation because Vmware posts more information about it, but player is built from workstation so often the same information applies.
VMware Workstation 9 CPU requirements:
According to this a 64bit cpu is required.
VMware Workstation 6 (player 2 equivalent):
According to the workstation 6 document an x86 or x86-64 cpu can be used. So vmware player 2 should support 32bit cpus.
VMware Workstation 7 (player 3 equivalent?):
According to the workstation 7 document some x86 cpus are still supported like the Intel Pentium 4 models that support PAE, however older ones like pentium III are not any longer.
VMware Workstation 8 (player 4 equivalent?):
According to the workstation 8 document a 64bit cpu is required.
If you have 32bit cpu I would suggest installing VMware Player 3 and if it doesn't work then I guess you will be stuck with version 2. If you have a 64bit cpu but are experiencing issues I would suggest trying version 4 and working your way up.