Wolfenstein 3D is a fast-paced first-person shooter developed by id and released by Apogee (via shareware and mail order) on May 5, 1992 for the PC (running MS-DOS). Loosely inspired by the Castle Wolfenstein series of stealth action games, the game is often cited as the progenitor of the modern first-person shooter genre.
Set in World War II, players control Captain William "B.J." Blazkowicz, an Allied spy imprisoned by the Nazi regime while attempting to uncover the plans of the mysterious "Operation Eisenfaust". After overpowering a guard and stealing his Luger P08, B.J. must traverse the depths of the fortified stronghold (known as Castle Wolfenstein) and find a way to escape. The subsequent episodes in the trilogy deal with B.J.'s pursuit against Operation Eisenfaust (which turned out to be the creation of undead Nazi mutants) and B.J.'s infiltration into the bunker of Adolf Hitler.
The game was originally released in a three-episode trilogy, with the first episode (dealing with the escape from Castle Wolfenstein) as the widely-released shareware episode. Soon after the game's release, it was updated so that players can purchase an add-on (either separately or bundled with the original game) that adds three new episodes (known as "The Nocturnal Missions"), which serve as the game's prequel (as B.J. must investigate Nazi plans for chemical warfare). Commercial versions of the game (released throughout the years by GT Interactive, Activision, and id) contained all six episodes.
Over the years, the original MS-DOS game has been ported to a variety of platforms. Early ports (in which major graphical and gameplay differences are common) include the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Atari Jaguar, Macintosh computers, the Acorn Archimedes, the 3DO, the Apple IIgs, and the NEC PC-9801. Later ports (near-identical to the original game) were released for the Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade), PlayStation 3 (via PlayStation Network), Steam (via DOSBox), and all iOS devices. To commemorate the game's 20th anniversary, Bethesda released a browser-based version of the game. Due to the release of the game's source code in 1995 (a practice id would continue with its later games), various unofficial modifications had been created and various ports have been made for additional platforms (including Linux computers, the Dreamcast, and the Sega 32X).
Due to the extensive references to Nazism (including graphics depicting swastikas and the title screen theme depicting the anthem of the Nazi party), the game is in violation of German criminal code and is banned in Germany. Some versions (namely the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version) removed the references while censoring the game's violence (for instance, removing blood and changing attack dogs to mutant rats). Some later ports (namely the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions) removed references to the Red Cross (replacing the "red cross" of medical items with a heart symbol).
Wolfenstein 3D was followed by a standalone expansion (and prequel) in 1992, titled Spear of Destiny. id has, since then, been a co-developer with several reboots of the Wolfenstein franchise, including 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein, 2008's Wolfenstein RPG, and 2009's Wolfenstein.
The objective of Wolfenstein 3D is simply to navigate a variety of maze-like three-dimensional levels, with the ultimate goal being to find the designated exit point, thereby transporting the player to the next level in the sequence. Along the way, the player must engage in first-person firefights with a variety of opponents in order to ensure their survival, all the while keeping an eye out for new weapons and pickups that restore ammo and health so as to tip the odds in their favour. Many levels incorporate locked doors, which may only be opened once the player has located and picked up the associated Key (either Silver or Gold), and exploration is also encouraged, as secret areas are found in abundance throughout the game. These hidden zones are more often than not tremendously helpful, being filled with health pickups, ammo, weaponry, or in rare cases revealing the entrance to a secret level. The game consists of six episodes comprised of ten levels each, with all episodes culminating in a climactic boss fight. After each level the player is taken to a summary screen where they are rated according to various metrics, including kill count and the percentage of treasures and secrets found in the level.
The game includes a number of arcade-like elements, including lives and a scoring system, with points awarded for kills and collecting treasures within levels. The player begins each episode with only three lives, but can be awarded additional lives for every 40,000 points they amass, or for finding 1-Ups, up to a potential maximum of nine lives. Upon death, the player returns to the beginning of the current level with only their starting weapons, the Knife and Pistol, and must replay it from scratch. If the player loses all of their lives, they cannot continue at all, and must instead start from the beginning of the episode with three lives. These systems are somewhat trivialized by Wolfenstein 3D's save game system, however, which allows the player to save the game at any point and reload that save without restrictions. Thus, players are essentially able to use this system to restart an infinite number of times while also minimizing many of the normal penalties associated with death, such as lost progress and stripped weaponry.
