I remember when I first laid eyes on this game. I was very young, maybe six, or seven. My dad was the radiologist manager at the local hospital and one of his employees had this game. My dad brought it home and for some reason put it in the top shelf of our hallway closet where we kept the coats. I remember walking by the closet one day and my dad was in there shuffling things around, he pulled the game down and showed me the box that the game came in. Now I’m not sure what possessed my dad to think I should be allowed to play this game because nothing says “child friendly game” like a box art with nazis falling to their death, machine guns going off and a man ripped out of his mind screaming. After all, my parents were pretty strict. There was no swearing, or alcohol in our house. The Simpsons were off limits most of the time. So for some reason, killing nazis in the name of America slipped past my dad.
This was back in the 90s where gaming was really starting to take off. We had just purchased a new computer with a Windows 95 operating system (OH MY GOD THE FUTURE IS HERE) and along with the computer we had a really cool black and purple joystick.
The only game I ever used the joystick for was Wolfenstein 3D. It was perfect for the navigation of the game and the satisfying click of a trigger like a gun. (Yes, I was a sadistic child)
Anyway, to the actual game. You are B.J. Blazkowicz an American soldier who has been captured by the Nazis, sent to a prison and awaiting your execution. The gameplay is the definition of a video game. It’s the very basics of basics, which makes the game so great. You are on a floor, you must navigate through a maze of corridors filled with nazis, treasure and two keys. Find the keys, kill the nazis, get the treasure, unlock the door, go to the elevator to the next floor and repeat.
This game is credited for spawning the first person shooter, so that crap you play called “Call of Duty” is a great grandson of Wolfenstein 3D. How old is Wolfenstein 3D you ask? It was released in 1992, for MS-DOS, along with a program that could copy and share the game. With that program, the game took off like lightning. Every gamer just had to get their hands on Wolfenstein and for the most part they did.
Now back to the game, there are six missions, each mission consists of nine floors filled with treasure, secret passages, and Nazis. The game does show classic video game humor with the difficulty settings.
So how tough are you? I beat the game on “Don’t hurt me”. It was somewhat challenging, a few times I died, but for the most part I coasted through the game. If you up the difficulty, you take much more damage and the Nazi soldiers are almost tripled so if anyone beat the game on “I am Death incarnate!” (without cheating) you are a Nazi killing God.
So as the game begins, you start off in a jail cell standing over a dead guard. Supposedly, you choked him to death when he entered your cell. Now, you’ve taken his pistol and your goal is to escape the fortress by going up nine floors to freedom. Standing in your way is Nazi guards. There a few different kinds of Nazi guards throughout the game, as you progress through the game, the guards change. Here are the guards throughout the game:
They are sometimes accompanied with guard dogs. These german shepherds are not very nice and bite quite violently. They are very fast, but take only one shot to kill.
These next few guards yell out, outrageous things when they see you and when they die. I refuse to look up what they actually say because it will ruin the game for me and my interpretation of what they are saying. My guess is that these guards just love American football by what they scream.
In all seriousness, there is a google search for what these guards say because no one understands them. Your guess is as good as mine but I refuse to read the truth. Other enemies in the game include zombies in the second mission that do jump-n-jacks and shoot from their stomach and Hitler lookalike priests that wear robes, float a foot off the ground and shoot fireballs from their chest. (This game was historically accurate right down to the enemies!)
There are four weapons that will come into your possession during the game. A knife that is basically useless and used if you have no ammo, a pistol that is weak, a machine gun that is pretty effective and a chain gun that blows holes the size of basketballs through anyone standing in your way.
Wolfenstein 3D is fantastic inside and out.
It’s an old school game, which means there are awesome boss battles, secret passages to discover in every level, treasure to collect and most importantly, cheat codes! My sister, Ashley, and I used to play this game when we were younger. She is four years older than me so she understood the game basics better than I did at the time. We could beat the first few floors on mission one on our own but after that we would get stuck or die against a never ending horde of Nazis. That all changed when my friend Bryce, who had the game too told me about a cheat code that will be embedded in my memory forever. Three simple keys pressed in sequence held down gave you full ammo and health as well as both keys to the level. Those famous keys were “M” “I” “L”. We mashed those buttons together more times than I can count and soon were stacking Nazi bodies on top of each other.
This came especially in handy when you faced the boss of the mission. Floor 9 on every mission held the final boss. They were all tough bosses who would kick your ass if you didn’t know what you were doing. Six bosses total: The first boss I really don’t know his name, but the others were a mad scientist who throws syringes, (he is the one that created the zombies) a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel (haha oh Germany) a rocket scientist who shoots missiles at you, and a general that has a missile launcher as well as a chain gun.
So that leaves one more boss…. and I would easily put him in the top ten bosses in video game history.
Meet Mecha Hitler.
This guy is so awesome. He has two phases, his meter suit phase, once you destroy it he loses two chain guns and is in a commander outfit. When he dies, he really dies. He screams “Goodbye, Eva” which is a shout out to his mistress in real life. (SEE I TOLD YOU THIS GAME IS TOTALLY HISTORICALLY ACCURATE)
But after he dies, he totally explodes. It’s one of the best deaths in video game history. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself.
The death is so awesome, that the game has a death came and replays Hitler exploding in slow motion. What six-year old wouldn’t think that’s the greatest thing in life?
Now, I don’t know if I ever beat Wolfenstein 3D as a kid, I don’t remember fighting the final boss. (It wasn’t Mecha Hitler) so a few weeks ago I decided to give the game another try after a 15 year hiatus. This time I played it THERE WAS NO CHEATING.
It aged beautifully, the gameplay was just as fun as I remembered, the secrets were exciting to find, the rush of finding ammo or health when running low was great and of course the bosses were fantastic. I beat the game in six day, I took on a mission a day. Each mission lasted roughly 2-3 hours. Each floor you climbed, got much tougher, not because of the enemies, but because of the layout. By the end of the game, I mentally had to map out the floor and look for markers because the floor itself was such a maze to navigate. I love engaging stories but Wolfenstein 3D didn’t need one because of its engulfing gameplay. Each mission came with a description but it wasn’t in depth by any means.
The hardest part of this game was some of the crazy mazes on the floors, you had to find the two keys and then the elevator, all three things were heavily guarded. Bosses would kill me occasionally and I would have to try 2-5 times to beat them. The final boss was a huge dick. He surrounded himself with about 100 guards you have to kill to get to him, then he has his personal guards that are in the room with him. You need to kill them first because they will shoot you in the back in you don’t. It took me probably 15 tries just to get to him and another 15 to kill him. That was on the second easiest setting so I can’t imagine the hardest.
Overall, this is a fantastic game for the computer, it was the God Father of first person shooters, literally the layout, settings, and concept all set the groundwork for games like Doom and Duke Nukem.
I’m a little bit bias because of the nostalgia attached to this game for me but it’s pretty close to a 10/10. I’d give it a 9.5/10, tons of fun, mazes to solve, epic bosses, cheat codes, great sound effects and of course very educational. (That last one was a joke).
I highly recommend it if you would like to see where all your first person shooters came from.