Not officially the first FPS game ever made but Wolfenstein 3D has been credited with being the first “proper” first person shooter, and certainly the game to launch the genre’s popularity and pave the way for the likes of DOOM and Duke Nukem 3D. The game, inspired by the earlier games Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, was released by Apogee in 1992 to critical acclaim.
The plot follows the protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz, an American spy during World War II. The game follows two sections, episodes 1, 2 and 3 and the prequel Nocturnal Missions, episodes 4, 5 and 6 with each episode consisting of 10 missions. Bosses are fought at the end of each episode. B.J. has been captured by the Nazis and has been imprisoned in Castle Wolfenstein. He escapes from his cell and fights his way through Castle Wolfenstein, until he reaches Hans Grosse, the Nazi enforcer in charge of the castle’s defenses. B.J. escapes and is tasked with a new mission to twart Operation Eisenfaust which has the goal of creating army of zombie mutant super soldiers. After this B.J of course, needs to go after the fuhrer himself. The prequel missions are then available to play after this.
The prequel missions deal with Germal plans for “Giftkrieg” or poison warfare. Blazkowicz must enter a weapons research facility and hunt down the scientist, Dr. Otto Giftmacher (Poisonmaker). He also has to obtain maps and plans of the chemical war which are guarded by Hans Grosse’s sister Gretel Grosse. The final battle B.J. must face is against General Fettgeisicht (Fatface), who is the leader of the chemical war initiative.Take a look at the face off against Hitler below.
Gameplay follows a format which would be familiar to retro shooter fans. Each level is completed by fighting enemies such as guards and dogs while keeping health and ammo replenished, and reaching an elevator which leads to the next level. If the player runs out of health and dies they lose one life and all of their guns and ammo except a pistol with eight rounds and a knife. A submachine gun and a chain gun are also available to the player and all use the same kind of ammo. The player begins each episode in the game with three lives, more of which can be obtained by finding extra life tokens or by reaching 40,000 points. There is treasure scattered around the levels that can be collected to raise their score. Secret passages can be found and often contain health, treasure or ammunition (I mean, what Nazi castle would be complete without secret passages to be fair). At the end of each episode the player must face off against a boss. Each episode also contained a secret level, reached by a secret elevator.
Somehow Wolfenstein 3D managed to avoid the controversy DOOM saw, but did get banned in Germany due to the Nazi symbolism all over the game. There was even an entire floor made up of swastika shaped rooms. As a result the SNES version of the game was also heavily edited, with all swastikas removed from the game. Hitler was renamed and his moustache was removed and blood was replaced with sweat. The Nazi Party’s anthem “Horst-Wessel-Lied” was also the theme music of the game and was changed. You can have a listen to the soundtrack below which could have been listened to through your PC speaker back in the day, unless you were flush enough to enjoy the benefits of a soundblaster soundcard.
Overall the game has seen releases on MS-DOS, Mac OS,Amiga 1200, AmigaOS 4,Apple IIGS,Acorn Archimedes,NEC PC-9801, SNES,Jaguar, GBA, 3DO,Windows Mobile, iOS,PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, so if you haven’t played it yet, you’ll probably be able to at some stage. Any good memories from Castle Wolfenstein? Do you think the new ones live up to the legacy? Let us know!