In Wolfenstein 3D, each episode consists of ten floors (one of which is a secret floor, accessible only by finding a secret elevator exit in a specific level of the episode). In the ninth and final floor, players must face a formidable foe (the episode's "boss") in order to proceed.
The Original Trilogy
The first episode, "Escape from Wolfenstein", served as the game's shareware episode, with the remaining two episodes available in mail-order. Commercial versions of the game included all three episodes (as well as The Nocturnal Missions below).
- Episode 1: "Escape from Wolfenstein" - Sent in on a reconnaissance mission to find plans detailing Operation Eisenfaust, B.J. is captured and imprisoned in the depths of Castle Wolfenstein. After overpowering a guard in his cell and taking his pistol, Blazkowicz must escape from the fortified stronghold to continue his mission. Chief among his concerns is Hans Grosse, the fearsome head guard stationed at Castle Wolfenstein.
- Episode 2: "Operation: Eisenfaust" - After escaping from Castle Wolfenstein, B.J. continues to investigate reports of Operation: Eisenfaust, only to find out that the Nazis are creating an army of undead mutants deep within Castle Hollehammer. B.J. must now fight his way through hordes of the zombified Nazi soldiers (alongside normal guards) and stop the plan at its source (by eliminating the demented head scientist, Dr. Schabbs).
- Episode 3: "Die, Führer, Die!" - After the downfall of Operation: Eisenfaust, B.J. is sent to infiltrate a heavily fortified underground Nazi bunker deep under the Reichstag, where he must find and eliminate the head of the entire Nazi regime: Adolf Hitler.
The Nocturnal Missions
Formerly an add-on trilogy to complement the original game, The Nocturnal Missions serve as a prequel to B.J.'s imprisonment at Castle Wolfenstein. All commercial versions of the game include the trilogy.
- Episode 4: "A Dark Secret" - Intelligence has uncovered a horrifying Nazi plot to begin large-scale chemical warfare against Allied armies, tied to a chemical weapons manufacturer. B.J. must infiltrate the weapons research facility and hunt down the manufacturer: Dr. Otto Giftmacher.
- Episode 5: "Trail of the Madman" - With Giftmacher dead and the Nazi supply of chemical weaponry cut off, B.J. must now pursue General Fettgesicht, the man in charge of the Nazis' chemical warfare initiative, as the chemical bombardment has already commenced. Traveling deep within Castle Erlangen, B.J. must find documents which detail the specifics of the coming "Giftkrieg" (Poison War) and discover the location of General Fettgesicht. However, these documents are heavily guarded by soldiers led by fearsome head guard Gretel Grosse.
- Episode 6: "Confrontation" - After recovering the "Giftkrieg" plans, B.J. determines General Fettgesicht's location: Castle Offenbach. To ensure that the Nazi's chemical warfare is well and truly defeated, B.J. travels to Offenbach personally in order to assassinate Fettgesicht.
The original PC release of Wolfenstein 3D features four weapons: a knife, a pistol, and two automatic weapons. All three of the game's ranged weapons are hitscan, and all three of them use the same ammunition (vaguely referred to as simply "bullets") with the only difference between them being rate of fire. This makes it very important to monitor ammunition levels and refrain from being too trigger-happy, since running out of bullets renders the player unable to use any firearms, and forces them into the unenviable position of having to attack ranged opponents with only their knife. Weapons introduced through Wolfenstein 3D's ports do not share ammunition with the original weapons; however their unique ammo types are also not dropped by foes, and as a result they cannot be used nearly as often.
