Holds up really well and it's still a lot of fun in 2012
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a game released in 2001 to critical acclaim, developed by ID Software and the highly anticipated succesor to Wolfenstein 3D. The game starts with a pretty rushed cutscene where it tries to get you interested in the story and talks about some scientists involved in the paranormal, something about some fat chick and then they spend about 10 seconds talking about you, agent BJ Blazkowits. BJ, you know, like in blowjob.
While this is more or less the story ( minus some very predictable twists ), the gameplay is where this game truly shines. The controls are very tight, the movement speed is fast and the weapons have a good kick to them. Speaking of weapons, your arsenal is pretty robust, having everything from Lugers and Colts, to Thompsons, Stens, Panzerfausts aswell as some imaginary ones like the Venom gun. The only gripe I have with the shooting is that the weapons don't seem to have enough recoil, however considering the game's speed, maybe thats for the best.
The locations are also varied, the game taking you to ancient castles, forests, cities, airports, catacombs aswell as research facilities and the arctic circle. All these locations look unique and help break whatever monotony may settle in after spending some time in one location. A few of the locations also require you to completely change your gameplay style, which can be more frustrating than fun, like for example in one of the levels I was required to complete a portion stealthily which turned out to be very frustrating and required a lot of memorization. Fortunately though these levels are rare, with the majority of them being actually very fun.
The troops also vary, from simple soldiers to paratroopers and other elite forces aswell as zombies and demons. And even a few interesting boss fights. Some of the more notable enemies are the flaming zombies that can burn you alive pretty quickly and can usually be killed by throwing lots of grenades and keeping a good distance, the lopers that are very fast and very resistant and the super soldier which is the hardest and scariest boss in the game.
The graphics hold up really well especially the lighting, which helps give a lot of atmosphere to the various levels, at night also giving some of the levels a horror vibe. The draw distance outside could be better, however the fogging is really well done and hides the pop-up smartly. The character models dont look that good anymore, but the wall textures are still decent.
The sound is excellent, with some good bass when shooting and the position of the audio is done well too. The music consists of mostly enviromental stuff that further helps with the atmosphere in the game. Unfortunately I didn't get to test the multiplayer since no one is playing it nowadays, but I remember that back in the day it too was very good.
Having played this game years ago I was worried that it wont hold up well, but fortunately my worries were unfounded and this game still plays and looks great. I highly recommend it.