Written by  :  Stephen Atkinz (7)
Written on  :  Jan 13, 2003
Platform  :  DOS

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Hey, here's something different!

The Good

This game was completely unlike any game I had previously played. My brother played it first, at my dad's office, and when he tried to describe it to me I just couldn't get a mental picture of what it would be like. Both of us were young enough that we didn't really understand what 3D meant, and he kept saying stuff like "You're killing Nazis, but it's like you're really there, you know? You're kinda lookin through this guy's eyes like they're you're eyes, and you can see the gun out in front of you?" Me: "Can you rotate, or do you just go in a straight line?" Him: "Oh, you can rotate, and there's no time limit." This was interesting. You could stop and enjoy the scenery, unlike games like Super Mario Brothers. So, when I finally played it, I was sucked in immediately. It was the first truly immersive game I ever played, and had many great moments, from the grin which appeared on your face when you located the chaingun to the satisfaction of watching Hitler's bloody head drop onto his corpse. Oh, yeah. It was so much fun, I didn't even notice the limitations of 1992's VGA graphics technology.

The Bad

Oh, yes, the Wolfenstein mazes. Never mind the fact that the Nazis would have found it extraordinarily difficult to navigate around their castles with mazes all over the place. The things were just irritating! Even in 1992, there were plenty of puzzle games available if one wanted to do some mazes. In this game, though, we could have done without 'em. Wolfenstein was about killing Nazis and getting to the end of the level, not scurrying around like a mouse after some cheese. Also, though it was great and innovative in its day, the VGA graphics really don't look that hot. When you've got the pistol equipped, you kinda have to squint to get the idea of a chunky pistol being held in a pair of chunky hands. Futhermore, the only places in which a plot even makes an appearance is in the text messages at the conclusion of each episode. Other than that, all six episodes are pretty much the same thing. The only variations in gameplay are different wall textures every now and again. This fact coupled with the occasional maze can make the game pretty repetitive after a while.

The Bottom Line

Try to imagine the way things were in 1992. There were no 3D shooters. This single game gave birth to the genre which would later give us such masterpieces as Deus Ex and Half-Life. Gameplay-wise, it hasn't held up all that well over the years, but it can still be satisfying to blow away some Nazis for a few minutes once in a while. Try to appreciate it for its historical value, and enjoy the simple pleasures it still provides.