| One of the player's two starting weapons, and the only melee implement in Wolfenstein 3D, the Knife is most feasible for use against Dogs, as they have no ranged attack to speak of, and will die in a single hit regardless of what weapon is used. On other foes, the Knife is much less viable, as humanoid opponents will be able to freely fire upon the player as they make their way into effective Knife range. This risk can be somewhat mitigated by luring Guards around corners, though, regardless, gunshots do greater damage the closer the player gets to their opponent, so attacking gun-wielding enemies with the Knife will always carry with it a significant chance of grievous injury.|
| The Pistol acts as the player's primary starting weapon upon beginning a new game or restarting a level after death. Unlike automatic weapons obtainable within the levels themselves, which can be made to fire continuously by holding down the fire button, the Pistol is semi-automatic, requiring a single button press for each shot that is fired. It is perhaps most effective at medium to long range, where enemy accuracy and damage is diminished. This reduces the Pistol's damage also, however, and its rate of fire is extremely slow when compared to the Machine Gun and the Chain Gun, rendering it somewhat problematic to use against larger numbers of foes or enemies with fast-firing weaponry.|
| The first of two automatic weapons obtainable within the game world, the Machine Gun more or less replaces the starting Pistol once it is found, as it can not only be fired in fully automatic mode by holding down the trigger, but also in semi-automatic fashion by tapping and releasing the fire button. It is something of a balance between firing rate and ammo conservation, having more utility against grouped opponents and tougher single foes than the Pistol while also having a less exorbitant appetite for ammunition than the Chain Gun. The Machine Gun can be found in one of two ways: by finding it within the game environment, or by killing an SS Officer and retrieving it from his corpse.|
| The very pinnacle of Wolfenstein 3D's ballistic arsenal, the Chain Gun unleashes a torrent of bullets at anything directly in front of the player; Its damage output easily outclasses even the Machine Gun, its closest competitor in terms of damage per second, making it the obvious choice when dealing with bosses or extremely dangerous groupings of enemies. While it can take out any non-boss opposition in short order, for more modest threats, the Chain Gun is usually overkill, and furthermore can be somewhat wasteful, as it burns through ammunition at an extremely rapid pace (no less than two bullets per firing), which may not be justifiable when dispensing of the game's lesser foes.|
| Much like the Chain Gun, the Flamethrower fires off two rounds upon a single button press, or a continuous stream if the trigger is held down. Unlike the Chain Gun, the Flamethrower dispenses projectiles rather than hitscan bullets, which take the form of fiery clouds of ember that travel forward in a straight line. These projectiles are not restricted to hitting only a single target, instead being able to pass through an enemy, damaging additional foes behind it, continuing on in this fashion until it reaches a wall. The Flamethrower has its own ammunition source, Fuel Cans, which are not dropped by enemies, and for this reason it can't be used quite as liberally as the game's base weapons.|
| The Wolfenstein 3D Rocket Launcher is a powerful projectile weapon that, in practice, behaves very much like the Flamethrower. Rather than exploding upon contact with an enemy, a rocket will continue through its target, provided the target dies, striking additional foes along the way before detonating against a wall. Under the proper circumstances (i.e, when enemies are arrayed in a line or otherwise clustered together), a single rocket can kill numerous opponents. The Rocket Launcher uses its own ammunition, collected from Rocket Boxes, which are more scarce than Clips. It is also worth noting that the Rocket Launcher causes no splash damage, and therefore players cannot damage themselves with it.|
The two primary item types in Wolfenstein 3D are health restoratives and treasures. Any potential benefits an item might bestow are immediately activated upon pickup, and the item itself is consumed; the one exception to this rule is Gold and Silver Keys, which remain on the player's person (signified by icons in the status bar) in order to be used on locked doors later on in the level, and are inexplicably removed from the player's inventory upon starting a new level. While the purpose of most items remains consistent across releases, the treatment of treasure items is modified in some ports, and furthermore a few new items are incorporated into later versions, including three new varieties of ammunition pickups (the player's maximum ammo capacity is typically higher in these releases).
Blood / Remains If the player is reduced to less than 10% health, blood and other human remains can be consumed in a last-ditch effort to stay alive. Unfortunately, doing so only restores a single percentage point of health, so finding other restorative items is imperative. This item is absent in the SNES version of the game, due to restrictions against cannibalism, as are most other appearances of blood.
Dog Food A significant improvement over the consumption of human remains, though still quite demeaning, eating dog food restores four percentage points of health, and does not require the player to be below 10% health in order to use it. Unsurprisingly, dog food only appears on maps that feature dogs, and thus is somewhat rarer than other health pickups.
