A Literal Nightmare
Just take a guess. What would you say would turn me off most in a game?
If you said mazes, you’re right.
Wolfenstein 3D is all mazes. Sometimes the walls of the maze change colors. Sometimes the maze opens into a large room, but the rooms are always nondescript and difficult to tell apart. You wander around, trying to find the key so you can escape to a new level oftorment, killing everything you see. At some point new enemies show up; maybe you kill some kind of Frankenstein G.I. who tries to karate chop you.
Wolfenstein 3D is not a bad game, but it is a literal nightmare. It’s scarier than some horror games, but not fun scary. Rather than relying on jump scares that just surprise you but eventually become laughable, Wolfenstein 3D drops you into a crude 3D maze with a floating gun in front of you. This maze is ostensibly a secret Nazi castle (or at least that’s what I gathered from the portraits of Hitler that plaster the walls), but if so then it was apparently designed just to torment your all-American protagonist B.J. Blaskowicz. The layout and design make no sense. Sometimes you need to collect two keys. Only people as evil as the Nazis would design a castle like this. Later FPS titles will fix this inconsistency by setting themselves in places like the jungle and hell.
With creeping horror, you discover that the only reliable way to escape this horrible extensive Nazi maze is to orient yourself by the dead bodies of your slain enemies. With this realization, the nightmare is complete. Two stars.