Food By far the most common health pickup in Wolfenstein 3D, Food restores a maximum of ten full percentage points of health, and it is not uncommon to find several of them in close proximity. In cases where the player is missing less than 25% health, it may be preferable to use Food over greater restorative items like Medkits when both are readily available.
| Somewhat rarer than Food, though significantly more powerful, the Medkit heals up to twenty-five percentage points of player health. It is most commonly found in secret areas or strewn about boss maps, and due to their scarcity, it is usually considered wasteful to use Medkits in situations where the player has not been significantly injured.|
| Typically found secreted away in hidden areas of the map, the 1-Up restores the player to maximum health regardless of their current status, and thus it is best used when the player is near death. In addition to returning the player to 100% health, 1-Ups also give the player an extra life, allowing an added retry should they die, and twenty-five additional bullets as well, making it the largest single source of ammunition in the game.|
| Picking up a single Cross adds 100 points to the player's score. Due to the censorship of religious iconography in that version of the game, Crosses are replaced with Scepters in the SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D, and in this and some later ports, Crosses and other treasures are tracked separately from the player's score, while on the Jaguar they renew health.|
| Being of significantly greater worth than Crosses, golden Chalices add 500 points to the player's score per instance. In some ports, the Chalice has no intrinsic point value; in these versions, an item tracker tabulates how many treasures the player has collected, granting a 1-Up for every 50 pieces. In the Jaguar version, the Chalice restores 4 hit points.|
| The Treasure Chest is twice as valuable as the Chalice, giving 1000 points to the player with each pickup. As is the case with other treasure pickups, Chests are treated differently in some versions of the game. The SNES, Mac, and 3DO ports, for instance, remove point values from the equation, while Wolfenstein 3D on the Jaguar turns them into health items.|
| The most valuable treasure item in Wolfenstein 3D by a fair margin, the Crown increases player score by 5000 points. The exact behavior of the Crown may change depending on the platform, with some opting to do away with point value entirely. The Jaguar port of Wolfenstein 3D is also notable for repurposing treasures, including the Crown, as health pickups.|
Silver / Gold Keys A large number of Wolfenstein 3D's levels require the player to seek out either a Silver Key, a Gold Key, or both, in order to unlock certain doors which bar progress. Usually, these keys are located at fixed points within the map, however in some instances they may be dropped by a particular enemy (i.e., a boss) upon killing them, requiring the player to first kill a certain target before they can proceed.
Ammo Clip Clips of ammunition can be found in one of two ways: either by killing certain gun-wielding foes, or by finding them in the environment. In the former case, a clip will contain four bullets, while in the latter, it will hold eight. Some ports also feature ammo boxes, first introduced in Spear of Destiny, which hold a larger number of bullets.
With very few exceptions, enemies in Wolfenstein 3D are typified by hitscan weaponry, and the potential damage they mete out is based on how close the player is to them when they fire. Due to this mechanic, it is almost always preferable to keep one's distance from foes, as this directly limits how much damage attackers can do (though a similar damage scaling is applied to the player's weapons also). In the original PC release, all normal enemies are composed of eight-sided sprites, while bosses are one-sided sprites that face the player at all times. Many ported versions of Wolfenstein 3D convert normal enemies into one-sided sprites as well, which is far from a simple cosmetic change, as the original game allows the player to sneak up on or bypass many unalerted enemies. Without the additional enemy graphics, this mechanic is simply not present in some version of the game.
German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog, or Dog, for short, is perhaps the least intimidating of Wolfenstein 3D's enemies, as it can attack only from melee range and has but a single hit point. The latter fact means that a single hit from any weapon is guaranteed to kill it, while the absence of a ranged attack makes it one of the few foes that can safely be handled with the Knife. It is one of the faster enemies in the game, and is capable of quickly closing the gap between itself and the player, which is particularly dangerous if the player is not yet aware of its presence. Due to censorship, German Shepherds were removed and replaced with Mutated Rats (which behave in the same manner) for the SNES release, and Dog Food health pickups were replaced with Cheese.
- Hit Points: 1
- Point Value: 200
One of the most prevalent of Wolfenstein 3D's enemy types, Guards inhabit many of the game's levels in fairly large quantities. They have modest hit points, and fire at a fairly slow rate, but nonetheless can be quite dangerous, especially if the player does not immediately notice them. The Knife has some efficacy against Guards, particularly if the player can sneak up one, as continuous jabs can often prevent the Guard from retaliating. Any ranged weapon can also make short work of a Guard, though automatic weaponry is more favorable in instances where Guards appear en masse or with other more dangerous foes. Guards drop Ammo Clips with four bullets upon death.
- Hit Points: 25
- Point Value: 100
The SS, or Schutzstaffel, are significantly tougher and more deadly than the regular Guards, with fully automatic Machine Guns and four times the hit points. They are introduced fairly early on, and remain one of the most dangerous opponents throughout the entire game. Failing to notice a nearby SS Officer spells certain death for the player more often than not, and when in the presence of other enemies, they are usually the most pressing concern. Due to their high health and rapid rate of fire, fighting a single SS Officer with a Pistol can be a dicey proposition, and fighting multiple SSes head-on without an automatic weapon can be disastrous. Thankfully, all SS Officers drop Machine Guns upon death. The SS also make a cameo appearance in Doom II: Hell on Earth, which contains two secret levels based on the first and last maps of Escape from Wolfenstein.
- Hit Points: 100
- Point Value: 500
The ghastly Mutants are the twisted undead creations of Dr. Schabbs, consisting of reanimated corpses with large semi-automatic rifles protruding directly out of their chests. Ludicrously, they must pup their arms up and down in order to chamber and fire rounds from these rifles. In terms of threat level, Mutants exist somewhere between the standard Guard and the SS Officer, with improvements in regard to hit point totals and firing rate over the former, but slight degradation in both categories when compared to the latter. Unlike most foes, the Mutant has no "wake up" sound upon being alerted, and this silent activation makes it much more likely that it will be able to sneak up on an unsuspecting player. After being defeated, the Mutant drops an ammo clip with four rounds.
- Hit Points: 45 (Skill 1), 55 (Skill 2 & 3), 65 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 700
The Officer looks much like a normal Guard clad in a white uniform, a similarity which is further reinforced by his fondness for the Pistol. The main differentiator between the two is the Officer's speed. They are the fastest ranged attack unit in that game, and the second fastest overall (behind the German Shepherd). This quickness not only applies to their foot speed, but also how fast they are on the draw. Officers will fire their weapons with far less hesitation than Guards, and can close the distance to lethal range in surprisingly little time. They are, however, only moderately equipped in terms of hit points, and will fall fairly quickly to most weapons, yielding 4 bullets in the process.
- Hit Points: 50
- Point Value: 400
A facsimile of the Führer himself, the Hitler Ghost (also known as Robed Hitler or Fake Hitler) is an extremely rare foe found only in the final level of the third episode, where it appears several times. It can be thought of as a mini-boss of sorts, as it has greater hit points than any other standard foe, which scale upward depending on the difficulty setting. This floating opponent carries no traditional armaments, instead unleashing slow-moving balls of fire from a device visible on its mid-chest. It is the only recurring ranged enemy that favors projectiles over hitscan weaponry, and because of this fact, its attacks can actually be dodged if the player is far enough away to manoeuvre around its incoming fire.
- Hit Points: 200 (Skill 1), 300 (Skill 2), 400 (Skill 3), 500 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 2000
As the end boss of the first episode of Wolfenstein 3D, and the final obstacle between B.J. Blazkowicz and freedom from imprisonment in the bowels of Castle Wolfenstein, Hans Grosse is exponentially more powerful than any previously-encountered foe. In a trend which repeats itself with later bosses, Hans Grosse is most easily dispatched with the Chain Gun, though with two of his own, it is not advisable to get closer than medium distance when fighting him. Hans has two relatives, Gretel and Trans, who appear respectively as bosses in the later releases of the Nocturnal Missions and Spear of Destiny; chronologically, though, Hans is actually last Grosse to be killed by the player character.
- Hit Points: 850 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1050 (Skill 3), 1200 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
The twisted mind behind the creation of the Mutants, Dr. Schabbs was the primary target of the player character prior to his capture by the Nazis. After escaping his prison in the first episode, B.J. continues in his quest to track down the evil doctor, eventually confronting him in the final mission of Episode Two. Schabbs attacks in an unorthodox manner by hurling loaded syringes at the player. Presumably, these needles contain the same concoction used by Schabbs to create his undead abominations, as the skin of the player's status bar portrait turns a sickly gray (complemented by red eyes) if killed by one. As killing Schabbs is the primary objective in Episode Two, his death triggers the ending automatically.
- Hit Points: 850 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1550 (Skill 3), 2400 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
Adolf Hitler (powered armour)
Clad in a full-body suit of mechanical armor, Hitler proves to be well-prepared for any would-be assassins when confronted by Blazkowicz at the end of the third episode. Boasting a total of four mounted Chain Gun emplacements, the Führer is fully equipped to tear opponents apart should they venture too close to him. With such a massive size, though, the footfalls of the monstrous Mecha-Hitler are clearly audible, which can be helpful in keeping away from the full brunt of its guns. Once the player manages to whittle down and destroy the armor protecting Hitler, the leader of the Third Reich springs forth from its remains to continue the battle personally...
- Hit Points: 800 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1050 (Skill 3), 1200 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
Even with his mechanized armor suit destroyed, Hitler is still a considerable threat to B.J. Blazkowicz, and in fact his sheer damage potential is not reduced when compared to his previous form despite the fact that he carries only two Chain Guns to the Mecha-Hitler's four. Though somewhat less durable in the flesh, Hitler receives a tremendous boost in speed (putting him on par with the fleet-footed Officers), which makes him just as troublesome and gives the player less time overall to react to his movements. His ultimate defeat is the primary objective of the original trilogy, and since later episodes were positioned as prequels, Hitler's downfall is canonically the final event in Wolfenstein 3D, but it is just the beginning for the franchise...
- Hit Points: 500 (Skill 1), 700 (Skill 2), 800 (Skill 3), 900 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
Dubbed "The Poisonmaker" due to his heinous proclivities, Otto Giftmacher is a creator of chemical weapons for the Third Reich and the first boss encounter in Wolfenstein 3D's Nocturnal Missions. He attacks with a hand-held Rocket Launcher, which behaves more or less like the player's own Rocket Launcher in the port versions of the game. As projectiles, Giftmacher's rockets can be effectively dodged much like Dr. Schabbs syringes, and listening for audio cues can be helpful in this respect, as the Rocket Launcher emits a telltale sound whenever it fires off a rocket. Upon emerging victorious against him, the protagonist discovers that the Nazis' chemical warfare initiative is already well underway.
- Hit Points: 850 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1050 (Skill 3), 1200 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
The sibling of one Hans Grosse, Gretel bears more than a passing resemblance to her brother, and even carries a Chain Gun in each hand just like Hans. Situated at the end of Episode Five, Gretel is tasked with safeguarding plans for the Nazis' chemical weapons attacks, and only by defeating her can the player character hope to acquire them in time to stop General Fettgesicht. Her similarity to Hans Grosse is more than skin deep, as, statistically, she is identical to the boss of Episode One both in the properties of her attack and her hit point totals. As with all hitscan weapons in Wolfenstein 3D, Gretel's Chain Guns become deadlier as the player draws closer, so keeping one's distance is paramount.
- Hit Points: 850 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1050 (Skill 3), 1200 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
The ultimate opponent in Wolfenstein 3D's Nocturnal Missions and the deviant strategist behind the Third Reich's chemical warfare campaign, General Fettgesicht is Blazkowicz's final target in Episode Six, and killing him puts the final nail in the coffin of Nazi Germany's chemical weapons program. Holding a Chain Gun in his left hand and a Rocket Launcher in his right, Fettgesicht has the honor of being the only Wolfenstein 3D boss, indeed the only enemy in the game, bar none, to have two distinct weapon types. Due to his tendency to fire both weapons in tandem, it is generally not advisable to dodge his rockets while returning fire, as the player will most likely take damage from his Chain Gun even when successful.
- Hit Points: 850 (Skill 1), 950 (Skill 2), 1050 (Skill 3), 1200 (Skill 4)
- Point Value: 5000
Due to its popularity, Wolfenstein 3D was ported to a number of different platforms in the years following its initial PC release. While some ports, such as the Game Boy Advance version, were extremely faithful to the original game, others were wildly divergent, changing many aspect of the game, both cosmetic and otherwise. The release of the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D marks the genesis of what many Wolfenstein fans refer to as the "Mac Family" of ports, consisting of several releases which are markedly different from Wolfenstein 3D on the PC, though noticeably similar to one another. Some of the characteristic changes in these versions include the addition of two new weapons (the Flamethrower and the Rocket Launcher), dramatic changes to the format of the campaign as well as the structure of individual levels, and the adoption of content (i.e., textures, items, and enemies) native to Wolfenstein 3D's sequel, Spear of Destiny.
Super Nintendo Version
Because of inherent limitations in system hardware, the SNES release of Wolfenstein 3D features 32x32 wall textures rather than the 64x64 size used on the PC. This version is also well-known for being heavily censored. Not only were overt references to Nazism and most appearances of blood removed from the game, but the game's enemies also no longer speak German, and religious references like the Cross treasure item were removed as well. Finally, the German Shepherd was completely removed from the game, presumably over animal cruelty concerns, and in its place the game features a giant gray Mutated Rat. The floor color in this version was changed from gray to brown, which some have postulated was done to help the game's gray Rat enemies stand out against the floor.
The game's status bar was redone for the SNES, with a redrawn player portrait and an "Item" section, which tracks the number of treasures collected. The Flamethrower and the Rocket Launcher are introduced in this port, and all of the existing weapons feature new graphical treatment. The single-player campaign itself is pared down to just 30 missions from the 60 featured on the PC, and while the included levels are based on those found on the PC, they are not completely faithful to the original maps. The game is also presented as a single linear progression of levels rather than being broken up into discreet episodes. Bosses from the Nocturnal Missions do not appear in this campaign, however three Spear of Destiny bosses (Trans Grosse, the Ubermutant, and the Death Knight) are incorporated, as are new items such as Ammo Boxes, Fuel Cans, and Rocket Boxes.
While very similar to the SNES version of the game, Wolfenstein 3D on the Atari Jaguar makes several additional changes. The most immediately noticeable difference is a large leap in graphical fidelity above and beyond even the PC version of the game, using 128x128 wall textures, which are accompanied by new enemy graphics. The Jaguar port remains uncensored, though it does retain the same brown floor coloration of the SNES version. The status bar is removed entirely from the game and replaced with a more minimal heads-up display system, showing only the player's health, ammo, and any keys acquired (as well as B.J.'s portrait to the left). The weapon visuals on the Jaguar are unique to this iteration, and a few of the game's armaments, most notably the Pistol, Chain Gun, and Rocket Launcher, are conspicuously similar in appearance to their counterparts in the Doom series.
While the level structure of the Jaguar conforms to the same 30-level campaign seen on the SNES, which includes the new weapons, some of the game's mechanics are changed. Treasure items inexplicably act as a means of health restoration, and though the same four types exist, they all bestow four percentage points of health. Treasure items also have the potential to heal the player above 100% health. The Atari Wolfenstein port was also unique for having different enemy sets for each of its four difficulty levels; in most other versions that have four difficulty settings, the bottom settings share identical enemy placement.
The 3DO release of Wolfenstein 3D takes after the Atari Jaguar, featuring many of the same graphical upgrades and the increased 128x128 texture size over the PC. It also reverts to the classic grey floor colour of the original Wolfenstein 3D while using the weapon graphics introduced in the SNES version. One of the more striking aspect of the 3DO version, however, is its audio presentation. The sound effects and music were redone in a higher fidelity for the port, making it one of the best-sounding ports of Wolfenstein 3D overall. In addition to the weapon graphics, the status bar of the SNES version was also adopted on the 3DO, as were the altered treasure mechanics which tabulate the raw number of treasures collected rather than assigning a point value to the different types.
Like all games in the "Mac Family," the 3DO port features a 30-mission adaptation of the original Wolfenstein campaign commonly referred to as the Second Encounter. Unlike previous ports, though, the 3DO also presents the player with a six-episode Third Encounter, which is more directly analogous to the format and composition of the original Wolfenstein 3D levels. The Third Encounter levels are not one-to-one recreations, though, and furthermore incorporate weapons and items not present at the time of the PC version's creation, but on the whole they are far more accurate representations of the original levels than the maps presented in Second Encounter, which are loose approximations.
The Macintosh port of Wolfenstein 3D is most similar to the 3DO version, incorporating higher resolution graphics and offering the chance to play both the Second and Third Encounter. A demo version of the Mac port was also disseminated, called First Encounter, which allows the player to fight up to the game's first boss fight with Hans Grosse much like the shareware version of Wolfenstein 3D on the PC does. Since this demo is based on the Second Encounter rather than id's original episodes, however, this includes only three levels, whereas the PC shareware release placed Hans Grosse at the end of a full ten-level episode.
PC System Requirements
- IBM-PC and Compatibles
- MS-DOS(R) 5.0 or higher
- 640K RAM
- 3 MB available Hard Disk Space
- 386/33 MHz Processor
- VGA graphics
- Joystick and mouse optional
- Supports Sound Blaster and 100% compatible sound cards